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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

 

Sunday
Apr202014

Corinne's Thread: Pillowcases for Every Bed

The first machine-sewing project I ever attempted was a pillowcase. The seams were a bit wonky and the hems were slightly uneven, but when I turned the whole thing right side out and slipped it on the pillow, you know what? It worked! Even with all its imperfections, it looked great, and so began my love affair with the humble pillowcase… and with sewing.
Since then, pillowcases have been my go-to project whenever I’m fond of a fabric, need a last minute gift (Mother’s Day!) or just want to spruce things up around the house. The seams are a bit straighter now and the hems are more precise, but no matter how many other projects I have under my belt, I come back to this simple and rewarding design time and time again. 
Sized for Standard, Queen, and King pillows, these really are Pillowcases for Every Bed. And although the pattern is so straight-forward that even a sewing novice can feel confident taking it on, the French seam details and envelope fold cuff add a challenge and polish that more experienced sewists will appreciate. 
With two styles (one plain, one with a contrast edging) and ten colorful fabrics, I had so much fun mixing and matching the cases for this giant pile of pillows. So, choose a few favorite fabrics and spend an hour to make a pair for yourself, or an afternoon to refit every bed in the house, or a weekend to make a set for everyone you know. I’m not kidding. They’re that easy and that addictive!
- Corinne

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Thursday
Apr172014

Molly's Sketchbook: Simple Lined Zipper Pouches

Back when I was newer to crafting a wise knitter (it was Joelle!) told me that if you can knit a pair of mittens you can knit anything. Even though mittens are small they require many different skills so their lessons are easy to blow up on a bigger scale. Now that I’m little wiser myself I’ve found that, much like playing scales on the piano or running drills in basketball, there are certain fundamental craft projects that set you up for wider success!

These zipper pouches are just such a fundamental project: a simple pattern that serves to build confidence and competence. Plus the finished pouches are super useful and cute! They’re a perfect project for a new sewist who wants to start working with zippers and edgestitching or for any more experienced sewists out there who might suffer from zipper anxiety!

Our Materials for Simple Lined Zipper Pouches kit contains everything you’ll need to make six pouches in a range of sizes so you’ll be able to get plenty of practice with your new skills! Once you’ve mastered these just think of the places you’ll go!- Molly

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