Wednesday, January 30, 2013

TNNA, Here We Come!

We are thrilled to be taking our Heirloom Romney to TNNA this weekend! TNNA is The National Needlearts Association and this weekend is their big trade show for yarns, patterns, needles and everything in between.

As you may know, we have been working closely with Jeane deCoster of Elemental Affects to develop this yarn and are excited that it will be making it's big debut. Shops around the country will be able to stock Heirloom in their stores and we can't wait until everyone can get their hands on this gorgeous yarn.


We have two brand new colors to complete our palette: Carrot--a vibrant orange, and Fig--a soft cool brown.

We've been knitting up a storm in this lovely rustic yarn so we will have plenty of samples to show off. Sunne just finished this bright version of her Quandary Peak Mittens in Cabbage and Natural.

We made handy little info cards to hand out so everyone can see how Heirloom is the best yarn ever!

We will also be buying new yarns and products to sell at Fancy Tiger Crafts while we are in Long Beach. Be sure to check back to see our report on all the awesome stuff we found at TNNA.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Magical to the Max: Fibrofibers' Nightfall Worsted is Here!

We picked up the Nightfall Hand-dyed Sock Yarn last fall, and our first shipment sold in just weeks. We are delighted to have it back in stock, as well as the heavier weight Worsted version of this magical ombre beauty.

Nightfall Worsted  |  Nightfall Sock

We've already seen some amazing projects made from this yarn. Jessie Dawson, a customer with very awesome crochet skills, made a neon green crochet doily from Nightfall. Talk about hot.

Cat Stebbins, a Fancy Tiger instructor who works crafty magic with Tunisian crochet, created this beautiful Tunisian cowl for a class.

There are lots of colors of Nightfall in stock right now, but come by soon, as they are sure to find new homes quickly!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

New! Guillemet Hat Knitting Pattern by Emily!

A new knitting pattern is joining our Fancy troop of patterns! Welcome the Guillemet Hat!

The pattern is named for the French quotation mark << >>, the guillemet. Simple knits and purls create a chevron pattern reminiscent of this handsome punctuation. Emily designed this sweet and slouchy hat for our Heirloom yarn, and it knits up so rustic and beautifully in the chevron stitch pattern.

Emily's Guillemet is knit in the Heirloom colorway, Calendula, a soft golden yellow.

The hat's construction is fun and simple, and can be adapted to any gauge and any size. A unique style of decreases create an awesome circle detail atop.

Katy immediately whipped up her own Guillemet Hat out of Heirloom color Well Water.

If you don't live in town, pick up a skein of Heirloom yarn here.

Monday, January 21, 2013

New Liberty Tana Lawns!

Eeek! Gorgeous seasonal Tana Lawns are here from Liberty of London! These prints are limited edition, so if you see your dream fabric below--and I know I do, mister bronze crosshatchy print--come in and see us soon!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Pyramid Pals! Three Chicopee Quilts (+ Tutorial!)

A trifecta of triangle quilts + tutorial! (Tutorial at the end of this post.)

Jaime, Emily and I adore Denyse Schmidt's fabrics-- and when we saw this Pyramid quilt made from her Chicopee line, we were all three smitten. We had to make it for ourselves!

We each cut 3/8 yard of all 26 prints, giving us 5 triangles from each print--enough to make a queen sized quilt top!

Jaime's Quilt
Jaime made a queen sized quilt, and tried her darnedest to be random with the patchwork. It turned out perfectly random and is beautiful!

Emily took a different approach for her queen sized pyramid quilt, and planned out a repeating pattern which created a soft rainbow effect in her patchwork. In order have the right number of certain colors she had to make some triangle trades with Jaime and I. I love the effect of the organized groups of colors!

I went a little smaller with my quilt, wanting a cozy couch quilt. It's 60" x 90", long enough to stretch out under for naps, or wide enough for a two person lap quilt.

Jaime's Rainbow Patchwork Back  |  Amber's Bright Floral Back  |  Emily's Patchworky Stripe Back

We each chose our own adventure for our quilt backs!

Jaime used her Chicopee scraps to make a stripey rainbow, which she then patchworked with some of her favorite tiny gothic Japanese florals.

I was inspired by antique crazy quilts I've seen from the early 1900s, many of which have big, wild florals backing them. I chose an acid yellow rose print from Bari J. and I love it!

Emily chose a yarn-dyed Essex linen cotton for most of her quilt back, but inserted a colorful strip of patchwork down the center.

Basic Pyramid Patchwork Tutorial

To make a queen sized quilt top you will need:
  • 3/8 yd each of 26 prints
  • Cutting mat
  • Rotary cutter
  • clear ruler with 60o marking
  • sewing machine and thread

  1. With a rotary cutter and ruler, cut all your fabric pieces to 12" strips, selvedge to selvedge.
  2. Take one strip and, using your ruler, cut the end of the strip off at 60o.
  3. Rotate your ruler to the other side and finish cutting one triangle by cutting again at 60o. Save your half triangles from the ends. Repeat cutting for remaining triangles and remaining strips.
  4. Place 2 triangles right sides together and seam along one edge at with 1/4" seam allowance.
  5. Press open.
  6. Place next triangle right sides together with last triangle, letting the point extend past the edge of the triangle below as much as the previous triangle point's seam allowance. Seam and press. Continue until you have 13 triangles sewn together. Seam one half-triangle to each end of your strip.
Repeat until you have 9 strips of triangles.

Lay your strips out to decide what order to piece them together in. Seam strips together.

Tada! You have a totally hot quilt top!

Monday, January 14, 2013

Machine Repairs at Fancy Tiger with Bob of Make it Sew!

We are thrilled to be offering sewing machine repair services at Fancy Tiger with our favorite repairman, Bob!

We have been working with Bob and Karen of Make It Sew in Broomfield for 6 years now, sourcing our classroom Janome machines from them and having our shop sewing machines, sergers and our motley crew of personal machines serviced by genius Bob.

Do you have a vintage or testy machine that needs a tune-up or repairs? Bob will be at Fancy Tiger Crafts once a week to help with all your machine repair needs! Drop off a machine any time with us and Bob will fix it up when he is here.

We are honored to have such a knowledgeable and accomplished repairman here at Fancy Tiger Crafts.

Friday, January 11, 2013

A Parade of Painted Portraits

I love the Painted Portrait pattern from Anna Maria Horner. I first made it when she came to visit last August and I have now made 4 of them! It is a versatile pattern that can be made as a sleeveless or sleeved top or dress. It can have a pieced bodice or plain bodice. No matter how you make it, I promise you will love it.

My most recent Painted Portrait is done up in a Nani Iro double gauze. This soft print is classic Nani Iro style and makes a great top.

This Painted Portrait features a contrast bodice of Anna Maria Horner's Crossing Paths fabric paired with a deep indigo voile. My dream is to one day embroider over the stitch design of the bodice fabric with bright pops of day.

The Painted Portrait dress is brilliant because of these huge pockets! Dresses with pockets rule and I love that these are a fun design element of the garment. Thanks Anna, for making such an awesome pattern. I'm sure I'll sew up some sleeveless ones for summertime.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Better Know A Local Designer: Ann McCauley

We are excited to be hosting local knitting designer, Ann McCauley, for a trunk show and classes on January 19th!

Ann and her pup in matching sweaters of her design. Cute!
Ann McCauley 
Saturday, January 19th
Trunk Show and Book Signing: 1:30-2:30pm

Ann teaches nationally and is the author of two knitting books, as well as loads of patterns for publications such as Brooklyn Tweed's Wool People 2, 3 and the upcoming Wool People 5, Knitter's Magazine, Craftsy, and Louet, and was featured on Knitty Gritty. Ann's books, The Pleasures of Knitting: Timeless Feminine Sweaters and Together or Separate: Knitting the New Twinset, will be available for purchase with a special discount at her trunk show.

Ann is not only a professional knitter--she also had a long performing and teaching career in Modern Dance--she taught 20 years at the National Theatre Conservatory at the Denver Center for the Performing Arts, was Associate Artist in Choreography for the Denver Center Theatre Company for 14 years, and taught Movement at the Boulder College of Massage Therapy for 14 years.

We are so intrigued by Ann's combination of her love of dance and love of knitting and can't wait for her Movement for Knitters class! We've asked Ann to share a little about herself and her knitting history on our blog today.

How did you learn to knit and how long have you been knitting?

I learned to knit in Girl Scouts! My Mom knew how to knit so she could also help me with my knitting. I loved it immediately. First I made headbands, then I made slippers, then I told my Mom I’d like to knit a sweater. She told me I’d never finish a sweater. I understand why she said that because it took her a really long time to knit a sweater being a full time social worker, mother of four and wife. That was it, my knitting was on pause until in my late 20’s when I went to Denmark on tour with a modern dance company. Everywhere I went I saw public knitting. I started buying yarn and needles immediately and started knitting again once I returned home. I’d say I’ve been knitting rather obsessively for thirty years.

Tell us about why you fell in love with knitting.

Honestly, I fell in love with knitting because I am a sweater girl. I love knit wear. I grew up at a time that young girls wore skirts and sweaters to school. I was smitten because there was nothing else that I ever wore that felt as comfortable and comforting as sweaters. I also love that knitting is a meditation, an orderly, repetitive activity that changes our brain waves. I love exploring the creative process.

Why is movement such an important aspect of the knitting process?

Because we live in these bodies that are high maintenance vehicles and how we use them correlates with how we feel. In the process of learning to knit, many start off too tight in the knitting and/or too tense in the body, be it the shoulders, neck, hands, thumbs, back or spine what have you. A little physical awareness goes a long way and can make such a significant difference, so when I teach Movement for Knitters I cover lots of information about alignment, efficiency, self-help hand care, even breath. It’s one of my favorite things to teach because of the immediate difference most people experience. I’ve had many knitters who have taken this class tell me that it should be required for all knitters. Class information is based on over 40 years of studying movement, dance, the body and different forms of body work.

What inspires your design process?

Yarn, color, texture, line, shape, mood, becoming very quiet and still. I believe the design process can be highly variable. At times, I have had that flash when spontaneously I may see every detail of a new design and I’ve also experienced painstakingly swatching to the length of a scarf, but it’s a jumble of stitches that I have to see and allow to inform me. I very much enjoy watching a design evolve.

What designs or project are you most excited about right now?

I’m excited to contribute designs to Brooklyn Tweed. I adore being part of what Jared Flood creates. I find his work incredibly interesting. We met when we were both teaching at Yarnover, a fabulous annual event the Minnesota Knitting Guild puts on in the Minneapolis area. Since then I have had designs in Wool People 2 and 3 Collections and will have a design in the upcoming Wool People 5 Collection.

What is your favorite technique for a professional looking handknit?

I believe a professional looking handknit is the result of many techniques. It is a challenge for me to single out just one, but I’ll try. Small details interest me and cumulatively small details add up to a big difference in achieving a professional result. 

Blocking so enhances our knitting. I prefer steam blocking because it allows more control. I love seams for the stability, definition, structure and fit they give. I prefer designing with flat pieces and feel this is an area where knitters can learn a great deal from sewers. When needed, I do some of the pressing that sewers utilize after a knit garment is steam blocked and seamed. An example would be a reverse stockinette stitch seam. You can bet that I’m going to lie that finished seam on the ironing board with the wrong side facing me, push straight pins into either side of the raw seam to open it outward and give it a little more steam so it lies flat. Otherwise you can count on that seam rolling inward. 

 I’ll cover a number of these types of details in the Enviable Invisible Seams class. By the way, if there’s anyone that can’t tear themselves away from their current project to knit swatches to practice seaming on, I understand, and you can bring any swatches you might have from past gauge checks or a finished garment that is ready to seam. I recognize that many knitters don’t like seaming until they have learned the invisible seaming because I was one of them. Seaming from the right or public side allows such a beautiful result.

Thanks Ann! We look forward to your classes!

Monday, January 07, 2013

Constellations & Pearl Bracelets by Lizzy House

They are here! We want to make dresses out of Lizzy House's new Constellation fabric! I mean, have you seen how cute the dress she made from it is?

Oh wait, guess who else already made a dress from Constellations! Miranda wins.

We are loving this palette right now--deep, dark indigos, bright royal blues, hot blacks and oxford-esque pastel blues that are oh-so garment friendly.

Not to mention the prints! We love every single one. The phases of the moon is killing me it's so great!

And Lizzy fans, Ms. House's pearl bracelets are here, too. Hooray! These fun basics play nice with other prints and go with just about everything.

Lizzy we are over the moon for your fabric...get it?

Friday, January 04, 2013

A New Sweater for a New Year

The best thing about all the trunk shows we host here at Fancy Tiger Crafts is seeing and trying on knit and sewn items in person. When Miriam Felton was here last October, I was able to try on her Vinculum Cardigan and fell in love. This worsted weight cardigan features beautiful feminine touches such as a smocking pattern in the neck and cuffs and a pretty "V" shaping at the back. I have been wanting to make something with the classic Irish tweed yarn we carry from Studio Donegal and it was a match made in heaven!

You all know how I feel about neutral colors and I couldn't resist this classic color of tweed yarn in Oatmeal. This color is sure to compliment almost anything in my wardrobe for maximum cardigan usage. You also might know I often have gauge issues (I just knit so dang loose!). For this sweater I was working with 16.5 stitches to 4" instead of Miriam's 19 stitches to 4" (and I was on a 6!). I did the math and went ahead and made the smallest size 32" to finish with a 36" which was what I was going for. It worked out well and my cardigan fits beautifully. Miriam's pattern is well written with waist and bust shaping in the body and short row shaping for the back neckline. It knit up quick with no hiccups. I took her advice and blocked the sweater before seaming which made the seaming so easy!

I finished this sweater in a record (for me) 1 month during the holidays and seamed it on New Year's Eve. I was at home without access to all of our beautiful buttons so I just put one vintage button I had on hand at the top. I've loved wearing it this way so I might just keep it with the one button.

Thanks, Ironwood for the awesome and other-worldly photo-shoot backdrop!

Wednesday, January 02, 2013

Twinkle Soft Chunky is Back!

Oh, dear Twinkle, how we've missed you!

We are thrilled to have one of our favorite yarns back in stock, and with a gorgeous updated palette! Twinkle Soft Chunky is an extra-soft, super bulky merino yarn that knits up quick as a wink--which makes it the perfect choice for last minute, lux scarves to bundle up in mid-winter. It's also the perfect yarn for our Snowy Day Cowl pattern!

Come in and treat yourself to some Twinkle!