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Sunday
Feb272011

Whit's Knits: Baby Girl Fair Isle Cardigan

I love to knit for babies. Not just for the usual reasons of it being fast and immediately gratifying, but because I love while I'm knitting to think about the baby herself, her budding life and the amazing road ahead of her. I love to think about the explosion of feelings the baby's parents are experiencing and the cocoon of love they are busy creating for their little one. And I love to think that all of these thoughts and good wishes are soaking right into the gift I'm knitting!

I wanted to design a sweater that would reflect these thoughts, that would feel almost as precious as the baby herself.  I wanted it to be delicate and pretty, but practical too, a small version of something that I would want to wear. In short, I wanted to design a super special baby sweater!

Of course a super special baby sweater would have to be made out of something incredibly soft and beautiful and so I turned to Blue Sky's Royal Alpaca. Spun from a very rare quality of luxury alpaca fiber, this yarn is as sumptuous as cashmere and as singular as the baby herself! Royal Alpaca comes in a vintage palette of gentle colors, from petal pink to warm cocoa, perfect for heirloom baby gear. (You'll only need one skein for the newborn or 6 month size and two skeins for the 12 month size.)

So things didn't get too serious, I decided to add a burst of happy color around the yoke in a simple fair isle pattern. When just a little bit of yarn is needed, we love to use mini skeins of embroidery or needlepoint yarn, like Gumnut's Blossoms crewel yarn. It's 100% wool and comes in such a huge array of rich and sophisticated colors that choosing four is a real pleasure.

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Thursday
Feb242011

Mini Quilt of the Month- February: Liberty of London Tana Lawn Circular Applique

For our February Mini Quilt of the Month we decided to venture into the world of circles.  So often in quilts straight lines and right angles dictate our designs since they seem more approachable, but with this super simple technique of appliqueing circles, the possibilities are endless!  Inspired by the design of our Liberty Swatch Portrait Wall which greets our customers as they arrive in our Soho shop, we used the wonderfully soft and cheerful Liberty of London Tana Lawn in a rainbow of colors.  We love the whimsical charm of these colorful circles floating on a soft white background.

One can easily get lost in the enchanting designs and exquisitley detailed printing of Liberty of London's Tana Lawn, and its colors, especially when viewed in a rainbow spectrum, are so rich and saturated.  This quilt is the perfect way to use small amounts of precious Tana Lawn to make a big impact.

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Saturday
Feb192011

Oilcloth Placemat from Laura Normandin at Wren Handmade

While looking through our favorite blogs last week we were inspired by Laura Normandin's beautiful recent post over at Wren Handmade. It's a beautiful oversized placemat made from Nani Iro oilcloth, a pretty and effective way to keep things clean when a baby is just learning to eat. We liked it so much that we wanted to share it with our readers!

Laura Normandin is one of our favorite designers, her work always gets us excited. (You may remember her crocheted bracelets pattern from last year right here on The Purl Bee). In addition to her great blog Laura also has a wonderful Etsy store, she currently has some amazing crocheted flower barrettes available there that would be so sweet for Easter gifts! You can probably tell by the charming image above just how lovely and inspirational her sense of style is.

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Sunday
Feb132011

Whit's Knits: Crocheted Striped Hand Warmers

I've knit lots of hand warmers for the Purl Bee, but this is actually the first time I've crocheted a pair. What an oversight! The tight, durable fabric created out of single crochets is the perfect cold weather defense. Plus, there's a looseness and spontaneity to crocheting that I love. To embrace this freedom, I decided to follow my fancy with some no-sense striping, a bit of pink here, a dash of olive there, color everywhere!

And with Koigu's new KPM Needlepoint yarn all of this striping is actually possible without breaking the bank. Each mini skeins is 11 yards and only a few dollars, so you can indulge in all sorts of whimsical color play and creative experimentation. With over a hundred colors to choose from, treat yourself to a cozy afternoon with whatever colors are on your mind!

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Saturday
Feb122011

Molly's Sketchbook: The Twenty Minute Tote with Kokka Apples

This Winter has been absolutely brutal almost everywhere across the country. New York City is cold, icy and covered in dirty snow drifts.  Everyone seems to be wearing colors as dreary as the weather, thick black coats, gray scarves, navy blue mittens, it's so depressing!  So on a recent chilly day we decided we needed to make something quick and colorful to fight off the winter blahs.

There is nothing quicker or more satisfying than a tote bag so we decided to revisit my Twenty Minute Tote from last year and update it with cheerful colors and new prints. We recently got in Kokka Fabric's Apples collection, a Japanese upholstery weight cotton printed in fun, jelly-bean bright colors. Just looking at these happy prints makes us feel a little warmer so we knew we had to use them. We also picked out some matching Cotton Webbing, which is strong and colorful and makes the bags look so finished and professional.

These totes really do come together in 20 minutes a piece which makes them a great, quick, way to add a little Springtime color and excitement into the dull end of Winter months. To make your own bag you'll need:

If you'd like to try it out please visit my Twenty Minute Tote journal here. Thanks-- Molly

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