Friday, January 31, 2014

Meet the Designer: Laura Nelkin!

We are so excited to kick off our new series of  "Meet the Designer" with the wonderful Laura Nelkin. Laura is a creative at heart with an extreme love for knitting. She started knitting in 2004 and was completely smitten with it. She is well known for knitting with beads and finds beautiful ways to incorporate them into her designs. Fancy Tiger Crafts is pleased to be hosting Laura for her Jewelry Knitting class on February 6th. There is still space available so be sure to check it out. In the meantime we'd like you to meet Laura!

1) How did you get started in the knitting industry? What is your background?
Well, I went to Cornell University for Apparel Design and focused on weaving, dyeing and apparel while I was there. A few years after graduating my daughter’s friends’ mom taught me how to knit at a play date, and that was the start of my knitting obsession!

I was lucky enough to have a well-established hand-dye company, Schaefer Yarn, close to my house and worked there for almost 5 years as their design director. I learned a TON about the industry and then it was time for me to strike out independently.

Since then I’ve been busy with e-books, published patterns, Mystery Knit Alongs, Clubs, and a book with Potter Craft (due out Sept 2014). There is definitely no time to be bored around here! I’ve recently turned back to sewing as my “non” work creative outlet… so fun to be back at the machine and making clothes for myself again!

2) You have a wide range of designs from jewelry to garments - do you have a favorite type of project to design? What are you most excited about right now?
I’m pretty much obsessed with cowls right now… I’ve designed a few of them over the last few years, but this winter I’ve been wearing one almost every day! Way less fussy than a scarf, and super fun to knit! Oh, and I’m completely smitten with adding beads to my knitting.

3) What influences you creatively? What is your creative process for coming up with new ideas? What inspires you?
Creativity begets creativity for me… often times while I am working on one thing and it’s into the rote phase (i.e. it’s all figured out I just have to finish knitting it) I find myself deeply in thought considering the next thing I want to create. (It’s almost like a disease….) Sometimes I just have these niggling feelings that I don’t act on, sometimes I have an exact vision of what I MUST make, and sometimes I see something in the wild that sparks a design. What I wait for is the idea to resurface more than once… then I know it is more likely to be successful! Little known fact: if I ever find myself at a loss I just take a shower, normally I have a solution by the time the water turns cold….

I also get a huge amount of creative juice from my students, which is why I love teaching so much! I had no idea that sharing my love of knitting and the techniques I adore would spark such a tremendous connection… it is seriously one of my favorite things to do, and I can’t wait to teach at Fancy Tiger Crafts too!


4) What is your favorite mythological animal?
Well, this isn’t totally an animal, but I am going to go with the Hindu Goddess Parvati… just look at all those arms! (see my answer to #5 below)

5) If you could have any super power, what would it be?
To magically grow more arms… so I can make ALL.THE.THINGS! I really do need more arms to keep up with my ideas!

Thanks Laura! We can't wait to knit jewelry with you!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Caitlin's Miette Cardigan


When I started to work at Fancy Tiger over a year ago I was an experienced seamstress, but I knew I needed to jump on the knitting bandwagon.  I had mastered my knits and purls with many scarves and cowls, but hadn't successfully completed a written pattern until becoming a Tigress.  Feeling inspired by our lovely customers and my co-workers, I picked up some yarn and needles and haven't looked back! 

This is just my second knit sweater and I couldn't be happier with the end product.  It's the Miette Cardigan by Andi Satterlund.  This is a really easy pattern to follow and would be a great project for beginners looking to take the next step to garments.  What's more is it's free so you can save your monies for more yarn!  

I knit this up in just under a month with the Quince & Co. Owl yarn in the color Rosebay.  Owl is an over-dyed alpaca/wool blend that is really delightful to work with.  I'm so happy with how this color shows off the lace detailing!

The pattern is written as a cute cropped cardigan, but I wanted it a bit longer so I repeated the lace repeat 3 times and added a bit of waist shaping.  Now it's the perfect addition to my wardrobe!

Watch out, world!  I think I'm a knitter.

Monday, January 27, 2014

A New Fancy Tiger Pattern is here! Howelsen Hill by Sunne Meyer

We are very excited to introduce you to our latest Fancy Tiger pattern: Howelsen Hill! This pattern is designed by our extremely talented knitting instructor Sunne Meyer. Sunne's construction design is simple and effective for maximum cuteness.

Worked in garter and stockinette stitch this cap can be whipped up in no time! Major plus, the band snugly fits around your head with an accent of 3-4 adorable buttons!

Our Howelsen Hill sample is knit in Fancy Tiger's Heirloom Romney yarn, in the wintery color of Hubbard. The pattern calls for just a bit more than half a skein. Don't worry, your leftovers can be used for a perfectly paired set of new Quandry Peak Mittens

The Howelsen Hill pattern is available in our Ravelry shop and will be arriving in print here at the store soon.

We are really excited that Sunne is getting recognition for her expertise in knitting with her new Craftsy class: Stranded Colorwork: Basics & Beyond. Check it out here!

Friday, January 24, 2014

Jaime's Feather Quilt


I fell in love with this quilt when I first saw it debuted by Anna Maria Horner at Quilt Market in Spring of 2012. In August of 2012 we had the amazing opportunity to host Ms. Horner here at Fancy Tiger Crafts for some workshops, of course, we asked her if she could teach the feather quilt. She was thrilled and all my dreams came true when I took her class for the amazing feather block that she designed. I only made one block in class, but it was the start of a new quilt that I was very excited about.

If you read the blog, you know I sew a lot of garments and quilts are fewer and farther between. I love using quilts on my bed so I almost exclusively make queen-sized quilts which take some time. In this case, a year and a half, but it was oh-so worth it.

This quilt is almost all from Anna Maria Horner's Field Study collection which had just come out when Ms. Horner visited us in Denver. I used Kona Cotton in Ash for the background color. The quilt took me so long that I ended up cutting Ash from three different bolts over the course of a year and you can see the different dye lots in the quilt. I don't mind, though, I think it adds some movement and character (but lesson learned: fabrics have dye lots, too!).

Each feather block is made up of 9 pieces of fabric. The "feather" pieces are cut from strip-pieced yardage, which actually went quite fast to make up. This is the most intense piecing I have ever done. I ended up developing an assembly line system which made it go faster and I used some downtime over the holidays to really dig in and finish it.

As with all my queen sized quilts, I sent this one off to be quilted. I used our local quilter, Jason Spicknall of Secret Stash Quilting. He did such an amazing job on this quilt and I love it. His simple ruler lines reflect the feathers in a way that compliments the design and does not detract from the feathers themselves. Perfect.

For the back and binding I used fabric from Anna's current collection, Dowry. I love love love the back of this quilt. The print is so amazing, I didn't do any additional piecing on the back. We have the full line of Dowry in stock now, if you're inspired to make your own feather quilt. This Feather Bed Quilt pattern is available for free here.

I love this quilt and am really proud of my accomplishment!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Tina's Handspun Magic Cowl!

Hey guys, It's me Tina, and my new handspun cowl! 

My new cowl is made of yarn I spun during Spinzilla (cough cough winners). I used a hand dyed merino roving made by our friend Meg of Sleep Season Goods. Meg teaches classes and sells her amazing hand dyed yarn and roving at FTC. This colorway is called Sleeping Beauty.

I can't believe it took me so long to cast on with my magical Sleep Season handspun, because it was so fun to knit with! When I finally did cast on, it went so fast. I was overly enthusiastic with each pop of new color. The cowl is a pattern I made up, and only took 400 yards of a sport weight single spun from my 4 ounce Sleep Season braid. The cowl was knit in the round, casting on 250 stitches on size US 10, 40" circulars. Using a larger needle really lets the yarn bloom and drape, showing off all the amazing colors.

I knit this while watching Dexter and it was done in no time which is a good thing, because the last two seasons were really dragging on. When I was almost out of yarn, I skipped to the last episode and started on my garter stitch edging and bound off. The perfect project to show off a beautiful handspun!

Thanks for checking out my new cowl! I love it so.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Neon-Candy-Party-Time Yarn, Yeah!!

We haven't been able to stop thinking about this neon rainbow explosion since we first laid eyes on it. Manos del Uruguay's Alegria sock yarn comes in the most insane colors of all time and that just makes our day.

We see this yarn knit up in colorwork projects mixed with a neutral or black to set off it's magical hues. Like candy for your eyeballs, it is!

Alegria is a durable sock yarn made with soft superwash merino strengthened with a bit of polyamide. Your neon rainbow candy party handknits will be oh, so nice and soft!

Friday, January 17, 2014

A Whole Bunch of Plantains!

Last week the French sewing pattern company, Deer & Doe, released a new free sewing pattern. The Plantain T-shirt is an adorable basic tee pattern with contrasting elbow patches and as soon as we saw it we knew we had to make it!

Caitlin went plantain-crazy and made 3 new tees in just a few days! She customized her tees by using a contrasting knit on the back. This first one is a drapey soft bamboo/organic cotton blend jersey and a cute floral from her stash.

Amber used an organic cotton/soy french terry in Aubergine, which stitched up into the coziest tee around!

Jaime picked a hemp/organic cotton fleece in her current favorite minty green color and added a teeny pocket detail. The three of us went for the 3/4 length sleeve option, one of Plantain's three sleeve lengths.

Sara joined in the t-shirt making fun and made a long-sleeve Plantain in organic cotton jersey with hemp/cotton stripe embellishment.

Sara added a cute pocket and finished her collar in her coordinating stripe, for maximum adorableness.

The unstoppable Caitlin made this cozy Plantain in soft grey with a coordinating lavender stripe and embellished it with a pocket and contrasting back.

Caitlin embellished her orange stripe tee with sleeve tabs and buttons. So cute!

Jaime and I couldn't resist using a scrap of Caitlin's adorable floral jersey as our elbow-patch embellishment. Matching Plantain Tees for all!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Jess made a Breckon Cardigan!


I have been dreaming of making sweaters since I started knitting 4 years ago, as a matter of fact it was my driving force to learn how to knit. The idea of being able to knit my own clothes still gives me goosebumps! I am constantly saying "I can't believe I MADE this!!" Needless to say I am extremely happy with my new sweater.

The Breckon is a Brooklyn Tweed pattern by Amy Christoffers that I have had my eye on since it was released. It calls for Loft fingering weight yarn. I fell in love with the color Truffle Hunt which was also featured in the pattern sample!

I was surprised with how effortless it was to understand the lace pattern. This is an easy nine stitch repeat mixed with a few cables and granite stitch. I know that might sound like a lot but I assure you it was a delight! I really enjoyed how much detail this sweater has. Every row kept my attention and I found myself saying "just one more repeat" far too often!  

This pattern calls for you to make the sleeves first.. and phew!  Was I happy when I finished the body to only had to attach them. (this is my happy face)

I decided not to include any waist shaping and I am so certain that was the right decision for me. The results are exactly what I was looking for. I wear cardigans almost everyday and this one has already jumped to the top of my favorites list. 

I could not be more pleased with my new cardigan! I have already cast on for my next sweater thanks to Fancy Tigers sweater KAL! I need to make a worsted weight project before I jump into my next fingering weight Brooklyn Tweed sweater. Be on the look out- I plan on making the Reine out of Loft in 2014 and I can't wait!  

Monday, January 13, 2014

Thread Theory: Menswear Sewing Patterns

Thread Theory Inc. is a new sewing pattern company out of Vancouver, BC.  Run by couple, Morgan and Matt Meredith, this menswear specific company is providing the sewing world with inspiring fashion forward designs for men with easy to follow instructions. We couldn't be happier to carry this new line!

The Newcastle Cardigan is slim fitting with cozy long cuff sleeves. Pick your favorite knit and whip this up in no time! There are options provided for customizable details, like contrasting yoke and shoulder, shawl collar, and decorative stitching.

Jedediah Pants offers a slim fit chino-style pant with two length options. With spring around the corner we have some amazing cotton and linen in stock for a light weight trouser short!

Strathcona Henley... this pattern is a staple for every man. A light to medium weight knit would work perfectly for a casual slim-fit. Helpful tips for sewing with knits are included to make stitching this up a cinch for first-time jersey sewers.. 

Can't wait to see our stylish Denver men sporting these new patterns!