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Thursday
Dec092010

Mary Flanagan Felted Wool Patchwork Quillow

From the moment we saw these gorgeous bundles of ten uniquely textured and hand dyed felted wools from Mary Flanagan, we knew we wanted to make a patchwork blanket with them.  They seemed to be made just for this purpose since felted wool doesn't require hemming, plus it's very soft, warm and inviting.  When we got our bundle home and began to design the quilt, we realized that we would only need nine of the ten pieces to make it, but we were determined to use all 10.  It occurred to us that we could use the 10th piece to make a simple pocket on the back of the quilt into which the entire piece could be folded to make a pillow, and our quilt became a quillow!  It was meant to be.

Click to read more ...

Friday
Dec032010

Whit's Knits: Fisherman's Rib Scarf and Cowl

How can any knitter resist a stitch pattern called "Fisherman's Rib"? The name evokes all our most romantic knitting associations: rugged men in densely cabled sweaters materializing out of the fog, abeam a windswept Scottish cliff. Luckily, Fisherman's Rib is as beautiful (and practical) as its name implies, lofty, springy, and super cozy.

But, let's face it, most of us aren't as rugged as your average fisherman. You will rarely hear a fisherman say anything like, "It's lovely, but maybe a little bit scratchy, don't you think?". So for the rest of us, I used the Fisherman's Rib, but not his yarn.

Instead, I took this opportunity to return to one of my very favorite yarns, The Fibre Company's Road to China Worsted. I used it three years ago for the Sullivan Street Bolero and have never forgotten its amazing softness and drape. It's such a gorgeous blend of baby alpaca, cashmere, camel and silk that even the most unweathered on your gift list will be happy with a Fisherman's Rib Scarf or Cowl. Just don't give one to the fisherman in your life. He would never look at his guernseys the same again.

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Sunday
Nov282010

A Purl Soho Pattern: Loeffler Randall Rain Boot and Rain Bootie Stirrup Socks!

Early this fall Jessie Randall from Loeffler Randall had her team contact us to see if we'd be interested in doing a collaboration around their elegant and cool LR Rain Boots and LR Rain Booties.  At Purl Soho we're huge fans of Loeffler Randall (and are honored to have Jessie as one of our customers) so we were thrilled to create this pair of Stirrup Socks especially for their rain boots and booties. 

The Boots

The Loeffler Randall Boots and Booties are the perfect solution to wet fall weather.  They're rain proof so they are completely practical, but they also have an elegant shape and come in great colors, so you can wear them anywhere.   The boot has a back zipper, the booties lace up and they are available in black, army and taupe.  If you want to learn more about them or get yourself a pair, you can find them right here.

The Socks

Once we thought about creating stirrup socks all of our creative juices started flowing.  We realized that a stirrup sock is a great, substantial, but approproachable project for lots of knitters.  Also, being without a heel and toe they'd work well in the elegantly shaped LR boot foot (without the bulk of a hand knit sock), and also the back of the leg shaping means not only that this sock is very pretty, it also fits easily inside a boot leg.  We made the long pair of socks to go with the LR Rain Boot, and the short pair to go with the LR Rain Bootie. 

The biggest challenge of the pattern is using double pointed needles, but luckily we have a fantastic double pointed needle tutorial that you can visit right here if you need it.

Before we even started developing our Stirrup Sock Pattern we knew we'd want to create it with Anzula's Squishy, which is perhaps one of the most perfect sock yarns ever created. Squishy comes in an amazingly generious hank of 385 yards of gorgeous superwash merino wool, cashmere and nylon, and we wanted to be sure you could get an entire long pair from one skein.  As it turns out, one skein (385 yards) will make the one pair of the long version of the stirrup socks OR two pairs (!) of the short version.  Squishy comes in tons of great colors, and is beautiful to work with.  The socks are substantial, cozy without being heavy. 

Loeffler Randall will be offering a free Purl Soho Stirrup Sock pattern inside the box of every pair of Rain Boots and Rain Booties, or you can buy the pattern directly from us right here!

Here are some details on the pattern:

  • Pattern includes directions for long stirrup socks (14-inches from heel opening) and short stirrup socks (8-inches from heel opening).
  • Yardage Requirements: Long Pair, 375 yards; Short Pair, 185 yards
  • Gauge:  36 stitches = 4 inches in stockinette stitch

You will also need:

Oh, and the long stirrup socks work perfectly in Loeffler Randall's beautiful Classic Matilde Flat Boots too! 

Saturday
Nov272010

Molly's Sketchbook: Felt Christmas Tree Pins

Christmas Tree pins are a really fun tradition.  I love seeing people walking around New York with a miniature tree pinned to lapels of their heavy winter coats. I really love everything about Christmas Trees actually, their simple shape, decorations, lights, and wonderful smell.  I decided to make these sweet, and totally easy Christmas Tree pins as a celebration of the holidays and as something very simple that would usher in the holiday spirit.  I can't wait to hand them out to everyone I know.

My go-to material when making something quick, easy and graphic like this is 100% wool felt.  It's such a dream to work with and it comes in our color coordinated bundles of eight 8-inch x 12-inch pieces including the bright and fun Holiday Bundle I used. I love the contrast of the vibrant pink and fresh green with the warm white and chocolate brown.  It says Christmas without being too traditional.  Plus, since it's felt, it is unbelievably easy to work with since it needs no hemming.

I used the same easy technique that I used for my Valentine Pins.  It's so simple, satisfying, and addictive.  Every time I make a pin like this I want to make a thousand of them!  It's the perfect project for a holiday season weekend at home with family and friends.

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Nov212010

Whit's Knits: Winter Hats for Everybody

Our customers are always looking for simple, no-nonsense winter hats. Some people don't want floppy or funky or trendy or slouchy or sassy. They just want "a hat, you know? A hat...". This Winter Hat is a classic, timeworn shape and design, good for babies, kids and adults; boys, girls, men and women; country and city.

But, for us, of course, "a hat" is not just a hat. It is a stage, a quiet place for yarn to soliloquize, "I am gorgeous and special yarn gracing the head of this wearer!". We consider such a quiet place a wonderful opportunity. We dive into our shelves for some of our truly most beautiful yarn, and often we surface with Jade Sapphire's 100% Mongolian Cashmere.Jade Sapphire's cashmere is the softest yarn I know, a crucial point because nothing is more irritable than a scratchy hat; unless it's a too bulky hat, one that overzealously does its job and leaves the wearer with a sweaty head and a red overheated face. That's why the Zageo 6 ply is the perfect hat yarn, thin and lightweight, but, because it's cashmere, toasty warm and guaranteed not to scratch!  The colors pictured above from left to right are: Ivory, Creme de Menthe, Pebble Beach and The Blood Orange. 

We made all three of our Winter Hats for Everybody with theses 4 skeins, and had enough yarn left over to make two more Baby Hats, or one more Kid Hat or one more Adult Hat. If you would like to modify the pattern with your own ideas of stripes or embellishments, or switch to a different yarn altogether, here are the yardage requirements for each hat:

  • Baby Hat uses 85 yards
  • Kid Hat uses 130 yards [not including the pom pom]
  • Adult Hat uses 165 yards. 

You can find our pattern right here, you can find Jade Sapphire's Zageo 6-ply Cashmere right here (or, if you would like to explore some of our less expensive yarns for these hats, you can use any light worsted/dk weight yarn at this link).

Our Winter Hats For Everybody pattern includes easy-to-follow directions for three sizes of hats: Baby (3 months to 15 months), Kid (toddler to preteen), and Adult (everybody else!). It also includes instructions for making the stripes just like we did here and also for making three different toppers: an I-cord loop, a pom pom and a little tassel.

I love the idea of giving the same thing to everybody in my family, from oldest to youngest, from grandpa to niece. I think it's a wonderful symbol of the season, that we get the same thing because we all have the same needs and desires and that we are, after all, one big family.

If you would like to keep everybody on your list warm this holiday season with our Winter Hats For Everybody, you can find the pattern right here.   Thanks! - Whitney

P.S. For perfect pom poms, we suggest you give our new Pom Pom Makers from Clover a try!

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