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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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Sunday
Nov072010

Whit's Knits: Candy Cane Bedroom Socks

There are a few holiday candies that surpass mere confection and reach the heights of Design Icon. On the list would have to be Halloween candy corn, Easter Peeps, and, of course, Christmas candy canes. Nothing is more distinctive than the twisting red and white stripes of a candy cane. Peppermint is nice, but I think the appeal of a candy cane is much more in its good looks than in its flavor. Clean and classic, but managing also a happy whimsy.

Inspired by the timeless design of the candy cane, I decided to apply its emblematic stripes to a cozy pair of kick-around-the-house socks. The simple Spiral Rib pattern carries the stripes around the socks and the beautiful Manos del Uruguay's Silk Blend in red and white screams, "Candy Cane!".

Manos's Silk Blend has the same extraordinary hand spun, hand dyed loveliness of the classic Manos Handspun that we all know and love, and the Silk Blend has the addition of 30% silk. It's the perfect blend for the holidays, giving off a slight sheen and wrapping your feet in luxurious softness.

These socks are designed for all knitters, whether you've made socks before or not. There are no tricky heels or gussets, just a tube and a toe!

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Sunday
Oct312010

New Purl Soho Kit: Felt Bird Ornaments!

We're very pleased to announce the arrival of our newest Purl Soho Kit, our scandinavian style inspired Felt Bird Ornaments!  Their soft ecru wings and tails open to show a splash of cheerful color, we just love how graphic and festive they are gracing a winter branch.

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Sunday
Oct242010

Whit's Knits: Ribbed Hand Warmers

If you're a careful reader of the Purl Bee, you may have noticed by now what a big fan I am of hand warmers. I love how practical they are (no holding dirty mittens between your teeth while you fish around for keys); I love how fast they are to make (you just can't say that about too many knitted things!); I love how flattering they are on everybody's hands; and, for all these reasons, I love how perfectly suitable they are as gifts (I'm remembering recent recipients: friend Claudia has a pair, so do aunt Bretta, cousin Katie, and sister-in-law Jen.).

Ever since Joelle made the Log Cabin Baby Blanket for her new niece out of Anzula's Squishy, I have been really anxious to give it a try. Joelle is a tough customer when it comes to yarn, so her rave reviews of this one set my expectations high. I was not disappointed! This is a seriously pleasurable yarn to knit with, maybe because of the 10% cashmere, or the lofty spin, or the super high quality merino, or the generous 385 yards per skein, or because of all those things plus some magical ingredient. Add to its luxurious feel the beautifully hand dyed palette of sophisticatedly quirky colors, and I've got a new favorite yarn!

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Friday
Oct222010

Molly's Sketchbook: Linen Thanksgiving Napkins

I love sewing napkins for Thanksgiving. They are such a simple and fun way to dress up the table and you can use them all year long. In fact, I like making them so much that I've made a new set for the Purl Bee every year since 2006!  My main goal for this year's set was that they be quick and simple while still being beautiful and different from year's past.

We recently received a big shipment of linen fabric from one of our favorite companies, Globalweave. They are based in India and specialize in incredible embroidered and block printed fabrics (which we have made exclusively for Purl Soho in hand-picked color ways). They also make stunning linens that range from the jewel toned Sheer Linen and Open Weave Linen, to undyed, rustic Linen Solids. Shipments from Globalweave often come from India wrapped in burlap and sewn shut by hand which always make them seem like such a speical treat. After unpacking the latest shipment of their lovely linens I knew I had to make this year's Thanksgiving napkins with of them.

I chose the natural Sheer Linen and paired it with one of our bright and seasonal Fire Spectrum Bundles. I love the look of the natural, nubby, undyed linen framed with the rich tones of red, brown and orange. Since the fabrics themselves were already so pretty next to one another, and since the operative word here was simple I sewed them up using a quick technique for clean mitered corners; no bias binding or fiddly hand sewing required!  Happy Thanksgiving!--Molly

You can find our previous Thanksgiving napkins here:

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