Monday, June 30, 2014

Nani Iro has arrived!

Its happening again! Our sewing line up consists of the latest Nani Iro fabrics. Not only has Naomi Ito brought us a plethora of our favorite hand painted designs but this collection has such a range in fabric types. Offering high quality fabric in cotton sheeting, double gauze, canvas, and sateen! Think of all the magical things that can be made with such a variety! Many of these fabrics have silver copper and gold metallic tones...swoon... 

To celebrate the latest collection of Nani Iro a group of talented women have declared June Nani Iro month!  Check out all the amazing things that have been created by a number of bloggers, including Lizzy House! Thanks to Miss Matatabi for the inspiring idea!

 Don't worry we have half meter bundles too!

Check back in a few weeks to see the magic that Jaime and Amber have been crafting up with their Nani Iro bundles! 

Friday, June 27, 2014

Jaime's Camber Set Dress

I'm slowly making my way through the Merchant & Mills catalog of sewing patterns. My newest sew is the Camber Set dress.

Pattern: Camber Set Dress by Merchant and Mills
Fabric: 100% linen - 1.75 yds, Nani Iro brushed cotton - 1/2 yd
Size made: UK 10
Alterations: I switched up the neck finish so it has an exposed bias binding all the way around

This pattern is a gently shaped garment that can be either a dress or a shirt. It features set-in sleeves, bust darts and a slightly a-line shape. The garment is quick and simple to cut out and put together. I was worried about this color against my skin so I altered the pattern to add an exposed bias binding all the way around the neckline. This is an easy way to finish the neck and I had just enough Nani Iro brushed cotton leftover from another Merchant & Mills sew to make some bias tape for this. 

I'm currently obsessed with this color: any form of muted pink or rosy taupe. The types of colors that are not unlike the color of my skin and may or may not be a good choice for me, but I couldn't resist it in a 100% linen. I thought a small bias binding would break up the color and add a nice border at the neck.

I've already sewn up another Camber in a shirt version that you'll get to see later on the blog. This pattern is nice causal look and I think I'll be coming back to it again and again.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Come Join Us for our 8 Year Anniversary Party!

Holy moly! Can you believe that Fancy Tiger Crafts is celebrating our 8 year anniversary this Saturday, June 28th? We can't begin to express our love and gratitude for our amazing customer support through the years. As always we have made up something special for you to celebrate 8 years of Fancy Tiger Crafts.
  • free stickers and pins to everyone!
  • free gift bags to the first 100 people through the door filled with amazing goodies from our vendors!
  • free, brand new Fancy Tiger Crafts Knitting or Sewing kits with purchase over $20 (limit 1 per customer)
  • limited edition t-shirts available for purchase
  • free delicious pretzels in the shape of an 8 from local Bavarian pretzel master, Baker Street Pretzels, will be available from noon til they last
  • limited edition and numbered Fancy Tiger 8 Year anniversary sparkly sock yarn dyed by Sleep Season Goods will be available for purchase
  • high fives & funtimes!

Fancy schwag! Buttons and stickers are free just for stopping by!

You will have your choice of receiving a free Fancy Knitting Kit or Fancy Sewing Kit with your purchase of $20 or more, limit 1 per customer, please.

Super Fancy Sewing Kit packed with the essentials! We put together these adorable kits to giveaway free with $20 purchase. Limit 1 per customer, please.

Latest and greatest Fancy t-shirt! Wear your FTC pride with love! We have these locally printed by A Small Print Shop in a super-soft tee in ladies s - xxl and mens xs - xxl.

The first 100 people through the door on Saturday get one of these sweet gift bags from our amazing vendors. They are filled with awesome books, patterns, yarn, kits, and fabric! For those of you willing to wait in line for one of these babies, you'll be happy to know that The Bumblebee food truck will be out front selling delicious pastries from 8am on.

We can't wait to celebrate with you! Stop by anytime Saturday June 28th 10am-7pm for funtimes!

Amber, Jaime and the Tigresses!

Monday, June 23, 2014

Piper from Quince&Co is here!

Quince&Co has done it again! Staying true to Quince&Co's mission to make yarns from American fibers in American mills they have found an angora goat farm to source their fiber from out of Texas.

Piper is their newest yarn which is almost lace weight bringing you this beautiful palette of 50% texas super kid mohair and 50% texas superfine merino. This mohair is soft and subtle giving you a dreamy halo. 

Quince&Co made a special trip to check out their goats! Read all about it on their blog. We are such suckers for adorable angora goats! 

Come see for yourself the lovely finish on this yarn. Yay for Piper! 

Friday, June 20, 2014

Jaime's Endless Summer Tunic

A Verb for Keeping Warm is an awesome shop in Oakland, CA that shares our love of both sewing and knitting. They have just released their first print sewing pattern and it is awesome. Welcome, Endless Summer Tunic! 

Pattern: Endless Summer Tunic
Fabric: Hemp/cotton chambray stripe
Size made: 37" - smallest size
Alterations: Shortened the tunic by 2"

Endless Summer Tunic is a pullover tunic with gathered shoulder plackets and a v-neckline. It pulls on with no closures and also has pockets. This tunic is amazingly comfortable and I've already worn it several times since making it just a couple of weeks ago. 

The tunic comes together easily with well written instructions. The neck is finished with a facing and the armholes are finished with bias tape. Small gathers on the back placket are a cute touch. The back is just longer than the front and it has a slight shirttail hem.

The fabric I chose is a dreamy, lightweight hemp/organic cotton pinstripe chambray. It is so soft and flowy, I just want to live in this! We just received another bolt of this beautiful, limited edition fabric...

The fit is loose and casual. The only alteration I made was to shorten the tunic a couple of inches. Endless Summer Tunic pattern is available in the shop now - I bet you can't make just one!

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Amber's Olive-tastic Waterlily

Summer is for knitting cute tees!

Amber's Waterlily
Pattern: Waterlily by Meghan Fernandez for Pom Pom Magazine Issue 8
Yarn: 4 skeins Tern by Quince and Co in color Seaweed
Size Made: 36
Alterations: Lengthened the body by 2"

I just finished knitting Waterlily by Meghan Fernandez, a summery knit tee pattern from the cover of the spring issue of Pom Pom Quarterly.

I couldn't resist the simple shape and the pretty lace yoke. The pattern called for a silk/wool fingering weight yarn. I've been hankering to try Quince & Co's Tern, and I knew it was perfect for this pattern. A blend of US raised wool and silk, Tern comes in Quince's classic, garment friendly palette. I chose the muted olive Seaweed colorway for my Waterlily.

I made a few tiny tweaks to the pattern--I knit the body a few inches longer than the suggested length.

I also switched to a much smaller needle when knitting the collar across the back. The first time I worked the back collar edging it was really loose and wavy, so I ripped back and went down several needle sizes to make it cinch in more neatly.

I love how breathable and soft the Tern yarn is! This is my first summer sweater made from wool--I worried the wool/silk blend might be a bit warm for summer, but really it is so comfortable and cool! I love summer knit tees!

Monday, June 16, 2014

American Made Brand Fabric

Fabric that is 100% sourced and manufactured in America you say!? Heck yes! 

We are super excited to bring you this beautiful pallet of cotton solids from American Made Brand! AMB's mission is to reach back to and revive America's proud tradition of textiles. 

The entire process behind this beautiful fabric takes place right here in the USA. Farmers grow their cotton across southern and western states, then it is transported to local mills where it is spun into smooth beautiful cotton yarn. The yarn then travels to one of the oldest operating weavers in the country, and finally the yardage is dyed into a spectrum of stunning solids by yet another American company! 

To celebrate our love for American textiles, American Made Brand is hosting a competition: Farm To Fabric Challenge. They want to hear, through your quilt, what it means to you to have fabric production brought back to the USA. Quilts that celebrate the "Farm to Fabric" theme and that are made entirely from AMB fabric can be entered into this juried exhibition. Check out more details here.

We can't wait to see what you make with this beautiful, homegrown cotton fabric!

Friday, June 13, 2014

Sheep to Shawl competition at Estes Park Wool Market!

We just finished competing in the Estes Park Wool Market Sheep to Shawl Competition! It was so fun and even though we didn't win, we loved every minute of it.

Team Fancy Tiger getting caffeinated, 8am 
Sheep to Shawl is a competition where you take a raw sheep fleece and card, spin, and weave it into a finished shawl in 5 hours. It is extreme fiber arts. The basic rules are you have to use an un-dyed, local sheep fleece and can add in up to 10% of another local un-dyed animal fiber. You can wash your fiber ahead of time and spin enough to warp your loom, but that's it - the rest of the work is done the day of the competition in 5 hours. There are 5 team members and 1 alternate. You must present the judge with a blocked shawl (it can be damp). Shawls are judged on all aspects of the event: fiber prep, spinning, design, weaving, and public interaction and education. 

Butch Cassidy's fleece, ready to be made into a shawl!
It is probably no surprise to blog readers that we choose to use a Shetland fleece for our shawl. Shetland wool is fine and soft, yet strong, making it ideal for handspinners, weavers and knitters. They have great personalities and we fell in love with them as soon as we first met the lambs of Pinon Wood Ranch. Peg and Woody of Pinon Wood Fibers have been breeding and showing Shetland sheep in Norwood, Colorado for over 5 years. Butch Cassidy, the Shetland ram that provided our fleece, is a grey Grand Prize ram of the Pinon Wood herd. The fleece is an exceptionally fine example of Shetland wool. Peg and Woody also raise alpacas so we used black alpaca from their farm as the contrast fiber in our shawl. 

The Tri-loom we built ourselves!
We chose to weave our shawl on a triangle pin loom, using the technique known as continuous strand weaving. Continuous strand weaving can be done on a pin loom of various shapes and sizes to include rectangle, square and triangle. We love the look and wear of triangle shawls so the triangle loom was a natural choice for us. Since there is no warp on a pin loom, we were literally starting with just the fleece, and spinning the entirety of our yarn in the 5 hour time limit. 

Carding alpaca
We chose this type of weaving to demonstrate one of the many possibilities for weaving. Pin looms are a very accessible form of weaving—they are easy and affordable to construct with basic materials found at your local hardware store. They are compact, making them easy to store and use in smaller spaces. You can make them in any size desired, as well as graft finished pieces together to create interesting designs. We love the efficient use of yarn. There is no waste allowing a weaver to indulge in precious yarns. The warp and weft of the cloth are created via one continuous strand of yarn, making it a less daunting endeavor for new weavers. It also allows one to see their work as they weave, allowing color transitions on the go.

Jaime: carding master
Once the competition began, it was card, card, card! As soon as we had a Shetland and alpaca batt ready, team members started right away on spinning. We needed to get our weaver her yarn to get started as soon as possible!

Spin like the wind!
While 3 team members were spinning away (and plying!), the weaver and 1 other team member continued to card wool. We had two fine cloth drum carders to use, one for alpaca and one for Shetland, so we didn't have to bother with cleaning between batts.

Carding, spinning, weaving, and sheep talking - its all happening!
Part of the competition judging category is on public interaction and education. We believe strongly in educating the public on heritage breeds of sheep and why we love using their wool. To assist us, we had the help of Nessie, a 3 month old Shetland lamb from Pinon Woods Ranch. Nessie is a great breed ambassador, greeting kids and adults alike for 3 hours!

Nessie, our team mascot
Our educational display board
We also wanted to educate the public on the pin loom. We love this simple little loom that is so affordable and easy to use. We had a mini version on hand and our team alternate, Rose, taught people of all ages how to weave on this magical little tool.

Anxiously watching Alsn weave the last few inches!

We spun a worsted weight 2-ply out of both our Shetland and alpaca for this shawl. We did a pretty tightly twisted ply. The end result is a beautiful springy yarn. We spun enough for the shawl as well as fringe, which was a nice way to finish the shawl.

Taking our shawl off the pins
Towards the end of the competition, our spinners had enough yardage plied up to finish the shawl. From there on out it was up to our weaver, Alsn, to weave as fast as she could! The spinners helped by adding fringe as she went to make sure the shawl was finished the same time she was done weaving.

Jaime cheers on the extreme blocking 
Sadly, we didn't finish on time. We were 10 minutes late with our shawl. The good news is that teams are given a half hour grace period so as long as you get your shawl turned in by the end of the grace period, you are still eligible for all awards except for 1st prize. We quickly and aggressively blocked our shawl (the Shetland blooms so nice!) and dried it as much as possible before turning it in.

More aggressive blocking techniques: wrap wet shawl in towel and stomp on it
In the end, we made a stunning shawl. The Shetland is surprisingly soft and the yarn bloomed beautifully. The triangle shape is so flattering to wear and the black alpaca created an interesting and beautiful windowpane plaid. 

We did it - our finished shawl!
We got last place. The judge admitted that the EPWM Sheep to Shawl judging criteria favors shawls woven on harness looms, which are the more common looms used to weave fabric. Because of this, we lost a lot of points in the weaving category. We tried to break down barriers and introduce a unique and accessible form of weaving to the Estes competition, but you can't win 'em all. Unfortunately, the Estes Park Wool Market Sheep to Shawl competition may not accept tri-looms in the future, but we are so glad we were able to compete this once and bring more awareness to this type of weaving. It was an awesome experience and one we'd gladly do again. 

Behold all four entries to the Estes Park Sheep to Shawl Competition!
The winning team, the Noddy Ladies made a beautiful shawl and were super sweet as we competed next to each other all day. Congrats, Noddy Ladies!

The Noddy Ladies and their winning shawl!

Megan Mahaffey, Rose Bloom, Jen Leonard, Alsn Elliot, Amber and Jaime
Nice work, Team Fancy Tiger. We ♥ you!