Thursday, August 30, 2007

box of toys

Box of toys
Originally uploaded by baprime
There they all are! I wish the photo were a little better, but it's tricky with some being very white, and others very black. Amelia has a very sweet face, but it doesn't show up in any of the photos. Pekoe, the brown lamb, is the one I finished this morning. She is so adorable, it will be hard to send her away.

feeling useful

I'm spending the morning at home today, and I've got so much done I feel super useful! I made muffins for breakfast, that were delicious with my coffee at 6:30 this morning. I tagged all the sock bags, packaged them up, and mailed them off to Zen Yarn Garden. I even finished the last toy of a big order I've been working on for months. Once I have photos of the last three, they will be mailed off too. (I must get a photo of them all snuggled into the box - so cute!) I also stopped by the local thrift store and picked up 4 pieces of fabric, a ball of yarn, a pair of knitting needles, a needle gauge, a folding fabric-cutting board, and a t-shirt - all for $7! Then I went next-door to their second-hand bookstore, and picked up four paperbacks for $4. Winter Solstice by Rosamunde Pilcher, What's Eating Gilbert Grape by Peter Hedges, Maurice or the Fisher's Cot by Mary Shelley, and Every Living Thing by James Herriot (still missing The Lord God Made Them All). That should make up my reading material for the next couple months. I wish I had more time to read these days, but at least I have good books to look forward to.

The thrift store in town here is run by the VON. The volunteers running the shop are all these lovely older ladies, who are always happy when I come in and buy half their yarn and fabric supply. I was chatting with the lady in the bookstore, and she was so pleased when I mentioned that I can sew clothes and whatnot. She wished she knew how to sew, because the fabric in the stores is so beautiful these days. I'm sure you could say the same for yarn stores too. It seems crafty people everywhere are demanding quality materials, and now fabric and yarn shops are full of natural fibers in gorgeous prints, colours, and textures. Not like when my mother was my age, and you could usually only find acrylic yarn and polyester fabric.

Monday, August 27, 2007

sock bags

sock bags
Originally uploaded by baprime
Nearly ready to be sent to Roxanne. They are just awaiting the plastic toggles for their draw-strings, and then they're off in the post. Waiting to see what yarns she pairs them up with is so difficult, because it isn't quite what I expected, but lovely nonetheless.

Check out my photos of the other six bags, and see if you can pick out which one has the two similar fabrics. You might have to look closely :)

Sunday, August 26, 2007

sewing frenzy

I promised a bunch of ten bags to a friend for the end of August, and promptly became so busy I forgot about them. Thankfully, most of the crazy business is over for now, and I got all ten made today. I'm quite happy about some of the fabric combinations I came up with, and it was so satisfying to use bits of the lovely fabrics I bought from Purl Soho. I had an unexpected surprise when working on one of them - I found a scrap of fabric left-over from a skirt I made years ago is almost the identical print to one of the Purl Soho fabrics, just in slightly different colours. I guess my tastes haven't changed much over the years.

I hope to get pictures of the bags tomorrow, and will put up a link in case you're interested in seeing them. The bags will become part of sock knitting kits offered by Zen Yarn Garden. The last kits she made with my bags sold like hot cakes, so you'll have to keep your eyes open if you want one! The yarns she dyes are gorgeous too (she was kind enough to dye some merino/bamboo yarn just for me).

I have a crazy new idea for pin-cushions too, but need to locate an essential ingredient before attempting to make one. The idea was inspired by my sister, who has a habit of spilling her pins on the floor. I could use a couple new ones myself, so I don't mind wasting some materials on experimenting.

Being creative sometimes works against my good intentions, I find. I would love to get other projects done or make a bunch of toys for my shop, but new ideas pop out of my brain all the time, and I can't stop thinking about them until I make an attempt at creating whatever it is I imagined.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

ooh, I feel special!

The aprons made by my lovely friends and me were featured on Sew, Mama, Sew! They did ask if they could use my photo, but I had no idea there would be such a nice little write-up about Fuzzy Mitten :)

If anyone is interested, I can give you the details on how we modified the apron pattern. It is a lovely one, and easy too. We mostly used thrifted fabric, since there's no reason to spend money on new fabric that will just end up stained. I try to use mine whenever I cook, and sometimes just wear it because it has cute octopusses on one side.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

big whinger

I hurt my left shoulder at work a few days ago, and is it ever making me a cranky girl. I'm not used to being sick or hurt, and I don't deal with it well. Although, considering my job, I'm lucky I didn't do something worse like hurt my back. Much as I love gardening, it is certainly hard on your body. I'm not too thrilled with the idea of being old before my time, which is what happens when you're a professional gardener. It comes from all that time in the sun (hence the brown, wrinkled skin) and physical labour (which gives you chronic aches and pains). Hopefully an easy, relaxed weekend will make me feel all better when I go back to work next week.

In spite of the nagging pain, I am trying to knit anyway. I have just 2 more toys to finish up for a big order I've been working on for the past few months. It will be good to finally get them all done and sent off, so I can think about knitting some for my shop. It would be nice to have a few toys in there for the holiday season. I will probably also offer spots for custom toys, which I will advertise here, so keep an eye open if you're interested.

I have in mind a tutorial on making toy faces, to be posted in the blog whenever I can get the photos taken. In my experience, it's one of the hardest but most important parts of making these toys. Getting the face just right gives the toy so much character, which can then be complemented by the clothes, giving the toy it's overall personality. I plan to include a list of the types of eyes I prefer, and how to make different kinds of noses. Ears are important too, but I might include them in another tutorial.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

fuzzy brain

Feeling appropriately fuzzy-brained right now, after a long day of gardening, a tasty supper, and a glass of vermouth.

If you were wondering where the name Fuzzy Mitten comes from, this video will give you part of the answer. While it is a Russian children's film, there is no speaking, so don't worry.

The other part of the answer is a pun on my name, in Russian. And if you can guess that, you get 5 gold stars.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Cool dude

Originally uploaded by baprime
You can now see my new pattern in my Etsy shop. Cody is an awesomely cute little surfer from down-under. He's as easy to make as my other patterns, and even gives you the chance to use a bit of eyelash or mohair yarn (or both, like I did). His shorts are a great way to use up those little left-over bits of sock yarn. This pattern is dedicated to my good friend Faye, one of my first and best customers.

Life has taken a bit of an unexpected turn, and I might not have as much time to work on new toys and patterns as I was hoping. But as the weather cools, I feel more productive and less tired in the evenings, so I may surprise myself.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007


Just a quick post to say "Hurrah!" my new blog is up and running. Nothing too fancy yet, but I'll be working on that. At least you can post comments now, and I do so want to hear from anyone that is reading this :)

More good news: I have a new pattern coming out this thursday, so be sure to check my shop. It's a pattern for a furry dude from down-under.

I've copied the 4 posts from before onto this site, in case you want to go back and read them. I plan to post at least once a week from now on, to keep you up to date with what I'm doing. I suppose this will also be a good place to keep track of what I want to do, so I don't let myself be lazy and get behind. The busiest season of the year is fast approaching, and I'm so excited!

Sick Day

I'm home from work today, so I thought I could take a few minutes to write something (it's been so long since I last posted!) Seems that some plant I encountered at work had something against me, so keeping my hands busy with typing helps to stop me from scratching the itchy bumps all over my body :(

I noticed the last time I posted that comments don't work on this blog, so I apologize if you tried to leave me one and it didn't work. I should email the Lulu people and tell them blogs without comments are missing half the fun. I'm almost finished setting up a blog somewhere else, and will let you know when it's ready. It will be more personalized than this one, and you can leave comments. I am also working on having more time to devote to Fuzzy Mitten, so you can look forward to more frequent posts.

I've been thinking on and off for a few month now about what I want this blog to be about. Some blogs I read are very focused on their theme, and while I like that idea, it's just not me. I'm interested in all kinds of things, and obsess about nothing (except worrying, but we can talk about that another time) I've concluded that for it to be my blog, it needs to be about all the things that interest me. So while it will have a significant content about knitting and designing patterns, from time to time I will also write about other softies, gardening, baking, sewing, books, random life stuff, and whatever else seems good and interesting.

As for what I'm working on now: I'm trying to get the softies made for my Plush You! entry. Being able to make only three has made the choice very difficult, but I also haven't time to knit more than that! I will post pictures as I get them finished. Any lucky people out there who happen to live in Seattle will be able to see them in person at Schmancy this autumn.

Busy as a bee

I've been busy as a bee for the last couple months, but Spring can be like that for many people. In my regular job I'm a gardener, so this time of year is extra busy for me. I spend long hours playing in the dirt, rain or shine. Sadly, this doesn't leave much time for my Fuzzy Mitten stuff, which I love so much.

I've knit a few toys over the past few weeks, mostly custom orders for friends, so my shop is a little bare at the moment. I wish I had time to make more, but it won't happen for a little while yet. Hopefully you can all be patient. I'm very pleased with the big teddy pattern, though heaven knows how I found the time for that! I can't remember how I managed it. I'd been thinking about it for a while, and he turned out so perfect! The little toys are so sweet, but I wanted something just the right size for a bigger kid to cuddle.

As for this fledgling blog, at the moment it will be mostly about updates to my shops and whatever happens to be on my mind at the time I'm writing. I plan to set up something a little better come this Autumn. Something more personalized, and I will try to stick to a few subjects related to what I do, although other stuff might creep in sometimes (some might say I think too much about everything, and writing about it helps me clear my head).

Hope you all have a great week! Summer weather here, and I plan to enjoy it smile