Search The Purl Bee
Sign up for our newsletter!

Idea Center
Follow The Purl Bee

Entries in Gift List (164)

Sunday
Dec122010

New Felted Christmas Trees!

Last year Whitney created a wonderful heirloom Felted Christmas Tree pattern that I've had my eye on for this Christmas.  As you no doubt have noticed if you are a regular follower of The Purl Bee, we just can't get enough of pink, red and white at Christmas so I thought it would be fun to revisit Whitney's pattern in our favorite holiday color palette (plus it just so happens that this color palette looks great in my own house!).

Last year's felted trees were knit with Cascade 220, a great basic yarn that is wonderful for felting.  This year's felted trees were knit with Manos Del Uruguay Handspun in Natural, one of my all time favorite yarns,  (two skeins made one large tree and one small tree) and it worked beautifully for this project. 

Please note, for this year's trees, I felted them BEFORE decorating them.  Once they're felted the tall tree is approximately 11-inches tall, the small tree is approximately 6-inches tall.  

I decorated the trees with Koigu KPM in hot pink, color #1150, and bright red, color #2229 (one skein each is enough to decorate about 12 trees).  I love the way the two colors work together, glowing like real ornaments on a tree.

The embroidery stitches I used to decorate the trees are very, very simple.  The challenge of the embroidery is finding a needle that is sharp enough to get through the felted wool, but big enough to accommodate the yarn.  I found several that did the job in this collection of needles.  A thimble for pushing the needle through the felted wool was also a big help.

To decorate the little tree I made little plus marks (in the neighborhood of 1/4-inch wide and 1/4-inch tall) in bright red all over the tree, then went back over a few of the larger plus signs with hot pink.  

On the big tree I first made big plus signs (around 1/2-inch wide x 1/2-inch tall) all over the tree and then went over those again in the center with a diagonal plus sign, both in hot pink.  Then I went over the diagonal plus signs again with bright red.  To finish the large tree I made small plus signs (about 1/4-inch wide by 1/4-inch tall) in hot pink all over between the large motifs.

I did the motifs on both trees totally freehand and without any attempt at uniformity which gives the design a lively quality that I am really fond of. Also, there is no need to cut the yarn between shapes (just bring the needle back out wherever you want the next motif to be) so the decorating goes very quickly.

If you need help with these stitches, please visit Molly's Asterisk Embroidery Tutorial right here which explains the technique for the motifs step by step.

I was so delighted with the way these trees turned out.  They have a sweet simplicity and happy quality that makes me smile every time I look at them.  They make great gifts too!

If you'd like to make them you can find all you need right here:

Merry Christmas!  --Joelle

Sunday
Nov282010

A Purl Soho Pattern: Loeffler Randall Rain Boot and Rain Bootie Stirrup Socks!

Early this fall Jessie Randall from Loeffler Randall had her team contact us to see if we'd be interested in doing a collaboration around their elegant and cool LR Rain Boots and LR Rain Booties.  At Purl Soho we're huge fans of Loeffler Randall (and are honored to have Jessie as one of our customers) so we were thrilled to create this pair of Stirrup Socks especially for their rain boots and booties. 

The Boots

The Loeffler Randall Boots and Booties are the perfect solution to wet fall weather.  They're rain proof so they are completely practical, but they also have an elegant shape and come in great colors, so you can wear them anywhere.   The boot has a back zipper, the booties lace up and they are available in black, army and taupe.  If you want to learn more about them or get yourself a pair, you can find them right here.

The Socks

Once we thought about creating stirrup socks all of our creative juices started flowing.  We realized that a stirrup sock is a great, substantial, but approproachable project for lots of knitters.  Also, being without a heel and toe they'd work well in the elegantly shaped LR boot foot (without the bulk of a hand knit sock), and also the back of the leg shaping means not only that this sock is very pretty, it also fits easily inside a boot leg.  We made the long pair of socks to go with the LR Rain Boot, and the short pair to go with the LR Rain Bootie. 

The biggest challenge of the pattern is using double pointed needles, but luckily we have a fantastic double pointed needle tutorial that you can visit right here if you need it.

Before we even started developing our Stirrup Sock Pattern we knew we'd want to create it with Anzula's Squishy, which is perhaps one of the most perfect sock yarns ever created. Squishy comes in an amazingly generious hank of 385 yards of gorgeous superwash merino wool, cashmere and nylon, and we wanted to be sure you could get an entire long pair from one skein.  As it turns out, one skein (385 yards) will make the one pair of the long version of the stirrup socks OR two pairs (!) of the short version.  Squishy comes in tons of great colors, and is beautiful to work with.  The socks are substantial, cozy without being heavy. 

Loeffler Randall will be offering a free Purl Soho Stirrup Sock pattern inside the box of every pair of Rain Boots and Rain Booties, or you can buy the pattern directly from us right here!

Here are some details on the pattern:

  • Pattern includes directions for long stirrup socks (14-inches from heel opening) and short stirrup socks (8-inches from heel opening).
  • Yardage Requirements: Long Pair, 375 yards; Short Pair, 185 yards
  • Gauge:  36 stitches = 4 inches in stockinette stitch

You will also need:

Oh, and the long stirrup socks work perfectly in Loeffler Randall's beautiful Classic Matilde Flat Boots too! 

Sunday
Nov212010

Whit's Knits: Winter Hats for Everybody

Our customers are always looking for simple, no-nonsense winter hats. Some people don't want floppy or funky or trendy or slouchy or sassy. They just want "a hat, you know? A hat...". This Winter Hat is a classic, timeworn shape and design, good for babies, kids and adults; boys, girls, men and women; country and city.

But, for us, of course, "a hat" is not just a hat. It is a stage, a quiet place for yarn to soliloquize, "I am gorgeous and special yarn gracing the head of this wearer!". We consider such a quiet place a wonderful opportunity. We dive into our shelves for some of our truly most beautiful yarn, and often we surface with Jade Sapphire's 100% Mongolian Cashmere.Jade Sapphire's cashmere is the softest yarn I know, a crucial point because nothing is more irritable than a scratchy hat; unless it's a too bulky hat, one that overzealously does its job and leaves the wearer with a sweaty head and a red overheated face. That's why the Zageo 6 ply is the perfect hat yarn, thin and lightweight, but, because it's cashmere, toasty warm and guaranteed not to scratch!  The colors pictured above from left to right are: Ivory, Creme de Menthe, Pebble Beach and The Blood Orange. 

We made all three of our Winter Hats for Everybody with theses 4 skeins, and had enough yarn left over to make two more Baby Hats, or one more Kid Hat or one more Adult Hat. If you would like to modify the pattern with your own ideas of stripes or embellishments, or switch to a different yarn altogether, here are the yardage requirements for each hat:

  • Baby Hat uses 85 yards
  • Kid Hat uses 130 yards [not including the pom pom]
  • Adult Hat uses 165 yards. 

You can find our pattern right here, you can find Jade Sapphire's Zageo 6-ply Cashmere right here (or, if you would like to explore some of our less expensive yarns for these hats, you can use any light worsted/dk weight yarn at this link).

Our Winter Hats For Everybody pattern includes easy-to-follow directions for three sizes of hats: Baby (3 months to 15 months), Kid (toddler to preteen), and Adult (everybody else!). It also includes instructions for making the stripes just like we did here and also for making three different toppers: an I-cord loop, a pom pom and a little tassel.

I love the idea of giving the same thing to everybody in my family, from oldest to youngest, from grandpa to niece. I think it's a wonderful symbol of the season, that we get the same thing because we all have the same needs and desires and that we are, after all, one big family.

If you would like to keep everybody on your list warm this holiday season with our Winter Hats For Everybody, you can find the pattern right here.   Thanks! - Whitney

P.S. For perfect pom poms, we suggest you give our new Pom Pom Makers from Clover a try!

Friday
Jul302010

Me-in Baby Alphabet Block Kit

With the arrival of Jen and Ray's new baby girl this week (welcome Bobbie Rae!) as well as the early arrival of our designer Brooke's new baby 2 weeks ago (welcome Baby M!), we've been taking a fresh look at some of our favorite baby toy kits.  It feels really nice to make something by hand for a newborn,

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jun252010

Molly's Sketchbook: Liberty of London,Tana Lawn PJ's

Recently we got in a bunch of new Liberty of London Tana Lawn prints and they're simply breathtaking. Liberty's Tana Lawn is known for its exquisitely detailed printing, its incredible color and its silky smoothness that makes it drape like a dream. The print I've used here is called Mitsi

Click to read more ...