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Molly's Sketchbook: Sashiko Mini Tote (or Apron) Kit

Sashiko is a Japanese embroidery technique that is simple to learn and beautiful to look at. Even though it's a craft that's been around for a very long time, the traditional designs are very clean and graphic, and I love how modern they seem.  Sashiko combines the quick, hands-on creativity of embroidery with a calming, meditative quality as well. I learned about Sashiko and how to do it last year by reading Mari's helpful Sashiko Tutorial on The Purl Bee and I've been wanting to do more ever since! 

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Whit's Knits: The Wonderful Wallaby!

One of my all time favorite patterns is The Wonderful Wallaby by Cottage Creations. While it's true that the Wallaby is cozy and classic and the construction is beautifully engineered, the thing that makes this pattern my favorite is the charm and accessibility of the writing and illustrations.

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Molly's Sketchbook: Very Pretty Japanese Handbag

This bag handle and pattern came to us with only Japanese instructions. With a little help I was able to get it  translated and share it all with you. Its pretty shape and cheery colors make it the perfect thing to sew in anticipation of Spring!

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Handmade Baby Elephants from Last-Minute Knitted Gifts & Last-Minute Patchwork + Quilted Gifts! 

Elephants are wonderful creatures. They are intelligent, have great memories, and live in fascinating structured social groups. Perhaps because they are such symbols of peace and wisdom they have often been the subject of children’s literature. I can’t think of any other animal that has as spawned as many memorable characters as the mighty elephant. There’s Dumbo, Ella, Horton, Elmer and of course, Babar just to name a few.  There is something so compelling about them, from their powerful trunks to their cute little tails.

Happily, The Purl Bee is experiencing a baby boom and we wanted to make some baby gifts for the new arrivals that would be soft, cuddly, and spark their imagination. We can’t think of a better creature than the elephant to do this. These two stuffed elephants, one knitted and one sewn, have so much personality and will make great companions for the little ones in your life. Both come from books written by our very own Joelle Hoverson and both are quick and easy to make!

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Molly's Sketchbook: Heart-Shaped Zippered Pouches

Nothing says Valentine's Day like a heart-shaped box of candy! My box always comes from See's Candy in California (from my dad) and I love opening up the box and picking out my favorite pieces, the Walnut Squares, the Molasses Chips, and the Dark Bordeaux. Yum!

I wanted to send my nieces their own boxes of candy, but one of them has food allergies so I didn't want to send her something she couldn't enjoy. Instead, I decided to turn the whole heart-shaped box idea on its head and sew heart-shaped pouches instead. I love the idea that I can fill them with non-allergenic candies and that the girls can re-use them even after Valentine's Day.

For fabric, I chose some fun, playful dots in pinks and reds and used our brand new 15mm Grosgrain Ribbon for the looped handles. I also decided to take advantage of our wide selection of zippers and added a zippered closure along one side of the pouch. Even though I was a little scared of tackling sewing in a zipper on a curve I'm very happy with how it turned out. I think it makes the pouches so much more usable and, as with so many sewing techniques, it wasn't as hard as I'd made it out to be! Happy Valentine's Day! --Molly

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