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Friday
Jul252008

Whit's Knits: Toadstool Baby Rattle

It's Mushroom Week at the Purl Bee! Mushrooms, with their friendly shapes and rainbow array of colors, are pretty irresistible. As homes for fairies everywhere, mushrooms hold a special place in children's imaginations. As we grow up our fascination with mushrooms extends into more culinary or scientific directions, but I think those early stories of wood nymphs grabbing shelter from a sudden rainstorm under the eaves of a toadstool might have something to do with a lifelong attraction for mushrooms.

It occurred to me recently that mushrooms are nature's perfectly engineered baby rattles. An ergonomic handle, an amusing bouncey cap with room to accommodate a noise maker, and a welcome canvas for color and decoration. To carry out my vision, I used Koigu Premium Merino because no one makes better colors, and it won't irritate a baby's skin. This project is also accompanied by our new Double Pointed Needles Tutorial. If you've never used double pointed needles, but have always wanted to try, now is a great opportunity!  

I always say that projects are fun, but this, I assure you, is fun! Make one for your next baby shower. You'll see!! --Whitney

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Thursday
Jul242008

Felted Mushrooms from Kathryn Ivy

These lovely felted mushrooms created by Kathryn Ivy look great in many different color palettes.  We had fun choosing ours from a wide spectrum of natural organic colors to rich playful colors.  It's amazing how both extremes are just as beautiful and truly feel like they belong in nature. The red spotted mushroom above is one of my favorites! I needle felted the spots onto the cap with cream color roving.  Please see Kathryn Ivy's Blog for the complete (and free!) patterns.

Bell Shaped Mushrooms

These are all bell-shaped caps.  They all have medium stems.  The cream colored mushroom has the large bell-shaped cap and the pink and taupe mushrooms are small bell-shaped caps.  As you can see, the size difference between the small and large cap is minimal.

 

Rounded Cap Mushrooms

All three of these are the rounded cap mushrooms.  The orange one has a tall stem and the brown and green mushrooms have medium stems.

 

 

Large Bell Shaped Mushrooms

We love the fun colors of these mushrooms which actually exist in nature!  The yellow mushroom is the large bell-shaped cap and the orange is the modified version of the same pattern that I give instructions for below.

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Sunday
Jul202008

Japanese Crafting with Mari: Nani Iro + Drafting Japanese Sewing Patterns

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One of my favorite Japanese fabrics is Nani Iro by Naomi Ito.  I first discovered it on a trip to Japan last May.  Imagine my thrill when I first started working at Purl and discovered that we carried it too!  I have been (im)patiently waiting for the past few months for her new line to come out, and I wasn’t disappointed.  On top of a beautiful collection of fabrics, Naomi Ito has put out a book, Nani Iro Pattern Book, with patterns using her fabric.

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This book features clothing for both women and girls, as well as a few accessories.  Nani Iro is a double faced gauze fabric, which lends itself nicely to loose, flowing pieces versus highly tailored clothing.  None of the patterns have zippers, and only a few have button or hook enclosures.

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I made two dresses with the fabric. 

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This dress is the one on the cover of the book.  It’s a loose fitting tunic dress that could be worn over pants or a skirt.

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One of my favorite things about this pattern is how she uses the selvedge motif along the collar and hem.
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This simple tank dress is so comfortable I never want to take it off!  It’s a slip dress with no fasteners to get in the way. 

If you'd like to make a few of the beautiful patterns featured in Naomi Ito's lovely book but feel daunted by the task of working with a Japanese sewing pattern, please visit my Japanese Pattern Drafting Tutorial for directions. --Mari

Monday
Jul072008

Whit's Knits: Baby Shorts

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These cotton bloomers are wonderful, not only for their vintage style, but also for the flexibility of the fit. The ribbing and elastic waistband allow the garment to grow with the child, useful first as bloomers over diapers and then later as regular shorts.

These are quick and easy to knit. Almost no seaming! I think I've found my new baby gift standby!

 

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Wednesday
Jul022008

Molly's Sketchbook: Quick Bias Tape Bib

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This darling little bib is made with Michael Miller Organic Fleece so it's as absorbent and soft as it is cute! The new Kokka Haikara makes a pretty and functional crumb catcher and best of all the whole thing comes together in less than an hour using our new Capitan 88 Linen Bias Tape, which is 100% linen and comes in a nice neutral palette. This would be a wonderful baby shower gift, you can whip up 3 or 4 of them in no time! Enjoy! --Molly

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