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Sunday
Jan062013

Whit's Knits: Super Easy Lap Blanket

The Super Easy Baby Blanket has become something of an institution here at the Purl Bee. We love how accessible this pattern is to knitters of all levels, and even more, we love the opportunity to play with gorgeous palettes of color!

I knit up the original Super Easy Baby Blanket four and a half years ago in Alchemy's gorgeous Temple superwash merino. Later, Faye knit her own interpretation with Koigu's Kersti Merino Crepe. With its ocean and sunshine colors and a squishier feel, her New Super Easy Baby Blanket was such a smash that we made it into a super easy kit! And most recently, we used our own Super Soft Merino for a bigger, even cushier version that we call the Super Easy Crib Blanket.

And now here is our biggest version yet, the Super Easy Lap Blanket! Knit out of Manos Del Uruguay's amazing Maxima, this one is cozy soft, decadently toasty and looks absolutely stunning in kettle-dyed, hand-spun 100% extrafine merino wool.

The Super Easy Lap Blanket is perfect for drafty winter evenings on the couch and chilly mornings at the kitchen table. And in colors that meander from rich Mahogany, through the land of pinks and blues, to finish in deep Dark Chocolate, this version has a sophisticated drama that will light up any room!

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Thursday
Dec132012

Molly's Sketchbook: Liberty and Wool Lap Duvets

Every Christmas I travel to my hometown of Berkeley, California to be with my family. You might imagine it’s a warm and sunny contrast to Brooklyn, but really, the famous Bay Area fog seems to seep into everything, including my bones! I have spent many a Christmas morning snuggling my parents’ 100 year old radiators while I sneakily inch up the thermostat a few degrees. It’s moments like this that call for a Lap Duvet!

Since our first Lap Duvet project last year, these beautiful blankets have become my favorite quick sewing project, especially when I want to showcase a truly lovely fabric. This year, in anticipation of my chilly visit to California, I made an even easier version with my two absolute favorite fabrics in the world: Liberty of London’s Tana Lawn and Mary Flanagan’s Felted Wool. The contrast between the pretty detail of the Tana Lawn and the rustic beauty of the wool is just exquisite!

Since this version uses wool, there is no need for batting, making this the simplest Lap Duvet yet! Best of all, the resulting blanket is warm and elegant, with a drape that is graceful and very special. It only takes a couple of hours to make, so there’s still plenty of time to sew one or two up for the holidays, either as beautiful gifts or as welcome warmth for your shivering guests! -Molly

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Saturday
Dec082012

Giant, Giant Granny Square Blanket

As a child we often travelled to my maternal grandparent's house for the holidays. I loved my Grandma Cordelia's old house, especially all of its treasure-filled nooks and crannies and all of the big beds deep with homemade blankets, quilts and coverlets.

Sleeping in the cozy attic bedroom with my teenaged cousins, Marci and Shelly, was always the highlight for me. I loved eavesdropping on them talking about Leif Garrett, Shawn Cassidy and other exciting grown up stuff. 

This holiday, in memory of Cordelia's snug house, I worked up my Giant, Giant Granny Square Blanket that would be equally at home in her house as in a Williamsburg, Brooklyn artist's loft.  I used our new Super Soft Merino in each of its 12 colors for a super soft, super warm and super welcoming blanket, perfect for all of your holiday guests! 

Here's to a house full of cozy guests! --Joelle

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Thursday
Nov152012

Whit's Knits: Bear's Rainbow Blanket

Like many parents, I soon discovered after having a baby that I'd never actually been busy before. Basic things like taking showers and returning phone calls suddenly seemed overrated. But for me, one thing that has never been dispensable is crafting things for my son, Bear.

I'm not saying that I sit around for hours, dreamily stitching away. No, it's more like a stolen moment here and a quick minute there; a few squares at jury duty, a couple more in a waiting room, and two years later a blanket is born!

As drawn out as the process was, making Bear's Rainbow Blanket was always an exhilarating ride. Each step contained a world of wonderment, from Koigu Premium Merino's incredible hand dyed colors to this fascinating stitch pattern that magically turns a circle into a square; from the arrangement of dozens of colors and 108 squares to the daydreams of Bear dragging his Rainbow Blanket off to college!

I think I could have crocheted these squares for the rest of my life, but I finally stopped myself when I had enough to make a 40 x 54-inch blanket, the perfect size for my four year old. The bed pictured here is a queen, but this blanket is also right at home on a twin bed... or under a circle of picnicking stuffed animals!

I've crafted quite a few things in my life, and though I have so much fondness for many of those things, this is perhaps the dearest to my heart. This blanket expresses not only my love for my son, but for crafting too. To pursue a grand plan to its very end is the chocolate cake of crafting: a rich and deeply satisfying experience!

To start concocting your own grand plan, read on! -Whitney

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Sunday
Oct282012

Molly's Sketchbook: Reversible Sashiko Placemats

Have you ever noticed when you learn about something new and then all of a sudden, it’s everywhere? For example, a few months ago I saw a very cool picture on my mother’s Pinterest page. It showed a detail of Sashiko-style embroidery forming little crosses on one side and dashed grid lines on the reverse. A few days later Laura showed me a picture of a quilt with the same stitching on it, and then a week after that, I was in a baby store and wouldn’t you know it, a very similar quilt was on display there as well! The universe was trying to tell me something.

And so with Thanksgiving right around the corner, I got really excited to make a set of Sashiko Placemats using this technique. The process of Sashiko stitching is soothing and repetitive, kind of like a simple knitting project. Once you get started it’s hard to put down! The fun and beauty of this particular stitch is that its result is so unexpected, a totally reversible graphic pattern!

For a beautifully understated and elegant look, I used Kiyohara Linen Blend Solid in Brown for the base and soft off-white Sashiko Thread for the stitching. The finished placemats are so graceful and pretty,  perfect for a Thanksgiving feast! 

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