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Molly's Sketchbook: Zippered Dopp Kit

I love my dopp kit! (I also love the phrase "dopp kit" which Joelle and Page just taught me, It's an old fashioned term for a toiletry bag). I think of my dopp kit as a little piece of home that I can carry with me wherever I go. I like to keep it well stocked with travel shampoo, toothpaste, and maybe an extra pair of earrings so I can just toss it into my bag when I'm packing and be ready to go.

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Whit's Knits: Cowl Vest

The original inspiration for this sweater came from Joelle. She envisioned an elegant vest with a cowl whose main virtue would be its simplicity. For me, the challenge (and the fun part) was figuring out how to pare the design down to its bare essentials without sacrificing the details that make a sweater flattering. The result is a seamless tunic with waist shaping and long, loose lines.

We pictured a vest that would pour over the body, that would drape effortlessly, that would hang with an understated ease. The only yarn to answer such a tall order is Jade Sapphire's 2 Ply Cashmere Silk. The feathery lightness of the cashmere is beautifully weighed down by the substance of the silk. I love this yarn for its year round practicality and its decadent softness.

This sweater is a perfect no fuss, no brainer kind of summer project. Sip your lemonade, dip your toes, take your time - your vest will come together just in time for fall!

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Sydney Albertini and Her Flower Sashes

Sydney Albertini is an amazingly talented quilt maker, ceramist, painter and fiber artist. She is also friend of our store and each time we see her walk in the door we are so excited to see what she has to show us!

Her whimsical quilts like the one above are always incredibly delightful and surprising!  The way she puts together seemingly unrelated fabrics and colors to create a stunning whole is such an inspiration.

The most unique and amazing element in Sydney's work is her use of color. Her unexpected color combinations simply glow. These beautiful plates just look so luminous don't they? (FYI- Her ceramic line is available for sale at Barney's New York.)

This radiant and playful sense of color comes through in all of her work, whether it be a large quilt, a set of plates, or a painting.

Sydney herself says this about the subject of color:

"Color is the intricate basis of all my work. It goes hand in hand with the act of creation no matter the medium. When I look around me all I see is very precise infinite color.

I am always surprised by the strength in contrast big and small playing each color in a new way. I am constantly looking at colors in every aspect of life and making notes, conscious notes, of what I am seduced by or what feelings and emotions they bring on, which I would call my never ending color education which I rely on when I am working. 

Of course to use colors in an absolute free way is to have no fear. You have to really look at color, at its first impression and underlying subtleties, to make the right choices on how to use them. In my work I like to offset classical colors or combinations, creating surprises and drawing people in by the immediate seductive power of color."

We love this idea of being fearless with color so we asked Sydney to share a textile project with Purl Bee readers. The Flower Sash project she decided on is classic Sydney: unique color combinations put together in a free, fun way to make something so unexpected and beautiful!

These flower sashes are simple and totally addictive to make. They are a great way to get your feet wet at becoming more comfortable with your use of color. The point of these is to pick out your own unique palette. Don't be afraid to be adventurous. You will probably be surprised by how out-there you can get and still end up with something lovely. If you'd like to give it a try just keep on reading!

Thank you to Sydney so much for sharing her inspiring work and this charming project with us!

PS. If you happen to live in the New York / Long Island area Sydney is having an art show of recent work from July 27th to the 29th in East Hampton NY at Asgawagh Hall. More info can be found here.

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Baby Leg Warmers for Mila

I've always been a sucker for all things Koigu, so I was super excited to see one of my favorite solid Koigu colors in their DK weight yarn, Kersti, for the first time, a lovely soft purlple-gray (#K2360.5).  I paired the Kersti with stripes of 6 different purple shades from our Trio Needlepoint yarn collection (and since Trio comes in tiny skeins for needlepoint I didn't feel like this was too extravagant).  I'm so pleased with the result! These little legwarmers are great for keeping Mila warm now when there is too much air conditioning, and they'll still fit her this winter, too.  --Faye

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Molly's Sketchbook: Hawaiian Style Felt Floor Pillows

I have always wanted to make a Hawaiian quilt or pillow, but I find the time consuming process rather daunting! Nonetheless I have always kept making a Hawaiian quilt in the back of my mind as a goal and inspiration. Recently I started thinking about a way to simplify the process and our wool felt popped into my mind. You don’t have to hem felt which cuts out the laborious hand turned appliqué step and we recently started carrying our beautiful wool felt by the yard so I could make my piece as big as I wanted.

Our 100% wool felt comes in the most luminous, saturated colors and each bolt is two yards wide (yes, two yards wide!). I picked out two of the most vibrant colors I could find and made these two huge floor pillows.  The floral shape is stitched onto the background with bright yellow silk and wool Trio needlepoint yarn.  Creating these two pillows was so much fun! The felt is beautiful and easy to work with and the whole thing came together so fast. I felt like a painter making big colorful gestures.

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