Tuesday, December 29, 2009

holiday sale

I just had a sudden inspiration to offer you a surprise New Year's sale! Until January 7th, my Well Dressed Bunny pattern, as well as Clothing Bundles 1, 2, and 3 are all $2 off! Those links are to my Lulu store, but you can also find all those patterns on Etsy, and the Well Dressed Bunny on Ravelry. Happy knitting!

(Edit: the listed prices have been changed to the sale price, so you don't need to worry about sale codes or anything like that)



I hope you are all enjoying the holidays, and maybe even a well-deserved break from work (I know I am). We had a good visit with our house-guest last week, and even managed to get out to see a movie thanks to free babysitting. This week should be a little more laid-back without any holiday preparations to worry about. Although, we are officially on a diet from all the sweets and rich food (we might make an exception for New Year's eve celebrations). Lev is enjoying the new toys and books he received from relatives. We got him a shiny red sled, but he wasn't very happy in it the first time we took him out. Hopefully we get some fresh snow and less-cold weather this week, so we can try again.

I have completely failed at getting any photos, though I intend to try a little harder this week. It's just so discouraging when our house isn't very sunny (especially in winter) and I find our camera too clunky and heavy for fun snaps. The only photos we have are some portraits of Lev, which we took to send out to our families. Hopefully this goofy smile makes up for the lack of other photos!


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

happy, happy holidays!

I hope all of you are enjoying the holiday season, whether you celebrate Hanukkah, Winter Solstice, Christmas, or anything else. I would like to wish you happiness, health, and successful crafting in the new year!



This past year has seen many new adventures and trials for me, and it's been so comforting to have an audience willing to listen, and offer such kind support. I'm so lucky to this opportunity to do something I love, and that so many of you enjoy making my toys. From what I hear, this holiday season many little ones (and a few grown-ups too) will be receiving knitted toys made with love and care. I've found time to make a few myself, although I can't share photos, or they wouldn't be a surprise!

The next few days will be busy for me, and for many of you too, I'm sure. I'll be back here closer to the new year, hopefully with some cute photos to share! Take care, and best wishes to all of you!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

mother-in-law

My mother-in-law is visiting for the next 10 days, so I'm not sure how much time I'll have to spend writing here. It's certainly going to be an interesting visit, since I can't really talk to her (she speaks only Russian, me only English). However, I just might have time to finish my gift crafting, since all she wants to do is play with Lev (can't blame her, he's at a very fun stage). I'm going to try really hard to get some photos to share, since we haven't been doing that enough the last few months.


I thought I would share again these little gift tags I made last year, since the timing seems about right. Just click here, to get the largest size to download. Then print them on heavy paper, cut out (with fancy scissors if you have them), and punch a little hole. Piece of cake!

P.S. If you're not in North America, and your printer takes a different paper size, your printer should adjust the image margins to fit (you might have to check your printer settings to make sure it does this).

Friday, December 11, 2009

happy birthday, baby!

A year ago today, I wrote this blog post. Reading that second paragraph, I should have know at the time I was tempting fate, wishing that Baby Mitten wouldn't show up in the middle of the holidays. I went into labour that evening, and Lev was born at 12:30 am on December 12. He was 5 weeks early, so tiny and scrawny, but so full of life that we knew everything would be okay.



Sadly, the first 2 weeks of his life were spent in the hospital, so I never did get to enjoy our Christmas tree. Although, the Christmas baking I did was a nice addition to hospital food (my pre-labour fit of nesting was to make 4 dozen mincemeat tarts!). It was such a relief to finally get him home, and make a start at fattening him up. You can see that by the summer, he was doing just fine!



It's so hard to believe that a whole year has gone by, and he's grown up into such a personality. A little bit of both of us, and a lot of his own goofy style. Getting a video camera was a brilliant idea, since photos could never quite capture some of the amazing moments of Lev's first year. Despite all the bad days (and nights) those moments of joy, silliness, and love sparkle in my memory.



Balancing work, learning how to be a mom, and making time to be a wife, has made this year challenging in many ways. I've changed so much, and those changes often came with a lot of tears: worrying that I wouldn't be good enough, might make the wrong choices, or lose myself in this new role. But now that I've made it through this first year, I think I've done okay, and I'm satisfied with the kind of mother I am to Lev. Seeing him happy, healthy, and learning so quickly, I know I must be doing something right (not to at all diminish how wonderful a father Mr. Mitten is).



Often work has lost out, although I could never regret the time I've spent taking care of my little one. I think this next year is going to bring a lot of changes to Fuzzy Mitten (good ones, never fear). I feel the need to take some different directions, branch out, and test the skills I've learned over the past 3 years. Keeping up with a toddler while trying to do all that is going to be a challenge, but I think I can make it fun if I keep my goals in mind, and take time to enjoy all the little happy moments he gives me.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

pocket mouse

Mouse



- to complete the toy, you will need to have the rest of the pattern (Lulu, Etsy)
- the new version of the entire pattern will be available in the new year, as an individual pattern, and in my Fuzzy Knits book

(the following specifications are for the whole toy)

Materials
40 g of worsted weight yarn in main colour (MC), 15 g of worsted weight yarn in contrasting colour (CC), yarn for embroidering face, two 8-10 mm black buttons or safety eyes, stuffing, pair of 4 mm (US size 6) knitting needles, two 4 mm dpns (optional), tapestry needle

Measurements
approx. 20 cm (8") tall

Gauge/Tension
Mouse: 22 stitches and 32 rows to 10 cm (4") in st st

Head
The intarsia section is marked with the yarn colour for each set of sts.
Begin at back. CO 7 sts with MC.
Row 1: P 1 row.
Row 2: k1, [m1, k1] to end. (13 sts)
Row 3: P 1 row.
Row 4: k1, [m1, k1] to end. (25 sts)
Row 5-9: work 5 rows in st st.
Row 10: k3, [k1, m1] x 4, k11, [m1, k1] x 4, k3. (33 sts)
Row 11-19: work 9 rows in st st.
Row 20: k3, [k2tog, k1] x 3, k9, [k1, ssk] x 3, k3. (27 sts)
Row 21: CC p7, MC p13, CC p7.
Row 22: CC k1, k2tog, k4, k2tog, MC k9, CC ssk, k4, ssk, k1. (23 sts)
Row 23: CC p7, MC p9, CC p7.
Row 24: CC k1, k2tog, k2, k2tog, MC k9, CC ssk, k2, ssk, k1. (19 sts)
Row 25: CC p5, MC p9, CC p5.
Row 26: CC k1, [k2tog] x 2, MC k9, CC [ssk] x 2, k1. (15 sts)
Row 27: CC p3, MC p9, CC p3.
Row 28: CC k3, MC [k2tog] x 2, k1, [ssk] x 2, CC k3. (11 sts)
Row 29: CC p3, MC p5, CC p3.
Row 30: CC k1, [k2tog] x 2, k1, [ssk] x 2, k1. (9 sts)
Cut yarn, thread end through remaining sts, pull tight to gather. Secure yarn ends from colour changes. Attach safety eyes. Sew up seam, leaving an opening. Stuff and sew closed. Make sure to put extra stuffing in the nose and cheeks.

Ears (make 2)
CO 3 sts with MC.
Row 1: P 1 row.
Row 2: k1, [m1, k1] x 2. (5 sts)
Row 3: P 1 row.
Row 4: k1, [m1, k1] x 4. (9 sts)
Row 5: P 1 row.
Row 6: k3, [m1, k1] x 4, k2. (13 sts)
Row 7-8: work 2 rows in st st.
Row 9: K 1 row.
Switch to CC on next row.
Row 10-11: work 2 rows in st st.
Row 12: k2, [skpo] x 2, k1, [k2tog] x 2, k2. (9 sts)
Row 13: P 1 row.
Row 14: [skpo] x 2, k1, [k2tog] x 2. (5 sts)
Row 15: P 1 row.
Row 16: skpo, k1, k2tog. (3 sts)
Cut yarn, thread end through remaining stitches, pull tight to gather. Fold ear in half, with CC to front and MC to back.

Abbreviations
[ ] = repeat instructions between square brackets as many times as indicated (e.g. x 2). "To end" means to repeat instructions in brackets until you reach the end of the row.
CO = cast on
k = knit
k2tog = decrease 1 by knitting 2 together
m1 = increase 1 by picking up loop between stitch just worked and next stitch, and knit into the back of this loop
P or p = purl
skpo = slip 1, knit 1, pass slipped stitch over
ssk = decrease 1 by sl 1, sl 1 purl-wise, knit slipped sts together

Panda cuteness

Panda



- to complete the toy, you will need to have the rest of the pattern (Lulu, Etsy)
- the new version of the entire pattern will be available in the new year, as an individual pattern, and in my Fuzzy Knits book

(the following specifications are for the whole toy)

Materials
35 g of worsted weight yarn in main colour (MC), 25 g of worsted weight yarn in white (CC), yarn for embroidering face, two 8-10 mm black buttons or safety eyes, stuffing, pair of 4 mm (US size 6) knitting needles, tapestry needle

Measurements
approx. 20cm (8") tall

Gauge/Tension
22 sts and 32 rows per 10cm (4")

Head
The intarsia section is marked with the yarn colour for each set of sts.
Begin at back. CO 7 sts with CC.
Row 1: P 1 row.
Row 2: k1, [m1, k1] to end. (13 sts)
Row 3: P 1 row.
Row 4: k1, [m1, k1] to end. (25 sts)
Row 5-7: work 3 rows in st st.
Row 8: [k2, m1] x 4, k9, [m1, k2] x 4. (33 sts)
Row 9-15: work 7 rows in st st.
Row 16: CC k9, MC k3, CC k9, MC k3, CC k9.
Row 17: CC p8, MC p5, CC p7, MC p5, CC p8.
Row 18: CC k7, MC k7, CC k5, MC k7, CC k7.
Row 19: CC p6, MC p8, CC p5, MC p8, CC p6.
Row 20: CC k6, MC k8, CC k5, MC k8, CC k6.
Work rest of head in CC.
Row 21: P 1 row.
Row 22: k1, [skpo] x 7, k3, [k2tog] x 7, k1. (19 sts)
Row 23-25: work 3 rows in st st.
Row 26: k1, [k2tog] to end. (10 sts)
Cut yarn, thread end through remaining sts, pull tight to gather. Secure yarn ends from colour changes. Attach safety eyes. Sew up seam, leaving an opening. Stuff and sew closed. Make sure to put extra stuffing in the nose and cheeks.

Ears (make 2)
CO 3 sts with MC.
Row 1: P 1 row.
Row 2: k1, [m1, k1] twice. (5 sts)
Row 3: P 1 row.
Row 4: k1, [m1, k1] 4 times. (9 sts)
Row 5: P 1 row.
Row 6: k4, m1, k1, m1, k4. (11 sts)
Row 7-9: P 3 rows.
Row 10: k3, skpo, k1, k2tog, k3. (9 sts)
Row 11: P 1 row.
Row 12: [skpo] x 2, k1, [k2tog] x 2. (5 sts)
Row 13: P 1 row.
Row 14: skpo, k1, k2tog. (3 sts)
Cut yarn, thread end through remaining sts, pull tight to gather. Fold ear in half, with decreases to front and increases to back.

Abbreviations
[ ] = repeat instructions between square brackets as many times as indicated (e.g. x 2). "To end" means to repeat instructions in brackets until you reach the end of the row.
CO = cast on
k = knit
k2tog = decrease 1 by knitting 2 together
m1 = increase 1 by picking up loop between stitch just worked and next stitch, and knit into the back of this loop
P or p = purl
skpo = slip 1, knit 1, pass slipped stitch over

so hard to write...

It gives me great pain to admit this, but the new edition of Fuzzy Knits will not be ready before the holidays. It's been upsetting me so much that it's taken this long, and I finally had to admit that the stress wasn't healthy for me, and might compromise the quality of my work. This Autumn has been so much busier than I imagined, with Lev running headlong into toddler-hood, and Mr. Mitten working overtime at a new and more demanding day-job.

We really want to take the next few weeks to enjoy the holiday season, visit with family, and wind down from such a hectic few months. (I hope you have the same opportunity.) Then we can get back to work in the new year, and with luck, get the book ready for the next big holiday season. With the pressure off, we should be able to give you the quality of book you deserve.

If you were thinking of giving the new book as a gift this holiday, perhaps you could consider the Festive Knits book instead. If you live in the US, you should even have a little time to order a printed copy. Or, if you don't mind a bit of do-it-yourself craftiness, you can order the download (Ravelry link), print the book out at home, and put it all together into a nice binder. With a bit of yarn and some other supplies for a toy or two, it would make a great gift for a knitter who loves cute critters!

However, I know a few of you were counting on the new toy versions to complete some gifts, and I don't want to let you down. The two posts following this one will have the instructions for the head and ears of the new Mouse and Panda. You will still need to use the original patterns to complete the toy, but I haven't changed these much in the new versions, so you should still get a very adorable toy.