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Molly's Sketchbook: Lotta Jansdotter Printed Cocktail Napkins

Lotta Jansdotter is a super talented author and designer known for her beautifully modern sense of style. We recently got in her new Lotta's Printing Studio Kit and I knew I wanted to use it as soon as it come out of the box. It comes with a pretty and informative book that explains different printing techniques all of which are fun and do-able. It also comes with some beautiful stencils that make printing on fabric quick and easy.

I wanted to make something colorful and useful with this new (for me) stencil technique so I decided on some simple cocktail napkins.  I picked some cheery colors for my fabric paint the lovely Robert Kaufman Essex, in Natural, as the background so the colors would really pop. The napkins themselves were a breeze to sew. I didn't even use pins, which really cut down on the time factor. I love how they came out and I love the idea of having them all spread out on the food table welcoming guests to a summer party.

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Margaret Oomen's Little Urchin Crochet Covered Sea Stones 

For quite some time now we have been mesmerized and inspired by the work of the unsurpassable artist Margaret Oomen - we are particularly drawn to her crocheted stones.  Her creations and her talent leave us absolutely speechless, as does her wonderfully kind personality.  Resurrection Fern is her blog about her life as a mother of four, rural physician and textile designer.  She also has an Etsy Shop where you can purchase her gorgeous crocheted stones (if you're quick enough since they go so quickly!) as well as beautiful still-life photographs of her crocheted stones. Today marks a very special day for us because Margaret generously agreed to create an exclusive Crocheted Stone pattern for Purl Bee readers (pictured above). Below is one of our favorite shots of Margaret's work from her Etsy Shop.

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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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