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Sunday
Feb162014

Laura's Loop: The Purl Soho Friendly Fair Isle Sweater

Being partial to lore and a sucker for furry creatures with power, each year leading up to Groundhog’s Day I wonder what Punxsutawney Phil will predict. And each year, I am conflicted. Do I want the warmth and light that come with an early spring, or do I want six more weeks of winter cold so I can keep knitting with gloriously thick and wooly yarns?

Well, my ambivalence didn’t stop Phil from deciding. His decree: six more weeks of winter. But fear not, those who’ve grown weary of windburn, this Friendly Fair Isle Sweater is for you! Not only is it cuddly warm for an enduring winter season, but this punchy sweater also spreads the brightness and cheer of spring. And just in case Punxsutawney Phil’s meteorological skills aren’t quite on point this year, the Friendly Fair Isle is such a fun, quick knit, you’ll be weaving in your ends long before that early spring arrives!

I designed this no-fuss pullover with a classic cut and a raglan sleeve shoulder. And for speed and coziness, I used Purl Soho’s aptly named Super Soft Merino. The colors, I picked purposely to pop out like spring’s first flower buds peeking through the earth.

Since Phil is as unpredictable as the weather itself, I’m glad that this year I have my bases covered, a toasty sweater for winter, done well before spring… no matter when it comes!

For more information about the Friendly Fair Isle Sweater, please read below. And for the full pattern, please click here. -Laura

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Friday
Feb142014

Whit's Knits: Seed Stitch Mittens and Hand Warmers

Many of us would agree, I think, that seed stitch is one of knitting's most refined patterns, as elegant as Grace Kelly and as classic as argyle. But what may go a little under appreciated is the feel of seed stitch.

A firm seed stitch has a wonderfully satisfying texture, like warm pebbles on a garden path or like crisp kernels on a sweet cob of corn. In the dark, I'd take a swatch of seed stitch over stockinette any day! And so I thought, why not put the feeling of seed stitch literally at my fingertips?

In Purl Soho's Alpaca Pure, seed stitch couldn't really feel any better. Soft and cozy, dense and hefty, Alpaca Pure seriously ups the pleasure ante on these Seed Stitch Mittens and Hand Warmers!

Finger-hugging mittens for the frigid cold and finger-liberating hand warmers for the milder months of early spring, both are super easy to make and both feel absolutely incredible! -Whitney

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Monday
Feb102014

Corinne's Thread: Purl Soho Kid's Robe

In my family, we refer to age 5 as my “year of the sweat suit.” A friend of mine had a similar phase with long johns. And my neighbor rues the day she ever introduced her daughter to leggings, which was also the last day her daughter ever wore actual pants.

For the under-10 set coziness is key, but it’s rare that a kid’s idea of comfort overlaps with a parent’s sense of style. And so, I designed the Purl Soho Kid’s Robe to cover both bases. For the child, a cozy fleece or Sherpa lining, and for the adult, clean lines and a classic cut, everyone’s happy… and toasty… and cute!

The Purl Soho Kid’s Robe Pattern includes sizes from 1- 9 years in two styles: Version A, with a snap closure, and Version B, with a belt. For the lining we recommend a super soft knit fabric, such as Michael Miller’s Organic Sherpa or Cotton Fleece and for the outer fabric, a beautiful woven cotton. I made my robes with Sherpa and Liberty of London’s Tana Lawn, a combo that’s a treat both inside and out!

My own daughter has three criteria when getting dressed in the morning: comfort, comfort and anything with a dinosaur on it. Although I haven’t yet delivered a Jurassic print, this robe has become a serious hit. “I need my robe,” is the first thing I hear from her room in the morning, and I have it waiting for her as soon as she steps out of the tub at night. If 20 years from now this becomes known as her year of the Robe, you won’t hear me complain! - Corinne

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Thursday
Feb062014

Molly's Sketchbook: Watercolor Quilt

Several years ago I visited the Dia Beacon, a sprawling modern art museum just outside of New York City. It was a gray winter day, and my friend and I were practically the only people there. As we wandered around, I was stopped in my tracks by two spare, grid-like drawings. They were tentative and minimal but somehow conveyed so much power. I couldn’t stop looking at them. I learned that they were by the artist Agnes Martin, and since that time I’ve come to love her work, much of which uses hand-drawn, repetitive lines and soft, tonal washes of color.  (If you’d like to see more of her work you can click here.)

Since Martin’s drawings and paintings use so many straight lines, they make for perfect quilt inspiration, and this Watercolor Quilt is my humble homage. I chose subdued lilac gray and peach to closely match some of my favorite Agnes Martin paintings. And to make the project more my own, I widened the color range a bit and finished the quilt off with a luminescent (premade!) neon bias tape. The neon might seem weird at first, but it kind of makes the whole quilt glow!

Despite its highbrow origins, this project couldn’t be simpler or more fun to sew. You cut a bunch of strips and then sew them together. That’s it, no corners to match up or tricky angles! And all of these cotton fabrics are soft and lovely to work with, bringing their own intrinsic beauty to the picture. This utter simplicity somehow leads to an engaging and sophisticated piece of work, much like the simplicity of Agnes Martin’s paintings belies so much more.

To begin your own special quilt pick up our Materials for Watercolor Quilt kit right here, and get ready to make some art! --Molly

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Sunday
Feb022014

Laura's Loop: The Boyfriend Hat

In Levis, flannel button downs, canvas sneakers, and grandpa cardigans, a friend of mine and I used to laugh that rather than dressing for the boys we wished we were dating, we dressed like the boys we wished we were dating. And the funniest part was that despite our different taste in men, somehow our fantasies of their wardrobes were identical. Some things are for the everyman and, as it turns out, for the everywoman too.

I designed the Boyfriend Hat with the versatility of any timeless article of clothing. Man or woman, wear it slouchy or cuffed. Pull it down taut or let it hover above the ears. Cuff it twice for a Wes Anderson style watchman cap.

Knit up with two different colored strands of Purl Soho’s Line Weight merino, the effect is gently marled and toasty warm. In a tight 1 x 1 rib, this hat is also exceptionally elastic and durable, hugging the head and feeling decadently soft, even through winter’s wear and tear.

The Boyfriend Hat is the hat you wish he had so you could steal it from him. Or is it the hat you have that he wants to steal from you? I don’t know… Just make two. -Laura

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