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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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Thursday
Jan302014

Whit's Knits: Stitch Block Cowl

Knitters who have made their fair share of garter stitch scarves, ribbed hats and stockinette sweaters, will understand the hankering to shake things up a bit. I love the rhythm and certainty of the basic stitches, but every now and then I relish the challenge of stitch patterns that unfold in surprising ways, that teach me yet something else about the wondrous potential of knits and purls!

I've done a lot of knitting in my life, so much that I sometimes wonder if there are any stones left unturned, but this Stitch Block Cowl took me into new terrain. I've knit colorwork and I've knit "in the row below", but I've never done the two together. It's terrifically easy and proves, once again, that knitting is inexhaustibly interesting.

Each of the three stitch patterns in our Stitch Block Cowl employ this simple technique of knitting stitches in the row below (don't worry, we explain what that means in the pattern with photos and everything!). This is ultimately a lot like slipping stitches and has the same effect of creating a very cozy fabric with a whole lot of squish and depth. Add to that the remarkably soft merinos of Purl Soho's Worsted Twist and Madelinetosh's Tosh Merino and you've got one voluptuous cowl!

Ready to take your own journey into uncharted knitting territory? Make sure you pack one of Purl Soho's Yarn for Stitch Block Cowl kits, in this pretty Yellow, subtle Gray or icy Blue. And don't forget to send a postcard! -Whitney

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