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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.

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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!

Friday
Nov192010

Molly's Sketchbook: Twisted Felt Garland, Necklace, and Bracelet

The holidays are such a great time to do craft projects. With the weather getting colder and family and friends all around it's the perfect time to settle in and do something creative. The only problem is that with all the parties, cooking, and traveling it's sometimes hard to find the time to indulge in the crafty aspects of the holidays.

This project is the perfect antidote to the holiday time crunch. It's quick and easy and requires very little sewing. Best of all, using one simple technique, you can make a garland for holiday decorations as well as cute necklaces and bracelets for stocking stuffers!

These garlands, necklaces, and bracelets, are made from our gorgeous 100% wool felt. Felt is the perfect material for quick but stunning projects like this because it's so easy to work with and comes in the most vibrant saturated colors. The technique used is super simple, just cutting some evenly spaced cuts along long strips of felt and then pulling the ends through these cuts. It comes together to look so festive and fun, especially in candy cane inspired colors like these. The garland will add a bright, modern, holiday touch to any mantle or tree and I can imagine giving the necklaces and bracelets out as party favors at a holiday party to get all the guests looking festive.

In different colors this same technique could be used for all of the holidays around this time of year, in blues and whites they would make lovely Hanukkah decorations, and in black and white they would be a bold new years statement!

Happy Holidays! --Molly

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Monday
Nov152010

Beautiful Crewel Kits

As you may have learned from our extensive needlework post this summer, we've been bitten by the crewel bug.  Especially our lovely Mari who just finished two of the wonderful Crewel Work Company kits; the Scottish Thistle above and the Jacobean Sampler below.  She thinks crewel may be her new calling and says they are the perfect thing for her as a mother of a newborn because they are quick, portable and totally gratifying work!  As a beginner creweler herself, Mari found these two kits to be ideal for someone just learning to crewel. 

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Thursday
Nov112010

Molly's Sketchbook: Linen and Measuring Tape Twill Dishtowels

These dishtowels are the result of the marraige of two new products that have us ooing and ahhing. We're talking about the stunning hand dyed linens from Weeks Dye Works and the whimsical yet elegant 100% cotton measuring tape trim.  The moment we laid eyes on the linens we knew they would make luxurious dishtowels, perfect for gift giving.   We thought it would be fun to take it one step further and add a trim that was both decorative and functional.  When we placed the measuring tape trim onto the linens we all literally gasped!  It created something that was simultaneously timeless and modern.   Linen is the best material for dishtowels because it's super absorbent and it doesn't leave any lint behind.   Linen is one of the most "humectant" fibers, which is a fancy way of saying it retains and absorbs moisture better than just about anything else.  Because the staple fiber of linen is very long, it is a truly sturdy fiber that makes it the perfect choice for such utilarian objects.

We are in love we these absolutely gorgeous hand dyed linens from Weeks Dye Works. It is made specifically for counted thread embroidery and cross stitch, but its soft hand got us thinking about sewing with it. It comes in the most beautiful range of subtle, tonal colors from creamy ivories to earthy browns.  We created this project to celebrate this linen's beauty and its practicality all at once! Plus, it will be such a treat to see it hanging by the sink every day.

We added a little loop to make it easy to hang with our favorite twill measuring tape trim to add a little whimsy. The finished towels are both practical and beautiful, sophisticated and fun. They'll make a great gift, or you can keep them for yourself!

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