Thursday, April 30, 2009

new house

We now own an adorable little stone house in a pretty neighbourhood of Montreal! Yay! I'll share pics as soon as we have some. However, the work is just beginning...

We've started packing already, and it's making the kitties antsy. I think Greta remembers the last move, and how there was another totally annoying kitty at the new place. We're not doing that to her this time, but she's making sure that she's more than enough cattiness for one family.

This weekend we paint because some of the rooms are really awful (who would think that toothpaste green is a good colour for a dining room? I suppose you would never forget to brush your teeth after meals) The basement is pine-yellow wood panelling, and since it will be my studio, I'm hoping for a prettier colour.

Also, the garden needs a lot of work. The whole lawn needs raking, and the grass is in rather poor shape in spots. This year I'm only planning to put in a veggie garden, but I still have to dig up bunches of sod from clay soil. The rhubarb needs to be moved, but the asparagus and peonies will have to stay where they are until autumn. I have zucchini and squash seedlings I started, plus some pansies and asters for colour. I'm hoping to find some tomato and herb seedlings somewhere! My mint survived the winter beautifully, so I have a large pot of chocolate-mint to pick from all summer (it makes delicious tea).

And then moving day...

Anyway, for something more entertaining, here is Lev doing his werewolf impression (volume needs be be up a bit to hear him).

Friday, April 24, 2009


I think I might have a problem with over-committing myself. I had planned to take it easy this summer, slowly working on a couple of projects, and spending lots of time with Baby Mitten. Now I have some great ideas for a clothing bundle for the big bunny and teddy, an interesting sketch for a new toy, all the work involved in revising the Fuzzy Knits book (which includes knitting all the toys in it), and a secret project I've been wanting to work on for over a year. At least one of those is going to be cut, I know, because I just don't have that much time! Or maybe I need to rework my ideas so all the projects are a little more manageable. Are any of you work-from-home moms? Do you have any advice for how to balance work and time with baby?

This is just a random picture to make the post more interesting.

Well, in other news, the Ravelry swap is going well! I got my swap partner the other day, so picked out some pretty yarns in her favourite colours and matched them to some of my favourite clothing patterns (ravelry links). I have one item done already, and I think it turned out just gorgeous! (I'll try taking photos later today so you can see) Next up is a pocket sweater in hot pink!

While I was deciding which outfits to make, it got me thinking of which clothing designs I like the most, and why. I think I will go start a discussion thread in my Ravelry group, to see what other knitters think. Feel free to leave comments here too, if you have anything to say! (now I'm thinking, Ravelry is a big time-suck, but I love the feeling of connection to everyone knitting my patterns! Yet one more thing to try organizing time for.)

Oh, and if you're stopping by from Fiber Arts Friday, check out this interesting post from earlier in the week.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

mama and baby bunny

I found Mr Mitten with some time on his hands yesterday, so I bugged him to finally get the Mama and Baby Bunny pattern done. You can find it on Etsy or Lulu. I'll be adding it to Ravelry soon, but I just noticed a tiny mistake that I want to fix before putting it in my Ravelry shop (nothing major, it just says the baby bunny is 14" tall, not 7").

Thanks for all the great ideas for the big toys clothing bundle! I know what I want to do now, the challenge is to find time. It certainly won't happen before we move, but if I get my act together, I might be able to get it done before summer holidays. Which would be perfect, since my ideas are very summery!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

handspun and bunny tails

There are still a bunch of Scraps Chaps kits in my etsy shop, for anyone who would still like one! However, if you'd like something a little different, Sheepshape Spinning has a kit of hand-spun alpaca in just the right weight and yardage to make a Fuzzy Mitten toy. She tells me there should be enough to make a bunny or teddy or other regular-size (8") toy, and it comes with a set of safety eyes too. The photo below is a bunny she knit from some similar hand-spun yarn. I think she plans to add some more kits as she has yarn ready for them. Read more about what she's up to on her blog.

She also shared with me this pattern for a little pom-pom you can knit for a bunny tail, if you're worried about little fingers pulling apart a regular pom-pom.

Cast on 5 stitches. Purl next row.
Next row: K1, M1, Knit to last stitch, M1, K1.
Purl next row.
Continue the last two rows until you have 11 stitches.

Next row:
K1, K2tog, Knit to last two stitches, K2tog, K1.
Purl next row.

Continue the last two rows until you have 5 stitches.

Break off
yarn and thread through stitches on needle. Continue threading yarn through the edges of the shape, all the way around. Press some stuffing material onto the centre of the wrong side of the fabric and pull the thread tight around it to form a ball. Secure the edges of the ball together and attach the ball to the rabbit as a tail.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

wee bit tired lately

Between vaccinations last week, the beginning of teething, and rearranging our schedule in preparation for Mr Mitten going back to work, I've been a wee bit tired this past week. I didn't feel much like whining, and I haven't done much work anyway, so there wasn't a whole lot to blog about. Anyway, thanks so much for your lovely comments on the video and photos! It's fun sharing a bit of our lives with you, especially since we don't have many friends with kids with whom to commiserate.

One thing I did manage to get done, after about 2 weeks of squeezing in an hour of knitting here and there, was this big bunny. I wasn't quite sure I liked her when she was done, but she zipped out of my shop so fast, I was clearly mistaken about her cuteness! I know some of you will ask about her dress, so I'll tell you what I can. I've had some thoughts about putting together a bundle of clothes for the bigger toys, so this was a trial at one dress design. It was a bit too complicated, though. The final version will have a simpler skirt, but should be just as cute. The bundle I'm planning will have 3 designs: a dress, a cardigan, and something else. Anyone care to leave a comment about what they'd like? There's no set date for when I'll get it ready, considering how much we have going on the next few weeks.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

some laughs, and spring day in the park

It's been a little while since we shared any baby cuteness with you, so here you go! Lev is still figuring out how to laugh, so he sounds quite funny. But he laughs so rarely, it's still amazingly cute and funny.

The weather was beautiful today, as only early spring can be: warm, sunny, and breezy, with just a hint of the first flowers. We stopped for a rest at a playground during our afternoon walk, and Mr. Mitten took some lovely photos of us.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

fuzzy puppies

Life has been busy here lately, hence the lack of blog posting. It's going to continue that way for the next month, until we're finished moving and all settled in. Everyone has probably been busy with the holiday, spring breaks, and the change of season, so I don't expect you've missed me too much! Anyway, since I haven't much to write about today, I'm just going to share some photos of fuzzy pups.

This first one is from Sara (aka sarloz) who has knit plenty of my toys, and is super helpful in my Fuzzy Mitten group on Ravelry. She's organizing the swap over there. If you've been thinking of joining, there's still a few days to sign up!

The second photo is the pup that Pat knit from the Scraps Chaps kit she won. She's named him Murphy, and he's a very friendly looking fellow.

This last photo was sent to me ages ago by Rebecca, and I kept meaning to share it, but never found time. These pups were an engagement gift, and if you look closely, you'll see a tiny gold ring on the girl. So sweet!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

ravelry swap

If you're on Ravelry, and part of my Fuzzy Mitten group, please consider joining the swap for May! We're a bit short of people at the moment! The swap is for 3 clothing items, to fit a regular size Fuzzy Mitten toy, plus a treat or two for your swap partner (think a bar of chocolate, packet of nice tea, pretty stitch markers, etc). There's still about a week left to sign up!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

love my ball-winder

I've worked so hard the last 2 days trying to get these kits ready! I wish the yarn had come sooner, so I could have taken a little more time with them, but am I ever glad I bought a ball winder! Otherwise, I would have taken a week to make them all, instead of 2 days. I've had to raise the price by $1, since most of the yarn in these kits is new, rather than mostly left-overs, as in the previous ones. I'm off to list them now, and hopefully Lev will stay asleep until I can get them all done!

Friday, April 3, 2009

spring chick

My yarn still isn't here! I don't know why it's taking so long, since I usually get my orders in 3 days. Can you tell I'm a little impatient? So, to help us all pass the time, I've got a free pattern for you! A sweet little spring chick, just in time to greet the warm days, sunshine, and daffodils.

The pattern is based on the chicken from the Fuzzy Farm pattern, but with the shaping adjusted to make it look more like a chick. The weight of yarn isn't specified, so just use whatever nice yellow yarn you have on hand. If you have no yellow, knit a sparrow from brown, or a robin from grey with some red felt stitched to it's breast. There are m1 increases on the purl side, which are not too hard: just lift the yarn between stitches with your left hand needle (inserting the needle from the back) and purl into the front of the loop. I can't seem to find a nice tutorial for this stitch, but if you know of one, please link to it in the comments, or email me. Happy knitting!

Spring Chick

approx. 15-20 m (or yards) of yellow yarn, small amount of black yarn, 3x3" piece of orange felt, orange thread, stuffing, pair of straight knitting needles, tapestry needle, hand-sewing needle

Whatever weight of yarn you use, select knitting needles that are 1-2 sizes smaller than recommended for the yarn. This way the knitted fabric will be dense enough that the stuffing will not show through. The finished size of the chick will depend on the yarn you use. I used DK weight yarn on 3.25 mm needles, and mine turned out 8 cm long.

Cast on 21 sts. P 1 row.
Row 2-3: k1, m1, k7, k2tog, k1, skpo, k7, m1, k1. P 1 row.
Repeat rows 2-3.
Work 6 rows in st st.
Row 12-13: k9, m1, k3, m1, k9. (23 sts) P 1 row.
Row 14: k10, m1, k3, m1, k10. (25 sts)
Row 15: p11, m1, p3, m1, p11. (27 sts)
Row 16: [k1, skpo] 3 times, k3, m1, k3, m1, k3, [k2tog, k1] 3 times. (23 sts)
Row 17: p10, m1, p3, m1, p10. ( 25 sts)
Row 18: [k1, skpo] 3 times, k7, [k2tog, k1] 3 times. (19 sts)
Row 19: bind off 3 sts, p to end. (16 sts)
Row 20: bind off 3 sts, k to end. (13 sts)
Work 2 rows in st st.
Row 23: p1, [p2tog] 6 times. (7 sts)
Break off yarn leaving a long end. Thread end through remaining sts and pull tight to gather.

Embroider eyes by making a french-knot for each eye with the black yarn. Use end of yellow yarn to sew up seam, starting from head, working along belly, and ending at bum. Make sure to stuff firmly before closing seam. Cut out a beak and two feet from the orange felt and sew in place. The open beak is a diamond shape, folded across the middle, with the fold stitched onto the face of the chick. The closed beak is a half-circle, rolled into a cone, with the flat sides stitched together. Place open end of cone on chick's face, with the seam facing down, and stitch on.


[ ] = repeat instructions in brackets the number of times stated ("to end" means repeat until you reach the end of the row)
K or k = knit
k2tog = knit 2 together
m1 = make one by picking up loop between stitch just worked and next stitch, and knit/purl into the back/front of this loop
P or p = purl
skpo = slip 1, knit 1, pass slipped stitch over (or use ssk if you prefer)
st or sts = stitch or stitches
st st = stocking stitch

P.S. Don't forget to check out who else in participating in Fiber Arts Friday.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

hurry up canada post

Just a quick update on the Scraps Chaps kits. It looks like the yarn was shipped to me on Monday, so it should get here before the weekend. I think I'll be spending my weekend winding little balls of yarn! I will probably list them in a couple of batches, so if you miss the first lot, don't worry! (listing stuff on Etsy takes a while, and I don't usually get more than an hour uninterrupted these days) I'm crossing my fingers that I have enough yarn for everyone that's requested a kit through the poll. In fact, I might put in a second order of yarn, and I'll put the poll up again next week to see if anyone else still wants a kit. Looks like I should have been doing the kits this way all along, you guys like them so much! Well, at least I learn eventually.