Friday, May 29, 2009

back to work daddy

Gratuitous photo of puppy eyes.

Mr. Mitten goes back to his regular job on Monday, so we won't have him around as full-time daddy any longer (except on weekends). This inevitably changes a few things around here. Being on full-time mommy-duty during the day, I will have a lot less time for knitting, blogging, designing, and hanging around on Ravelry. I guess you all knew this was coming anyway, since so many of you kept commenting that you couldn't figure out how I had time for everything! It was only because Daddy and I would take turns entertaining Baby Mitten during the day, so I could get a bit of work done.

I have a couple projects to work on over the next few months, so I will have something to write about once in a while. I've just started on the updated versions of the patterns in Fuzzy Knits, and hopefully I can get them all done by the fall. If we work hard, we should be able to get the new edition done by October (crosses fingers). I also have another secret project I've been wanting to work on for ages, and I really hope to find time for it over the summer. However, all this means I don't have time for the clothing bundle for the big toys, or the new toy designs I had in mind. I'm really sad about this, since I had some awesome ideas. But I'm trying to be realistic about how much time I have, and some things had to be cut. Baby Mitten is my first and most important priority right now. I'm sure you can understand.

So, I'll sign off for the weekend. I hope you all have a lovely one, and better weather than we have here. The cold and rain are bringing the slugs out in force, and my seedlings might not survive.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Pardon my French!

"Crêpes au champignons" nous a fait disponible la version française de notre modèle "Fuzzy Lamb", après avoir tricoté ce petit agneau sur la photo (j'adore les couleurs et le petit nombril. ;)) Il nous donc fait grand plaisir de faire cette version traduite disponible sur notre site web.

À propos, si vous êtes tricoteur ou tricoteuse francophone, je vous invite à visiter le Forum Tricotin, dédié completement au tricotage en français.

Monsieur Mitten. :)

Saturday, May 23, 2009

never get anything done

conversation I had with Mr. Mitten the other day
Me: One part of me wants to keep working on my sock, so I can finish it sooner and start on my new birthday sock yarn. Another part of me wants to knit some toys for my shop, because I haven't done any in ages. Another part of me wants to go do some sewing on my new sewing machine. Another part...

Mr. Mitten: How many parts do you have? (laughing)

Me: Too many, that's why I'm always so conflicted and never finish anything!

I can't remember what I actually did at that point, but it probably involved getting Baby Mitten up from his nap and feeding him. This is the main reason I never get anything done these days! On the other hand, he's learning something new nearly every day, I have so much fun to spending time with him. Yesterday he discovered he can grab his feet and roll around on the floor. He thinks it's so fun, he tries to grab his feet even while falling asleep in his crib. Anyway, here's a cute video to amuse you (please ignore the messy unwashed hair, I am a mom. Focus on the giggling baby).

Monday, May 18, 2009


I have no birthday-type photos of myself, so you get to enjoy Greta making a wish on my ex-roommate's birthday cake.

I'm having a sale at my Etsy shop for my birthday, May 19! All the patterns are 15% off, and everything else is 10% off. I've already changed the prices on the patterns, and I'll change the prices on the other items tomorrow morning. The sale will last until the morning of May 20.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

about my pattern instructions

Why don't my patterns have more detailed finishing instructions?

I get a lot of emails asking for more help on finishing the toys. Usually they're from people who don't read my blog, since you all know I've written a few tutorials with useful hints (I'd like to make a few more, when I have time, especially for embroidering the face).

When I first starting writing the patterns, I assumed anyone making toys would have a few basic skills already, like seaming, simple embroidery, and how to stuff the pieces to get the best shape. These are things I'd worked out for myself while making toys as a kid, and I figured I didn't need to explain them too much. I soon learned that a little more explanation, plus a simple diagram, would help most people put the toys together without too much trouble. I also put together the tutorials for more complicated steps that many people have asked about, and I think they've been useful to you.

There's a line though: too much detail, and it seems that most people will just skip reading it and try to wing it on their own (sometimes sending me emails asking about stuff that's actually in the pattern). I can't blame them, I do the same myself sometimes! Why read all that info when you just want to have the project done? Also, I find that no matter how accurately I try to describe how I do something, most people will do it their own way, or interpret my instructions differently from how I intended. Which is great, because then your toys look like you made them, not me.*

So hopefully you can understand that my patterns have about as much detail as I think people will find useful and actually read, while leaving plenty of room for your own interpretation and creativity. That said, if you do need a help with something, I don't mind answering your questions, even if it's just to point you to the right tutorial page (although it takes me a little longer to answer emails these days).

What does bother me a little is when people ask for help to make their toys look like someone else's designs. I try very hard to make my designs uniquely my own, and any resemblance is coincidental. I avoid any particular items that are 'trademarks' of someone else's design, since there are so many other things I can make instead that are just as cute. But I know that certain toys are very popular, and many people have used my patterns to make toys that are more similar to them than to my own designs. If you want help for this, I'm sure there are people on Ravelry that will give you pattern alterations and other ideas. Please ask them for help, since I would like to devote my time to creating my own designs.

Anyway, writing diplomatically is tiring! I hope you all understand. If you have any ideas for other tutorials or hints you would like, please let me know. Now I'm going to get on with enjoying my Sunday. I hope you all have a lovely day too!

* If you do want your toys to look exactly like mine, all I can say is, read my instructions, ask questions, and keep trying until you're happy (that's what I do).

Thursday, May 14, 2009

birthday sale

Sorry for the grumpiness earlier. Stuff like that gets to me, but it's resolved now, sort of... I'm still not happy with Lulu, and there are discussions going on about different options for my patterns and books. I'll keep you updated as we figure out the best plan for a new shop.

I have a special day coming next week - it's my birthday on May 19! I don't have much planned, except to see the new Star Trek movie. I've been looking forward to seeing it for something like a year now (I'm a big Star Trek geek, what can I say?). Anyway, I wanted to have a special promotion that day, as a birthday gift to all my wonderful customers. Everything in my Etsy store will be 10% off that day! The sale will start from the morning when I can get all the listings updated with the discounted price, to the next day around the same time. I might add some of my other patterns too, so there's lots to choose from.

Anyway, have a great weekend everyone!

boo lulu

We're all moved in and loving the new house! Not too many hidden surprises so far, and I hope it will continue that way. We're only about half unpacked, so I think I'll wait to take photos until we're all done. My new studio is nothing but a messy pile of boxes, so I haven't done any work yet! Too many other things to do, really. In fact, the last couple days I've put off unpacking so I could get moving on the veggie garden. Planting time is swiftly approaching, and I don't want to be too late!

Something super aggravating happened in the last couple days too, and I wanted to write a bit about it. I didn't know that my pattern books were available on Amazon (sort of - Lulu sells them through Amazon, and they show up when you search there). This would be fine, except they were selling the original version of Festive Knits, which is just Fuzzy Knits with a different cover because we changed the name about a month after we first published it. The original Festive Knits is still hanging around on Lulu, but it should never have been for sale anywhere. So not only was it confusing that there were two different Festive Knits for sale on Amazon, but the original one was being sold at cost! I don't even know how long this was going on.

So far I've only had one customer coming to me confused as to why her 'new' Festive Knits book was just the same as her copy of Fuzzy Knits. I hope there are no more, or it could become a real problem! Hopefully Lulu has some explanation for me. I'm getting really fed up with the problems they've had over the last year.

Friday, May 8, 2009

happy mother's day!

There's a special holiday coming up this weekend (in Canada anyway, I know it's earlier in other places). I get to celebrate my first Mother's Day this year, although it's much too soon to expect handmade cards drawn with crayons and covered with sparkles, with a special message written in big messy letters. That's what I'm looking forward to, one day.

I was just over reading Alpaca Farm Girl's blog, and she got me thinking about the history of knitting in my family. Although I taught myself to knit in university, there are lots of knitters in my family. As a kid I wore sweaters, vest, tuques, and mittens knit by my mom, grandma, and great-grandma. Somehow I never learned from any of them, and really wish I had, since I would have about 20 more years of experience behind me now!

My mom's parents in front, and my dad's parents just past them.

My grandma (my mom's mom) just turned 84 on May 5. She's an amazing woman, and still healthy and going strong, in spite of a few setbacks recently. A few years ago she started knitting socks again, since she had some extra time, and my grandpa had always preferred them. Back in February or so, my cousin Alisha had the brilliant idea to make this a special sock birthday for my grandma! Let's see if I can remember who all joined in: me, my mom, my two cousins and my Aunty Candy, my Aunty Heather, my Aunty Wendy (who is my aunt by marriage, but loves my grandma like her own mom), my Aunty Beth, and some of my other cousins too. We're a knitting family, aparantly!

Some people made her socks, some (like me) gave her yarn so she could knit socks for herself. I picked up some bare yarn, and dyed it in blues and purples, trying to make something that would remind her of violets. When I was a kid, she told me once how much she likes violets (they grow all over her lawn in the Spring, and look and smell so lovely!). I smile just thinking about her wearing violet-coloured socks! I don't know when we'll next be able to visit my family in B.C., so I probably won't see the finished product for myself. I hope she knows how special she is to all of us, and how much I miss her.

Happy Mother's day to my mom, if she's reading this! I hope every mother out there has a very special day, and gets plenty of cuddles from the ones they love. Now I must go, because my little babe is waking from his nap :)