Tuesday, June 24, 2008

up and away

Yesterday was a very long, draining, but in the end a happy day. There were unexpected trips half-way across the city, trying to find our way home again on the bus, pharmacists open late (and saving me!), watermelon for supper, and fireworks. Oh yes, today is a holiday here - Fete nationale or St-Jean-Bapatiste Day - so our town had fireworks last night, waking me up from much needed sleep. I didn't bother watching them, being more amused at my cat Mila cowering with fluffed out tail at each boom.

We leave for BC this evening, and we haven't even started packing. I should get on that, but so many other things need to be done as well, mostly as a result of losing most of yesterday afternoon and evening to unexpected errands. The local church bells are ringing for noon, so I should go eat some lunch. I hope you are all having a lovely summer so far. I will try to get lots of photos of our trip, to share with you when we get home.

Friday, June 20, 2008

oh yeah, that knitting thing

Yesterday was a great day! I felt better than I had in weeks, and even managed to get something useful done. A good friend of mine had given me two pieces of Amy Butler fabric for my birthday, and I finally had a good idea what to make with it. I wanted a new bag, something versatile that could hold my water bottle plus knitting or a warm sweater. What I came up with is a square bag, 12"x12x3, with a zipper across the top and lots of pockets, inside and out. I'm planning to add some removable handles, so it can be a backpack or purse, but I need some help with measuring before I can make those. I'll try to get some good photos when it's done.

However, all this being tired and sick lately has been hard on my other hobbies. Yeah, that knitting thing, not so much of that going on lately. I have lots of lovely yarn sitting around, and at least 2 toys in various stages of being done, but I just haven't felt like knitting. It probably doesn't help that I have only one commission on the go, with a September deadline. Even my own projects aren't getting much attention. Socks seem too slow, and I'm getting worried that I won't have enough yarn to finish a sweater I started a while back. It's knit from Malabrigo, so there's little hope of getting more that will look at all the same. I'm thinking of frogging it and using the lovely soft yarn for something else, maybe a shawl to wrap around me this fall.

Anyway, here's a cute photo that should help anyone not feeling like knitting. When there's hugs like that around, how can you not find a reason to knit something cuddly?

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

mysterios illness

Well, my mysterious illness has come back to bother me this week. I feel guilty for getting so little done, but all I want to do is curl up on the sofa with a kitty and a good book (at the moment it's "The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents" by Terry Pratchett). I've been working a bit on updating a few more patterns, although they're still waiting for my husband to format them. He's been super busy at work, trying to get enough done before we go on holiday.

I'm really hoping that a change of air and scene will help me feel better. I don't want to spoil anyone's holiday by being sick and whiny all the time. I plan to make the most of our time there, visiting all my favourite people and places. With the cost of flights now, who knows when we'll make it back there again? Plus, I suspect my husband's family will be demanding a visit from us next year, and Russia is a long way to go.

After finally selling a set of printed patterns to a yarn shop, I discovered that printing is more expensive than I estimated (stupid taxes). So the price will be going up a little. I wonder how other designers manage to afford getting a few hundred patterns printed at a time? Maybe they already have the orders waiting, who knows?

In case it wasn't obvious last week, the Sea Horse pattern has been sent out for test knitting. I gave my lovely testers a month to work on it, so the pattern should be ready by mid-July. Sorry to make you all wait so long, but perhaps this gives you a chance to clear up your queue!

Friday, June 13, 2008

happy friday!

I am very much not superstitious, so Friday the 13th means little to me, except it's the weekend! I get to watch a fun video with my sweetie tonight (Cyrano de Bergerac) and sleep in tomorrow. And maybe we'll do something fun this weekend, but there are no plans yet.

Becky sent me this photo of two very cute toys she knit. They look like good friends, don't they? Oh, and for others who have knit that hooded cardi pattern, it's supposed to be that big! I was thinking of those baggy hooded sweatshirts that teenagers wear (like my little brother), when I was designing the pattern.

I keep getting random comments on my post about sharing, and I'm thinking more and more what a good idea that was. I'm also very happy to be putting my principles firmly on that side of the fence, considering what our government is trying to pass into law. There is quite a lot of opposition so far, so hopefully our representatives will understand that it's not in the best interests of the people who elected them!

In other random news, I've been reading a book called 'In Defense of Food' by Michael Pollan. I'd watched a fascinating video of one of his lectures, and finally got to the head of the library waiting list for the book. Basically, he discusses the history of nutritionism, and why we should eat real food and not fake food made up of refined nutrients. I have trouble reading non-fiction, becoming bored when there is no story, but I've gotten half-way through this book in about a day. If you really care about your health and what you eat, it's worth reading.

I hope you all have a lovely weekend!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

horsing around

Hello there! Thanks so much for all your well wishes yesterday! It means a lot to me that you care. In spite of the sweltering weather, I'm feeling a little better today. I'm hoping this means I will continue to feel better in days to come.

I'm also very happy you like our idea of sharing. Hopefully the news gets around, so everyone knows how I feel about sharing the patterns, and selling toys made from them.

I think I promised a little teaser for my new pattern? Well, you get more than just a tease! Introducing my new Sea Horse pattern! (okay, I can hear you all groaning at the pun, but I like puns :)

These two cuties don't have names yet, in fact, the brown filly there was finished just about an hour ago. I love the character in their faces, and their manes and tails. But don't believe any rumours you hear about me playing with them, as in, making them dance around to YMCA and stuff. It never happened, I swear. The sailor shirt isn't even too difficult to make, and looks so adorable!

I'm still working on writing up the last bits of the pattern (in between feeling miserable), and then it will need to be test knit. I'm planning for this to happen while I'm away on holiday, so I can get the pattern formatted and ready for sale as soon as I get back. I have a list of everyone who volunteered to test patterns, so I'll be contacting you by email as soon as I'm ready.

Okay, time to go back to sweating in front of the fan...

Monday, June 9, 2008


Mr. Mitten here, filling in for Barbara, who is a bit under the weather. I mean that both literally and figuratively -- our current weather is better suited for North Carolina than for Quebec. I should know -- I spent ten years of my life down there. :) It's been really hot and muggy, and now we're told it's a "movie trailer" for what the weather is going to be like for the rest of the summer. Great.

Anyway, Barbara is looking over my shoulder as I am typing this -- she's too pooped to do it herself (or so she claims). :) I'm going to use this opportunity to make a small announcement, while I have the microphone under my control.

We would both like Fuzzy Mitten to be more open about sharing. It's quite frequent that someone asks if it's okay to sell toys made from the Fuzzy Mitten patterns, and though the answer has always been "yes, of course," we'd like to make it more official. The toys that you make from our patterns are yours -- if you want to sell them or give them away, that's perfectly fine with us! There's only a couple of small caveats, described on our new Sharing and Selling page.

We would also like to encourage everyone to share our patterns among your friends. All of the following is perfectly fine:
  • making copies of the pattern for your knitting buddies
  • bringing the patterns to your knitting group (and making enough copies for everyone who wants one!)
  • emailing the patterns to your knitting friends

Everyone does that already, so please do not feel guilty if you have done it before. ;) Most of that falls under fair use, anyway.

However, we still ask you not to do any of the following:

  • please do not put the patterns on a website where anyone can download them (unless it says otherwise in the pattern itself)
  • please do not sell copies of the patterns (but if you are interested in selling them, we can easily arrange that, too!)
We discussed this quite a bit before deciding to go ahead with the plan, and we both think it's an excellent idea. All knitters are part of a larger knitting community -- sharing, openness, and willingness to work together is only going to foster it further, bringing in new talent and encouraging creativity.

We've set up the sharing and selling page with all the rules, and the link to it is on the front page of fuzzymitten.com. We'll be slowly going through the patterns to add a note about sharing there, too, so look out for that in the future (might take us some time).

Let us know if you have any comments!

-Konstantin and Barbara

Friday, June 6, 2008

hazy day

It's warm and hazy here, and I'm working on the new pattern in between being lazy and reading blogs. The new toy is coming along so well, much easier than I thought it might. I really hope you guys like this one, because I'm so happy with it! Maybe I'll drag out the camera and take a few photos once the second toy is done, to tease you a little.

Just one photo to share today, so I don't use them all up too soon. I see tons of great toy photos on Ravelry, but I guess most of those people don't know about my flickr group. Anyhoo...

I believe he is saying, "Hugs anyone?" One very lovely lamb made by Sarah.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

a few more

I've added what tote bags I had left to my Etsy shop. One is the tiger kit in the photo. I also altered one of the kits already there, so it now has yarn to make a pocket mouse. If they continue to be so popular, I might have to sew a few more bags this week! All my yarn is finally here, so if I find time to dye yarn, I can put more kits together for next week.

I've been having trouble sleeping lately, and feel tired all the time. I've never been one to take naps, even as a child, so my productivity has been pretty low. I hope this passes soon, so I can get back to doing everything I love. I keep thinking I should go to the gym for some exercise, but whenever I have time, I feel more like sleeping! Maybe it would help if the weather improved, and I could go for walks. It feels like it's been cool and wet forever, even if it's only been about 5 days in a row. Good thing I don't live in Vancouver!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

summer holidays

It might still be spring here, but summer is just around the corner (I keep thinking that in spite of the cold, wet weather). This summer we have a great opportunity for a fun and relaxing holiday: my youngest sister is getting married! She's the cute one in the red pyjamas, at about 1 and a half years old.

The wedding is near our little home town in the south-east of British Columbia. The whole area is my most favourite place in the world, and the most beautiful, in my eyes. For extra fun, my husband and I are flying to Calgary and driving through the Rocky Mountains, which he has never seen. It will be two weeks of hiking up mountains, swimming in cool lakes, visiting with relatives, and eating all the fresh fruit and veggies my grandparents' garden can provide. Plus, lots of other fun things I haven't thought of yet.

Of course, this means I will be unavailable for the two weeks I am gone (June 24-July 9). Also, I will be closing my Etsy shop, if I can figure out how to do that without losing all the listings I've already paid for. I've always had trouble with that on my past holidays, so hopefully this time I can come up with a good solution. (It's not so fun being bugged by impatient knitters on your honeymoon!)

I am busily working on a new toy pattern, and really loving how it's turning out. If I work hard enough before I go, it will be ready for test knitting. Then, it should be all ready for you by the middle of July. I know some of us knitters can't contemplate yarn and needles in the sweltering summer heat, but hopefully I can find a few willing volunteers. I've already stocked up on cotton yarn for the summer, how about you?