Tuesday, October 30, 2007


Robert Mahar of Mahar Dry Goods just bought Pete! I love his little toy store, because everything in it is made by crafty people like me. People who make just a few items at a time, or make everything unique, and put all their effort and creativity into each item. I don't want to get too excited about the fact that he bought one of my toys, but it is super cool nonetheless.

I started knitting Pete on my honeymoon, so he is kinda special to me. I will have to give him a few extra cuddles before taping him into a parcel. I love his nubbly, curly fleece. I wish I had more of that yarn.

Someone wants me to knit a tiny, fuzzy siamese kitten. What kind of yarn will I use for that, I wonder? I have brown alpaca sock yarn in two shades of brown I think I could use, but I'm not sure if it will be fuzzy enough for her. Anyone know of something very fuzzy, fine, and not too expensive?

Oh. and thanks so much everyone for your nice comments! I wish I could send you all an email saying how much I appreciate your reading my little blog, but Blogger won't let me do that.

As for the Malabrigo yarn, if it is as nice as it's reputation, I'm afraid I may want to use it for all my future projects! I may have to make a trip to my LYS very soon, to remind myself that there are TONS of beautiful yarns out there :)

Monday, October 29, 2007

sweet malabrigo yarn!

Much soul searching, and a few conversations with friends, finally made up my mind on the right yarn and colour for my planned Snow White sweater.

I decided to still go with the Malabrigo Lace because it has such a glowing reputation, and I like the idea of a subtly variegated sweater. I thought I had decided on the greenish navy, but it was sold out almost everywhere. Which led me to think, "Maybe I want to be different? If everyone is buying navy yarn, perhaps I should pick something else?" Then more indecision, and four other lovely colours to choose from. In the end I picked the Pearl colourway, because I think it will match my eye-colour and complexion* very well, and grey will go with nearly all my clothes. If I'm going to spend all this time knitting a sweater, it had better be something I have trouble not wearing every day.

Oh, and don't forget to leave a comment if you want a chance to win the pin-cushion!

*don't start thinking my face is grey or anything! The picture doesn't show it very well, but the yarn is a subtle combination of grey and pale pink.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

wine and beautiful yarn...

...makes for difficult decisions. After much searching, I think I have decided on Malabrigo Lace - Baby Merino for my sweater. It has a winning combination of quality, softness, and affordability that I can't refuse. I plan to use it double stranded, which I have done before with similar weight yarn, and had no trouble. As the sweater is ribbed, any small difference in gauge shouldn't be a problem. Now the question is: greenish navy, or purplish navy?

Never mind that I don't plan to start this sweater for at least a month.

pig-cushion happiness!

Originally uploaded by baprime
Thanks to my awesome Mr. Mitten, I have solved the problem of the weak magnet inside my pin-cushions. It involves the recycling of a rare-earth magnet that would otherwise be thrown out. I'm not sure what will become of my huge roll of sheet magnet, but I'll figure that out another day.

I would like to thank all the lovely people who visit my blog, whether you regularly leave comments or not. I think I'm over that bit of insecurity :) You can win the pin-cushion in the picture, plus one of my knitting patterns*, just by leaving a comment on any blog post between Oct. 21 and Nov. 3. On Nov. 4 I will put everyone's name in a hat (one entry per person), and draw the winner. I will announce the winner on my blog, and the lucky person will need to send me an email (barbara { at } fuzzymitten {dot} com) with their mailing address and pattern choice.

I will hopefully be making more of these in the next few weeks, so you will have a chance to buy one from my Etsy shop if you don't win. I have other cute fabrics too, in case you don't like pigs.

* if you don't knit, I will think of some other surprise to send with the pin-cushion.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Pin cushions continued...

Pin cushions
Originally uploaded by baprime
Here are my experiments for the day. Things did not go nearly as smoothly as I had imagined, but isn't life like that?

The one on the left has 2 pieces of sheet magnet inside, which turned out to be not nearly enough to hold a needle, let alone a bunch of pins like I imagined. I do like the shape of it, although this was finally accomplished on the third try and by hand-sewing most of it. Small things on sewing machines are difficult to get as perfect as I want them.

The one on the right was also hand-sewn, but on the outside in a decorative stitch. I don't like this one as much - the edges look untidy, and the shape is not very pleasing. Hopefully I can make something prettier from the rest of that fabric.

I sunk into a bit of despair, after discovering the magnet doesn't work the way I wanted. It didn't help I started out feeling a bit insecure this morning, for whatever reason. I spent a lot of money on the magnet (after Canada Post lost my first order). I thought I might actually sell a few if I had something different and useful, since there are already plenty of lovely pin cushions for sale on Etsy.

My husband tries to remind me that you can never tell if the things that happen to you are good or bad, you must be patient and see what comes of them. Something that seems bad one day, turns out to be great the next. It's true - I've seen it happen in my own life. But I'm not good at remembering this advice, and wallow in my grumpiness for a while, until something else takes my attention away from the problem.

If I can figure out the problems with my pin cushions, I think I will make up a few more, and have a give-away on my blog. Something to say thanks for all the lovely comments you leave me.


I finally feel ready to start my pincushion project. I have three new toys for my shop, so I can give knitting a break for the day. I have all the materials I need, and my sewing machine is back home. I have the whole day off, with only a couple minor errands to run. Now I just have to come up the the design!

That's not entirely true - the design has been very clear in my mind for a couple months now, I just haven't had the chance to see if it will actually work. Fortunately, I need a couple pincushions myself, so if the first few tries don't work out so well they will still be useful.

I'm hoping to sell a few of these in my Etsy shop, and maybe give away a few as Christmas presents. Mostly I want them for craft sales which I'm hoping to do next year. I'm not sure what sales yet because I only know of one in Montreal, and I haven't looked into getting involved with that one yet. I want to do one in the Spring and one in the Autumn, if I can manage to get enough toys and other stuff made.

By the way, is anyone finding this blog interesting or useful? I know that sounds horribly self-conscious, and probably a bad thing to admit out loud, as it were. I'm simply feeling like the stuff I write is not catching anyone's attention, although that might be due to the derth of comments (except for my friend Dilu, thanks!). I suppose I started writing this blog to help others make my toys, with tutorials and such, which I've been too busy to put together yet. I also wanted it to be a way to communicate my love of crafting and life in general, with crafty people in other places that I'll never get to meet.

Creative writing has never been a strong skill of mine. I suppose I thought practice, a strong desire to write well, and love for what I do would be enough to make this blog successful. There are so many blogs out there that make me laugh out loud, or teary-eyed, or just plain excited about creating something beautiful and unique. I'm not ready to give up yet, but I might set myself a time limit of say, five months from now. If by the end of March, I still feel like this is a useless exercise and my writing has not improved, I will say so long. I will keep the blog open only to announce shop updates and other goings on.

*sigh* Okay, I think that's enough emotional dumping for one day. Off the the sewing machine!

Monday, October 22, 2007


I've only knitted myself a shrug so far, and I've never worn it, so some day I will probably take it apart to knit something else. But I haven't given up on sweaters yet. Sweaters are my most favourite type of clothing, and one of the reasons I love living somewhere with long, cold winters. I am determined to knit more, and keep knitting them until I am good at it.

Of course, there is the problem of finding a pattern I like, and I'm terribly picky. The other problem is the cost of the yarn for a big project like that.

Thanks to another blogger, I came across a sweater pattern I love. And thanks to Knitpicks, there is nice and affordable yarn I can use for it. But I was wondering if any of you have tried their swish superwash and/or Andean silk yarn. Which do you think is nicer? Or do you know of another yarn in the same price range which is super soft and warm?

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Christmas a little early

Originally uploaded by baprime
My new secret pattern is now ready! I decided to enter it in the Holiday Softies contest, so I had the motivation to get it finished a lot sooner than I might have otherwise.

My original idea was for a unicorn/horse, but that wasn't quite in the spirit of the contest, so I decided to make a reindeer instead. I think he turned out very handsome, and he's cuddly too! He is much bigger than my other toys, at about 16 inches tall and 12 inches long. He also takes longer to knit and is more complicated to put together. I have tried to make the instructions as clear and helpful as possible, but I would appreciate any advice from the first few people to make this toy.

The pattern will be available in my Etsy shop as soon as I can get it listed, and in my Lulu shop shortly after that. I still want to make a unicorn and a horse, so those patterns will be coming along in the next couple months.

I know there were a few people that wanted to be on my mailing list for new patterns, but I seem to have misplaced one of the emails. Oops :( Could you leave me a comment on this post, or send me an email, if you would like to be added to the list?

Friday, October 19, 2007

secret pattern

The new secret pattern is coming along well. I decided it would be my entry for the Holiday Softies contest, and I guess that was the motivation I needed to start working on it again. I'll just say that it's very different from my other toy patterns, but it seems to be pretty cute anyway :)

Hopefully I will soon have more time to knit toys for my shop, because the holidays are approaching quickly and I feel so unprepared!

I now have all the materials I need for a new item for my shop - pincushions! And these will be special too, because they'll have a magnetic dish to hold the pins. Keeping in line with my Fuzzy Mitten theme, they will be partially made of cute fabrics and soft wool felt. Now I just need to sew them :)

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

apple crisp

I just took out of the oven a huge apple crisp. There's just enough vanilla ice cream in the freezer to make it go down smooth. I am sipping mulled wine while I wait for the crisp to cool.

I love Autumn :)

Monday, October 15, 2007

ravelry fun

I forgot to mention that I was finally accepted to try out Ravelry, receiving the invitation on my wedding day, no less! Not that I think they had any idea about that :)

If you want to see what I'm working on, my name is fuzzymitten. Easy enough to remember :) I don't have too much time for adding my projects (the few I have) and yarn stash, so it looks a bit bare at the moment.

I wonder if I will waste as much time browsing through other people's projects as I do reading blogs every day? Not that reading blogs is a waste of time ;) I love finding out what other crafters are up to, and the feeling of community you get by knowing there are similar people out there who love the same things you do.

a bit of scenery

My sweetie took almost 600 photos during our 12 day honeymoon, so it's going to be a while before he gets through them all and posts the best ones. I thought I would share a few from our first full day in Nova Scotia, during which we visited Peggy's Cove.

A typical small town along the shore south of Halifax.

I couldn't resist the wild blueberries that you could still find in open, rocky places.

The lighthouse at Peggy's Cove (taken from an angle that cleverly hides the hordes of tourists).

Looking back towards Peggy's Cove - you an just barely make out the lighthouse through the fog. We had stopped about 10km down the road from the town, to take pictures of the beautiful tundra-like landscape, and found a trail through the hills. It was so lovely and quiet. We sat on a boulder high above the surf, and just enjoyed the peacefulness for a while.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

the whole magic-loop thing

I know I didn't mean to do any "work" knitting while I was away, but I couldn't help myself. Honestly, just ask my sweetie :) Of course, it had something to do with cursing and swearing at my attempted socks, which just wouldn't let me get them started. Usually I am equal to teaching myself new techniques, but I think I may need to ask for help with the whole magic-loop thing. It seemed straight-forward enough, and I did manage to get about an inch done before realizing my gauge was too tight. On my second try, despite being so careful, one sock ended up twisted and I tore it all apart in disgust.

Then I convinced myself that people out there must be dying to see new toys in my shop, which has been barren for some time. Strudel hung in there for a while, but it was too lonely for him, so he is staying with me now. Too bad for you ;)

I am in the process of knitting a little white lamb with curly locks. I tend to knit bits at a time - so far she has a head, body, and one leg. Tonight I decided to start her sweater, and pulled out a nice wool yarn in pumpkin orange. I meant to make another hooded cardi, but was lazy and didn't feel like knitting the hood. Instead it's just a cardigan with some pretty twisted stitches up the front. If I can manage to not procrastinate too badly tomorrow, I might get her done.

After that, I really need to concentrate on my new, top-secret pattern. It's been waiting for my attention far too long, even though I am really excited about it. But it's a project that takes a lot of energy and concentration, and my wedding was taking up all of that for the last month.

I think it's time to head for bed now, and give my kitties some much-needed attention.

back home

Originally uploaded by baprime
I am back home from my honeymoon, which was fun and wonderful and everything I suppose it should have been. But I can talk more about that later when I have photos to share.

Over the last couple months I did get several new toys made, such as the cutie in the picture. They were meant to be listed in my shop when I came back from holidays, but at the last moment decided to send them to a craft sale with my mom. I was curious how they would sell in person, since they are very huggable and photos don't show that very well. So my shop looks a little bare at the moment, but I will soon be knitting madly to get lots done. I will also be putting up a listing so people can reserve a spot for a custom-made toy. This way I can make sure I have enough time to get them all done before the holidays, without over-booking my time with last-minute requests.

At the same time I am also working on a couple of new patterns. Something like the toys I have already made, designed with the help of a friend. And something very different but equally cute.