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Sunday
Jun012014

Molly's Sketchbook: Breezy Friendship Bracelets

The best summer project around? Friendship bracelets... So portable, so cute and so easy! And you don’t need to be intimidatingly crafty to make them. In fact, even if you have two left thumbs, these Breezy Friendship Bracelets are perfectly do-able.

Over the past few years, we have featured several knotted bracelet designs here on the Bee (click here to see them all), but this season's version is the easiest and breeziest. Made with two very simple knots, these bracelets work up so quickly you can make several in an afternoon and a whole armful in a weekend.

The Breezy Friendship Bracelets also have a new streamlined, adjustable closure for easy on and off. And for the first time, I used our 1 mm Chinese Knotting Cord, a durable nylon cord made for, well... knotting! You only need two colors to make a bracelet, but where’s the fun in that? Make a whole rainbow!

Kids can easily get in on this friendship bracelet action. We're thinking tokens of friendship for the end of the school year and hours of entertainment for summer road trips. But, honestly? We make and wear friendship bracelets too! -Molly

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Thursday
May292014

Molly's Sketchbook: Sweet Crochet and Sew Dress

Working at Purl Soho is like going to Craft University. Co- workers, customers and readers are all professor-like founts of information, creative ideas and practical know-how. Over the years, I’ve learned so much about sewing, but along the way, I’ve also picked up some knowledge of knitting, embroidery, needlepoint and crochet. While I remain first and foremost a sewist, I sometimes feel the draw of a bigger craft world out there!

I created this little girl’s Sweet Crochet and Sew Dress as an interdisciplinary adventure. I used Louet’s beautiful Euroflax Linen to hook up a simple, pretty neckline, and for the breezy skirt, I chose summer-light cottons. Not only is this a great dress for the hotter months, but because crochet is so portable and linen is so cool to the touch, it’s also a great project to make when the mercury rises.

You don’t have to be an expert in either crocheting or sewing to make your own Sweet Crochet and Sew Dress. If you’re a crocheter who rarely dusts off the machine or a seamstress who once made a granny square in home ec. you can do it! Consider it Interdisciplinary Crafting 101 and welcome to Craft University! -Molly

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Wednesday
May282014

New! DIY Map Quilt Patterns from Haptic Lab

Is there a city that has your heart? The one you grew up in, the one you got married in, the one you live in? Stitch your way around your favorite city's streets, parks, and rivers with Haptic Lab's amazing DIY Map Quilt Patterns.

Each DIY Map Quilt Pattern comes with a to-scale paper template and sewing instructions. Just pin the template onto your quilt, stitch right into it, and rip off the paper as you complete each section. See in-action photos (and get inspiration!) on Haptic Lab's website right here.

Haptic Lab has mapped out the territory; you supply the fabric (we're using muslin for our NYC quilt!), batting, thread, floss and creativity! Hand sew, machine sew or both; use linen or metallic threads, neon or glow-in-the-dark embroidery flosses; applique prints into special zones (a Liberty of London floral in Hyde Park?); mark meaningful intersections and neighborhoods with embroidery stitches, buttons and trims; make it your own. Forget quilt blocks; think city blocks, and go to town!

For Purl Soho's entire collection of DIY Map Quilt Patterns, click right here. And enjoy your trip!

Monday
May262014

Corinne's Thread: Fringed Chambray Napkins

In the sewing room, raw fabric edges usually sound an alarm, and much of my sewing time is spent finding ways to hide unruly edges. I tuck them neatly into hems, enclose them in French seams and keep their messy threads at bay with zigzag stitches. But for these Fringed Chambray Napkins, it is precisely the threads of the raw edge that make them so special!

With a white weft and a colorful warp, the exposed edges of Kiyohara’s Linen Blend Solids reveal a two-color surprise. Created by unraveling individual threads of the fabric, making these napkins feels a bit irrational, like pulling out a lot of hard work. But, lo and behold, in the act of destruction comes a set of beautiful napkins.

These Fringed Chambray Napkins feel both sophisticated and relaxed, making them suitable for a whole range of occasions. Since I plan on using mine for summer barbecues, I chose a combination of festive reds and blues and made a whole stack in a lunchtime size (13 by 13 inches). But with no hems to account for, these napkins are easily sized up to a generous dinner size or down to a diminutive cocktail size, whatever your summer plans!

And because there are no seams to press and only the smallest bit of preparatory machine stitches, these Fringed Chambray Napkins are a great carry-along project for summer road trips. May the only thing that unravels be your napkins edges! -Corinne

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Thursday
May222014

Whit's Knits: Open Air Wrap

Although you wouldn't know it from looking at me, I really do love clothes and style and fashion. I don't purchase September issues or Louboutins, but I do love the human spectrum that is expressed through clothing choices (thank you, New York City!).

This Open Air Wrap would definitely catch my eye on the street, inciting a reverie about the woman wearing it. If she had paired it with a trim black dress and patent leather pumps, I would think about the artistic her making a bid for self-expression, giving a nod to the unconventional. Or if a woman were wearing the Open Air Wrap with flowing skirts and layers of linen and long necklaces, I would admire that every iota of her wants to be free.

Where do we turn for the unexpected and the singular? Easy, Habu Textiles. For this project I chose their spectacularly fascinating Silk Wrapped Paper. Not really paper, but paper-like, Silk Wrapped Paper is actually a slender linen tape bound with an even finer thread of silk. Knit up, it is sculptural, featherlight and totally statement making.

The super simple Purse Stitch, which essentially creates a net-like mesh, gives the Silk Wrapped Paper plenty of room to breathe and to express itself. Which brings us back to the beginning. We wear what we wear, from high tops to topsiders, to be ourselves and to tell the world who we are. So, toss your own Open Air Wrap over your shoulders and express yourself! -Whitney

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