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Friday
Aug212009

Whit's Knits: Log Cabin Washcloths

Knitting these washcloths has been the most crafting fun I've had in a long time. Making a log cabin pattern is easy, surprising and very meditative. You really get into the flow! I learned the technique from the always inspiring (and hilarious) ladies of Mason Dixon Knitting, Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne. They devote a whole chapter of their first book to the practice, writing so enthusiastically on the subject that knitting a log cabin something went straight to the top of my list.

While the log cabin pattern has a certain architectural genius, the even more fascinating aspect of the project for me is the way a color morphs depending on its size and neighbor. A small pink square surrounded by a field of cream, outlined by sherbet orange strangely becomes a glowing lavender. When the same pink surrounds a big square of watermelon, it fades to the color of an old ballet slipper.

All of this brought to mind the artist, colorist and influential teacher, Josef Albers, who spent his life exploring these ever evolving relationships. His beautifully subtle paintings of squares within squares may excite some unusual color choices! Check out his Foundation's web site for ideas.

I used Rowan's machine washable Handknit Cotton to make these two sets of washcloths. It's wonderfully soft and practical at the same time, gentle enough for the face and body, but durable enough to hold up to wear and tear. Other great cotton choices would be Rowan's Cotton Glace, Pima Cotton, or Purelife Organic Cotton DK or Blue Sky's Skinny Cotton. For all of these I would use a needle one size smaller and expect a slightly diminished finished size.

Whatever cotton you choose, you'll be happy to have these washcloths up your sleeve for weddings, baby showers, housewarmings and birthdays. With a gorgeous bar of soap, it's a wonderful present!

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Monday
Aug172009

Wren Handmade: Crocheted Bracelets

The breathtaking pieces of the extremely talented and generous artist, Laura Normandin, include paper goods, granny square art, jewelry, handmade dolls, and these wonderfully charming crocheted bracelets that she has kindly agreed to teach us to make. Influenced by larger scale handicrafts that surrounded her during her youth, Laura's refined, miniature creations leave you speechless.

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Sunday
Jul262009

Molly's Sketchbook: Tooth Fairy Bags

We thought we'd try to make the whole Tooth Fairy ritual a little more fun by making a colorful bag complete with a special tooth-shaped pocket for the baby tooth. The Tooth Fairy can take away the tooth and leave the loot in the bag.

This is a really quick project. So quick that you might want to whip up a few in different colors for the different kids (and teeth!) in your life.

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Friday
Jul242009

Whit's Knits: Bulky Baby Blankets

I love thick and squishy baby blankets. They keep babies cozy in cold weather, of course, and they're fast to knit, which is always a welcome bonus; but, best of all, they are perfect floor mats for young babies who haven't yet discovered their locomotive skills. I'm always reaching for the plushest blankets I have so I can set Bear down wherever I need to be. I get to keep an eye on him, and he gets to experience new vantage points from his luxurious travelling rugs.

Spud & Chloe's Outer is the ultimate yarn for this purpose. A blend of superwash wool and organic cotton, it is honestly soft enough for sensitive baby skin. It makes a bulky blanket with wonderful loft and padding, as well as rustic beauty.

The borders are made out of Spud & Chloe's Sweater yarn doubled. Also a superwash wool/cotton blend, I used it because it comes in lots of great, kicky colors and gives a nice neat finish to the edges.

 

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Sunday
Jul192009

Announcing Charley Harper Needlepoint Canvases at Purl! 

Updated on July 29, 2009 by Registered Commenterpurl bee

For some time now here at Purl, we've been bursting with enthusiasm about the subject of needlepoint. We are so thrilled to announce that we now have a breathtaking selection of handpainted needlepoint canvases based on the amazing work of the renowned late illustrator Charley Harper. We've been anxiously awaiting their arrival since January, but because each canvas is meticulously handpainted, we had to contain our excitement until now. Finally they are ready to share with you!  (You can find our entire collection right here). The design above is our first completed sample, it's called Rainforest Birds. This sample was one of those all Purl projects that many people had a hand in. We had to fight over who got to start it! Our resident needlepoint expert, Nikki, (and the manager of Purl Patchwork) won and she stitched most of the birds. Then Joelle took over finishing the birds and starting on the background, and finally Molly stepped in to finish it up. We stitched it entirely in our new collection of Paternayan Needlepoint Yarn which comes in over 400 rich and stunning colors (please see below for a color key with the exact colors we used if you'd like to make one like ours, you can download and print the color key full size here.).

 

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