Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Jaime's Icelandic Strokkur Sweater

In 2010 when Amber and I first went to magical Iceland and met Ysolda Teague for the first time, she had just finished and was wearing an Icelandic sweater of her own design. I fell in love with her sweater on that trip, so I was thrilled when the pattern was released this summer.

Ysolda's newest sweater pattern, Strokkur, is named after an active geyser in Iceland. Strukkor sits next to Great Geysir, the earliest documented geyser after which all geyser's are named. Ysolda's Strokkur is an Icelandic lopapeysa which features a 3 color yoke design and is knit from the bottom up. In Ysolda fashion, the sweater is fitted for a more modern look.

Of course, I knit my sweater out of the Léttlopi yarn - the worsted weight Icelandic yarn that I love so much. This yarn holds up amazingly to wear due to the durability of the Icelandic wool. The Icelandic wool also means it is virtually weatherproof - keeping me warm and dry in the worst of weather conditions. This sweater will come with me on camping trips, mountain hikes and anywhere I want a lightweight yet warm outer layer.

The main color for my new lopi is Hazel Heather, with Rust Heather and Ash Heather as my colorwork accents. I knit this sweater in a surprisingly fast 3 weeks (in the midst of Spinzilla as well!). The goal was to finish this sweater to wear at Rhinebeck and I did it! I finished the sweater on the plane to New York and blocked it in our house in the Hudson Valley. Upstate New York was a beautiful backdrop to photograph my new sweater.

If you've been wanting to knit a Lopapeysa I would highly recommend this pattern. Strokkur is smart, well-written and beautiful! Thanks, Ysolda for sharing this design with us!

I entered this sweater in the Fringe Association Rhinebeck sweater contest and won! There was some sabotage attempts, though from fellow competitor Kate Gagnon-Osborn of Kelbourne Woolens...nice try, Kate!


Monday, October 28, 2013

Fantastic New Craft Books!

Loads of lovely new and inspiring books are here! Falltime is the best time to get cozy with a new craft book and get started on something new. Here are some new favorite books on our shelf:

1) Mollie Makes Woodland Friends The folks at Mollie Makes are always inspiring with their darling style and simple crafts. The new Woodlands Friends book covers adorable projects in everything from felting, sewing, embroidery and crochet for sweet forest themed toys, accessories and home decor. It's pretty darned cute.

2) Kelbourne Woolens Baby Collection by Kate Gagnon Osborn & Courtney Kelley. The ladies of Kelbourne Woolens have created the most adorable baby knits collection of all time. Need we say more? These precious patterns are all knit in soft and dreamy Fibre Company yarns, sure to make babies smile and adults coo at their cuteness.

3) The New Crochet by Marion Madel. This beginner crochet book walks you though the basics of crochet, and also includes plenty of projects for simple, and fashionable projects with beautiful photographed illustrations throughout.

4) The Yarn Whisperer by Clara Parkes. Yarn connoisseur and author of The Knitters Book of Wool and The Knitters Book of Yarn, Clara shares her life stories alongside a healthy dose of wool musings. This is a book to get cozy with.

5) Patternmaking for Menswear by Gareth Kershaw. This is a thorough book for anyone looking to understand, sew, and draft men's patterns. Plackets, sleeve shapes, cuffs and colars - nothing is left un-touched in this epic tome. This resource book will be a welcome addition to any serious sewist's library.

6) The Knitster by Robbie Dulaney. All the patterns in this book are unisex for the fashion-forward man or woman. Sweaters, cardigans, hats, mittens and scarves as well as some cute and quick home accessories.

7) Clothing for Everyday Wear by Yoshiko Tsukiori. The trend of re-releasing Japanese sewing books in English is one we are on-board with. The newest addition to our English library is Clothing for Everyday Wear, a volume of  the Stylish Dress book. These books are chock-full of beautiful and simple patterns and inspiring photography and styling.

8) The Field Guide to Fleece by Deborah Robson & Carol Ekarius. A couple of years ago, Deborah Robson and Carol Ekarius released the beautiful tome, Fleece and Fiber Sourcebook, our go-to reference for all things wool, sheep and fiber. Now, they have condensed the most pertinent information into a handy volume perfect for keeping next to your desk or in your bag for easy access. This slim volume packs tons of info on the fiber of 100 sheep breeds - including full color photos of both sheep and fiber staples.

9) Sewing for all Seasons by Susan Beal. We love living seasonally and Susan Beal's newest book captures this ethos perfectly. Sewing for all Seasons includes projects and instructions for home goods and accessories. Sew up a fall wool patchwork throw, Christmas stocking ornaments, or a springtime gardening apron - there is something for everyone!

See you soon!

Friday, October 25, 2013

New Fancy Knit Along! Join us!

It is that time of year when our hands ache to feel wool yarn running through them and our necks beg to be warm...a Fancy Tiger Crafts Knit-a-long is in order!! Our customers chose the next Fancy KAL for us and we are happy to join in the fun. This is a pattern that Amber and I have been wanting to knit for quite a while: Aranami Shawl by Olga Buraya-Kefelian (Olgajazzy!) This beautiful scalloped shawl uses 5 colors for a fantastic ombré effect. The recommended yarn for this shawl is Brooklyn Tweed Loft which will be a joy to knit with. We stock all 32 colors of Loft so any and all of your ombré dreams can come true.

Here is how the KAL works:
  • Pick our your colors and purchase your yarn, pattern, and needles from us by November 5th and receive 15% off.
  • Cast on! We will be casting on for our shawls on November 5th at Craft Night for any local folks who can join.
  • Knit! We'll be knitting our shawls together every Tuesday night in November.
  • Finish! We hope to finish our shawls by December 3rd. Bring your shawl that night (even if its not done) for a photoshoot and raise a glass with us in congratulatory address! 
  • If you don't live in Denver you can still join in the fun. Use the hashtag #fancykal on all your photos so we can follow along with your progress virtually. You can order your yarn from us and receive your discount with a quick email of your order + mailing address to
Amber and I have already picked out our colors and can't wait to start! Of course, I chose to use 5 of the 12 natural colors in the Brooklyn Tweed palette.

Fossil, Woodsmoke, Stormcloud, Truffle Hunt, and Pumpernickel

Amber went for shades of green for her shawl and it's going to be beautiful!

Pumpernickel, Artifact, Tent, Sap, and Foothills

We can't wait to see what you pick! We hope you can join us for the Knit-A-Long adventure!

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

NY Sheep and Wool Festival: Report from Rhinebeck

Amber and I just returned from a long weekend in upstate New York where we went to the New York Sheep and Wool Festival which is commonly referred to in knitting circles as Rhinebeck. It was our first time attending and it was amazing. Rhinebeck is a wool festival similar to our Estes Park Wool Market--only times 1,000. There were so many people and so many booths of amazing things to buy! We were a little overwhelmed at first, but we got the hang of it after a bit and managed to find some things that we couldn't leave without.

Nice work, nature.
We stayed with the lovely ladies of Kelbourne Woolens in a house in the Hudson Valley. What a beautiful fall setting for a wool festival! We spent a lot of time knitting at the house when we weren't buying fiber and yarn at Rhinebeck.

There were so many vendors selling local yarns, rovings and fibers. Amber and I had recently spun through our stash of roving so it was a free-for-all for us to buy more! We both picked up a sweater's quantity of longwool roving to spin-up during next year's Spinzilla.

Amber's roving purchase matches her Apple Cider doughnut perfectly

Longwool roving was seen and purchased

Loop had beautiful batts and art yarn

Outlander Adventures' Icelandic yarn Poetry mittens

There were plenty of sheep, alpacas, goats and llamas as well! We love seeing all the different breeds of sheep. Icelandic, Shetlands, Border Leicesters, Cotswold - all the sheep were in attendance!

Merlin the Leicester Longwool
Sheep Parade!

Icelandic Sheep Baby

An adorable Teeswater

Llama parade!
Ysolda Teague had some exciting news at Rhinebeck - the release of a new book "The Rhinebeck Sweater"! She was doing book signings for pre-sales of the book which will officially be released on November 6th. We have it on order and can tell you already that it is an amazing book, everything you'd expect from Ysolda with 12 gorgeous sweater patterns by amazing designers.

The best part about Rhinebeck was seeing and hanging out with so many awesome people! Ysolda, Cal Patch, Jill Draper, Maryjane Mucklestone, Ravelry, Sonya Phillip and more were in attendance and we loved meeting up with peeps for hot cocoa and doughnut breaks.

Sonya Phillip and Allison Page show off their Empire yarn from Jill Draper

Cal Patch and Jill Draper help us display all of our purchases!

Til next year, Rhinebeck - it was awesome!

Monday, October 21, 2013

Meet Lloyd, Neville and Francine!

Three new Fancy Tiger Stitchin' Kit friends are here for your hand-stitchin' enjoyment!

Lloyd is quite the dramatic pal, but you can choose his mood for him. Stitch a smile or a frown on Lloyd, but either way, he'll love you forever.

Francine is a magical unicorn companion, and is as pleasant as the day is long. Her sparkling golden horn is sure to bring magic into your life and decor.

Neville the Bear is friendlier than his toothy smile suggests, and he will be a loyal bear-friend to you or your favorite pal.

We hope you love our new Stitchin' Kits! Check out for all our kits!

Friday, October 18, 2013

Spinzilla 2013: Team Fancy Tiger are the Champions!!

We just finished the first ever Spinzilla spinning competition. Spinzilla is a week long team competition that lasted from October 7th - 13th. We had 25 mighty team members spinning under Team Fancy Tiger. We spun our hearts out! The goal was to spin the most yardage of all within the week.  We've been anxiously checking the official Spinzilla blog for the past few days, but today we got a phone call...

Guess what? Tigers and tigresses, we won!  

Our total yardage for Team Fancy Tiger in one week was 94,939.73 yds. That is almost 54 miles and is longer than the state of Rhode Island!

This is what 94,939.73 yds looks like
Spinzilla was an amazing event and we had so much fun rallying with our team. We made so many new spinning friends and forged many fibery friendships over the course of the week at our SEVEN community spin nights.
Spin it to win it!!
Here are some of the secrets to our success if you're wondering how 25 people spun almost 100000 yards of yarn in a week.

1. Badass team pride tees. We had a screenprinting party where team members could screen print their own tees. Some of our team members are so hardcore, they screenprinted their jean jackets.

2. Rally Peeps. We couldn't have done it without our amazing rally guys and gals. Every spin night, these friends of Team Fancy Tiger would help us by counting all the yarn we were spinning, refilling our wine glasses, and emptying our bobbins. Our rally peeps also encouraged us to keep spinning in moments of doubt and tough times (cue Friday Night Lights theme music). Thanks so much to Alsn, Shannon, Betsy, Jess, Jesse, Caitlin and Curtis!

Jesse, Alsn, and Jess really rallied us.

3. Time off. Laura Chamberlain won our team prize of top spinner. Laura spun the most yards out of anyone on our team at 9212 yards in one week! Her secret - she took the week of work so she could have a spinning staycation. Nice work, Laura!

Laura took home the illustrious Rumpelstiltskin award.
4. Spinning in cars. Suzan drove from the Western Slope to Denver so she could spend the week spinning with us. We were really concerned about her losing the day of spinning (it's a 6 hour drive), but she assured us she would continue to spin the whole way here. Nice work, Suzan!

Don't stop spinning, even when driving over the mountains.
5. Camaraderie. Nothing makes you spin faster than being on a team of amazing, inspiring folks. Seeing everyone spinning so much really helped us all reach our personal goals for the team.

You guys...we had so much fun!
We are so proud thatTeam Fancy Tiger is the Spinzilla champion of 2013 - everyone did an amazing job! We love how super supportive everyone was and we are blown away by all of the amazing handspun yarn everyone made! We ♥ you Team Fancy Tiger! You were already winners in our book!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Free Pattern! Tina's Sweet Adeline Crochet Shawl

Some of you may know Tina as one of our most prolific sewists at Fancy Tiger, but she's pretty adept with a hook as well!

As soon as we opened the box of our new Freia yarns, Tina took a skein home and immediately whipped up her own pattern for a lacy crochet shawl, worked up in Ombre Sport.

We love this simple little shawl, and how the crisp lace pattern works with the slow, ombre gradation of the Freia yarn.

Tina's Sweet Adeline shawl is simple enough for a beginning crocheter, and works up quick as can be. Download the free pattern by clicking on the image below!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Freia Ombre and Flux Yarns are Here!

Beautiful Freia Handpainted yarns are here! Tina Whitmore, the mastermind behind Freia Yarns, mills her line of gradient color yarns from US sourced wool. The color is then hand applied to each skein to create the long color runs that are so unique to her process.

We are in love with the ombre effect and stunning color combinations and couldn't wait to start a few projects. As soon as we unpacked the Freia yarns several Fancy Folks had projects on their needles.

Freia Ombre Sport

Our friend Allison knitted us the Viatrix Slouch Hat, a chevron lace knit hat that uses one skein of the Freia Ombre Sport and one skein of the Flux Sport. Viatrix Slouch Hat is one of the awesome patterns that is designed especially for the Freia yarns and we have available here at the shop.

Freia Flux Sport
The Freia Flux Sport yarn means shorter color runs and faster color changes. You can see the colors in each ball which makes knitting with these babies a blast!

Nathalie whipped up The Age of Brass & Steam shawl in no time, from one skein of Flux Sport - so perfect!

Miranda made a stripy Army Of Caterpillars friend using one skein of Flux Sport - adorbz.

Freia Ombre Lace
For a finer knit, the Freia Ombre lace balls feature long color changes over 645 yds of lacey goodness.

Check back on Wednesday for a free pattern by Tina: the Sweet Adeline crochet shawl pattern for Freia Ombre Sport!

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Shetland Wool Week continues with Jaime's Sheep Heid

It's Shetland Wool Week right now in Shetland and we are celebrating here at Fancy Tiger Crafts! When we were in Shetland this summer, I knew one thing: I had to buy all the colors of Shetland wool and then knit with them. Thank goodness, Scottish designer Kate Davies already had this idea and made an awesome hat pattern called Sheep Heid that does just this. 

Shetland sheep come in 11 recognized colors and their wool is sorted by color and then milled into 9 different colors of naturally colored, un-dyed yarn. The colors range from white to black with shades of browns and grays in between. Kate Davies uses all 9 natural colors of Shetland yarn in her Sheep Heid pattern, which I knit on the plane ride back to the states. This hat is a fair isle pattern that features sheep across the brim and rams on the crown - brilliant. 

photo by Jess Eaton and Jesse Dawson of

I purchased all the yarn at the Jamieson + Smith store in Lerwick, Shetland while visiting. I started knitting my hat right away, casting on somewhere in Skye, knitting straight through the 20 hours of travel time and two plane rides it took to get home. It was a bit cumbersome to bring a small hat project that required 9 balls of yarn onto a plane, but I managed.

This is what my face looks like when I get to buy all the colors of Shetland wool!
I finished my hat within a week of being back in the states - what a fantastic souvenir of our wool-filled travels to Scotland!

In case you can't make the trek to Shetland, we fell so in love with this yarn that we are now carrying it here at Fancy Tiger Crafts.

The fair-isle pattern of this hat was pretty slow going for me, but I am getting so much better at colorwork! The hat ended up being a bit big so I took Kate Davies' advice and lightly fulled it. Magic!! The yarn bloomed, the stitches settled in and my hat looks fantastic after some light agitation in hot water.

The design of this hat is superb - it captures the beauty of the natural colors of Shetland wool in a way that also acknowledges the traditional fair isle designs of the island. Also...SHEEP!