Pick up a pair of knitting needles and get down to business with Knit for the Homeless, a campaign to collect handmade hats, scarves and gloves for the underprivileged."I get the chills when I think about it," says Shellie Lubowitz, owner of the Shivering Sheep & Coppélia's Needlepoint. "To me, this is the true spirit of the holidays."
Knit for the Homeless began this fall, after Lubowitz contacted the Colorado Coalition for the Homeless to donate furniture and clothing from her parents' estate. She says she was so impressed by the three homeless men who came to collect the goods that she started brainstorming other ways to help.
"I was cleaning out my knitting room, and it was like a lightbulb went off," recalls Lubowitz. "So I called [the coalition], and they said that they had babies who needed blankets and kids who needed hats. I knew what I had to do."
Lubowitz launched the endeavor by encouraging knitters of all ages and skill levels to come into her Cherry Creek North store every Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and knit something to give.
"The response has been just incredible so far; my customers all seem to think that it is a wonderful idea," says Lubowitz. "We've even had teenage girls in here learning how to knit."
And those with two left thumbs can contribute, too: Lubowitz is also accepting donations of store-bought winter gear. "If every person brought in one scarf or one hat, just think how much warmer these people could be," she says. Ten percent of all Sunday yarn sales will be donated as well.
"We've been really down in donations of warm items this year, so we're absolutely thrilled by this," says Colorado Coalition volunteer program manager Kersten Sharrock. "It's a really special program that sends a different message. These people aren't just giving something warm; they're giving something personal."
Lubowitz, who hopes to make Knit for the Homeless an annual event, will host the Sunday knitting sessions and accept donations until the end of April. "If people want to learn how to knit, we can teach them how to do a very simple scarf so easily," she promises.
The Shivering Sheep & Coppélia's Needlepoint is located at 231 Milwaukee Street. For further information, call 303-320-7776. -- Julie Dunn
Matza Palooza offers a Christmas alternative
Talk about your party poopers: Jewish organizations in major cities all over the U.S. used to regularly throw Matzoh Ball fundraisers of one kind or another, particularly on the night before Christmas, until some guy patented the name and started to charge people to use it. The chutzpah! But life goes on, and here in Denver, the annual Christmas Eve event hosted for the past twelve years by L'Chaim, Colorado's Jewish Singles Resource, won't miss a step. Now officially called Matza Palooza, the party goes on tonight at 8:30 p.m. at the trendy LoDo club Rise, 1909 Blake Street. "For people who are not Christian and don't observe Christmas, this can be a lonely time," L'Chaim director Sharon Haber notes. "Everything is closed on Christmas; there's nothing to do." But Matza Palooza isn't just for lonely Jewish singles seeking a place to come in out of the cold with other Jewish singles -- though more than a few couples who met at past balls have since married. "For many, it's a reunion," Haber says, stressing that couples are welcome to attend. "People who've moved away want to see old friends, and this is the one time of year they come back -- not because it's Christmas, but because they get to go to the ball." Mazel tov, and par-tay! Admission is $30; go to www.jewishcolorado.org for details. -- Susan Froyd
Fat and skinny, subtle and sparkly -- beads can have distinct personalities all their own. And those who craft them appreciate that. "Beading is really about personal expression," says Jason Silberberg, spokesman for the International Gem and Jewelry Show.Nearly three dozen vendors will be showing off their beads and wares this weekend at the International Beading Show at the Holiday Inn Northglenn, 10 East 120th Avenue. Distributors will stock their stalls with everything from single beads to bead clusters and entire beaded creations. "We have jewelry shows throughout the country," says Silberberg. "We started doing bead shows because we found that they have their own loyal following."
Exhibitors will offer a variety of beads, from antique to modern stone and seed, and will take turns manning artisan tables, where they'll display their own works and demonstrate techniques and individual styles of stringing. The show runs from noon to 7 p.m. today and continues through tomorrow and Sunday. Admission is $6; children under sixteen are admitted free when accompanied by an adult. Go to www.intergem.net for more information. "This show is the final weekend before Christmas," says Silberberg. "It is a wonderful opportunity for people to get gifts that correspond with their personality." -- Kity Ironton
Insantacon wrings out potent holiday cheer
Ever wondered where a weary St. Nick might hit the hooch after a hard day of ho-ho-ho? Well, cranky ol' Kringles and their pooped pixie minions are invited to mix and mingle with the Christmas-costumed clique at Insantacon tonight at Mario's Double Daughter's Salotto, 1632 Market Street. The trendy tavern has ditched its normally macabre grimness for seasonal trim, donning a bar full of blinking kitsch and its best winter whites. DJs Soto & Smith, Sara T and Lowten will provide the jinglin' beats as holiday hipsters warm up their bellies with the evening's specialty swills of Candy Cane martinis, Cookies and Milk cocktails and a Sambuca-and-Southern Comfort shot dubbed "Black Coal." "It's our holiday masquerade party," says owner Kevin Delk. "We hope people will show up in Christmas-icon paraphernalia. It doesn't have to be true to form. In fact, we're encouraging creativity."
Insantacon might just be the catalyst behind that extra twinkle in the fat man's eye, or even the reason his nose lights up like a cherry. One thing is certain, though: Double Daughter's is cranking out a cool Yule, where Christmas spirit is found in a bottle of cheer. Call 303-623-3505 for details. -- Kity Ironton