Monday, December 30, 2013

Downton Abbey Fabrics!

Here at Fancy Tiger Crafts, we have January 5th circled in our calendar as the day season 4 of Masterpiece Theater's Downton Abbey premiers! If you can relate to this, you have one more reason to rejoice: Downton Abbey fabrics are here! Andover fabrics has partnered with the Downton Abbey production team to design this licensed collection: The Women's Collection. The Dowager Countess, Mary, Edith, and Sybil each have their own line of fabrics inspired by the character's style. All the Downton Abbey fabrics are period-specific. These prints are even going to show up in future episodes of the show!

Dowager Countess

The Dowager fabrics feature refined blacks, purples and greys in detailed prints. These colors speak to the characters subdued color range. Although, as the series progresses she has been wearing a bit more color- check out those purples Countess!


Mary's fabrics are sophisticated designs in saturated jewel tones. She radiates a very classic style and we share the same love for these burgundy wears.


 Edith's collection introduces art deco flair and Edwardian colors. Edith is always seeking to impress with her consistent wears of fabulous prints and a very reliable color scheme: greens and corals.


Sybil's colors of dark seafoam, grey and mauve speak to her character. She was very bold with her attire for her time. She's inspired by the modern movement of the arts, this drives her personal style.

We also have some new 1920's patterns in- entirely inspired by Downton Abbey. I see dresses, hats, scarves, and parasols in our future!  Perhaps you might host a Downton Abbey sewing and viewing party? Or wear your new Downton Abbey frock to a premier?  Snuggle up under your new Downton Abbey quilt with friends. We can't wait to see what you make!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Tortoise and Hare: A Vest Success!

I've been eyeing Kate Davies Tortoise & Hare sweater pattern for a few years--talk about adorable--and knew I had to knit this colorwork short sleeved sweater. The thing that finally pushed me over the Tortoise and Hare edge was when Jaime and I visited Shetland this fall. The natural colors of Shetland yarn at Jamieson + Smith's were irresistible and I knew it was time to make this.

You might notice that my Tortoise & Hare is not, in fact, a sweater, but an adorable vest! I love it as a vest, but here is the real story: that adaptation is mostly due to me rushing head over heels into this project and not doing a proper gauge swatch for my colorwork. Whoopsiedaisies. Apparently, I knit colorwork really loosely, which is weird, right? Here is how I turned a knitting disaster into a knitting success...

Check out the Vikkel braid action.

Knitting along, with just a tiny bit of unease about my gauge, I finished the body of the sweater and steeked open the neck and armholes (the pattern is knit entirely in the round and steeked in these three places). I tried it on and it was ridiculously huge in the shoulders. Like, you could fit a pair of football shoulder pads in it huge. After several months of knitting, this was pretty devastating.

I couldn't bear to rip out and reknit a single tortoise or a hare, so I decided to take my garment sewing and steeking skills to the next level. A beloved Shetland souvenir vest from my trip to Scotland became my pattern. I cut my oversized sweater shoulders down to size. After cutting away the excess fabric, I kitchenered the shoulder seams back together. From there I picked up stitches for the arm holes and neckline and finished them with a simple 2x2 rib.

It was a vest success! 

I love my new vest. I also maybe learned a little lesson about gauge....but also about owning my mistakes. Take that, knitting disaster!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Happy Holidays from Fancy Tiger Crafts!

Fancy Tiger is sending you the most warm woolly wishes for you and all your loved ones! Have a lovely holiday and a craftastic New Year! 

 Amber, Jaime and the Tigresses

Monday, December 23, 2013

Möbius Madness 2.0!

It's that time of year again, when we dream up a holiday gift for all of the amazing Tigresses that work here at Fancy Tiger. Since we recently added Pendleton to our inventory, of course they were getting a sweet woolly gift! We love infinity scarves and decided to make an updated rendition of our 2010 holiday gift, the Möbius Scarf (tutorial included!) with our beautiful Pendleton Wool Shirting. We couldn't resist adding a coordinating Nani Iro or Liberty to each of these beauties, as well!

The best thing about these lux and cozy handcrafted gifts is that they take only about 15 minutes to make. You can make a slew of them for your family and friends in no time! One scarf takes just 1/4 yard each of 60" Pendleton and coordinating Liberty. If using 44" Nani Iro for your coordinate, purchase a 1/2 yard, cut in half longways and seam end to end to make a longer strip. Get the full tutorial for the Möbius Scarf here.

Our staff has been happily keeping warm and cozy in these little delights! If you want to make one for yourself or a dear friend, do stop in the store, we have plenty of Pendleton shirtings to choose from! Happy Holidays! 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Katy & Jaime: Arbutus Cowl Pals!


We just got in Rockwell and it is an adorable and wonderfully farm-y yarn. I wanted to knit something up quick using one skein of this yarn and choose the pattern Arbutus by Jane Richmond in her beautiful book, Island. Katy had already made an Arbutus cowl and wore it to work often so I knew how cute this little cowl was. Arbutus is a 3-tiered cowl that is knit in the round. The tiers are constructed by casting off stitches and then casting on even more stitches than before. The cowl knits up super-quick and it fun and interesting to knit with reverse stockinette stitch ridges. 

Katy made her cowl out of local dyer Sleep Season Goods hand-dyed, DK. Arbutus uses 225 yards of DK yarn so it is a one-skein project for a lot of luscious yarns we carry. Sleep Season Goods DK merino often comes in one-of-a-kind colorways and this pattern shows off the amazing hand-dyed nature of the yarn perfectly. 

Katy in her hand-dyed Arbutus
The Rockwell made for a extra squishy cowl - Rockwell is a Cormo/Merino blend so it is a spongy yarn and it even retains some of the natural lanolin for more woolly goodness. I love the feel of this special yarn close to my neck and wear my Arbutus often. I used the color Marine which is a super-saturated turquoise-blue, but still retains the marled look of Rockwell.

We carry Jane's stunningly photographed book, Island, here at the shop as well a ton of beautiful yarns to choose from. This cowl would also make a great gift - it's quick to knit up and everyone can use a cozy cowl!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Rockwell... talk about Marled Magic!

Jill Draper has done it again! We just received a shipment of her new yarn Rockwell. Rockwell is a DK weight marled wool consisting of 100% Cormo-Merino Crossbred Moorit wool making it so spongy and dreamy to work with! Made with domestic wool from the Northeast, this yarn contains 3 different shades of natural wool plied together then over dyed. There are seven beautifully hand dyed colors and one natural color to choose from. This yarn is minimally processed and retains some of the natural lanolin for extra-farmy goodness.

We have already been busy whipping up a new pair of mitts with the un-dyed color, Naturemade! This pattern is Rathtrevor by Jane Richmond from her Island book. Rathtrevor uses 225 yds so one skein is all you need!

Check back tomorrow for some more handmade delights with Rockwell! What will you make??

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Peplum Party!

Amber and I recently made some new shirts and you guys....PEPLUM!

The Riding Peplum is a brand new pattern from amazing pattern-maker, April Rhodes! We were lucky enough to be chosen to test-sew this pattern for her so we were able to make these up before the pattern was released. YAY!

April Rhodes is the woman behind the Staple Dress pattern and Date Night Dress pattern. She makes patterns that are stylish and flattering, yet simple to sew - perfect for new garment sewists! The Riding Peplum is her newest design and can be made in a shirt length or dress length. Amber and I both made the shirt length - we couldn't resist that fun, flowy peplum!

Amber choose to make hers out of the Sherpa print from the newest Parson Gray collection, Vagabond. This collection by David Butler is now in stock and the muted palette of greys, navys, browns and blacks is perfect for garment making!

This quilting weight cotton looks great and we love the way she did the top and bottom in different directions. The Riding Peplum has an easy fit with no closure, you just pull it over your head. The peplum is longer in the back than the front which is super-flattering to wear.

I choose to use a Nani Iro double-gauze in a painterly checkerboard print. The double-gauze is amazing for this pattern. The fabric fades to grey at the selvedge, so I cut the pattern out on the cross-grain for a top to bottom fade in and out...I love it! This top uses just 2 yards of 44" fabric, we can't wait to see yours!

It's not a Riding Peplum if you're not riding anything so we utilized our friends Bucky Jr and the Lone Howler for optimum styling effect.

Riding Peplum is currently available as a pdf download from Ms Rhodes herself. Print copies should be available soon here at Fancy Tiger Crafts!

Friday, December 13, 2013

Holy Cowl! Jaime's Oshima Sweater

I recently finished my first sweater using Brooklyn Tweed Loft yarn. It was amazing. There are so many wonderful patterns from Brooklyn Tweed, it was a tough choice, but I love a good cowl neck and the Oshmia sweater pattern by Jared Flood has the biggest cowl yet. Perfect. I choose the beautiful ochre color Hayloft which may look familiar from Amber's last post!

Oshima calls for Loft held double which makes for a chunky yarn and was knit mostly on a size 10.5 needle. The top of the sweater is a brioche pattern which means an extra-squishy fabric with beautiful texture. Oshima is knit bottom up - the shoulders and sleeves are seamed for a great fit.

Jared Flood writes very thoughtful patterns and every detail is accounted for. Various needle sizes help make the cuffs turn up perfectly and make the cowl flare out just so. The cuffs are tacked down so they always stay in place. A garter stitch edge on the sleeves and body mean the seaming is easy to work and assures it will look fantastic. The shaping of the shoulders and arms in the brioche stitch pattern makes for a beautiful effect on the back which I really appreciate.

Loft is a lovely yarn to work with - it holds up to its name and is super soft. Since this sweater was knit with the yarn held double it took 9 skeins and means it is extra cozy to wear. My gauge was just a bit off so I did some calculations and knit the smallest size 34" for a finished size of 35". The pattern is meant to be worn with positive ease, so this gave me a bit of positive ease without being overwhelming on my small frame.

I love this sweater - it is the perfect cozy sweater to wear on snowy days or trips to the mountains!

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Amber's Reverb Cardigan

When we recently hosted the Wool People 5 trunk show from Brooklyn Tweed, I have to admit, I tried on every single sweater. That's the great thing about trunk shows--you get to see in person and try on the handknits that you are considering spending a considerable amount of time making. (Note to reader--we have the BT Men trunk show coming at the end of this month, so come try on some knits!)

The sweater I fell hard for is Tanis Lavallee's Reverb cardigan. I didn't want to take it off. I needed it to be mine all mine. So I swatched and cast on immediately.

This tweedy cabled cardigan only took me about a month to knit, if you account for the couple of weeks that our Aranami KAL took me away from it. The worsted weight yarn knit up quickly and the zig-zag cables kept it interesting and kept me knitting "just a few more rows" every evening.

I chose nine leather knotted buttons to accentuate the grandpa-chic style, and I love it!

One thought on the pattern--were I to knit this sweater again I would deviate slightly from the pattern by knitting the button bands along with the body of the sweater. I think this makes for a neater finish and a more satisfying construction for those of us that don't love seaming.

I do love my new sweater and you'll probably see me wearing it next time you are in the shop!

Thanks to Bread Bar in Silver Plume for the beautiful photo setting!

Monday, December 09, 2013

Yoked: Our Second Annual Sweater Knit-A-Long!

It's that time of year again, when we all just want to stay inside, cozy up to Fancy Tiger's warm fire and knit ourselves a new sweater. Well you're in luck! Our second Annual Sweater Knit-a-Long is here. Hannah Fettig's new book Knitbot Yoked contains a collection of four round yoke sweater patterns worked from the top down. These patterns are a great introduction to Fair Isle knitting. Hannah Fettig provides extremely knowledgeable tips and techniques especially if this is your first time trying Fair Isle knitting. The yarn recommended for these sweaters is Quince and Co. Owl. We stock all colors of Owl so make sure to get in your special orders (see details below) to make certain we have your future sweater in stock!

Here is how the KAL works:
  • Pick your colors and purchase your yarn, book, and needles from us by January 7th and receive 15% off.
  • Fancy Tiger will be taking special orders for Owl from Quince and Co. Place your order by December 16th to make sure we have your colors in stock and reserved for you in time for our cast on!
  • Cast on! We will be casting on for our sweaters on January 7th at Craft Night for any local folks who can join.
  • Knit! We'll be knitting our sweaters together every Tuesday night for the duration of the KAL.
  • Finish! We hope to finish our sweaters by March 11th. Bring your sweater to craft night on the 11th (even if its not done) for a photoshoot and a high five!
  • 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, phone number + mailing address to 

Of Course here at Fancy Tiger we have already started dreaming up our colors!

Kayes Cardigan   |    Barred,  Cinnamon, Acacia

 Basic Round-Yoke Unisex Pullover     |     Huckleberry

Birdie Fair Isle Cardigan  (with additional colorwork options in foxes or bunnies)    |     Hemlock, Chamomile, Cinnamon, Tawny (for a cute fox version!)

Willard Fair Isle Pullover     |     Cerulean & Chamomile

We are so excited to kick off 2014 with a new Fancy Tiger Crafts Knit- a-long! We can't wait to see what you will make!

Friday, December 06, 2013

Come One, Come All, Check Out Our Aranami-Along!

We are all snuggled up over here at Fancy Tiger Crafts with our new Aranami shawls! Thanks to our amazing customers who picked this pattern for our most recent KAL. Bonus: we finished just in the nick of time for snowy Denver city! 

The Aranami Shawl pattern by Olgajazzy calls for 5 colors which aid to the beautiful ombré effect many of these shawls have. We couldn't wait to get our hands on some Brooklyn Tweed Loft for this project. Some of the ladies opted to use a variety of different yarns, just look at those colors!  It is such a perfect pattern for a project on the go and for using up small amounts of fingering weight yarn. Each motif is worked one at a time and is quite easy to remember.

Here are the folks who made this KAL such a success! 

Favorite thing about the Aranami KAL: I liked how easy it was to memorize the pattern so I could knit with friends and have complex & deep conversations. 
Yarn: Elemental Affects Shetland Fingering
Colors: Mediterranean Night, Ciel, Light Denim, Mioget + White

Favorite thing about the Aranami KAL: I loved the spectrum of colors that everyone chose for their shawls & I liked the addicting motif knitting.
Yarn: Brooklyn Tweed Loft
Colors: Wool Socks, Homemade Jam, Thistle, Plume, Pumpernickel

Favorite thing about the Aranami KAL: I really enjoyed the construction of this shawl; it was like watching a puzzle take shape. When I realized the Cinnamon didn't marry well with the other colors I decided to bracket it with fawn. I absolutely love the final product!
Yarn: Elemental Affects Shetland Fingering
Colors: Cinnamon, Forest Moss, Fawn, Lichen, Ochre

Favorite thing about the Aranami KAL: I enjoyed the repetition & therapeutic nature of the pattern. "Just one more repeat!"
Yarn: Elemental Affects Shetland Fingering
Colors: Pumpkin Spice, Red Bark, Deep Garnet, Old Gold, Burnt Cinnamon

Favorite thing about the Aranami KAL: The camaraderie of working on the project together really inspired me to knit fast and steady.
Yarn: All my own hand spun from Spinzilla 
Colors: Dire Wolf, Earth Wolf, Grey Wolf, Rabbit Wolf, Sun Wolf

Favorite thing about the Aranami KAL: I loved knitting this! It was so addicting and I love everyone's color combos... #neutralsforever
Yarn: Brooklyn Tweed Loft
Colors: Pumpernickel, Truffle Hunt, Storm Cloud, Wood Smoke, Fossil

Favorite thing about the Aranami KAL: How quick it was + MODULARNESS. Also my matching project bag!
Yarn: Cascade Sport 
Colors: Shrimp, Anis, Blue Hawaii, Como Blue, White

Favorite thing about the Aranami KAL: It was so easy to knit & I finished it!! =)
Yarn: Cascade Sport 
Colors: Charcoal Grey, Ginseng, Sage, Light Grey, White

Favorite thing about the Aranami KAL: This shawl made the Zauberball color changes look awesome!
Yarn: Lace Zauberball
Colors: 1874 Rusty

Favorite thing about the Aranami KAL: I liked making the individual waves because it made me seem like a faster knitter than I actually am.
Yarn: Jamieson & Smith Shetland Jumper Weight
Colors: Fuschia, Berry Heather, Raspberry, Lavender Heather, Rose Heather

Favorite thing about the Aranami KAL: Knitting this was addictive and satisfying. The finished project is so soft!
Yarns: Lotus Mimi & Jade Sapphire
Colors: (Lotus) Purple, Light Grey, Beige (Jade Sapphire) Cream & Dark Gray 

Favorite thing about the Aranami KAL:  Hooray! Perfect for stash busting!
Yarn: Cascade Baby Alpaca Lace
Colors: Mocha, Turtle, Ecru, Indigo, Chianti Heather

So much happy fun time! Knit-a-longs are the best! 

Thanks to all of you, we have another successful Knit-a-long completed!

If you missed this one don't fret--check back on Monday for the reveal of our Second Annual Sweater KAL, starting in January!