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Friday
Sep042009

Molly's Sketchbook: Finishing a Needlepoint Pillow

Sewing a finished needlepoint canvas into a pillow is just as easy as sewing any simple pillow, it's also a very quick process, especially when compared to the time it takes to actually stitch the canvas!  Most importantly it's a great way to display the canvas so you can see it every day.

If you've never needlepointed before you may be surprised to discover just how fun and easy it is! We have a great selection of needlepoint canvases that you can find at this link by the wonderful painter and illustrator Charley Harper. We also have a brief explaination of how to needlepoint that you can see by clicking here. If you need or want more in-depth instructions on how to needlepoint we highly recommend the TNNA How To Needlepoint Booklet, which you can find at this link.

Happy Stitching! --Molly

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Thursday
Sep032009

Whit's Knits: Crocheted Linen Grocery Tote

It's always a good time to eschew the plastic bag in favor of an earth friendly one. My favorite choice is the netted grocery tote. It has all the conveniences of a plastic bag and none of the detriments. I love that it scrunches up into a tiny ball inside my purse, weighs nothing, and fits more groceries than I can even carry - magic!

Our knit version of this bag has been a perennial favorite at Purl (check out Elisa's Nest Tote), so here, finally, is a crocheted option. It's made out of Louet's Euroflax Linen, which is as durable as it is beautiful. My favorite summertime yarn, the Euroflax has the rawness of a hardworking natural linen, balanced by a delicate luster and a graceful drape. Buying groceries will never be the same!

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Monday
Aug312009

Molly's Sketchbook: Back to School Lunch Bag

School is starting and that means lots of new things: a new teacher, new clothes, and new school supplies. We thought we'd add to all the excitement by making a new re-usable, totally washable lunch bag!

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Monday
Aug242009

Mary Lou's Holiday Stocking

This charming Holiday Stocking pattern was created for The Purl Bee by Mary Lou Risely, a longtime teacher at, and dear friend of, Purl. If all of these techniques are new to you, we're offering a class to make this stocking at Purl, you can read all about it at this link. --Thank you Mary Lou!

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Friday
Aug212009

Whit's Knits: Log Cabin Washcloths

Knitting these washcloths has been the most crafting fun I've had in a long time. Making a log cabin pattern is easy, surprising and very meditative. You really get into the flow! I learned the technique from the always inspiring (and hilarious) ladies of Mason Dixon Knitting, Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne. They devote a whole chapter of their first book to the practice, writing so enthusiastically on the subject that knitting a log cabin something went straight to the top of my list.

While the log cabin pattern has a certain architectural genius, the even more fascinating aspect of the project for me is the way a color morphs depending on its size and neighbor. A small pink square surrounded by a field of cream, outlined by sherbet orange strangely becomes a glowing lavender. When the same pink surrounds a big square of watermelon, it fades to the color of an old ballet slipper.

All of this brought to mind the artist, colorist and influential teacher, Josef Albers, who spent his life exploring these ever evolving relationships. His beautifully subtle paintings of squares within squares may excite some unusual color choices! Check out his Foundation's web site for ideas.

I used Rowan's machine washable Handknit Cotton to make these two sets of washcloths. It's wonderfully soft and practical at the same time, gentle enough for the face and body, but durable enough to hold up to wear and tear. Other great cotton choices would be Rowan's Cotton Glace, Pima Cotton, or Purelife Organic Cotton DK or Blue Sky's Skinny Cotton. For all of these I would use a needle one size smaller and expect a slightly diminished finished size.

Whatever cotton you choose, you'll be happy to have these washcloths up your sleeve for weddings, baby showers, housewarmings and birthdays. With a gorgeous bar of soap, it's a wonderful present!

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