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Thursday
Jan302014

Whit's Knits: Stitch Block Cowl

Knitters who have made their fair share of garter stitch scarves, ribbed hats and stockinette sweaters, will understand the hankering to shake things up a bit. I love the rhythm and certainty of the basic stitches, but every now and then I relish the challenge of stitch patterns that unfold in surprising ways, that teach me yet something else about the wondrous potential of knits and purls!

I've done a lot of knitting in my life, so much that I sometimes wonder if there are any stones left unturned, but this Stitch Block Cowl took me into new terrain. I've knit colorwork and I've knit "in the row below", but I've never done the two together. It's terrifically easy and proves, once again, that knitting is inexhaustibly interesting.

Each of the three stitch patterns in our Stitch Block Cowl employ this simple technique of knitting stitches in the row below (don't worry, we explain what that means in the pattern with photos and everything!). This is ultimately a lot like slipping stitches and has the same effect of creating a very cozy fabric with a whole lot of squish and depth. Add to that the remarkably soft merinos of Purl Soho's Worsted Twist and Madelinetosh's Tosh Merino and you've got one voluptuous cowl!

Ready to take your own journey into uncharted knitting territory? Make sure you pack one of Purl Soho's Yarn for Stitch Block Cowl kits, in this pretty Yellow, subtle Gray or icy Blue. And don't forget to send a postcard! -Whitney

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Sunday
Jan262014

Molly's Sketchbook: Sweetheart Charms

Page and her daughter Coco have a really sweet thing: They each carry around a little stuffed fabric heart so that when either Page or Coco is missing the other, she can hold the heart and feel closer together. When I heard about this, I knew I needed to make a little heart for my own daughter, although at this point in her cognitive development, she might be more likely to plop it in her applesauce than to look at it and think fondly of me!

So, even though Lupe might be a bit young, this Valentine’s Day I’m starting our own ritual with these Sweetheart Charms. I added a simple pocket to each soft wool heart so you can stow a tiny note or a small piece of candy, and I also topped each charm with a sturdy loop so your keepsake can hang from a backpack, belt loop, or buttonhole!

This project is quick enough to make for a big group but also special enough to sew for your very favorite Valentine. And since these Sweetheart Charms are so easy, I’m going to make a few of them for Lupe and me. That way some of them can take a dip in the applesauce!

Happy Valentine’s Day! --Molly

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Thursday
Jan232014

Laura's Loop: Garter Ear Flap Hat

This Garter Ear Flap Hat was an engineering feat to get me back on my feet. You see, I didn’t exactly have that quintessential fresh-start feeling that so often comes with the New Year. Instead, I spent January 1st in bed with the flu and its attendant fever, aches, chills, and delirium. Just as the worst was passing, Mother Nature blasted us with a Polar Vortex that I did not have the strength nor will to face.

Cabin fever set in! Groggy from illness and stir-crazed from quarantine, I was determined to prove my health (and sanity), and so, making this hat became a triumphant product of my bruised spirit. I created this hat that simultaneously hangs on and hugs my head, which provides protection and insulation from a season that had been beating me down.

Still enamored with the ease of working short rows in garter stitch (as with my Knit Elbow Patches), I constructed this hat in one seamless piece using Purl Soho’s soft and lush Alpaca Pure. The more I knit with this incredibly comforting yarn, the better I felt. And the topper made it official. Slightly pointed with a tiny tassel, the finish delivered cheer and whimsy. I was back to my healthy self!

With my head toasty warm and back in full heath, that fresh-start feeling did arrive… just a little late this year. A belated Happy New Year to all! May it be a healthy one. -Laura

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Sunday
Jan192014

Corinne's Thread: Fleece Baby Jumpsuit

One of the magical things about babies is that no matter their shape or size, they always seem perfect. Long and lean, totally chubby or just a little pipsqueak, every baby I meet makes me think, “Oh, yes! That is exactly the way a baby should be!”
Unfortunately, baby clothes don’t come in as many sizes as the babies themselves. From the day my daughter, Nieve, was born she was too tall for newborn sizes but was too small to fit in anything larger without looking like she was on an early enrollment plan for clown school. Knowing that my baby couldn’t be the only one struggling to find a suit that fits, I designed this one-pattern-fits-most Fleece Baby Jumpsuit. With just a few easy adjustments, this pattern will fit almost any baby of almost any shape or size from ages 0-9 months. That’s right, we’re talking bespoke babywear!
Not only did I want this Jumpsuit to fit, but I also wanted it to be cozy and warm. Michael Miller’s Organic Cotton Fleece makes this piece so soft and cuddly, and the juxtaposing fuzzy and smooth sides of the fabric add a bit of playfulness to the monochrome palette.   
Despite its made-to-measure details, the simple lines, limited seams and forgiving fabric make this Jumpsuit a breeze to whip up. This is a very good thing, since my little beanstalk may need a new one every month! -- Corinne

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Sunday
Jan122014

Molly's Sketchbook: Felted Wool Hot Water Bottle Cover

It’s miraculous that in this modern world sometimes the best cure for life’s aches and pains is as simple as a little hot water. A rubber hot water bottle is the perfect conveyance for healing warmth, inexpensive and virtually indestructible. 

Our Felted Wool Hot Water Bottle Covers celebrate this straightforward utility. I made them with Dorr Mill’s 100% wool, which I washed until it was soft and felted and then stitched together with a handsome zigzag blanket stitch.

The result is homey, classic and my favorite thing… practical! These Covers do what hot water bottle covers have always done; they keep the hot water hot and your body warm.  

If you’ve never tried blanket stitch this project is a great introduction. The gentle rhythm of the stitches is a real treat, and the combination of the soft felted wool and the smart stitching make for a very satisfying endeavor. And just like the water bottle itself, it’s built to last a lifetime! --Molly

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