May 19, 2006

Help, please!

Sorry for the absence — blame my persistent laziness.

I have been knitting, though — all baby things, all the time. But you’re going to have to take my word for it for now, because I have more pressing things to discuss. (Still baby-knitting, actually, but just one part of it.) Specifically, this:


(Also here with mood lighting, and front view here)

This is, or should be, Nellie the Sheep, from Debbie Bliss’s Baby Style. It’s a cute idea, and should be cute toy (and don’t think I’m not grateful for the pattern book! I am! Very!) but in my opinion the pattern, to be blunt, is dreadful. I consider myself not uneducated in the world of knitting, and reading patterns, but I have found myself at a loss continually throughout this process. I have reknit sections of the oddly shaped fabric pieces multiple times, some of them after I started joining the parts together, as I finally figured out how they were supposed to form a sheep-like shape. Now, I will admit that I am topographically challenged — I’m not at all good at seeing how a random 2-dimensional shape will become a 3-dimensional object — but the problems were with the instructions, which were often confusing, but at no point gave any information that would allow me to check if I was doing it right. There are, indeed, no schematics at all (for this or any other pattern in the book) and the sum total of the illustrations for the project are these:



Helpful, eh?

However, to cut a long(er) rant short, I have persevered, and I think I’ve basically got what I should have up to this point. (And yes, I know the seams aren’t great, and it’s possible the feet are on backward (since there are no instructions beyond “Sew in feet”, and the seam I put at the back of the feet was referred to as the “back seam”, but now that they’re on they look wrong to me) but I’m willing to live with these issues). Unfortunately, the head/face has me completely baffled. This is the piece of fabric that is supposed to be the head (ignore the washed out colour (it’s black) and concentrate on the shape):


When folded roughly in half, I can sort of see how it’s sheep-head-like:


But I can’t in any way see how it should be sewn together to produce the head, especially the nose, which seems to me destined to be square and very un-sheepy. Nor am I even clear on which end attaches to the neck. These are the instructions for sewing together and attaching the head:

“Join back head seam. Stuff body. Join underchin seam of head from marker to cast-off edge, then with seam at centre, join cast-off edge. Stuff head. Sew head in place, stuffing as necessary.”

My questions are: what’s the ‘back’ head seam? Where’s the ‘underchin seam’? What does the next bit mean? What’s the ‘place’ that the head should be sewn in? Do all of these seams even refer to the piece marked “Head” in the pattern, or do some of them refer to the body, which also has a part labelled “Back Head” and some markers?

As you can tell, I’m deeply confused. If anyone has made Nellie, or can understand my ramblings and bad photography well enough to tell me what to do, I’d be immensely grateful for any advice. Otherwise, I guess I’ll just try every possible topographical manipulation, until something resembles a sheep…

Or I’ll just tell the baby it’s an extinct and/or mythical beast with no head. What do babies know, anyway?!

Posted by Aven at 06:32 PM | Comments (7)

May 11, 2006

Things that make me happy

The first apple blossoms in our little orchard:


Tigger in a field of forget-me-nots:




(I know they’re weeds, but can you honestly say that isn’t pretty?)

Tigger exploring:


Tiny socks:


An amazing present from friends back home:


(Mission Falls Cotton and Blue Sky Cotton — so soft, so pretty!)

More (!) amazing presents from my friends (Thank you so much!):


(That’s “Special Knits” and “Baby Style” from Debbie Bliss, and “Adorable Knits for Tots” by Zoe Mellor)

And last, but certainly not least, Mark home from his conference!
(I’d have a picture here, but he’s come down with a cold and is upstairs in bed, so he probably wouldn’t appreciate a camera in his face right now!)

Happy, happy, happy.

Posted by Aven at 07:15 PM | Comments (6)

May 05, 2006

Little things

On a day when it was 18 degrees and sunny, and I had the windows open and the heat off for a few hours in the afternoon, it’s hard to remember how far we still are from real summer. In fact, even spring really isn’t all that advanced, as far as Nature is concerned. Just look at the Waterfowl park today:



Pretty, but the cattails are still brown, the trees have the merest suggestions of leaves, and there still aren’t that many ducks and other birds back in the park. Still, there are hopeful indications along the way:


Tiny wild strawberry flowers by the path! I wonder what the etiquette is for picking berries in a nature preserve?

And we do have flowers in our own garden, of the early-blooming sort. The perfect backdrop for the first finished baby knitting:


I’m still not convinced this will fit even a newborn very long, but that doesn’t really matter — the cuteness of the set is enough to enchant me for now. The sweater is still lacking buttons and hasn’t been blocked, but since remedying those things would require me first to get to a store that sells buttons and then to become a less lazy person, I thought it was better just to go ahead and take the picture now. The colour is a little washed out, but not too far off — I’ve decided that the combination of pink and blue makes it appropriate for either gender, and I don’t want to be corrected on that assumption! (For thoughts on gender-appropriate babywear, and the moral dilemmas involved(!), see Stephanie’s recent entry).

At the bottom of the photo are a pair of tiny booties (again, lacking ribbon ties for the ankles, but see above…). You can see a little more detail here:


Now I’m going through my sock yarn leftovers and making tiny socks. Again, they may prove less than useful, but I’m amusing myself and using up stash, so it’s all good.

Posted by Aven at 06:23 PM | Comments (10)