Saturday, December 18, 2010

All That Glitters ~ Evening Gloves

We can't always be traipsing about in heavy woolens, now can we? At this time of year when there are Christmas parties and family events to attend it's nice to have a little something extra special to slip on.

Not that I have all that many opportunities for getting dressed up.  The realities of my life would depress you so I try and spare you the many mundane details.  But there are those few occasions that will arise and when they do I like to be prepared!

And these sparkly gloves are just the ticket.  Although I had to make significant modifications (noted below) to the pattern I am very happy with my gloves and am hoping to have an opportunity to wear them soon.  The cream colored yarn at the top has prestrung beads already added but I snipped off a few beads from the leftover yarn and used them to sew a band of beads just above the cuff.  I love that detail as it ties the design together and gives these gloves that little extra finishing touch.

Particulars: La Doche Vita Gloves by Tili Tomas; 1 skein Milan (partly cloudy colorway) and 1 skein flurries (natural colorway); US 5 needles. It's probably more accurate to say these gloves were "inspired" by the pattern as I made significant modifications including adding a picot turned hem for a cuff; adding shaping (increases and decreases); substituted a 1x1 rib and picot BO for the ruffle; and adding a band of beads just above the cuff.  While I loved the original pattern, sometimes you just have to use your common sense when knitting and, in this case, what I was seeing as I knit the pattern made me realize that simply following the pattern would not result in gloves that I enjoyed wearing.  But because I loved the yarn, and the basic idea, I ripped back and rethought the design and made the above changes. For those interested I'll add more specific details on the modifications on my Ravelry notebook page.

P.S.  Theresa of TDoesWool has published a free pattern for a gorgeous pair Crossed Lines Fingerless Mittens that are also fancy enough for a night out or just being cozy at home sipping eggnog and brandy.

P.S.S. The shawlette I'm wearing is a Dove shawl that I began but decided the yarn was too fragile to risk knitting a full shawl only to have it snag.  I used Filatura di Crosa Superior which is heavenly soft.

P.S.S.S. The ornament I'm holding is one that I made with paper mache (thecraftshop) and glitter (Meyer Imports).  We don't have a tree up this year because it would be to much excitement for Simcha, but I still enjoyed setting out a few decorations. 

Is Simcha a Police Dog?

If you have been reading along then you know that Simcha is our German Shepherd puppy who is almost a year old now.  And while he wasn't bred as a working dog, there are signs emerging that he might just have a bit of working dog in him.

Clues indicating Simcha might be a police dog:

1.     He follows me about with the intensity of someone guarding the crown jewels.  This is flattering but am starting to feel like I ought to pretend to be about more serious business than what I'm actually doing.  I hope I don't develop a complex.

2.     He instinctively knows to give a "suspicious package alert."  Any box and/or object found anywhere in the house that is out of place (i.e. not part of the regular furnishings) triggers a "suspicious package alert" which is in the form of deep ominous growls punctuated with thunderous barks until we respond.  I've not seen this level of concern for unattended packages since I was last at LAX, where the security guards aren't nearly as smart or as handsome. 

3.     He really likes to follow orders.  This is great because I really like telling others what to do.

4.      He's a natural at "search and rescue."    I think I would have been more impressed by this if I had actually been drowning when he attempted to "rescue" me from the bathtub by pulling me out by the towel wrapped around my hair.  Note to self: lock the bathroom door during baths.

There you have it.  The clues are mounting up.  What do you think?  Is Simcha a police dog?

Until next time, be well and love well.  We'll be away over the holidays so I'll take this opportunity of wishing you all a very Merry Christmas and Happy New year ~ and may the spirit of Christmas always shine in your heart and home.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

In Search of Magic ~ A Harry Potter Inspired Knit

This morning I'm out and about early in my new Sssssnake Hat which is a design inspired by the Harry Potter books and I'm in search of a little magic here in Topanga.

I'm sure that if there are any wizards or magicians to be found in Los Angeles, then surely they will be found in my home town of Topanga, a quirky place with eccentric residents. Except for me. I'm perfectly normal. In fact I'm sure that I stand out for my normalcy, but, I bear it as best I can.

I'm on the lookout for a little magic or at least a cup of coffee at Pine Tree Circle which has a cluster of small shops where you can find everything from gourmet cheeses to scented candles, and of course, coffee and an occasional wizard.

But alas, we missed the sunrise and all little fairies and magical folks had scurried off before we arrived. Never mind. I'll try again another day!

Particulars:  The Parseltongue Hat designed by Stephanie Dosen who writes the blog Tiny Owl Knits; US 9 needles (body) and US 8 for hat band; 2 skeins of The Fiber Company Organik.   I used the disappearing loop CO method.  Other than substituting yarn and needle size the only major modification was to add beads for the snake eyes.  I used faceted Czech Glass which I sewed on after washing and blocking the hat to give the hat a little extra razzle dazzle. 

PS If you love Harry Potter (or know someone who does) check out Julie's cute Harry Potter scarf  that she knit for her son's Halloween costume!  His dad made him the magic wand ~ doesn't he look the spitting image of Harry Potter!  If you would like to knit a scarf for your Harry Potter fan Crafy Andy has generously published a free Harry Potter scarf pattern on his blog (ravelry link).  Edit update:  Thank you Willow for pointing out there is a book of Harry Potter knitting patterns called Charmed Knits!

Mr. Puffy's Christmas Wrapping tips!

Many years ago we spent Christmas in Chile and we were in the tiny town of Antofagasta in the days preceding the holiday. This is an industrial town and the farthest most town at the North end of Chile and largely comprised of mine and industrial workers with low incomes. I was struck by the festive feel to this town and the way they came together as a community and, like the Whos of Whoville, they didn't need a lot of money to celebrate the spirit of Christmas.

I always think of this town as Christmas approaches and have made one of their traditions my own.  All along the streets in the days prior to Christmas the shop fronts are lined with small folding chairs and rolls of Christmas paper spread everywhere.  When you purchased a gift you came outside and they would wrap your gift for you in a manner that I have ever since copied and would like to share with you. 

This is a very simple and a fun way to wrap a gift if you don't have a box or even if you do. You simply cut a swath of wrapping paper sufficiently large to encase your gift.  You then create a paper sack by folding over the edges of the paper (only overlap it a small amount) and then tape the edges together.  Then you place your your gift inside the sack (along with some tissue paper) and fold over the top opening.  Tape the top opening closed and you are done!  All that remains is to add a festive gift tag that is attached with a Christmas sticker. This year I purchased my gift tags from Mulberry-Muse but you can find a wide selection of handmade gift tags on Etsy in a variety of prices.

I love a package that crinkles and teases with mystery ~ which this one does ~ and I hope you do too!

Until next time, be well and love well.  Enjoy the spirit of the holidays and don't forget to watch my personal favorite holiday classic, How the Grinch Stole Christmas.