Sunday, July 26, 2015

Fingerless Mitts and Simcha's Corner

You'll laugh when I tell you how long ago I began these fingerless mitts.  It was back in June 2009 and the only reason I recollect the date is that I added the project to my Ravelry notebook!  I'm not sure why I waited so long to finish them up.  They are super soft and will be fantastic to wear this winter. I guess it was just a case of too many WIPs.

Which brings me to the topic of knitting and "work in process" otherwise known as WIPs, UFOs, or generally "projects on the needles."  I have been thinking about this topic lately after Andi (MySistersKnitter) brought up the subject on her blog.  You see some knitters are very prone to having many projects on the needles at one time.  The down side of this obviously is that it takes much longer to finish any one project.  I used to be very prone to having WIPs as evidenced by how long it took me to finish these mitts.

But lately I've cast aside my wild side and consider myself a monogamous knitter. Partly this has come about because of my recent spat of KALs which has forced me to focus on a single project.  But I have also come to realize that I like being current with projects as I feel my projects are more contemporary. Well, as contemporary as knitting can be.  Although some things are timeless.  Like these mitts.  Still, I am happier having fewer projects on the needles and have begun being more selective of what projects I begin.  But as I look around me I can see that I still have more than just one or two projects on my needles.  I can see that I'm still a WIP.

Particulars:  Veyla designed by Ysolda; 1 skein Blue Sky Alpaca, Royal Alpaca (leftover yarn from my Swallowtail Shawl); US 3 needles.  I knit the small size and my only modification was to knit an extra 2 rounds after the cuff (i.e. instead of K10 I knit K12 rnds).  Like all Ysolda patterns this was easy, fun, and gives a wonderful result.  I've knit many pairs of fingerless mitts so instead of linking to them all, I'm just going to point out the ones that I wear the most Kyla Mitts; and those that I enjoy wearing the most because they are so soft and cozy Wild Wild West Gauntlets (my original design) and Lace Me Up Mitts and oh yeah, my favorite handspun fingerless mitts Albina Armwarmers.  To be fair I've given a fair number of fingerless mitts away so just because I don't mention them doesn't mean they haven't been worn and enjoyed.

Simcha's Corner ~

It's been a long time since I've shared any pictures of Simcha or tales of his adventures!  This should by not be taken to mean he does not still get into mischief.  Part of his charm is that he loves to play err tease and will never completely give up his aspirations to rule this roost.  However, he has finally graduated from sleeping in his crate at night and has complete unfettered freedom of the house when we are out and about. This coming of age came at age 6.5 years and, frankly, wasn't a day we were sure would ever come to pass. Surprisingly while we are away he doesn't rip apart the house, get up onto the furniture, or snoop in rooms where he shouldn't be as we feared he would.  Instead he lays at the front door and patiently awaits for our return. It's such a joy to drive up and see him watching for us through the windows.  It's almost as if he's been on the lookout for us.  Hum.  That reminds me of when I was a kid and we would watch for our parents to return so we could quickly turn off the TV and straighten up the house.  Maybe I should qualify this by saying that I don't think he gets into mischief while we are out and about.

And as you can see he's still full of vim and vigor and loves to engage in rousing play with his buddies.  We try and give him a full life and opportunities to express his energy, knowing that he really would have preferred to have been a police dog or had some such manly occupation.

Until next time, be well, love well and enjoy these lazy days of late July as soon there will be a touch of fall in the air.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

SAILaway Shawl,Yarn Along and Summer Survival Makeup

This past weekend we headed down to San Clemente, California to spend the July 4th holiday at the beach. It's my favorite place to celebrate the 4th as the city of San Clemente really goes all out to celebrate.  Maybe because it's so close to the Marine Core Base Camp Pendelton and you often see service members around town (they also thrill the beach goers with their dramatic F/A-18 fighter jets fly over to kick off the evening festivities) but whatever the reason there is a strong patriotic spirit in the city with lots of flag waving and the whole community turns out for the celebration.  It also has a friendly beach culture and an awe inspiring fireworks display (free) off the pier that rounds out the day.  I wouldn't be anywhere else on the 4th!  

And what other accessory could I possibly bring to San Clemente other than my new SAILaway Shawl. This is a gorgeous design and paired with a soft sock yarn makes a wonderful beach wrap for the summer. To be honest I never would have knit this project if I can't seen the sample shawl in Cardigan's Knit Shop in Santa Barbara, California.  Cardigans is a small yarn shop within walking distance to my parent's home and whenever I visit my parents I try and stop in and visit because they always have a ton of finished projects that are inspiring and suitable to wear in the ever more warming California climate. Even though I am what is called "an independent knitter" (i.e. I don't need the help and advice that yarn shops typically provide to new knitters) I find the experience of visiting a yarn shop invaluable for finding patterns, exploring new yarns, and having fun mingling with fellow yarn lovers.  While I love any and all yarn shops I really wish that you could all have the chance to visit Cardigans as it epitomizes for me the very best in little yarn shops with a friendly owner, a helpful but no pressure atmosphere and a great community knitting round table where regular customers sit and knit together.  But wherever you live I hope you will support your local yarn shop before it disappears as so many have in the past few years.

Particulars:  SAILaway (Ravelry Link) designed by Susan Venable (VenablesStudio); US 4 circular needles 2 skeins Hedgehog Fibers sock (club colorways) 10g and 19g remaining of light and dark blue, respectively.  Blocked dimensions 23" x 73."  Other projects I've knit using Hedgehog Fiber yarn include Starshower CowlCarson shawlRib SocksSummer ScarfAsking for Roses Wrap; and Ripple Effect Socks.  

Yarn Along  ~

For those not familiar with "Yarn Along" it was started in 2010 by Ginny (who writes the popular blog Small Things) as a way for knitters to share (typically on a weekly basis) both what they are currently knitting and reading.  A clever pun on the word yarn, no? However, as I only blog once a month (apparently I'm a slacker) I am going to add my own "twist" to the Yarn Along and instead periodically share a peak at what I'm looking forward to knitting and what book I anticipate reading. In the picture above is my recently acquired kit of mini skeins inspired by the movie Amelie dyed by Phydeaux Designs and is approximately 400 yrds of beautifully saturated fingerling yarn. The designer cleverly used a bedroom scene (G rated - stop looking disappointed) for her inspiration and from that scene created this kit of corail, le cafe, brasserie, absinthe, and metropolitain (she provided a picture of the bedroom scene used for her inspiration - and I was very impressed with her translation from film to yarn). As part of the back story to this kit the designer shared that she is a huge fan of films by Jean-Pierre Jeunet and highly recommends his other films: Delicatessen, The City of Lost Children, and A Very Long Engagement.  I'm definitely going to be adding those to my Amazon watch list.  As for my book, I am looking forward to reading Envy a tale of betrayal and intrigue by the prolific writer Sandra Brown.  This will be my first story by Sandra Brown but it sounds like a classic beach read and I will be tucking it into my beach bag.  Oh, and before I forget you might recognize the name of the yarn designer from the last project I blogged Longshadows.

Summer Survival Makeup

Lastly, just for fun, here's a list of my favorite products for surviving the summer sun, staying moisturized, and adding a natural glow to skin and cheeks.  You may want to experiment with a different colors but I think these products are pretty universally flattering.

Most of the following links are to Amazon which may not have the best prices but is however convenient. Sephora and Nordstrom carry these brands as well except for Lush which is a stand alone shop.

LIPS:  SUGAR Tinted Lip Treatment (Berry) keeps lips moist with long lasting color
CHEEKS: JOSIE MARAN Cheek Gelee (Poppy Paradise)  natural long lasting color
EYES:  MAC Cream Color Base (Hush) great eye shadow that can also be use to highlight
BRONZE:  LAURA MERCIER Matte Radiance Baked Powder (Bronze -03) my fav bronzer
SKINCARE: JOSE MARAN Argan Daily Moisturizer SPF 47 sunscreen you will enjoy using
NAILS: DEBORAH LIPMANN (Harlem Nocturne) metallic color that gets noticed (in a good way)
BATH: LUSH Ro's Argan Body Conditioner indulgent moisturizer to pamper your skin

Until next time be well, love well and enjoy the simple pleasures of summer whether it's lying on the beach or just painting your toes ~ but whatever you do or wherever you go don't forget to bring your yarn along  ~