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Tuesday
Jun032008

Father's Day Rolled Hem Hankies

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Every year we struggle with what to make for Father's Day. We came up with this project after visiting fine men's clothing shops around New York City who often create this type of beautiful, hand rolled hem handkerchief out of shirting fabric remnants. We love the contrast between the organic feel that the hand rolling creates and the crisp clean fabric.

You can sew one handkerchief in an hour, and even better once you've cut the fabric, you can fit everything you need to make the handkerchief in your pocket and off you go to the bus, train, plane or subway to whip up the perfect gift for dad without even skipping a beat.  Not only will your dad think of you every time he pulls one out of his pocket, but he'll look good doing it! 

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Thursday
May292008

Molly's Sketchbook Monogrammed Cuff Links for Father's Day

Materials

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Embroider

The way this project is put together is very similar to my Embroidered Covered Button Project. You might want to look there too for more inspiration.

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On the Muslin, trace around both cuff links at least 2-inches apart with your Choco Pen.

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Make a mark 7/16-inch (or just shy of 1/2-inch if you're ruler isn't that precise) from the edge of each circle.

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Place the pivoting point of the compass in the center of one of the blue circles and adjust the compass so that the marking end meets the mark you made in the previous step. Draw a larger circle around the first blue circle with this diameter. Repeat for the second blue circle.

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Draw the monograms inside the inner circles. My dad's initials are J.S. but of course you could do any letters or small shapes you like.

Put the fabric in the embroidery hoop and embroider the monograms using a tiny backstitch. (If you need an embroidery refresher course check out our Embroidery Tutorial at this link.)

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Once the letters are embroidered draw a small circle around them, making sure it's completely contained within the first blue circle. Stitch a running stitch around this circle.

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When embroidering something this small it's really important that the back of the work is neat. Weave your the ends in to the work and keep the knots to a minimum. Again if you have any more questions about this please check out the embroidery section of my Embroidered Buttons Tutorial at this link.

Assemble

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Cut out the pieces along the compass marks.

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Spray the pieces with water until they are really wet. The blue lines will disappear. Press with a hot iron until dry. It may take a couple of rounds of wetting and ironing to completely erase the blue marker, so repeat as necessary.

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The covers for these cuff links are basically just tiny yo-yos. (Heather Bailey has a great yo-yo tutorial on her website if you don't have any idea what I'm talking about.)

Thread a needle with your white thread and tie a knot at the end. Using a small running stitch sew a 1/16-inch hem all around the circle. The hem should fold onto the wrong side of the circle.

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Go all the way around the circle as shown above. DO NOT CUT THE THREAD! Keep the thread on the needle.

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Cut a piece of the batting in the same size as the head of the cuff link. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Place this little batting bit in the center of the muslin piece on the wrong side.

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Place a cuff link  firmly on the batting.

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Pull the thread to cinch the fabric around the stem of the cuff link.

Once its in place, pull it very tight and tie a little knot on one of the pleats as near to the center as possible.

Wrap the thread around the base of the cuff link several times tightly and then tie another knot.

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Hide the thread end inside the gathers and clip it. The back should look like this.

Repeat for the second cuff link and you'll be done!

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Saturday
May242008

Whit's Knits: Super Easy Baby Blanket

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Every day at Purl at least one customer comes in looking for a really easy baby blanket pattern. It's such a basic request, and, yet, my co-workers and I have a hard time offering a basic solution. The reason is that not many knit designers bother to make patterns for simple rectangles or squares, assuming that, because it would be so easy for them to figure out, it must be easy for everyone else to figure out too!

I designed this blanket using Alchemy's new yarn, Temple a super-wash, super-soft and super-beautiful hand dyed merino wool. HERE is a baby blanket that anyone who knows how to cast on, knit and cast off can make. No picking up stitches; no counting stitches; not even any purling! It's everything people ask for, machine washable, soft, fast, and easy. You don't need to be an expert knitter to make a beautiful heirloom blanket!

I love garter stitch for a baby blanket because, besides being the same on both sides and lying flat, it is also very cushiony and cozy. My friend Roy really appreciated the cuddliness of garter stitch this weekend when the weather suddenly turned a bit chilly!- Whitney 

P.S. Happy first birthday to my model and buddy, Roy! 

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Wednesday
May142008

Molly's Sketchbook: A Liberty Picnic

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As you probably know by now we LOVE Liberty of London fabric prints! So when Purl Patchwork and purlsoho.com started making and selling the Liberty Fat-Quarter bundles I knew I had to do a project that used all 10 of the different prints together in some way.

With the weather finally turning sunny and warm I had picnics on the brain so I decided to make a Liberty Picnic Set of ten napkins and one crisp white picnic cloth, which can be used as a tablecloth or a blanket depending on your favorite picnic style. I embroidered the edges of all the napkins and the cloth with a retro looking pink and blue triangle stitch. I love the idea of everyone having a different but equally beautiful napkin. I also love the idea of taking the delicate looking (but actually quite sturdy), high class Liberty Tana Lawn out of it's usual dressy context and bringing it outside for a lovely picnic lunch, because what good is such beautiful fabric if you don't use and enjoy it! --Molly

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Monday
May122008

Whit's Knits: Wedding Washcloths

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When we got married, my husband and I didn't register for gifts. We were young and naive and just felt kind of weird asking people to give us stuff. So instead of gravy boats and champagne glasses, we got lots of funky and surprising things, like these salt and pepper shakers. They came from my wonderful Aunt Rosemary who collects vintage treasures wherever she goes. We never could have registered for these!

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I have to admit that sometimes I do regret the decision to not register, like in the morning when I eat my cereal out of my Ikea bowl with my Ikea spoon at my rickety kitchen table. But, really, I would trade a thousand silver spoons for the thoughtful, personal and often handmade gifts we did receive.

So, in that spirit, I decided to make my cousin Maria and her soon-to-be-husband, Len, a set of cotton washcloths for their June wedding. Blue Sky's new Skinny Cotton is organically grown and, in the case of the tan and cream, undyed. It is soft and sturdy, and will just get better and better as Maria and Len grow old together!

These organic cotton washcloths are a cinch to make. The two styles, one seed stitch and the other stockinette with a seed stitch border, are both easy enough for very beginners. But I don't think the washcloths will be less appreciated for their simplicity. They are beautifully soft and sturdy and will definitely stand out as having been made with love!

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I'm also giving them some heart shaped soaps that I got at a store near Purl called Sabon (You can get them online too - click here.) Weddings are the perfect time for such luxuries! Thanks! - Whitney 

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