Posts filed in: Shop Talk

More Maggie Kits Now in Stock for Easter!

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I was supposed to tell you this two days ago but I am a little behind, I'm sorry: We have more Miss Maggie Rabbit softie kits now in stock for Easter! Yay. This is good. I love Maggie. We put together a whole bunch of kits with various Liberty of London dress fabrics and yarns that we have used previously, or used for other animals. Available right now (in limited quantities) are:

Danjo

Elysian

Betsy

Meadow

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Each of these images will link to the Maggie Rabbit kit page, and then you can choose your option from the drop-down menu (click on the tiny arrow at the right edge of the product options box to see the drop-down menu). To see the original post I wrote about Maggie Rabbit (which has answers to some questions you might have), click here. To see so many adorable Maggies that people have made over the past two years, click here!

My new ABC cross-stitch kit, along with more Juniper Kitties, Basil Foxes, and even more Maggie Rabbits will be available sometime in April — but not before Easter, so I wanted to make sure we got these out to you in time to fill baskets.

Thank you, thank you, thank you! Back very soon with arboretum pictures. Xoxo, A & Co.

***If you would like a kit for another animal, all of the animal kits can be found here. Digital PDF patterns (and more sweaters, clothes, and accessories) patterns can be found here. Thank you!

***I'll remove any of these fabrics that sell out, so no, you aren't seeing things if you come back and something's missing! That means it has sold out. Sorry! And thank you very much!

Swirlywhirl, and Slow

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January. What would I do without you, specifically your frowsy second half, after the holidays and the birthdays and the outings? Because there are the lights . . . and the burnt-out lights and the only-half-put-away decorations and the only-half-put-away presents and all the things, things strewn here and there and everywhere, things that only appear here in the second half of January, somehow, and somehow my normally compulsive tidying impulse just drifts away like a little piece of fluff on the sodden winter wind. Bye-bye. There it goes! Instead I settle, and heavily, into the downy puff of calico on our sofa, let Amelia watch too much Peppa Pig (but she's so soft and snuggly, tucked under my big, soft arm where she fits so perfectly, when she's watching!), and cook giant batches of things to freeze for three more dinners, or twelve more breakfasts, all to minimize my time away from needle and thread. Because when I get an idea, especially in January, make way, all you other things I should be doing (cleaning! taxes! grocery shopping!). I must sew.

Could anything be more antithetical to my life right now than making tiny cross-stitches on 32-count linen? Oh my stars, it is slow, so slow, and so small. I couldn't decide if this was a good or a bad thing. For sure, it is stark relief against the background of days with a whirling, twirling toddler, who once again has started dragging the chair all over the house and getting into everything on every surface: the basket of punch cards and keys and stray coins we keep by the front door; my dish of extra buttons from new clothes, and jewelry, and random push pins (?) I apparently (though I had forgotten it, until she found it and strewed the contents around the room) keep on my dresser; the houseplants that are (leaf by leaf) being denuded of leaves; the Lenox wedding-china teacup she brought to me, holding it up in both hands as if presenting a rare bird. I gasped to see it and r u s h e d — you know the oxymoronic slow rush you must do so as not to completely freak her out and cause her to just wig, and throw it? — out of the kitchen to pluck the cup neatly from her little hands and try to determine how she managed to (silently) finagle the elaborate system of ponytail holders we have holding the china-cabinet doors closed (since the attempt at installing the baby lock on that door actually broke the door frame, etc., etc.). When her hair slides loose from its braids, and she is rushing from one of her work stations (the mail basket!) to the other (the dining-room lamp cords!), she looks like Animal from the Muppets (Andy's favorite childhood character, conveniently) in the midst of an epic drum solo. Our house is only so babyproofable. Not babyproofable enough, right now. Winter in Portland: You don't know what raining means until you have a careening, ambitious toddler that can't go to the park every day.

Nevertheless, oh my darling girl, how I love the torrent of language that is flowing from her lips. Almost constant chatter, and much of it starting to make sense, and the sense it makes is so sweet and so funny and so fascinating to me. Wow. The babble, the questions, the songs, the pretend noises (dinosaur! kitty!), the shouts, the calls, the exclamations (yuck-y! mine! no! yes!) the thrilling sentences ("I want to play with this one!"). A jumble of expression, numbers and colors and songs and letters like a burst of confetti thrown into the air every minute. How could I not make an alphabet sampler for my tiny love who is just learning, right at this very moment, the ABCs? I couldn't not. I have never had such fun designing anything, or done it in such a real-time way.  Amelia takes the half-finished sampler from my hands, and names her world: apple, boat, kitty. Egg. Umbrella. Zebra!

I did the designing part quickly, like I do most everything else these days, rushing to finish plotting out every stitch on every single letter and image in one free afternoon. But then the stitching part — oh, that's the slow. And, well, now that I'm committed, it's a lovely, lovely slow. I had forgotten how lovely embroidering can be. I let myself completely settle in. It happens at night, after baby bedtime. Every night this month, by the white light of my hideous full-spectrum lamp, I stitch a motif, and a letter, and maybe half of a next one, drawing the thread through over and over again, finding it restorative after a season of so much activity — holidays, parties, events, trips, hikes, presents, people, etc., etc., etc. — and days of so much swirling, twirling toddlerness.

It's been a long time since I've designed a cross-stitch sampler, and I wanted to make this one a kit to use up the pretty substantial overstock of floss (from ornament kits, embroidery kits, and animal kits) that Stacey recently catalogued. There is a lot, and the palette is so pretty, I think. Most of the other cross-stitch pieces I've designed (and there have been quite a few that I never talked about here, because I did 1/3 of my second book on cross stitch, and none of those could be shared while in progress, which doesn't suit me) have been on 28-count linen. I thought it was my preferred. I do love it. But I couldn't get the color I wanted — Stone Gray, this sort of clay-colored, rosy gray — in 28-count (Cashel linen), only in 32 (Belfast linen). (To refresh your memory about cross-stitch counts, my tutorial on counted cross-stitch is here.) I pouted. I whined again about the cross-stitch industry (oh, fun!). I looked at and tested out about ten different colors. But I wanted Stone Gray. So I grudgingly started stitching on the 32-count, and I worked a few motifs on other colors of 28-count just to torture myself. And what happened was (you saw this coming, I know), I fell in love with the 32. Smaller, yes, but not even appreciably more "difficult" than stitching 28-count, and the motifs wind up looking tighter and brighter and more saturated, and that just feels right for this (rather large, in fact) piece. So now I love the 32! This almost never happens, but it did this time. Then the distributor called and said that Zweigart would custom dye, in Stone Gray, the yardage that I wanted for the kits in 28-count linen. And I said no. Now I'm sticking with the 32. So that's how that all went. And let's hope we can get this fabric.

Did you need to know all this? Probably not. But such is the exciting life of a cross-stitcher. I could hardly keep it to myself! And who else could I tell but you???

I love the design process so much, especially when it's not for a book, where there really isn't time to tweak the colors of the design. When I design on my own, I get to take my own time, and redo stuff until I'm happy. You don't know if colors are really "working" (that's relative) until you've stitched them. And they totally change depending on what background color (and, to a lesser degree, what count of fabric) you're using. I love all of that. I love working it out, and balancing it, and shifting it. I love obsessing about one color over another, changing the placement of an eye or mouth, or just swiftly rendering something to capture the feeling of energy that can't be belabored. You're seeing the first draft of it all here — these are not the final motifs or colors, but they're close. It's a funny life, in a way, to care about such little things in my few quiet hours of the day. It must provide some sort of weird balance, somehow. I don't even know. But it gives me something. It always has.

These are January thoughts, in the year that my baby girl is two.

***Answers to some questions here (more or less copied from the next post): The muffins were made from this recipe, and the Mammagetti is an old family recipe that came from my mom's mother. I think that's my sister's handwriting on the card. My mom said that when she was little she would often have ice-skating birthday parties and then everyone would come back to her house for Mammagetti. It is kind of a strange recipe — I made it for the first time last week in about ten years. There is an absolute ton of vegetables in this thing, so use a huge pot. My mom says that you really do HAVE to add the cheese. It totally changes it. And you really do have to cook it that long, I guess. As far as the "cheese container" size goes, I think the one I added was 8 oz. Re: the line in the recipe that says "fill to almost with water" [sic]: My mom says to just add 2 cups of water. Obviously, you can substitute fresh grated Parmesan or your own favorite spaghetti sauce for the Ragu, but this was the way we always made it in our family. It's a nostalgia thing. I love this but, ironically, my sister doesn't (anymore). I serve it over thin spaghetti with a big blob of ricotta and a big glass of milk. Sunday-night winter dinner. Yummy stuff.

A Cold Day Outfit Kits and Pattern (and Ornament Kits, Too!)

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If your Little Animal Family is getting chilly, you might want to consider making them a duffel coat, stripey sweater, jeans, boots, and a scarf this fall. Introducing A Cold Day Outfit Kit, available in two colorways. One is with a blue coat, butterscotch-stripey sweater, and an oatmeal-colored scarf:

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Or with a pink coat, blue stripey sweater, and a pale pink scarf:

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Yay! I'm excited about these!

Each kit includes a printed pattern with stitching instructions and photos, an embroidery tutorial,  knitting patterns, and all full-size pattern templates. Each item page also contains a detailed list of what materials are included in each kit and what else you will need to have. You can choose your colorway from the drop-down menu. Each kit costs $30 each, plus shipping. Fabrics and yarns are not interchangable between kits, nor do we sell yardage of or individual pieces of felt or fabric.

If you would prefer a downloadable PDF pattern only for the Cold Day Outfit, please get that HERE.

Please note also that the Cold Day Outfit kits and pattern do not include instructions or materials for making the actual animals themselves. Please see the whole collection of animal kits or animal patterns for individual animals and their original outfits.

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And now I want to say that I'm really happy to bring back last year's kit, NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS. The Night Before Christmas collection sold out too quickly last year, and I felt bad that some of you who have been collecting my ornaments for a long time now did not get a chance to purchase one. So we have reissued a limited edition of this kit this year, and it will be in the shop until it sells out. 

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It has a Nestled Child, all snug in her bed with her kitters . . .

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There is a mouse we call Notevena, and she is definitely stirring . . .

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And there's that everpresent little dream I dream each year: How I would love (for my baby girl) to wake up to the new-fallen snow!

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We also still have limited numbers of previous years' kits, including 2012's kit, WINTER CABIN:

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There is a Lighted Window, to welcome all passersby . . .

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There is a Western Bluebird, to provide the winter song . . .

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And there is a Whistling Tea Kettle, to make the Earl Grey . . .

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And 2011's kit, SWEET HOME:

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It includes a Blue Door, with a wreath to welcome you home . . .

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A Glowing Candle, to light the night . . .

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And a Wild Bunny to keep you company . . .

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We also have 2010's kit, SNOW DAY:

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It includes a Red Wool Coat, to keep you warm and dry . . .

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A traditional Norwegian Selbu mitten, to keep your hands toasty . . .

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And a Polar Bear, far from the Arctic Circle, peeking out from behind the trees.

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 2009's ornament-making kit, WALK IN THE WOODS, is entirely sold out! I'm very sorry!!!

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And last but not least, we also have the first, 2008's kit, ICE SKATING AFTERNOON, as well!

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There's the Hot Cocoa Cup, to warm you up:

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The Ice Skate, with pom-pon for good measure:

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And lastly, the Gingerbread Girl, the sweetest of all:

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Please click on the links for each of the kits above to take to you the web shop pages, which list what's included in each and what you will need to have. Each ornament kit costs $30 each, plus shipping.

About the skill level needed to complete these: In previous years I said that, while I don't think of these kits necessarily as a children's or a beginner's project, if you have some experience working some basic stitches, these ornaments take more time and patience than skill. I will include directions on transferring the designs to the felt, and basic diagrams for completing the types of classic embroidery stitches you will need to know — backstitch, lazy-daisy stitch, satin stitch, French knot, and blanket stitch — but once you are comfortable working those stitches, if you just take your time and settle in, you will be fine. Someone asked which the easiest kit is, and I have to agree with Lori (I think it was my dear Lori) who said the Walk in the Woods kit is the easiest. Snow Day is the hardest, I think.

All six ornament patterns are always available as downloadable PDFs HERE. A list of the specific felt colors and piece sizes and floss colors you need can be found HERE. You will need that list, so don't forgot to click on it (and a link to it is available on each of the product pages, as well). If you are purchasing a kit, you do NOT need to purchase a pattern. Printed patterns come in each of the kits.

I also have supplies like glue (though we can't ship that internationally; see below), sewing needles and tiny needles for adding beads, wax-free chalk tracing paper, and water-erase fabric markers that will help you make these ornaments. You can find them all HERE (and the specific items you need for each kit are suggested in the item details for each kit, too). I have a limited supply of these items, so if you are interested in them please order soon. I doubt I'll be able to restock before Christmas.

Yes, we do ship internationally, but please read the following before placing your order: All international shipments are sent via USPS first-class international mail (or Priority, depending on their weight) and are charged a higher shipping fee depending on the weight of items and the destination. Shipping fees are added automatically when you place your order; to calculate them you need to walk through steps 1 and 2 of the ordering process. Once items leave the U.S. they are not able to be tracked past their last location here. It is happening more and more often: You — especially if you are in the United Kingdom — may also be charged import taxes, customs fees, duties, or other charges by your home country when you receive the shipment; you are responsible for these. Unfortunately I can't control where, why, or how customs agents determine whether to charge you or not and, after shipping thousands of overseas packages through the years, there doesn't seem to be a lot of rhyme or reason to who gets charged. Please note that the USPS does not allow us to pay any taxes or fees for you on our end, prior to shipping. I mark all of my shipments "merchandise"; please don't ask me to mark them as gifts because it is illegal to do that, and I won't. Thank you!

The only thing we cannot ship internationally is the fabric glue, because it is prohibited. If you are overseas and you do accidentally put it in your cart, we will refund that part of the order and ship the rest of your things.

Because we are shipping so quickly, please make sure that your shipping address is correct when you place your order. In some cases, we are shipping orders the exact same day the order is placed, so it's important that you check your address on your end properly before submitting your order, because once it's out there, it's out there! If you do need to change your address, or anything about your order, or add things to your order, etc., please email me immediately. I will not be able to change your original order for you (because the system won't let me), but what I will do is cancel the original order and have you place a new order with everything you need in it. This will be Stacey's first time shipping a lot of orders at once and I would love for this to be as manageable as possible for her (so that she stays with me forever). That said, of course if you do need to change your address (before it is shipped), or anything about your order do not even hesitate to email me immediately and I will help you with whatever you need!

Thank you, thank you, thank you for all of your support of these animals and these ornaments over these many (many!) years. It has been such a great adventure for me to design these things, and the greatest privilege to make them available to you. My trusty crew (Stacey, Greta, Susie, Andy, and the amazing fabric-cutting and floss-packaging ladies, Dana and Sarah at Spooltown) and I design, write, illustrate, photograph, assemble, and ship every one of these kits all by ourselves. There are now thousands of Posie critters big and small on and under Christmas trees all over the world, and it's my true honor and sincere delight that you have welcomed all of them into your homes. I have so many more ideas I want to explore. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to do that, and share my ideas with you. Your interest and enthusiasm is so very, very appreciated by every one of us here, but especially me. Thank you so much, dear friends. Thank you.

New Animal Sewing Kits, a New Web Site, and a Brand New Look for the Blog!

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Well, good morning! Yes, you're in the right place! Welcome to my new . . . everything! I have so much to tell you. But first let me tell you about the newest members of the Posie Little Animal Family.

There are four new members of the family. The first is Miss Juniper Kitty. She wears an empire peasant dress, a knitted wool cowl, and removable Wellington boots. She has two dress and yarn options. This is Emma and Georgina dress fabric with Lemongrass yarn:

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And this is Edenham dress fabric with Dark Magenta yarn:

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Next there's Miss Dandelion Doe. She's a shy little doe in a mini-dress, knitted kerchief, and removable embroidered boots. Here she is in Fairford dress fabric with Blue Fog yarn:

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And my personal favorite, Thorpe dress fabric with Arctic Moss yarn:

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Then there's Miss Phyllis Mouse. She, too, wears a mini-dress but with knitted wool leg warmers and moccasins. Here she is in Elysian dress fabric with Lavender Cloud yarn:

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And this is the lovely turquoise colorway of Betsy dress fabric with Lullaby yarn:

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Mwah. Love her.

Okay, and then we have the long-awaited and ever-dapper Mr. Basil Fox, here sporting a gray gingham cotton lawn shirt with denim jeans, a scarlet wool scarf, and removable boots:

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He has four shirt/yarn options:

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And of course last but not least, you know Miss Maggie Rabbit. We still have kits for her, and she has a new scarf color to go with her Meadow dress fabric:

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Hello, little girl. It's good to see you again! :)

CLICK HERE to see all of the KITS in the Little Animal Family!

And CLICK HERE if you'd just like to download the digital PDF patterns for any of these animals.

Each kit includes a printed pattern with stitching instructions and photos, an embroidery tutorial, a knitting pattern, and all full-size pattern templates. Each item page also contains a detailed list of what materials are included in each kit and what else you will need to have. You can choose your fabric/yarn from the drop-down menu for each animal. Each softie kit costs $34 each, plus shipping. Fabrics and yarns are not interchangable between kits, nor do we sell yardage of any fabric.

All of the clothes and accessories that have been designed for these animals are interchangeable between animals. Dandelion's knitted kerchief includes ear-holes that only really fit her and Maggie, but the kerchief can be worn as a little shawl by the other animals. (And Basil's pants and shirt are pretty much the same pattern as the original Little Pants and Shirt for Rabbits pattern, FYI.) But if you purchase a kit for one of the animals, you might also want to look at the rest of downloadable animal patterns for making more clothes and accessories for your particular critter.

Yes, we do ship internationally, but please read the following before placing your order: All international shipments are sent via USPS first-class international mail (or Priority, depending on their weight) and are charged a higher shipping fee depending on the weight of items and the destination. Shipping fees are added automatically when you place your order; to calculate them you need to walk through steps 1 and 2 of the ordering process. Once items leave the U.S. they are not able to be tracked past their last location here. It is happening more and more often: You — especially if you are in the United Kingdom — may also be charged import taxes, customs fees, duties, or other charges by your home country when you receive the shipment; you are responsible for these. Unfortunately I can't control where, why, or how customs agents determine whether to charge you or not and, after shipping thousands of overseas packages through the years, there doesn't seem to be a lot of rhyme or reason to who gets charged. Please note that the USPS does not allow us to pay any taxes or fees for you on our end, prior to shipping. I mark all of my shipments "merchandise"; please don't ask me to mark them as gifts because it is illegal to do that, and I won't. Thank you!

Because we are shipping so quickly, please make sure that your shipping address is correct when you place your order. Since Greta is literally moving to Ohio tomorrow, but wanted to be in on this first day of the sale at least, we will begin shipping orders today, so it's important that you check your address on your end properly before submitting your order, because once it's out there, it's out there! If you do need to change your address (before it is shipped), or anything about your order, or add things to your order, etc., please email me immediately. I will not be able to add anything to your original order for you (because the system won't let me), but what I will do is cancel the original order and have you place a new order with everything you need in it. I do not accept phone orders, or checks in the mail.

My best advice is that if you like a particular fabric/yarn combo, do not wait to order it. I can never predict exactly how things will go, but in the past, new kits have sold out very quickly. (I will update this page as things sell out.) We WILL make more kits if they sell out, but we will use new fabrics and new yarns, because it's just a lot more fun that way. I rarely like to do the exactly same thing twice! But we can talk about that more if/when it happens.

Last but not least, before I let you go I just have to say exactly how incredibly thrilled I am to show you my new blog and web site designs, built by the amazing, lovely, and extraordinarily talented folks at Aeolidia. I'll talk more about the process of how this all came together after I get some sleep, but for now I just want to invite you to explore these new designs and thank you so much for being here!

P.S. If you have any questions or problems today, just let me know in a comment and I will answer here (as soon as I can). Thank you!

***Okay, a few answers  sorry for the delay! Regarding skill level to make these: So, I always say that you need more enthusiasm than skill to make my projects  although they aren't designed specifically for beginners, my patterns do include step-by-step sewing instructions with photo illustrations, along with drawings and instructions for particular sewing and embroidery stitches. That said, in the pattern I do encourage everyone to practice stitching on scraps of felt, or to make a practice dress (or shirt, or pants) out of other fabric first, to practice. The clothes  especially Phyllis's and Dandelion's dress  are challenging, because they're really small! If you have clothing construction experience it helps, because you understand the order in which dresses (and shirts) kind of get put together. That all said, as I also always say, it's just stuffed animals, not brain surgery! So just go for it and have fun! I have had several people write to me in the past year since Maggie was developed to say that she was the first thing that they've ever made and they enjoyed making her very much, so I think you can do it! And if you ever don't understand something, just let me know and I will help you!

***I don't teach people how to knit in the knitting patterns, however. You do need to know how to knit  cast on, knit, purl, increase, decrease, cast on in the middle of a row (I use backward loop), and read knitting directions  in order to follow the directions for the knitwear. There are so many videos online that can teach you these basics, so if you have a hankering to knit, these patterns are small and pretty simple, and are good first and second projects.

***I've gotten a couple of emails from people who are having trouble finding their digital patterns after payment. So, after payment is completed, the screen will display a link toward the bottom of the box that says "Click here to download your pattern." Just click it, and then save your pattern to your harddrive. Then print it out for your use. If you should miss this link, a separate email  not the order confirmation or the Paypal, but an automatically generated email from the server that hosts the patterns  will be sent to you at the email address you used to place the order, and that will also include a link to download your patterns. These emails do bounce sometimes, so do check your junk folder. If all else fails, don't even worry  just email me and I'll send them to you via email, no problem!

Tuesday, May 27th

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At 10:00 a.m. Pacific Standard Time is when I'm planning to make the four new animal kits (and their respective PDF patterns) available! I'll post all of the information and links here, so stay tuned!

Thank you and have a wonderful weekend, everyone! xo

A Busy Week

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Oh, busy days! Andy has had four days in a row off so I've been flailing around in the studio trying to get my new animals and their stuff pulled together. Many, many, many, oh most pictures I've taken this week have looked thrillingly like this:

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And this:

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Oh, and this:

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And far too few have looked adorably like this:

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MWAH. MWAH. MWAH. Eskimo kiss.

Well, it's one of those weeks. Time to make the doughnuts. I get up and showered as early as possible. I'm combed and coffeed by 7:00 a.m. most days. It's still dark outside then, but each time I look up from the work the sky is glowing a lighter shade of ultraviolet. There are four new animal kits (and patterns) in the works: Juniper Kitty, Dandelion Doe, Phyllis Mouse, and Basil Fox. The girls each have new dresses in two new Liberty fabrics, new boots, and new knitwear (cowl, kerchief, and legwarmers). The boy has a gingham shirt (in four color options), jeans, boots, and a scarf. There's also a separate kit/pattern for a hooded duffle coat, jeans, striped sweater, and a different scarf. And a pattern for the minty bed, and a kit/pattern for a nightgown, and all of the bedding. When I write it all out like that, I can see it's a lot. I've ordered nineteen different fabrics from seven different distributors or manufacturers, and thirteen different colors of felt from one. One hundred and eighteen cones of floss in thirty-seven different colors. Eleven thousand gray mini buttons. Twelve hundred 3/8" snaps. Two hundred and ten cones of sport-weight yarn. Sixteen different colors for that. Oh, and there's a teddy bear. I forgot about the teddy bear. Make that fourteen colors of felt.

It's both exhiliarating and terrifying. I've been making kits for a long time now, and I love it. I do truly love it. Of all of the things I've done in the past fourteen years of having a business, this has been the best for me, and the thing most suited to my abilities and interests. Certain things that I've done were so ill-suited to my abilities and interests (owning a shop, for one; I really have no words to say how miserable that made me) that when I get stressed out about these kits, I just remember how much I hated those things. But this part, this part where I'm figuring, and measuring, and ordering, and simultaneously designing, oh lord. It stretches me out flat. I burble and stagger. At night I sit like a zombie, watching my Alaska shows: Alaska: The Last Frontier. Buying Alaska. Coast Guard Alaska. Alaska Fish Wars. Railroad Alaska. Ultimate Survival Alaska. None of us can figure out exactly why I am, apparently, obsessed with Alaska. I don't even think I am actually obsessed with Alaska. (I also don't seem to be able to tear my eyes away from House Hunters International, though I have absolutely zero plans to ever move from this house.) Baby Mimi goes to bed between six and seven p.m., and oh, my goodness, that girl is a good sleeper (and is, once again, sleeping through the night, no problem). Isn't it just kind of a great moment when, after ordering fabric all day and being told that they have bolts that they don't actually have when it comes time to ship, and that four of the prints you've wanted are discontinued, and you'll have to pick other things even though you already have ordered several other things that go with those original things that you can't get, so you'll have to spend hours desperately scouring the internet to get those things somewhere else or give up and pick other things, isn't it sooooo just kind of a great moment when at seven p.m., after you've put your babylove to bed and put on your nightgown and taken out your contacts and brushed your teeth, you come back downstairs and pick up your knitting and then you get to watch a new episode of Railroad Alaska??? I mean, does it get any better than this, people?!?!?!?!?! No. Not for me. Ordering twenty-nine bolts of fabric does not seem as scary and difficult as, say, using an avalanche cannon, or trying not to get hit by a gigantic ice dagger. Or even using a dilapidated outhouse in the dead of winter. Perspective.

So, we're almost at the point where all of the ordering has happened, and the stuff is starting to come in, and the preparation of all the stuff begins. I work on the sewing and the knitting and the photographing and the writing, and the girls work on the floss-pulling and the button-bagging and the felt-folding. We are having all of the fabric cut now by Spooltown, the little factory down the road. Greta and I will go there today and drop off some fabric that's already come in. They'll fold it for us, as well. At night I talk to the animals and make sure we're getting it right: Do you want the pinkish dress, or the yellow? You want the yellow. That's what I thought. We usually agree.

My plan for 2014 is just . . . not to rush. When I decided to stop designing ornament kits last year, some of it had to do with the schedule that designing for a specific date — like a holiday — forces upon you. It turns out that it's almost never the actual work that is so difficult, it's the deadlines that make it so tough (for me, anyway). Since I work for myself, and only ever want to work for myself, this is something I can control. This is one of the perks. (There are downsides, trust me, but this is one of the perks, especially as a working/stay-at-home mom.) So, we're looking at this spring, sometime. I'm not going to set a date until we're very close to being done. But it feels good. I love working and I'm so lucky to have such excellent people helping me. So lucky to have them.

Thank you so much for all of the birthday wishes! We finished the cake a few days ago, and then there was another one over the weekend, because my brother-in-law's birthday is two days after mine, and my mom's is the day after that. I think everyone's quite partied and present-ed out. It's finally back to regular days. I'm looking forward to it, truly.

Night Before Christmas Ornament Kits (SOLD OUT): Older Kits Now on Sale!

comments: 63

On the night of December 24, Santa will be getting ready to visit one little house tucked under some great big oak trees in a sparkly little city in the great Pacific Northwest. . . .

Introducing my new 2013 ornament-making kit: NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS

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It has a Nestled Child, all snug in her bed with her kitters . . .

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There is a mouse we call Notevena, and she is definitely stirring . . .

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And there's that everpresent little dream I dream each year: How I would love (for my baby girl) to wake up to the new-fallen snow!

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Each Night Before Christmas Felt Holiday Ornament Craft Kit contains materials to make one of each of the three ornaments, including:

16 pieces of wool blend felt in assorted colors
Coordinating DMC cotton embroidery floss
1/4 yd imported French gingham ribbon (for hanger)
1/4 yd imported French cotton lace (for hangers)
1/2 yd imported French cotton ribbon (for curtains)
Beads and sequins
Stitching instructions
Pattern templates
Illustrated embroidery tutorial

You will need to have your own:

Babysitter
Wool batting or Polyester Fiber-fill
Sharp embroidery needle
Dressmaker's chalk pencil or fabric marker
Dressmaker's wax-free chalk tracing paper
Glue
Tiny needles for sewing on beads
Sharp fabric scissors and paper scissors
Motivation
Snacks
Fireplace
Kitty-puppy foot warmers
Television to watch streaming Netflix documentaries
Someone to cook dinner and bring it to you because these will take you a while

:)

We have also put together limited editions of previous years' kits, including 2012's kit, WINTER CABIN:

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There is a Lighted Window, to welcome all passersby . . .

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There is a Western Bluebird, to provide the winter song . . .

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And there is a Whistling Tea Kettle, to make the Earl Grey . . .

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And 2011's kit, SWEET HOME:

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It includes a Blue Door, with a wreath to welcome you home . . .

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A Glowing Candle, to light the night . . .

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And a Wild Bunny to keep you company . . .

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We also have 2010's kit, SNOW DAY:

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It includes a Red Wool Coat, to keep you warm and dry . . .

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A traditional Norwegian Selbu mitten, to keep your hands toasty . . .

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And a Polar Bear, far from the Arctic Circle, peeking out from behind the trees.

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2009's ornament-making kit, WALK IN THE WOODS, is also available:

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It includes the Cozy Cottage, with the wood fires burning:

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The Snowy Tree, sparkling with ice crystals:

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And my favorite, the Little Deer, who watches shyly from the trees:

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And last but not least, the first, 2008's kit, ICE SKATING AFTERNOON, as well!

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There's the Hot Cocoa Cup, to warm you up:

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The Ice Skate, with pom-pon for good measure:

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And lastly, the Gingerbread Girl, the sweetest of all:

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Please click on the links for each of the kits above to take to you the web shop pages, which list what's included in each and what you will need to have. Each ornament kit costs $30 each, plus shipping.

About the skill level needed to complete these: In previous years I said that, while I don't think of these kits necessarily as a children's or a beginner's project, if you have some experience working some basic stitches, these ornaments take more time and patience than skill. I will include directions on transferring the designs to the felt, and basic diagrams for completing the types of classic embroidery stitches you will need to know — backstitch, lazy-daisy stitch, satin stitch, French knot, and blanket stitch — but once you are comfortable working those stitches, if you just take your time and settle in, you will be fine. Someone asked which the easiest kit is, and I have to agree with Lori (I think it was my dear Lori) who said the Walk in the Woods kit is the easiest. Snow Day is the hardest, I think.

If you are interested in ordering any of these kits, the very best advice I can give you is do not wait to place your order. We will ship them out as fast as we can. In previous years, these kits have sold out every year long before Christmas. This year we are doing a slightly larger quantity than we usually do for the new kit, but a lot larger quantities of the older kits. Even so, once these are sold out, it is very unlikely that we will be re-issuing these kits again. This is it!

All six patterns are also now available as downloadable PDFs HERE. A list of the specific felt colors and piece sizes and floss colors you need can be found HERE. You will need that list, so don't forgot to click on it (and a link to it is available on each of the product pages, as well). If you are purchasing a kit, you do NOT need to purchase a pattern. Printed patterns come in each of the kits.

I also have new supplies like glue (though we can't ship that internationally; see below), sewing needles and tiny needles for adding beads, wax-free chalk tracing paper, and water-erase fabric markers that will help you make these ornaments. You can find them all HERE (and the specific items you need for each kit are suggested in the sidebar for each kit, too). I have a limited supply of these items, so if you are interested in them please order soon before they sell out!

We do ship internationally. Please read my information about that HERE. The only thing we cannot ship internationally is the fabric glue, because it is prohibited. If you are overseas and you do accidentally put it in your cart, we will refund that part of the order and ship the rest of your things.

Because we are shipping so quickly, PLEASE make sure that your shipping address is correct when you place your order. In some cases, we are shipping orders the exact same day the order is placed, so it's important that you check your address on your end properly before submitting your order, because once it's out there, it's out there! If you do need to change your address, or anything about your order, or add things to your order, etc., please email me immediately. I will not be able to change your original order for you (because the system won't let me), but what I will do is cancel the original order and have you place a new order with everything you need in it. Because of the volume of orders that come in very quickly and the number of people that are helping me with this project, this is the only way that works for us to minimize mistakes on our end. I do not accept phone orders, or checks in the mail.

Okay. I will stop talking now. Thank you again, I truly and sincerely thank you, for your interest and enthusiasm for these kits for all of these years. Your generosity and your excitement mean so much to me, and it is a privilege to be able to make these kits and patterns for you. I love this job and I truly thank you for kind words and your purchases, every single one. Thank you. Xoxoxo

***UPDATE: To anyone who was trying to order the digital PDF of the Night Before Christmas pattern and was getting charged shipping, I made a mistake on the web site and had something check-marked that I shouldn't have — you should NOT be charged any shipping on digital patterns. This is fixed now and I apologize for the frustration (and thank you to those of you who let me know!). Sorry about that!

Ornament Kits Update

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Here's a sneak peak of the Nestled Child, the Newfallen Snowflake, and little Notevena Mouse, the stars of my newest felt ornament collection called Night Before Christmas, inspired, of course, by my little one and how excited I am to begin sharing traditions (as this story is for so many people) with her!

I will give you ALL of the details about this collection (as well as my previous five collections) when the kits go on sale next week, probably Thursday or Friday. I'll keep you posted, don't worry. We did things a little bit different this time in terms of felt. We had the manufacturer cut most of it for us this time, and, for reasons to boring to go into, you will notice that you will be getting more felt than you need to create these ornaments. That is because in order to have them cut it, we had to simplify the number of sizes of pieces we had, so we sized up on many of them. That's okay for you because you can use the felt scraps for so many other things (like flower clips). We also did things different in terms of floss. This time, instead of including individual skeins of every color you need (sometimes up to nine or ten skeins per kit, I think, and often you would only need a few inches of floss of that color!), we pulled floss from giant cones and cut it into small, customized hanks for each kit, the way we've done with our Maggie Rabbit kits and the Winterwoods kits. This is how we will do all of the floss for all of our kits from now on. We've tried to be generous with the amount of floss, but of course if you ever need any more to finish the project, just let me know. We had to determine amounts retroactively for the first five kits this time, so there was some guesswork, but I feel good about it, and I think it will be fine.

I've also added some new supplies to the web shop to help you complete the kits. Wax-free dressmaker's transfer paper, fabric markers, tiny needles for sewing on the beads and sequins, and fabric glue (though this can't be mailed overseas) are all new in the shop.

Digitally downloadable PDFs of each of the previous patterns are currently available in the shop, and one for the new collection will be available as well. If you already have lots of felt and floss at home, these are a good option.

I think that's it for now, but I'll check back in after the weekend and let you know where we're at! Have a good one! xo, a

Maggie Rabbit's Back!

comments: 80

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Remember Mags? Yep, she's back! You can find her in kit form right HERE!

She has one previously available dress fabric and four new ones. There's Betsy:

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And Danjo (interesting name, but no, I didn't make it up — Liberty made up all of these :). The yarn looks darker here than it does in real life. It's more of a pale, warm maroon:

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Emilia's Flowers, for my dear Amelia:

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And Margaret Annie (appropriately!):

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And last but not least, sweet Meadow for my Clover Meadow:

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Just choose the dress fabric and yarn combo you would like from the drop-down menu (sorry, there are no substitutions!).

I also have some new clothes patterns! There are some Little Pants and a Shirt for Rabbits. You can make them for a boy bunny or a girl bunny. Just change the fabric and place the buttons on whichever side you'd like!

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There is a precious Little Knitted Dress for Rabbits (done from the top down, and mostly in the round [after you do the increases for the skirt]):

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And a Little Raglan Sweater for Rabbits, also for boys or girls (the directions will help you place the buttonholes on the left or right side, depending on which one you're making):

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And a Little Hooded Coat for Rabbits, all done in garter stitch, with holes in the hood for ears (of course!):

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I also have some Brown Sheep Nature Spun Sport Weight yarn for you to make all of these knitted things, in eighteen different colors (not all pictured here, but they are on the product page):

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And there are also Weensy Little Buttons in nine colors for your sweaters and shirts:

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And if you had trouble threading the elastic to go around the neck and cuffs of your bunny peasant dress, I have some size #18 needles with big eyes which will make it easier:

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Now. For the knitty (sp?) gritty:

  • I've fixed the shopping-cart issue that we had last time, so the specific name of the fabric, or the color of yarn, or the color of the buttons you've placed in your cart will show up, and not just the name of the general item. I'm really sorry I didn't realize this wasn't working until the end of the day of the last kit sale, and by then it was too late — my bad!!! But I think it's working nicely now, so this is good.
  • Please — and this is where I beg! — take your time while shopping and make sure you are putting everything you need into your cart before you check out. Unfortunately, I cannot add anything extra to an existing order once it's been placed. The best I can do is 1) cancel the original order for you and have you place a new order with everything you'd like included, or 2) just have you place another order for the new items, and if they are physical items that need to be shipped (i.e.: not a digitally downloaded pattern), you will have to pay shipping twice. Due to the volume of orders that we receive in a very short period of time, I have to rely completely on my system, and the system only lets me cancel, not tinker, so just take a moment to make sure you are getting everything you want in your cart before you check out.
  • Please also make sure you have the correct shipping address entered for your order.
  • All that said, if you do have a problem and need to email me, don't hesitate!
  • All patterns are available as digitally downloaded PDFs. (If you've ordered a kit, a hard copy of the pattern is included.) Once you've purchased it, a link to download your digital PDF pattern will be made immediately available to you upon completion of payment, even if you have purchased physical items at the same time. A link to download the patterns will also be emailed to you separately. Again, this system is completely automatic, so please make sure you are watching for the link at the end of your transaction, and have the correct email address attached to your order. If you have any problem receiving your pattern, let me know.
  • I do ship internationally. Please read my FAQ page for details on shipping to Canada and overseas (about halfway down the page) and info about customs charges, etc. (You may be charged duties or taxes or customs charges by your importing country, which unfortunately I can't control; this doesn't happen often but it does occasionally happen, so please be aware.) To see how much the general shipping cost (minus these potential charges) is to your location, please complete the checkout process to Step 2 (which is after you enter your address, so the system knows how much to charge you; shipping charges are different depending on location). You will see the shipping charge to your location and can decide if you would like to complete the transaction.

We have made a lot of kits this time, and hope to get everything shipped in the next several weeks or so (but please be patient, because it is only Greta and I working on this but we're doing our best; we have half othe kits already assembled but if we sell over that we will need some time to put more together). IF the kits do completely sell out again, please don't worry because we will make more. It's takes us some time, but we will make more! Kind of like Doritos.

Thank you very much!!! I'm really excited about this new stuff!

***Ooops! A couple of things I forgot to mention:

  • Thank you to everyone who submitted photos for the Pinterest gallery! Aren't these buns just adorable??? I LOVE seeing what people do to make their bunnies special and unique. Oh, they are just all so darn sweet. Thank you, guys. I love them all! (For info on submitting a photo for inclusion, see the second paragraph of this previous post. I am slow to upload these, so please don't worry if I don't get to yours right away. I get there eventually.)
  • The knitting patterns are brand new, so if you run into ANY trouble with them, email right away and I will figure it out. If there is any errata and I need to update a pattern, the service I use allows me to send you a notification that there is a new, corrected pattern to download. I will also get these patterns on Ravelry soon. Please check the web shop product page for any errata. I will post corrections there.
  • If any of the yarn runs out, we will reorder right away. This is my first time carrying yarn so I'm not sure what quantities to carry, but the manufacturer ships quickly so this can be turned around without losing too much time at all.

Thank you again, and thank you for being patient with me! I really appreciate it!

Miss Maggie Rabbit

comments: 163

***UPDATE, 3/1/13 at 6:53 p.m.: I am so sorry but the kits have just sold out. I know people are going to be really disappointed and I sincerely apologize. They went faster than I ever anticipated and I just really apologize if you didn't get to order one. We will be making more but not in time for you to make them for Easter. Thank you so much to everyone who ordered these kits. I'm truly overwhelmed. Please stay tuned and I will update you as to when we will have more kits (later this spring, hopefully in March)! This is a kit I want to keep permanently in my shop, so although we will need some time to make more, we will make more!!!

If you would like a digital PDF pattern to download, they are available HERE.

Mags

Aw, here she is! Miss Maggie Rabbit. Well, her parts and pieces, at least. If you'd like to buy a kit to make her, her dress, her capelet, and her boots that can be arranged. First, though, you must decide which dress fabric (and coordinating yarn) you'd like. There are twelve to choose from:

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Pretty, no? I think so.

Now, to make Miss Maggie Rabbit, her dress, her boots, and her capelet, this kit includes:

For Maggie:

  • Two 6" x 7" (15cm x 18cm) pieces of National Nonwovens wool-blend felt in color #WCF2612 Sandstone 
  • Two 6" x 9" (15cm x 23cm) pieces of National Nonwovens wool-blend felt in color #WCF2612 Sandstone
  • One 4" x 5" (10cm x 13cm) piece of Liberty Tana Lawn cotton in Eloise (Pink)

For her dress:

  • Two 9" x 14" (23cm x 36cm) pieces of Liberty Tana Lawn cotton
  • One yard (91cm) elastic thread

For her boots:

  • One 5" x 8" (13cm x 20cm) piece of National Nonwovens wool-blend felt in color #TOY2616 Havana Gold

For her capelet:

  • 40 yards (10g) of Brown Sheep Nature Spun sport-weight yarn
  • Three colors of 6-ply DMC cotton embroidery floss: #647 (Tan), #3021 (Dark Brown), and #823 (Navy)

 As well as:

  • Stitching instructions with photos
  • Embroidery tutorial
  • Knitting pattern
  • Pattern templates

You will need to have your own:

  • Size US5 (3.75mm) knitting needles
  • Size #5 embroidery needle for stitching rabbit
  • Size #18 darning needle for elastic thread
  • Water-erase fabric marker
  • Paper scissors, sharp fabric scissors, and sharp-tipped embroidery scissors
  • Sewing machine and thread to match dress fabric
  • Iron and ironing board
  • Wool batting and hemostats for stuffing Maggie
  • Pink stamp pad and small, short-bristled paintbrush
  • Spray starch, and spray bottle with water

Now that you know all that (I just wanted to make sure you knew all that), here is the link!

MISS MAGGIE RABBIT SOFTIE KIT, $34

And if you have your own supplies and you'd like only a downloadable digital PDF pattern (a link to which will be made immediately available to you upon completion of payment), it is available HERE.

Here are some other things I wanted to tell you:

  • Miss Maggie is a special bunny, and not meant to be played with by unsupervised babies or small children who might swallow her boots or her capelet, or chew off an ear or a leg. Please use your judgement and watch your baby or child carefully when they are playing with handmade softies, or any toys with smaller parts.
  • As I mentioned last week, there is not nor will there be a separate pattern or a kit for a boy bunny. But you can easily make a boy bunny from this pattern (or the kit) by leaving off the blushy cheeks and lining the ears with a more boyish fabric (stripes, plaid, gingham, polka-dots) of your own. I am developing new patterns for pants, sweaters, shirts, and other garments for both Maggie and her brother bunnies that will be available separately as downloadable PDFs. I'm not promising that they will be available before Easter, though. I'll try, but I can't promise.
  • Unfortunately, I cannot make any substitutions for yarn or fabrics included in the kits. They are all completely assembled down to the last piece of fabric, and we are ready to ship immediately. As I develop new knitting patterns, I will be offering skeins of the yarn I've used for the garments in my shop. I'll be carrying over a dozen colors so there will be plenty of choices there. I won't be carrying fabric separately. Only kits, patterns, and yarn.
  • The bunny and boots are completely hand-sewn with 2-plies of embroidery floss and blanket stitch (this is a great tutorial). The dress is machine-sewn, with a row of running stitches at the neckline and cuffs to gather. The capelet is knitted in garter stitch with short rows (and for these short rows, I just turn the work and start knitting back — no wrapping or anything else). Very easy. It's hard for me to say whether this is a good project for every beginner, but, you know — it's a softie, not national defense, so my best advice these days is just give it a try and have fun with it! Just relax and practice and enjoy it.

Okay, I think that's it. If there are more questions about bunny kits, please leave them in the comments and I will come back and answer them here. If you have general questions about ordering, shipping, shipping overseas, etc., please check my FAQ page.

Thank you again for all of your sweetness and enthusiasm for this little darling. I really can't tell you how much I appreciate it. Thank you. Xoxoxo

***Please take a few moments to make sure you are putting everything you want to order in your cart, and that you have your correct address listed. The only way I can change your order once it's been placed is to cancel/refund it and have you place a new one with the correct items. My system does not allow me to modify or add to orders once they've been placed. Thank you!!!

 

About Alicia Paulson

About

My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at aliciapaulson.com

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Photography

Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.