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Friday
Sep242010

Whit's Knits: Long Striped Hand Warmers, Revisited

We loved last winter's Long Striped Hand Warmers so much that we're still thinking about them this fall! The opportunity that a one row stripe offers to play with color is just irresistible to us. When two colors are in such intense juxtaposition they can start to effect each other in really unexpected and exciting ways, bouncing, shifting and glowing.

For the original version we used the unbelievably beautiful Swan's Island Fingering. We LOVE the Swan's Island and it's still a great choice for this project, beautifully hand dyed, sophisticated and as soft and light as a feather.

We thought that it would be an interesting (and fun!) exercise to see how the Long Striped Hand Warmer's stitch pattern would look if we used Alchemy's Juniper. Also a fingering weight merino, Alchemy's vivid palette is very different in tone from Swan's Island's more subdued colors. We knit up swatches of these six color combinations, each one surprising us in the end!

The above colors are Kai's Goldfish (bottom) and Husk (top), a mixture of spicy tomato red with a soft and mellow camel.

These are Fuchsia and Fool's Gold, a shocking cool pink with a rich curry color.

These are Hush and Fieldstone, two quiet colors, one a dusty lavender and the other a warm mushroom.

These are Turquoise Pool and Cornflower Blue, one a pumped of version of the other.

These are Tea Leaf and Dragon, a pure grass green with a deeply saturated olive.

These are Canary and Fieldstone, a sunny perfect yellow with a hushed warm gray.

It's fun to pick your favorite. We can't agree! Page's favorite is the Kai's Goldfish, Joelle's is the Fuchsia, Molly's is the Canary and Whitney's is the Tea Leaf.  What's yours?

PATTERN NOTES: If you decide to try the Long Striped Hand Warmers with the Juniper you will still only need one skein of each color, but you will probably need to go down a needle size. I used a set of US #1 and a set of US #2 double pointed needles. --Whitney

Monday
Sep062010

Whit's Knits: Color Change Scarf

Purl Soho's most subtle yarns come from Habu Textiles. They tend to be extremely fine and very delicately colored. They also tend to leave customers scratching their heads, "I LOVE this yarn, but what can I possibly make with it?" A great answer has been Habu's all white Kusha Kusha Scarf pattern, but, for this project, I wanted to also engage with Habu's amazing spectrum of colors.

I envisioned a scarf that would shift from one color to the next, making a beautiful color journey from one end of the scarf to the other. Joelle, with her unique genius for color, picked these five Fine Merinos. While knitting, my excitement grew and grew as I introduced each new color. More like painting with watercolors than knitting with yarn, it was a fascinating process!

This simple lace ladder stitch is a perfect antidote to such fine yarn. With only two easy rows to memorize and so much open lace work, you'll be surprised how quickly you fly through this scarf. The result is a perfect accessory for fall that will inspire you every day!

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Saturday
Aug282010

Molly's Sketchbook: Liberty of London Tana Lawn + Neon Elastic Skirt

Liberty of London Tana Lawn is one of our favorite fabrics. It has a smooth silky feel (even though it's 100% cotton) and its printing quality is legendary. We recently started carrying a wider variety of the Tana Lawn Classic prints. These are prints that Liberty always reproduces and many have been in print for decades. You may even remember some of them from your childhood!

One of these classic prints is Pepper, a beautifully speckled and rather modern looking print that comes in the coolest colors. The fine details of the printing and the unexpected color combinations make this particular print something very special. Since it's a very tiny print it may not be the first to grab your attention, but once you get a good look at it it's hard to ignore!

We also recently started carrying a wider variety of trims, including some very whimsical and colorful trims from Knit Collage as well as some amazingly bright neon elastic.

I had the idea to make a simple skirt with an elastic top around the same time that all of these new products were coming into the store and Page (who loves all things neon!) helped me pick out this fun combination.

I love how the simple elegance of the Liberty of London Tana Lawn is transformed into something so unexpected and modern with the addition of these neon accents. This is a very easy project to sew and can be made in any size. I think it would also be exciting to try making it from some of our more autumnal Liberty of London fabrics, like the Kingly Cord or Lantana Wool both of which we just recently started carrying. The corduroy is a very fine whale and so soft, and its whimsical prints are so inspiring. The wool is more sophisticated and has a sweeping drape that would make this skirt absolutely stunning!

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Sunday
Aug222010

Molly's Sketchbook: Welcome to the Lovely World of Needlework!

The world of needlework is broad and totally inspiring. It includes embroidery, sashiko, needlepoint, counted cross stitch and crewel (like our Partridge in a Pear Tree kit pictured above), each one with it's own beauty and charms. As Purl Soho has grown our love of needlework has grown right alongside and we now carry an extensive selection of tools, threads, needles and fabrics for embroidery, needlepoint and all the varieties in between. For the uninitiated, it can be a little daunting understanding the differences between the different disciplines, so we decided to present this overview of some of our favorite types of needlework, including the supplies and tools you'll need to get started!

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Saturday
Aug212010

Molly's Sketchbook: Strawberry Pillows

These pillows are easy and quick to make, a perfect end of summer project! The best thing about them is seeing other people's reactions to them. Everyone who sees them wants to touch them, squeeze them, and carry them around. There is something about their large size (about 15-inches high) that just makes people smile!  --Molly

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