Thanks for the kind words! I finished the face this afternoon. I'm waiting on some Elann Peruvian Highland wool to do the contrast color on the paws. Hopefully that'll show up this week. I'm torn between using black, or using gray (I've got some of both on the way). Gray may actually show up better against the dark purple than black would.
I like your idea of knitting a matching color with the furry yarn to avoid the mangy look. The furry stuff I chose is fairly dark, so we'll see how that goes.
I'm looking forward to seeing your progress!
My current status: