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Thursday
May082014

Molly's Sketchbook: Crossroads Quilt

I love quiltmaking because of its sheer limitlessness. Even in its simplest form, with no tricky Y seams or curved angles, the possibilities are endless! My Crossroads Quilt operates within the confines of a grid, but by playing with prints and colors, basic squares and rectangles become so much more!

I carefully chose a variety of fabrics for this project that, together, create the illusion of overlapping lines. The soft blue Essex linen-cotton blend sets the stage for the cool White Hatches, which run vertically, and the warm Apricot Shot Cotton, which runs horizontally. These two fabrics meet at sweet Orange Checked intersections, or crossroads, giving my quilt its name! I bound the whole thing in a beautiful yarn dyed gray fabric, which puts the whole piece solidly in a frame, like the piece of art it is! All of these gorgeous fabrics, plus the batting and thread, are available in our Materials for Crossroads Quilt kit right here.

The only real skill you need to complete this project is rotary cutting. Rotary cutting is a very important basic quiltmaking skill, but it can be a little intimidating to the uninitiated. If you’re new to it or just want some helpful tips, I’ve put together a comprehensive Rotary Cutting Tutorial as a companion to this quilt. Click here to check it out. Once you get the hang of rotary cutting the Crossroads Quilt (or any other quilt for that matter) will be a breeze! -- Molly

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Sunday
May042014

Corinne’s Thread: Boxy Tee Three Ways

A good friend of mine teases that when we go shopping she can guess what I will pick out before we even enter the store. “Anything that’s cut like a square or a rectangle,” she says. The thing is, she’s right! I always make a beeline for clean lines and simple silhouettes, and this usually means a box. 
But boxy doesn’t have to mean boring or unflattering. When working with a shape this simple, it’s all about the details. A pop of color, a pretty side slit, and a well-shaped neckline make all the difference, turning a boring box into something worth wearing. 
I made my Boxy Tees in Kokka’s lightweight and beautiful Fine Solids with fun, electric bursts of Michael Miller’s Neon Solids. Loose fitting and airy, but with all the right details, this Boxy Tee is just my style. And since I designed the pattern to mix and match three arm lengths, color blocks and a back tie detail, it can easily be just your style too! 
When I showed my collection of tops to my good friend, the first thing she said was, “Oh! I want one!” Ha! Now I know just what she’s going to wear too! –Corinne

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Thursday
May012014

Whit's Knits: Striped Crew Socks

I live with a five year old boy, and if you know anyone like that, you've probably noticed how much he likes to chat about dirty socks (and stinky cheese and slimy worms); and so it comes as a welcome respite for me to knit up something that is on the opposite end of that conversational spectrum. These Striped Crew Socks have such an incredibly nice, fresh feeling that all icky talk seems miles away.

A simple one-round stripe takes on a little complexity when a 1 x 1 rib moves into stockinette stitch. I love how the shift from one to the other feels like an optical illusion and, on top of that, how the different stitch patterns serve a practical function: ribbing for anti-gravitational hold on the leg and stockinette for smooth comfort on the foot.

Our favorite sock yarn at Purl Soho is definitely Anzula's Squishy. It's amazingly soft (thank you, cashmere), wonderfully springy (thank you, merino) and totally durable (thank you, nylon). It's also hand dyed in unbelievebaly beautiful colors that feel plucked from nature herself. The Nimbus blue I used here (paired with Au Natural ecru) gives the effect of rippling cool water or windswept skies, just right for a brand new pair of spring socks!

I do love my son's boyish pleasure in the disgusting and the creepy, but I have to admit, I love the quiet elegance of these socks at least as much! - Whitney

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Sunday
Apr272014

Laura's Loop: Colorblock Bias Blanket

Whenever I am faced with a pile of undeniably beautiful yarn, I turn to an old-friend-of-a-project, the Colorblock Bias Blanket. It is a project that never grows old; it soothes your knitting soul when you’re stumped by a contiguous sleeve or bogged down by too many bobbles; it inspires combinations of color and texture that never before seemed possible; and like all of my most treasured things, this pattern was handed down to me by my dear Aunt Julie.

Julie’s wild sense of color and unique personal style constantly inspire me to freely experiment with textures and values and tones. So recently, when I found myself strolling the aisles of Purl Soho with seven skeins in a vice-grip-like hug, realizing I couldn’t let a single skein go, I knew exactly how I could pull them all together.

I knit my Colorblock Bias Blanket in simple garter stitch, using three different hand-dyed, DK-weight yarns in a spectrum of seven amazing colors. Starting with pops of peach, I used Koigu’s crisp and lively Kersti Merino Crepe. Then to contrast with the smooth consistency of the Kersti, I moved on to Madelinetosh’s Tosh Merino DK, a single ply yarn that quietly shifts from thick to thin. Next I used Anzula’s luxurious Cricket , a blend of superwash merino, cashmere and a touch of nylon. Its machine-spun quality and soft, sandy colors add elegance and subtlety. And finally, I finished the blanket with two more skeins of quirky Tosh Merino DK.

The whole is indeed greater than the sum of its parts (thank you, Aristotle). Each of these yarns has its own special personality, but together, they create a rich and complex fabric. You can create your own beautiful blanket with Purl Soho’s Yarn for Colorblock Bias Blanket kit. Choose from three lovely colorways: this toasty Peach, cool Mint or burst-of-yellow Lemon! -Laura

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Thursday
Apr242014

Corinne's Thread: Purl Soho Women's Robe

A few months ago, when I made the Purl Soho Kid’s Robe, the response was unanimous: “One in my size too, please!” We couldn’t have agreed more! So, thanks to your great advice, we introduce… the Purl Soho Women’s Robe! 
I knew immediately that I was going to like this project, but once I started, I fell in actual love. I didn’t know my life was missing this robe, but then, I couldn’t believe I had gone so long without one. I began to keep a mental tally of all the people who would be getting a handmade robe from me (first on the list: happy Mother’s Day, mom!).  
I designed the Purl Soho Women’s Robe to be roomy but not bulky, classic but not prim, comfy but not sloppy. Although you can make yours in any light or mid-weight cotton, linen or flannel, I love the breezy look and feel of Liberty of London’s gorgeous Tana Lawn. I used the Seasonal print Junos Garden Pastel. 
The Purl Soho Women’s Robe Pattern walks you through every step of the process with detailed photographs and tons of helpful tips. It includes sizes from Extra Small to Extra Large, in both above-the-knee and below-the-knee lengths. Pick up a hardcopy or PDF download right here!
And here’s a list of everything else you’ll need to get started…

Materials

Lightweight Cotton, Medium Weight Cotton, Flannel or Linen Fabric
100% Cotton Thread in a coordinating color
(And don’t forget a Purl Soho Women’s Robe Pattern!)
Thank you, dear readers, for inspiring me to make this wholly satisfying robe. And keep those suggestions coming! -Corinne

 

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