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Saturday
Mar012008

Whit's Knits: EZ's Mitts

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I'm a huge yellow fan, especially in the context of cold, wet and gray days. I'd take a yellow umbrella over anything. Walking along under your own personal yellow sky while the rest of the world melts into non-color is a beautiful feeling.

So when this "Saffron" skein of Andy's Merino from Farmhouse Yarns screamed out to me, "Winter blues, be gone!", I could hardly ignore its pleas. Andy's Merino is one of my favorite, favorite yarns at Purl. It is very soft and light, but, more importantly, it just reeks of creative energy and originality. Carol, the engine behind Farmhouse Yarns, pours so much love and abandon into the dying process of her yarns that you can't help but be infected by the passion.

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What to make with this jewel? For inspiration, I turned to my one of my old standbys, The Knitter's Almanac by Elizabeth Zimmermann. This modest little book really packs a wallop. Along with wonderfully funny thoughts and stories, each month of the year includes brilliant patterns and ideas. From big elaborate Aran sweaters to little delicate lace ornaments, Zimmermann covers the whole knitting gamut in one short year.

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Wednesday
Feb202008

Molly's Sketchbook: Herringbone Handkerchiefs

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I am not good at hiding my distaste when I don't like things. I make a face that Joelle affectionately calls "the Molly Meter" when I come across something that doesn't appeal to me.  One day at Purl Patchwork we received a box full of fabric from Yuwa that contained bolt after bolt of what I felt were beautiful prints, until I pulled out a bolt of sheer fabric from a line called Feather Garden and the Molly Meter went off. I thought it looked so old-fashioned, fussy and busy...  I put it away on the shelf with my nose in the air.

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But as the days passed I found myself continually drawn to the sheer texture and intricate print of the fabric. Instead of thinking, "eww it's so old fashioned and busy" I started thinking "ooooo, it's so reminiscent and detailed." To make a long story short I started to love it. Like really love it. Like I wanted to buy it in every colorway and sew a bed out of it. 

Instead of doing that, I decided to make handkerchiefs. I am a big proponent of the handkerchief. They are lovely and useful, they reduce paper waste and they are soft and easy on your nose. Much like the fabric they're made of they are very "reminiscent and detailed".  I used a delicate herringbone stitch around the edge and cross stitched my initial on the corner, and even though they are entirely hand sewn they didn't take very long. -Molly 

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Monday
Feb042008

Molly's Sketchbook: Embroidered Covered Buttons

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Since Purl Patchwork opened I have deepened my love of embroidery. I own almost every Valdani's embroidery thread color in existence. I like seeing how small my stitches can be and embroidering tiny things. As my skills were improving I started thinking of different ways to use embroidery and I came up with these embroidered covered buttons.

I thought making covered buttons would be an involved process until I heard about covered button kits. They make  covering a button really really easy. Once I got the kits I was on a roll and I made over 150 buttons! -Molly

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Wednesday
Jan232008

Whit's Knits: Mary Jane Slippers

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When I was seven I relished any chance I could get to wear my black patent leather Mary Jane's. No event was too insignificant! Now I like to shuffle around my apartment in these knit slippers reminiscent of the classic style. 

Some historical perspective: Mary Jane was sister to Buster Brown, star of the early 20th century comic, Buster Brown. The Brown Shoe Company licensed the names and characters of the strip and made Mary Jane Shoes what they are today. Cute and sassy!

Enjoy! --Whitney

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Friday
Jan182008

Japanese Crafting with Mari: Sashiko

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Sashiko embroidery is one of my favorite crafts.  It's easy to master and the process is very meditative and relaxing.  Sashiko is a type of Japanese embroidery that was traditionally used to reinforce clothing.  The typical colors used were indigo cloth with white thread.  Today, sashiko is used a decorative technique on every kind of textile product imaginable.

I made the Sashiko sample above using one of our pre-printed Sashiko kits. To learn how to make one yourself, visit my Sashiko Tutorial.  Enjoy! --Mari