Sunday, March 28, 2010

just knitting toys

I've been thinking a lot lately about what's next. Working on Fuzzy Knits was a huge project, and I am super proud of the results, but so happy that it's done! Countless possible projects have been dancing around in my head, each trying to shout louder than the other that, "this is what everyone wants to knit next!" I think it's a little too crowded in there right now, and I just can't decide what I want to work on. Nothing much seems inspiring, in spite of the entire page of toy ideas I have written down (yes, a full page!). Everyone I ask has their own preference, and all I can muster is a lack of enthusiasm. Although somehow, while just casually thinking about my yarn stash, I think up a fabulous new idea that would be so cute!

Through all of this confusion, I've kept thinking about the stuff I really miss doing, because designing has been taking up all my time for the past year. I really miss just knitting toys for the fun of it - creating something small and cuddly with it's own personality. Something I can work away at, without writing down every detail. Changing little bits here and there, to suit the picture I have in my head. And then, sending them out into the world to be loved by someone else. As much as I enjoy having oodles of knitted toys around the house, it does make me a little sad that they will never be snuggled, chewed on, squished, cuddled up, or carried around by someone who loves them*. Or, that they might have a special place with someone older, who will look at them lovingly every day, and perhaps smile about some happy memory that the toy brings back to them.

So for the next few months, while I'm also busy with my garden and rapidly growing boy, I will be just knitting toys. The new ideas will always be there, and I will probably work on them a bit when I feel like it. But I think I have plenty of cute patterns to keep everyone busy for long enough to give me the break I need. Besides, I still have to release the rest of individual designs from Fuzzy Knits, which is quite a lot in itself!

*Lev has a nice selection of knitted toys for his very own, so don't worry! Most especially, this particular bear is quite the worse for wear.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Fuzzy Knits, take 2!

At long last, after a year's worth of knitting, writing, editing, photographing, proof-reading, formatting, (and on and on, it seemed) the second edition of Fuzzy Knits is ready!

I've written a bunch about the individual designs before, so I won't get into them now. You can go here to see images of all the patterns. I'll just leave you with the details of where you can get it (clicking the links to follow will take you to where you can purchase the book).

The download version (i.e. a PDF file) can be bought on Ravelry and Lulu. The file you download includes the cover. This option is really nice, because you can print it yourself and keep it in a handy binder or plastic sleeves.

The printed book can be bought on either Lulu or Qoop. These two shops offer slightly different versions of the book: on Lulu the book is perfect-bound with a soft cover and full-colour photos, while on Qoop the book is coil-bound with a soft cover and you can choose between black & white or full-colour photos.

Now for the tricky part. We are offering a copy of the new book to anyone who bought the first edition of Fuzzy Knits. Because Lulu does not give us a list of who buys what, we will need to see a copy of your receipt for the old book*. You can forward that to barbara at fuzzymitten dot com. Then I will email you a PDF file of the new book. Please be patient, as it may take me a few days to get through everyone's emails.

EDIT: I’ve also discovered that if you no longer have your Lulu receipt for ‘Fuzzy Knits’, you should be able to find a purchase history in your Lulu account. So you can just copy that info into an email and send it along to me.

Also, you might notice that we updated the cover of Festive Knits. This is so the style matches the cover of Fuzzy Knits, but the content of that book has not been changed in any way.

*Please note that if you bought a printed copy of the first edition, we cannot replace it with a printed copy of the second edition. You will receive a download copy of the new book.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

moving forward

Everything is slowly coming together on the second edition of Fuzzy Knits. It's only taken us, what, a year! Sheesh, I suppose that's normal for a regular published book, but it seems like ages for me. I guess with a regular book, you also get to rely on others for a bunch of the work. Doing my own editing and proof-reading is a tad scary - hoping I don't miss any serious mistakes, that everything makes sense, that you can all follow the instructions! Thank goodness Mr. Mitten has the patience to do all the rest of the formatting in the publishing software, because I don't know if I would be up to that.

I've also taken all the photos myself, with Mr. Mitten doing the photo editing. We spent all day Sunday on the 12 pattern photos, and I think they turned out pretty good. We went for a much simpler style than in Festive Knits. I just have to get a good cover shot now, and then we're ready for the first printed copy!

Of course, all this work has me thinking, what next? (seriously, folks, my creative brain never quits. Sometimes I wish it would let me have a little vacation...) I've been perusing the Knitted Toys group over on Ravelry for ages, trying to figure out what you all want to knit. I've come up with a few categories that most of the projects seem to fall into:
  • very simple, usually knit in the round with minimal sewing
  • very complex with lots of pieces to sew together, or complex shaping (or both)
  • somewhere in between, which is where mine usually fall
  • dolls, of various styles (lots of topsy-turvy dolls lately)
  • sock monkeys
  • food
  • other (odd but cuddly) things
All this variety has me wondering what you would like to knit next? I am a little tired of the same old thing, hence the Bunny Puppet. It's cute and cuddly like my other toys, but the design is almost totally different. However, I know you all like the cute animals with clothes, and there is no end of animals that could be worked into this format (more or less successfully, although this often depends on how inspired I feel).

I had a few ideas of what I wanted to do this year, but now I'm not too sure about how to move forward from the mammoth project Fuzzy Knits turned out to be. I'd really like to take a little break for Spring planting, and enjoy being outside with my munchkin. But, I also want to keep my brain working on new things for you, even if my knitting needles take a rest. I wish I could design all the things people ask for, and all the things I think up myself, but my knitting time is so limited now... I need to figure out the best idea, if I can, and concentrate on that. So, any input you are kind enough to give me would be very helpful!

Who knows? Maybe inspiration will hit, once I've had a little time to rest. This season of change could bring just about anything...

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

work report

I have a few things to report in the way of Fuzzy Mitten doings lately. We're chugging along on the new Fuzzy Knits book. All it really needs now is the photos, and then we can order the first copy to see how it looks. So close, and yet it still seems so far away! Probably because I started this project thinking it would only take 4-6 months, but it's taken us an entire year.

I'm not too sure what's next. I have one new pattern in the works, but I might hang onto it until the Autumn, as that seems a more appropriate time for it. I've been thinking of designing a pattern for Knitpicks new Independent Designer Program. Have any of you heard of this, or made use of it? It seems like a good venue for patterns, since their yarns are fairly popular in the US. However, the patterns are all $1.99, so I would design something a bit simpler than my usual patterns. I've got a good idea, I just need the yarn and the time!

Thanks so much to those of you who bought a Bunny Puppet kit! I didn't realize they would sell so quickly. If any of you wanted one, but missed out last week, you're in luck! I've found some more yarn, and there are a bunch of new kits in my shop now. The yarns are a little different from the first set, but just as nice. There's still plenty of time to knit one before Easter, so go have a look!

In other news, our Baby Mitten is growing, and no longer a baby! Maybe we should call him Munchkin Mitten now? He's been walking for a few months, is rather chatty (even if most of his words sound the same), and is finally growing some hair. He requires a lot of my time now, especially with him taking only one nap a day, learning so much all the time, and getting into anything within reach. It's really funny too, some of the things they learn! Lev loves our kitties, and is always asking me to play with them or give them treats (this is so they will stop hiding from him, since he's still a bit rough).

He's also started singing along to his favourite cartoon, a Russian version of the Bremen Town Musicians.  He's certainly not in tune, but it's so cute! He even sings at the same parts of the songs every time.