Thursday, November 3, 2011

Finishing Touches ~

At this time of year our thoughts turn toward the holidays and I find it helpful to have a few quick and easy gift ideas and reliable recipes to make the season a little less stressful.  To dispel a common perception, a knit gift does not have to be fancy, expensive, or take weeks of complicated knitting to be a gift you are proud to give or wear.  It's all in the finishing touches.

Both pairs of gloves in this post are based on a basic pattern that has used a simple but effective design element to elevate it to gift giving or holiday wearing status.  All that is required is a single skein of yarn, a tried and true pattern that has been made successfully time and again, and a few notions in the way of buttons or beads to add a finishing touch or two!

Lately I've been thinking about finishing touches and not just in the context of knitting.  It strikes me that of late I haven't devoted nearly enough time (truthfully no time at all) to reading good literature, listening to fine music, or devoting my efforts to a worthy cause.  In other words, I'm in serious need of some finishing touches!  One's self is the most important work in progress we have.

The second pair of gloves is a personal pattern utilizing design elements from a variety of patterns.  I love to wear something a little fun and frivolous when I'm out and about over the holidays.  The contrasting reverse stockinette border and flower embellishment are just some of endless ways to personalize a basic pattern to your taste, just as your choice of yarn and buttons will personalize any pattern.  Adding a faus black pearl bead to the flower's center is the final finishing touch.

Particulars: Blue Gloves:  Welted Fingerless Gloves by Churchmouse Teas; US 5 and US 6 DPN; Mandos del Uruguay - Silk Blend; no modifications whatsoever.  However, as I have a tiny wrist, if I were to knit these for myself I would reduce the number of stitches cast-on and probably use the smaller needles throughout the project.  These gloves were gifted away to the lovely Dilshani (Rav Profile) as part of a German Shepherd Lovers swap hosted on Ravelry.  The second pair of gloves (Brown Gloves) is knit using a composite of several patterns and is very similar to the evening gloves I knit last Winter for Christmas.  I used a single skein of Debbie Bliss Cashmerino; US 5 needles; and a small amount of contrasting yarn.  I knit the flower using a pattern I found in the book Knit 2 Together.  Using resources you already have or that are free on the internet is a great way to find ideas to embellish patterns.

Dried flowers in the fading Summer sun are a reminder that time is always passing leaving only traces of what once was behind.  Wet felted flower made by following the Tutorial by Ingermaaike

Pistachio and Currant Biscotti

A seasonal recipe that I make this time of year is Mary Kay's Pistachio and Currant Biscotti.  I like to have a few cookies on hand that go well with coffee or tea.  Try serving them on a paper doily ~ it adds a nice finishing touch.

I will be away and busy much of the coming months and will be spending less time online, although I will still be knitting and continue to add posts.   So until next time, be well and love well and I hope this season of holidays is a time for you to reconnect with what is important in your life.


Monika said...

Well said, Claudia! Both pairs are lovely. I especially liked the pearl in the center of the knit flower.
Soon I'll start baking cookies for Christmas time. Nov. and Dec. are my favorite time of year. Hope your life will not be too stressful!

Kate (KnitsInClass) said...

Beautiful gloves - lucky recipient! I love Churchmouse patterns - I've been working on my second pair of the Turkish Slippers.
I love ALL handmade gifts - be they hand knits or macaroni necklaces - much more heartfelt than anything one could buy.


I wanna be on your holiday list!!

Willow said...

Even though you'll be busy, I do hope you'll post a few times before the holidays.

And I'm still hoping to drive up to Topanga and look around at the trails--soon, soon, my ankle will be up to that much stress!

Tracy said...

It's all in the details! And I LOVE the pretty, feminine touches you have on these two pair of gloves, Claudia. Both sets are really special. I'm doing a little holiday knitting at the moment too, as well as a knit item for our niece's 3rd birthday soon. The holiday pressure is on... LOL... Funnily enough I've been making biscotti too--cranberry, pistachio & white chocolate...mmm... I really like your version here with currants--must try! May you be well, happy and taking time for the details and little things these busy days ahead for you... :o) ((HUGS))

Bridget said...

Lovely post! And I have made the Welted Fingerless gloves, and it's a great pattern.

Have happy travels and a wonderful holiday season. I'll miss you, but hope for a good catch-up post when you return.

Hope everyone at your house remains well and happy.

gMarie said...

Lovely gifts, and you are so very right - the gift doesn't have to be elaborate and labor intensive, just have the right finishing touches. You manage to incorporate them so well.

Enjoy your holiday season, may it bring you peace and the personal finishing touches you currently desire. g

Renee said...

Beautiful! The custom gloves with the flower are especially wonderful.

I've never tried to make biscotti, but you've inspired me to try, would be so nice with my morning chai tea.

Wishing you a wonderful and peaceful holiday season! {{Hugs!}}

SissySees said...

What lovely, thoughtful gifts, with just the right wrappings. Wishing you peace & joy, now and always.

Kristen said...

Hi Claudia, love your gloves and the beautiful photos, there will be some happy recipients on Christmas morning. I do hope you will have a little time to post while you are busy the next few months. I enjoy your blog so much. Happy knitting!

Hilary said...

You are so right on all fronts! You've added just the right touches to those fingerless gloves to take them to the next level. The pearl bead -- perfect! I also really like the "horizontal ribbing" on the first pair. Very pretty!

Your currant and pistachio biscotti reminds me of the biscotti I make every year at Christmastime (dried cranberry and pistachio). The recipe I use (by Giada DeLaurentis) adds a little orange zest, which is pretty yummy!

I hope you're able to take some time for yourself in the coming busy months. Maybe even knit a little bit and enjoy a pot of tea!

At Home Mommy Knits said...

Your socks, your scrumptious shawl, and your gloves...all lovely!! I can't seem to finish anything lately and I have a lazy blogging bug as well. All of your knits are pushing me to get up and finish something!

Jules said...

Those biscotti look so pretty on their serving board with doily! And the fingerless mitts are lovely with your embellishments. I hope life doesn't get too hectic for you as the holiday season approaches. I'm going to try to keep it simple myself. Happy knitting!

Prairie Rose said...

I love the little buttons on the one pair and the darling flower on the other:)
The biscotti sounds delish!!

betty said...

Lovely gloves, and those finishing touches definitely make them more special. I really must knit a pair of fingerless gloves for myself. I want to test out the theory that covering my palms and wrist will be enough to make my fingers feel warm even if my fingers are exposed.

lapdogknits said...

Thank you Claudia...the gloves are lovely..beautiful.

Enjoy the've inspired me yet again.

I see gloves on my holiday knitting list and with your ideas...they're going to be even more special!

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Andi said...

While both pairs are lovely, the ones with the flower have me in love!
Enjoy your time away. :)

Monica said...

Gorgeous gloves. Thanks for sharing. Hope that you enjoy the time offline. We'll be here waiting patiently for your posts. And, I agree...knitting as life is about details and the finishing touches.

Rachel said...

I really like both of these are so correct that the details are everything. And that it doesn't always have to be difficult and time-consuming to be the perfect gift!