Wednesday, February 24, 2010

puppet kits

 The Bunny Puppet kits are now available for purchase on Etsy. I'm trying something different this time, which will hopefully save me a lot of time. There are 3 kinds of yarn available for the kits, with one listing each. You just need to send me a message with the yarn colour of your choice. As each colour is sold out, I will update the listing. However, this means that I can only list one kit at a time. If you don't feel like checking back all the time, you can subscribe to my shop updates (there should be an link at the bottom right of my shop page, under Shop Tools,  which says "subscribe to shop feed").

I will do my best to keep on top of things, but I may be away from the computer sometimes (I do need to sleep!), so I ask you to be patient.

Please note that all the kits are for size small-medium puppets only. It was just much simpler this way! If you would really like a large kit ($10.50 plus shipping) send me a message on Etsy, and I'll see if there's enough yarn left to make you a special listing.

Friday, February 19, 2010

bunny puppet now available

A very quick post to let you know that the Bunny Puppet pattern is now available! You can purchase it on Ravelry, Etsy, or Lulu. I had to make a few last minute changes, but it should be all good now. Please note that this pattern is intermediate level, and knit in the round. If you've made mittens, you shouldn't have any trouble. If you find any mistakes, please email me (barbara at fuzzymitten dot com) so I can update the pattern. I'm a bit short of time this morning, so I'll try to write more about the design later!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

hint #10

Several people participating in the knit-along over on Ravelry have had some challenges using very fuzzy or bouclé yarns for their lambs. Someone suggested that I share any tips I have over here, so that everyone can benefit! So, I'll give you a few tips that have helped me with these types of yarn, and if you have any to share, please leave a comment.

I've noticed it myself, and I've heard others comment, that bouclé yarns can make your hands hurt when knitting them at such a tight gauge. Most of my toy patterns are designed to be knit with worsted weight yarn on 4 mm needles (so slightly tighter than you would normally knit with this yarn weight). However, most bouclé and fuzzy yarns are bulky weight, and it can be a real strain knitting them on 4 mm needles! My first suggestion would be to go up a needle size or two, and not worry that your toy is going to be bigger than the usual 20 cm (8").

My second suggestion is to try to find a fuzzy/bouclé yarn that is closer to worsted weight, or works better on 4 mm needles. The lamb above was knit with some wool bouclé yarn I was lucky to find at a thrift store (sadly a discontinued brand). I also love using Knitpick's Suri Dream - even though it's described as super bulky, because it's a fine strand with lots of fuzz you can knit it on 4 mm needles with no trouble. Something like that might be just the solution you need!

this lamb was made with Suri Dream

Another trick that can sometimes help is to work more loosely than normal the rows preceding lots of increases. Just going slowly and being careful to purl these rows a bit looser, can make it so much easier to get in all those m1 stitches on the next row!

you can't see stitches at all with yarn* like this

Next, many people have said you can't see your stitches at all with these fuzzy yarns. Some I've knit with, I can't even tell which is the right side, and which the wrong! Simple but true: a row counter keeps you on track! My newer patterns all have row counts, so it's easier to tell where you are. If you're also having trouble making some of the decrease stitches, you can fudge things a little. I've found that skpo can be much easier to work than k2tog, so use it instead. And on the wrong side, nobody will notice if you use p2tog, instead of p2tog tbl (which can be tricky at the best of times!)

this guy was knit with eyelash* yarn - so difficult, but so cute!

Finally, it can often be nearly impossible to sew up the seams with nubbly yarns. Save yourself some hair-pulling, and find a bit of smooth yarn to match your main colour (if you're really good at seaming, this yarn barely shows, so it doesn't need to match all that closely). Rather than using your cast-on or tag ends to sew up the seams, cut a long piece of the smooth yarn, and start sewing at one end, leaving a nice long tail. Once the seam is all done, and the piece stuffed, you can run this extra end through the stuffed piece a few times to anchor it, then snip off the excess.

I hope these tips are helpful to you, and please remember to leave a comment if you have some helpful tips of your own!

*Sorry, I don't remember what brands I used for these toys, but they were your usual craft-store novelty yarns.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

bunnies! puppets! squee!

This is just a quick post to show you the new pattern I've been working on - a Bunny puppet! I think they're rather sweet, a fun toy to make for Spring, and a bit more challenging and interesting than my usual toys.

I'll give you a little info now, but more details will follow later in the week when I'm ready to release the pattern. It's intermediate level, knit in-the-round, with a variety of increases and decreases. If you've knit mittens, you shouldn't have any trouble. The puppet comes in three sizes: small (about ages 3-5), medium (ages 6-8), and large (9+, also fits women's average size hands). It's knit from DK weight yarn, and should work with whatever brand or fiber you prefer.

Whew! I've been trying to get this pattern done for a year and a half, and I'm so glad it's nearly ready. I do so hope you like it!

Saturday, February 13, 2010

happy valentine's day!

Need a last minute Valentine idea? You can print these out on heavy paper, then cut out the individual cards with fancy scissors, and there's lots of room on the back to address one to your sweetheart! Just download the largest size image for the best results.

Of course, you don't need a sweetheart to have a happy Valentine's Day! I like to take this opportunity to show all the people I care about how much they mean to me - family and friends who are special and deserve gratitude for everything they do all year long (I'm just lucky to have two big sweethearts to share the day with, as well).

Knitting time has been pretty scarce around here this week, as Munchkin Mitten was sick with a cold. I'm hoping to try out my new light tent this weekend, so maybe I will have a few photos to share next week. And if your in the mood for Spring bunnies and lambs, there's lots of action over on Ravelry! The knit-a-long is going for anther 5 weeks, so there's plenty of time to join!

Monday, February 1, 2010

blog design

In case you read this blog somewhere else, I've changed the blog design a wee bit. I've wanted something simpler for a while, and that little lamb is just too cute! It's only an interim design however, as Mr. Mitten is working on a pretty major overhaul of, and eventually the blog will be changed to fit in with the look of everything else. I'm not quite sure when that will happen, but I'm pretty excited about some of the changes! I'll be sure to share more when I can.

In other news, I've been working on a new pattern this past month (or trying to - having a toddler running around doesn't leave me much time for work). I'm pretty happy with the design, and my mom has already test-knit one of the sizes for me (there's a little hint for you - it comes in more than one size!). I think it might still need a little something more, but I'll decide for sure once I'm finished knitting the last size. I was planning to keep it mostly secret until I'm closer to releasing the pattern, hopefully sometime near the end of the month. However, I'm hosting a knit-a-long over on my Ravelry group, and I was thinking of sharing peaks of the new design. I'll post the photos here too, so you can see what I've been up to ;o)