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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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Thursday
Apr172008

Molly's Sketchbook: A Cute Japanese Coin Purse

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Even since we got the Inazuma Antique Gold handles in the store I have been wanting to make a coin purse. There there was just one (big) problem.... the instructions were in Japanese! Usually I pride myself in being able to figure things out from pictures but no matter how hard I tried I couldn't make heads or tails of the simple pattern included with the handles. Luckily for me the very talented Mari was willing to help me out. She and her mom translated the pattern and answered my clueless questions.

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Once I knew what the pattern was saying the construction of the purse was fun and easy. I can't think of a better quick gift than this fully lined, darling little pouch. I have a feeling I will be making many more! -Molly

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Monday
Apr142008

Whit's Knits: Pom Pom Peds

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Remember Tretorn tennis sneakers? The canvas ones with the bright colored little arch on the side? And remember how you had to wear them with the little peds with pom poms on the cuff?

In the mid-70's Chris Evert rocked the classic combo. The pom pom was probably meant to keep the sock from slipping down into the the sneaker. Such a whimsical solution to such a practical problem!

A decade later The Official Preppy Handbook ordained Tretorns with Pom Pom Peds a "must-have". In Connecticut, the hypocenter of preppy behavior, where the Handbook was barely satirical, we all competed to have the newest Tretorns, the most pom pom socks, the best color combinations. Sick stuff, but, man, I loved wearing those socks!

Now, two decades later, I'm loving making these socks! They reduce sock making to the most fun parts, to the action of the sock: the heel, the gusset, the toe. And so many color possibilities beyond the classic white with rainbow color trim! I could fill a drawer... -Whitney

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