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Entries in Gift List (183)

Sunday
Oct232011

Molly's Sketchbook: Fall Leaves Coasters

Fall is my favorite season but that hasn't always been the case. Growing up in California, we didn't have much in the way of seasons, so I never understood the true glory of autumn until I moved to the East Coast. My first year in New York, I unwittingly took a weekend trip to Swarthmore, Pennsylvania right at the peak of fall foliage. I arrived at night and in the morning, woke up to a breathtaking riot of colors. As I wandered the town, I felt like I was in a kaleidoscope of yellows, oranges, red and pinks. I collected a bunch of my favorite leaves that day, thinking that they would keep their brilliant colors and was so sad when I realized they wouldn't.
Because the beautiful foliage is, in fact, so fleeting, I wanted to make some pretty leaves that would last all year long. I made these Fall Leaves Coasters with our brand new Fall Leaves Felt Bundle, a neutral taupe complemented by four bright autumnal colors. Like my previous Felt Coaster projects (which you can see here and here) these are easy (and addictive!) to make. And with Thanksgiving around the bend, a set of Fall Leaves Coasters will surely make an elegant addition to your festivities!

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Friday
Oct212011

Molly's Sketchbook: Pulled Fringe Napkins

I have celebrated Thanksgiving all over the country, from sunny California to crisp New England. Everywhere I've spent the holiday has unveiled its own unique traditions. One year I went to Kauai and ate poi with my turkey, while an army of giant ants enjoyed our homemade pies. Last year I helped my friend Nicole make a delicious Mexican mole turkey in Richmond, Virginia. But no matter where Thanksgiving finds me, there are always some comforting constants: good food, friends and family, and a thoughtfully set table.  

I've made it something of an annual tradition to contribute a new set of cloth napkins to the Thanksgiving table, wherever it is! In fact, this is my fifth set! (You can see all of them here.) It's a tradition I love because, even if you're like me and don't have real silver or good china, it feels special to embellish your mismatched plates and odd serving dishes with some beautiful homemade napkins!

This year's napkins were inspired by pretty antique linens. I used the soft and lovely Prairie Cloth, whose subtle texture and loose weave lend a warm, homespun feel. I gave the edges a fringed finish to add to the napkins' old fashioned charm. My Pulled Fringe Napkins are as simple as pumpkin pie to whip up and will surely make your Thanksgiving festivities a little extra special!

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Sunday
Oct162011

Gina's Brioche Hat and Cowl

Like all members of the Purl family, I live in a world where color rules. If you shop at our store in Soho, you've probably seen me restocking shelves and cutting fabric. I'm the one wearing a colorful dress (that I made myself, most likely out of lovely Liberty of London!) and the reddest red lipstick. In my view, nothing perks up a gray day more than a brightly hued ensemble. Top it all off with a handknit scarf or hat, and I'm happy!

But in all that colorific bliss hides a small problem. How to limit myself to just one color, especially when I'm surrounded by a veritable rainbow of temptation all day! Luckily, I recently discovered the Brioche Stitch (click here to find our Brioche Stitch in the Round Tutorial). Brioche knitting is a simple multicolor technique that creates a beautiful fabric of ridges and valleys. The color play of fair isle or intarsia without the bother of tangled balls of yarn and pesky tails? Yes, please!  And better still, Brioche fabric is truly as lofty and luxurious as its namesake, the light and buttery brioche bun, making it just right for cozy cold weather accessories. I'm completely obsessed!

For my perfectly simple Brioche Hat and Cowl, I chose Manos Del Uruguay's Maxima and Blue Sky's Suri Merino. I love how the vivid intensity of Maxima peeks out from between the soft, fuzzy clouds of Suri. A two color project that's twice as nice

Want to become obsessed too? Check out my Brioche Hat and Cowl Project Journal right here! --Gina

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Thursday
Oct132011

Felted Wool Patchwork Throw

Our Felted Wool Patchwork Quillow has been a favorite Bee project ever since we posted it last winter. And no wonder! It's quick, practical and totally gorgeous!  The Quillow's rich beauty comes from Mary Flanagan's incredibly soft Felted Wool, which is hand dyed in a spectrum of warm, earthy colors. We're thrilled that this wonderful wool now comes in bundles of smaller, 7-inch by 8-inch pieces. Inspired by these little stacks of sumptuous fabric gems, we decided to revisit Mary Flanagan and her perfectly patchwork-able Felted Wool!  

This time around, instead of a quillow, we decided to make a simple throw . We picked out eight lovely bundles ranging from the soft golden palette of "Straw" to the deep purple tones of "Blackberry". The effect is like a walk through the countryside, with each bundle evoking its own special place: a grassy hill, a plowed field, a bubbling stream.

Expanding on Page's original detailed instructions and ingenious construction, the Felted Wool Patchwork Throw is a snap to make. It's amazing to be able to sew such a substantial throw (53-inches by 56-inches!) in a weekend! Best of all, because it's made from such special material in such a cozy palette, it comes out looking absolutely beautiful!

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Tuesday
Oct112011

Sweet Stitching with Erin: Bandana Cowl

Working at Purl Soho, I have a front row seat to the parade of effortlessly chic people that give our neighborhood its renowned style. From here I can report that, for men and women alike, this season's prevailing trend in neckwear is the bandana. Jauntily tied around the neck, it tops off everything from Sunday's T-shirt and jeans to Friday's night-on-the-town dress! The bandana is a sassy, casual touch that suggests that the wearer possesses an innate stylishness. It's the perfect accessory  for those cool mornings when you've hit snooze a few too many times and need to turn "thrown-together-in-a-rush" into "casually glamourous"!

My Bandana Cowl is inspired by my desire to make "effortlessly chic" even more effortless. I was so excited to create something with the same freshness as the tied bandana but without the fiddly aspect of actually having to tie anything! 

I chose to make my Cowl out of Swan's Island Bulky, a brand new yarn made from a beautiful blend of undyed merino and alpaca that feels wonderfully soft against the skin. The yarn creates a dense, rich fabric that's cuddly perfection for the chilly days of fall!

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