Fred and Yvonne Brown are hoping to finally let the cat out of the bag about a local textile manufacturing business. The new owners of Fancy Kitty, the manufacturer of hand-crafted fiber tumblers, carders and pickers, are excited about the opportunity to expand and grow the Downing business.
The couple recently purchased Fancy Kitty Products from Lamar and Melody High.
“With their young family, they were ready for a move to the country and wanting to pursue new adventures,” said Yvonne. “Fred and I actually sold our 40 acres in the country to them and purchased their business, which included a move for us to a rural small town. We are super excited to begin this new adventure.”
The Browns will be building and assembling a full-line of tumblers, pickers and carders, which are made out of 100% North American Red Oak.
“We have both always enjoyed making handcrafted items for ourselves, and both of our fathers always were good with their hands and enjoyed creating wood crafts,” said Fred. “They passed this love of creativity to us. We will strive to continue to produce fine handcrafted in the USA products.”
That was the original dream of company founder Ron Anderson.
“Most textile enthusiasts are aware of the creator/designer of Fancy Kitty Products, Ron Anderson,” said Yvonne. “We are continuing to pick his brain and listen to his advice on how to expand and improve our offerings. We hope to continue his legacy of fine products.”
Yvonne is hoping to lean on her marketing experience gained over the past several years with her work at her business the Print Shop, as well as her time as an officer with the Memphis Area Chamber of Commerce, to help take the business to new heights.
The couple, said while the business is currently doing very well, they hope to focus on quick turnaround on orders and expedited shipping to further build customer satisfaction. They also plan to attend several fiber shows across the nation to help better market their products with the eye to expanding their offerings in the future.
The equipment is marketed to individuals and businesses seeking to transform their fiber products into textile materials.
In the first month of ownership, we have already sent products as far away as Italy and Canada, as well as all across the United States,” said Yvonne. “We receive regular correspondence regarding our products from all across the world.”
The process starts with tumbling. Fancy Kitty markets a tumbler, which spins raw or washed fibers, such as wool, using wooden fingers to lift the fiber, allowing dirt, debris and vegetable matter to be removed, falling out through the mesh container.
When working with wool and some other fibers, textile producers often utilize a picker.
Fancy Kitty’s picker allows 224 evenly spaced stainless steel points to work the fiber, “picking it apart” or opening the material, separating the locks, better preparing it for carding and combing. Pickers also can be used to blend fibers prior to carding.
Carding is the process of brushing raw or washed fibers to prepare them as textiles.
Fancy Kitty offers both hand cranked manual carding machines as well as motorized versions.
These machines have two rollers, or drums, covered with card clothing. The licker-in, or smaller roller meters fiber from the infeed tray onto the larger storage drum. The two rollers are connected to each other by a belt-drive so that their relative speeds cause the storage drum to gently pull fibers from the licker-in.
This pulling straightens the fibers and lays them between the wire pins of the storage drum’s card cloth. Fibre is added until the storage drum’s card cloth is full, and the completed batt can be removed.
Fancy Kitty also offers a drum carder with a soft-bristled brush attachment that presses the fiber into the storage drum. This attachment serves to condense the fibers already in the card cloth and adds a small amount of additional straightening to the condensed fiber.
The carders offer a variety of options based on the teeth per square inch (TPI) on the drums, ranging from fine to course.
The super fine TPI settings (190) are used for soft, fine fibers such as mohair, alpaca and angora. Coarse settings (54 TPI) are used to produced textured items.
Yvonne indicated most carders work in the 72 – 90 TPI range.
The completed process allows users to turn their fiber into textile materials ready for spinning.
In addition to drum carders, picker and tumblers, Fancy Kitty also offers a variety of hand tools, blending pallets, brushes and other accessories that also aid crafters in creating their own yarn and fiber rolags for spinning.
Fancy Kitty customer Denise explained the impact the company’s product had on her pursuit of the hobby.
“I am a newbie spinner and I was ready to cash in my spinning wheel because I couldn’t get my yarn to be consistent,” she said. “It was driving me bonkers. I decided to get the Fancy Kitty Blending Board and see if I could make rolags from the top. I made my first one last night, sat down to the wheel and my gosh–what a difference! I have consistent yarn and I wasn’t killing my fingers to make it that way. This is the first pleasant moment I’ve had since trying to teach myself to spin. Thank you, Fancy Kitty.”
For more information about Fancy Kitty or to shop the manufacturer’s products, visit the company’s website at www.fancy-kitty.com. Or for more information contact Fred or Yvonne at 660.379.2323.