I have made a point of going to Quilt Market, the fabric industry trade show, since I opened my doors. I go for a number of reasons, but mostly for the people. Most of the fabric lines released at Market have already been flashed by the designers and the fabric companies on various social media by market. Since I don't sell products I'm not really doing any shopping. Wandering the floor (actually I try and be somewhat methodical so I see as much as I can possibly absorb) I get a feeling for what people who make are doing, what they're interested in, what they gravitate towards. I look more at the attendees, perhaps, than the booths. I love to recognize fabrics, and garment or bag patterns in execution, being worn. I also try and do some networking. Ugh. That term. Sounds so corporate, something I most decidedly am not. So many people involved in the world of sewing, being it shop owners, fabric designers, pattern designers, quilt designers, fabric reps, thread reps, and more come to Market, at least once a year. So if you go regularly (it happens twice a year) you will see most everybody at some point. Being a textbook Ambivert, I am able (in the right circumstance) to go up to a complete stranger and introduce myself. Market presents me with all sorts of opportunities to speak with other professionals that I know about, that I follow on social media, that I have read about, by just introducing myself. That's how I came to know the highly charming and thoroughly lovely Amy Butler. I just walked up to her and introduced myself. She was so gracious, and astoundingly genuine. I admire her ability to be so graceful and warm in such an overstimulating situation as Market. In fact she was so approachable, I just blurted out an invitation to teach in Maine. And she accepted! That was how I came to be hosting a weekend retreat with Amy, and the equally lovely Heather Jones, this coming July. You can read more about it on our Retreats page if you are curious. But the whole thing started with a conversation at Quilt Market
Two other fabulous people I have met at Market are the talented ladies behind Fancy Tiger Crafts in Denver, CO, Jaime Jennings and Amber Corcoran. I'm pretty sure the first time I introduced myself to them they thought I was just another harried shop owner. But after a couple of other sightings and some mutual acquaintances, I found myself sharing coffee with Jaime at QuiltCon this past February in Austin. Like minds do tend to gravitate to one another and while I would never presume to lump myself with the accomplishments these two have made in their business, I do think we approach the world of craft with the same love of diversity. They are multi-crafters just as I am. You see the picture of them here, they are both wearing me-made garments (Alders from Grainline Studio- we all LOVE Jen Beeman, in Cotton +Steel) at Market this past October. A quick look at their blog and you will find knitting and quilting and spinning and dyeing and all other manner of hand crafted pursuits. I follow their prolific exploits on their blog, on Instagram and other social media. As it often goes in this digital era, I felt like I knew them before we ever spoke. But then we did speak, and it was even better.
I am writing this post because the ladies and I are embarking on a collaboration. We are talking about a retreat here in Maine for the near future. (Still talking about the form and timing, so I can't tell you more, yet) I think bringing the Tigers to Maine would be pretty damn cool, don't you? Well, next Market we're gonna sit down and start to flesh out some details. In the meantime, you will now find a link to Fancy Tiger Crafts on my retreats page. I am a great believer in buying local as much as possible. While the internet is far from local, a website such as that for Fancy Tiger Crafts, is much like buying local, just on your computer. The reality of modern life is that this inter-webs is just another tool in our box. If we can use it to connect us to authentic, dedicated craftspeople and business owners like Amber and Jaime, I am all for it. The Fancy ladies have made it their business to only stock supplies for the modern crafter that they themselves have used and believe in. They are a brick and mortar store online. Not a huge faceless corporation, but two women (with some great staff) who do the work they do because they love it. So when you buy from them, you can trust that what you purchase will be just as described, and better still, that it will be something they have intimate knowledge of. So it appears, I have a sponsor. AGOS is growing up! If you come to one of my retreats you may just find some Fancy Tiger swag in a goodie bag......
By way of introduction, here is their bio, and a few questions I posed to them by email. I have yet to visit Tiger Headquarters. To hear Jaime describe Denver, it sounds pretty dreamy. Right now I'll have to make do with our brief, but intense, Market visits. And the digital platform...
AGOS: What tool(s) do you reach for over and over?
Jaime: My tape measure. I have one everywhere - my knitting bag, my purse, my car, downloaded to my phone. It seems like I always need to measure things - usually swatches and pattern pieces as I'm always knitting on the go.
Amber: There are a few tools that make me really happy. For sewing, nothing beats a fresh, sharp rotary blade. I use swedish tracing paper a ton to keep patterns pristine, or easily modify a pattern. For knitting, I love Addi rocket needles and I like using quirky stitch markers like hot dogs to give myself a laugh. The tool I probably use the most is also the most simple of all, pencil and paper. For calculating patterns and sketching ideas, nothing beats a pencil!
AGOS: If you could make something for someone in history (alive or dead) who would that be? and what would you make for them?
Jaime: I wish I could have knit something for my great-grandmother, Kitty. She was a crafty lady although she didn't knit, so I think she would have appreciated it. It would have been a lacey shawl.
Amber: Can I go back in time and make something with someone? My great aunt was an avid quilter and my grandfather talks about making a quilting frame for her and her mother to sit around with friends and hand quilt together. She made so many quilts that my family still has today. I would love to be able to make a quilt top for her and then sit with them at the frame, stitching and listening in on what they would share while crafting together.
AGOS: I know you are both multi-crafters, do you have favorite places to do your making?
Jaime: My favorite place to knit is in any coffeehouse. I love hanging out in public, drinking coffee and knitting with friends. For sewing I love to use the space at Fancy Tiger Crafts because it is big and bright and we have all the tools I need.
Amber: I also love knitting with friends over coffee. A dear friend organizes a Sunday knitting group, which is really fun and we try different coffeeshops in town. At Fancy Tiger Crafts we have Tuesday night open craft night every week from 6-9, which is great fun, and open to all. Its great for meeting new crafty people. For sewing I also love using the sewing studios we have at the store.
Thanks Ladies! Now for all you reading, if you haven't visited the Fancy Tiger website recently, go check in with them now. They've been busy, and there's all sorts of cool stuff over there!