Carrot needed

I have some good news for you all: I won't be complaining about the local lack of a winter for the next few weeks - well, not as much, anyway (I have heard of people suffering from seasonal mood disorders, most likely due to the reduced light in winter time, but I wonder if it's possible to be depressed because of too much sunshine and warmth in winter?). Anyway, we were finally able to sneak in a quick trip up into the local mountains. Lovely cold weather and, more importantly, SNOW! Pure bliss.
We were only able to go for one night, but those 2 days of sledging and playing in the snow were great, even if my husband was a tad grouchy. Here's our Southern Californian snowman - and no, we're not any better at building sand castles...
J wasn't impressed that we didn't have a carrot for the snowman's nose. Most of the work was done by a most dedicated 2 year old K. She was pretty pleased to find him still standing on day two.
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As for the kimono top at the beginning of this post... I think I need to start a new category for all these baby gifts that I chicken out of giving. One of my neighbours had a baby recently. I only know her to wave to, so I thought it would be nice to give a wee gift for the little one. I won't lie, I was hoping that she'd have a girl, just because they seem to be easier to make things for, especially if you're scared of sewing knits like me.
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She had a boy. So I ummed and ahhed, but kept persuading myself out of various ideas, as I have no clue what their taste is. I ended up deciding on a kimono top, with the reasoning that even if they don't like it, it's still a simple wee top that the kid can wear about the house, or as an extra layer at night etc. So I made the top pictured above. I then showed it to my husband and he looked puzzled and said, "they had a boy". The kid got a store-bought gift.
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I know, I know. I was actually going to do a more masculine button and loop closures instead of the ties, but at the last minute I worried about buttons being a possible choking hazard and killing my vague acquaintance's child...
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As for the previous ungifted baby gift (http://uklassinus.blogspot.com/2007/12/wee-little-shoes.html), the baby booties are still a work-in-progress. One very sweet commenter (no e-mail link) said she would be interested in them, but I fear that any intended recipient of hers would probably have grown out of them by the time I get around to finishing them (I really do not like knitting with that yarn). Thank you ever so much for the confidence boost, though.
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nb. When I first came to America I was completely confused by Americans using the word knit for what I called t-shirt material (ok, so that's probably not the technical term, even for English people). I thought knits were, well, woolly knitted things, made from yarn. Calling some clothes sportswear when you blatantly shouldn't wear them for playing sports also caused some bemusement. I kept showing up to the wrong sales...
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Oh well, more on that subject next time. Our local tornado warning is over, so this scaredy-pants is off to bed. Take care all.
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Edit: forgot to mention, the kimono pattern is Martha Stewart's baby kimono pattern - I think you can find it on her website.

Stick a pin in it

I had some Jehovah's Witnesses come to my door this week and our chat ended with them looking at their watches and saying that they must get going. I haven't really come across Jehovah's Witnesses before, but judging by the usual stereotype shown on movies and sitcoms, I guessing that that's not how these encounters usually end... This has led me to wonder if I maybe should be getting out more and engaging in a little more adult conversation. By adult, I do mean grown-up and not x-rated, by the way - just in case you were wondering if this blog was about to take an unexpected turn...
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The only adult I have come into contact with today, though, is my husband. He's not the talkative type, unless you count the random phrases he yells at the computer when playing some game that fights WWII all over again (I have tried explaining to him that that war is over). This is my way of explaining why I probably waffle on usually.
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I tried some embroidery this week. This was all just freehand, but I was wondering what do people use when they want to put some pattern lines on the fabric for them to stitch along. Do you use that transfer pen, which is permanent, and just try and cover it with the stitches?
The end result was this pincushion. I did learn that it is a bad idea to sew felt while wearing a top with Velcro fastenings on the sleeves. The stitch I tried was a chain stitch, I think. Hopefully the kids will leave this plain and boring pincushion alone, as they seem to find the apple and pear pincushions fascinating (not what I want when I'm trying to sew...).
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I'll leave you with another picture of our so-called winter. A tip for non-locals: you can tell that it is winter because if you enlarge it you will see that there is a man wearing a long-sleeved shirt instead of a short-sleeved shirt...
Take care all.

A stitch not in time

The flower? Absolutely nothing to do with this post. I was just playing around with my camera. I came to the conclusion that I need to tend to our garden again. Maybe I should post the picture I took of a rose and ask if you know why our roses have spots on... No beautiful snow pictures here. Since our local mountains got a dumping of snow my husband hasn't had any free days off work and hasn't got any in the upcoming week, either. I hope we get to spend a night up in the mountains soon - I need at least a day or two of winter a year. I wonder if there's an annual equivalent to the body's circadian rhythm. I'm sure that my body clock would be off kilter if I didn't get my winter fix.
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Oh well, I'm sure there's some poor soul somewhere, snowed in, thinking that California's lack of a winter sounds rather nice. Meanwhile, this is what the locals call 'winter' (yes, there were several people in the ocean without wetsuits on): Sorry. I'll get back to the actual post now.

I have now knitted using double-pointed needles, I have now knitted a sock (ok, stocking, to be more precise) and I have now felted. The verdict?

Felting: I do like the result. I'm not so keen on the fact that it took an hour. Did I have stubborn wool, or are they just having a laugh at my expense when they suggest checking on the progress every 5 minutes?

Double-pointed needles: A lot easier than it looks. I felt like I was getting a slight join line when switching onto a new needle, though, even when pulling it tight.
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Socks: I have a lot of respect for those clever ladies that knit socks, especially using that teeny thread like yarn. I don't understand them, but I respect them. I don't think I'll ever knit a sock. Maybe it's because I wear plain socks on the rare occasion that I get to wear socks around here. Maybe it's because it would probably take me a year to knit a single sock using that teeny yarn...

I followed a toe-up pattern from a Knit It! magazine (nb. Does this magazine no longer exist?). At least I didn't have to worry about whether it would fit. Here's the photographic proof:One felted stocking. 2 weeks after Christmas...

PS. The 40 eggs are gone. A further 30 Cadbury's Creme Eggs have been purchased. If it wasn't English chocolate I might think that I had a problem...

Knitting needles finally coralled

Happy New Year! (I should probably tell you now that this isn't going to be a post full of inspiring resolutions).
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I have finished something that I have been wanting to make for months, though. The final impetus was a lengthy search to find the matching knitting needle to a #2. Here's my knitting needle roll-up case:
It's just a very basic case. I have probably already mentioned that I am the slowest knitter in the West. I think I am unlikely to ever need hundreds of needles and accessories. So, there's just a single line of pockets, with some wider pockets on the right. I do have some double-pointed needles etc. but they're currently holding the stitches of works-in-progress, so you'll just have to imagine them over there on the empty side.It isn't actually wonky with wavy stitching lines. It just didn't occur to me that it would be a good idea make sure that I had smoothed it flat before taking the photo - or even better, ironing it so that it would look less crumpled... Ok, so I also spoke too fast when I said that it was finished: there's going to be a ribbon sewn across above the printed fabric panel, to help keep the needles neat. I just can't make up my mind on whether to add labels for the needles to it. I have commitment issues...
I feel like I should be closing with some deep meaningful plan for my new year or at least a declaration that I do have resolutions after all and that I'm not a weak-willed person with no plans for self-improvement. The problem is that Cadbury's creme eggs are on sale, my local swimming pool is closed for maintenance and my husband has switched back to the night shift. My days are spent trying to keep the kids quiet while daddy sleeps and eating chocolate egg after chocolate egg (Hey, normally you can't buy English chocolate here except in an expensive import store. Yes, I did buy 40...). I'll be good later in the year.
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Ok, I will say this: having this blog does inspire me to get on and make things - and finish them. As mentioned previously, I do have commitment issues. Just picking which fabric to cut up for a project isn't easy, as that cut is oh so final. So here's to a New Year of less hesitation and more progress on my to-do list.
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Wishing you all the best for 2008. Take care.
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PS.The kids knocking over the Christmas tree and one of the light bulbs breaking on my head (large amount of blood, but only a tiny cut) brought a premature end to the 12 days of Christmas. All decorations are now packed away. We originally acquired a fake tree when we had a puppy in the house, but I've been using it since, as I can bend the ends of the branches back to secure the ornaments on. Maybe next year I can have a real tree - with glass ornaments on!

Flickr Group

If you have a look on the left hand side of the page, you may have noticed that I've added a flickr link. I've set up a flickr group for you to post any pictures that you have of things that you have made, especially if they were inspired by anything that you have seen here. If anyone has used my pear pincushion tutorial or apple pincushion tutorial, I would love to see how it turned out - and find out if my instructions were actually understandable... You can click on the link on the left (or use this one: http://www.flickr.com/groups/lil_d/) if you are interested in joining the group and adding your photos.

On a separate note, one of the main problems that I see with blogger is that I don't get the e-mail addresses of people who comment, unless they have their e-mail address listed on their blogger profile. If they have a blog, I can often follow a link to it, but otherwise there is no way for me to get in touch and say thank you for the sweet comments left on this blog. I will try to answer any questions asked in the comment sections on this blog, if I can not get in touch with you. Please know that all comments are appreciated, as are all readers of this blog. I never imagined that so many would stop by. Thank you.