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Entries in Gift List (165)

Sunday
Aug072011

Whit's Knits: Little Baby Sweater

My son Bear is a rowdy, mysterious, extremely silly two and a half years old. I love his toddlerhood, its questions and observations, its vicissitudes and surprises, but there's one thing I really do miss about his infancy. Those amazingly tiny little clothes! With their itty bitty sleeves and miniature proportions, they seem to me now like they were made for enchanted elves instead of babies! This irresistible cuteness makes baby gear almost everyone's favorite thing to knit, me included.

And so to satisfy this hankering, I designed this charming Little Baby Sweater. It's a simple knit, inspired by the no-nonsense engineering of knitting great, Elizabeth Zimmermann. Its inset sleeves pay homage to her genius Tomten Jacket, and its easy, low maintenance finishing would maybe please the guru herself! If you love Elizabeth Zimmermann's style but have always felt a little intimidated by her approach, this is a very friendly place to start!

I was happy to have a great excuse to try out our newest yarn from Anzula, Sebastian, because it includes sea cell, a fiber I had never heard of.  It turns out that sea cell is a seaweed and cellulose blend with the rigor and breathability of a plant fiber, the feather lightness of wool, and the soft shine of bamboo. It also turns out that sea cell plus superwash merino makes Sebastian the perfect choice for a baby!

 

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Sunday
Jul102011

Molly's Sketchbook: Friendship Bracelets

Macraméd friendship bracelets were all the rage when I was growing up in the eighties. All the girls at my school would obsessively make them for one another in a dizzying variety of colors, widths, and patterns. It's amazing, thinking back, that such young girls could make such beautifully intricate accessories.

I, of course,  tried my hand at making them as well. I would ride my bike down to the five-and-dime store and pick out the most sophisticated color combinations of  embroidery floss I could find, but when it came to the actual macramé I never got beyond plain stripes. There was nothing wrong with plain stripes, except that the other girls seemed so much more advanced with their diamonds and chevrons. A bit intimidated,  I never did become a big friendship bracelet expert.

Fast forward 20 years: Purl Soho started carrying DMC Cotton Embroidery Floss in every conceivable color (including fluorescents! ) and so, clearly, my time with friendship bracelets had finally come! After a bit of research, I discovered that what had eluded me as a child is actually really simple. It turns out that there are only two major friendship bracelet knots, a right knot and a left knot. That's it. After all these years, they only took me a few minutes to learn!

Making friendship bracelets is a  surprisingly easy craft, and best of all, in the end you'll have a bunch of cute summer bracelets to give to your pals. These are also a great thing to make with kids because they don't require any pins, needles, or scissors, and you can make them as simple or as complicated as you want. Once you learn the basics there's no limit to the beautiful patterns you can create!

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Wednesday
May252011

Molly's Sketchbook: Lap Duvet

Even in the mild Spring weather I still find myself reaching for a blanket if I am reading or watching a movie on the couch at night. This is a problem because, until now,  I didn't have any throw sized blankets, only gigantic bed sized quilts which aren't very convenient when you have to fold them back up at the end of the night.

At a recent Purl Bee meeting Page mentioned that she was having the same issue and the idea for this project was born! We decided to make a very quick, very simply quilted lap blanket using a technique that Joelle used in the "Super Quick + Easy Baby Quilt" project from her book, Last Minute Patchwork and Quilted Gifts.

We also decided to use some of our favorite new fabric from designer Naomi Ito's Nani Iro line. These prints are beyond gorgeous. They have a unique painterly quality and come in the most beautiful colors. The fabric itself is a soft double gauze perfect for a Spring project. The wool batting I used made this piece feel so lofty that it in the end it seemed more like a fluffy duvet than a regular blanket.

This is my absolute favorite kind of sewing project: useful, beautiful, and quick. I actually timed it and it turns out that the entire project takes less than 2 and a half hours from start to finish. It would make a great housewarming gift and best of all you could whip it up on the afternoon of the housewarming party!

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Thursday
Apr072011

Molly's Sketchbook: Father's Day Tie - Updated!

Two years ago for Father's Day I designed a tie using one of our favorite fabrics, Liberty of London Tana Lawn. The combination of a classic neck tie and the gorgeous Liberty prints was an instant hit.  We heard from so many sewists who made amazing gifts for their dads, husbands, brothers and friends. This year I decided to rework and update the pattern to make it more streamlined and easy to follow.  During this process I couldn't resist making three more ties out of some of our wonderful new Tana Lawn prints.  They are, clockwise from the top, the subtle, summery Gray Princess Emerald, the fun and Springy Green Lola Weisselberg, and the bold, modern Brown Yellow Pepper.

If you'd like to make one for your dad, grad, or yourself (!) please check out our updated Father's Day Tie project journal right here. --Molly

Sunday
Mar202011

Colorful Crafting with Jen: Bunny Hop Bunnies from Knitting at KNoon

When I saw these adorable bunnies from Knitting at KNoon's Bunny Hop Pattern in January I knew I would be soon be making them for Easter on The Purl Bee.  Like the Knitting at KNoon SnoBuddy family I made 2 winters ago, I think these bunnies are among the cutest knit toys I've ever seen! 

The bunnies have lots of parts: bodies, ears, arms, feet and charming accessories, but still I managed to make the four of them pictured here over just three evenings after my daughter's bedtime.  

Like the snowmen, it was the accessories for each bunny that made them come to life.  I especially loved knitting the sweet tiny carrot that the little boy bunny is holding.

If you'd like to make your own Bunny Hop Family to look like mine, here is what you'll need:

Bunny Hop Pattern from Knitting at KNoon

For the bodies, feet, arms, ears and pom pom tail:

For the accessories, eyes and noses, 1 skein each Gumnuts Blossoms Needlepoint Yarn as follows:

  • Flower stems and carrot top:  color 608
  • Flowers: color 709
  • Carrot: color 787
  • Apron: color 843 for the apron, plus small bits of 785 and 706 for the bows
  • Kerchief: colors 909, 961 and 859

For the accessories I used US size 4 double pointed needles

Happy Easter! -- Jen

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