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Entries in Home (60)

Thursday
Jun142012

Molly's Sketchbook: Quilted Throw Pillows

Kind of like a good hair cut, throw pillows can really transform a look. They add a unique and fresh something-new without a lot of fuss. Personally, I’ve had the same tired pillows on my bed for at least four years, and I was ready for a change!

These Quilted Throw Pillows, with their crisp, graphic simplicity, are really giving my bedroom the new life it needed.  Normally I don’t much like machine quilting, but for this project I decided to explore the more creative side to this usually tedious (for me at least!) process. With a creamy soft muslin as my canvas, I let the quilting itself be the point, creating grids of snappy red for a clean, breath-of-fresh-air look!

I discovered that I actually like machine quilting on a small scale. It makes the steps that I usually struggle with, like laying out the quilt sandwich and basting, no sweat! It’s also a real joy to start with such basic materials (muslin, cotton batting, thread) and to end with something so pretty. In fact the whole process turned out to be about transformations: of the materials, of my attitude about machine quilting, and of my bedroom! --Molly

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Thursday
Jun072012

Molly's Sketchbook: Ric Rac Napkins

I’m a huge fan of red, white and blue any day of the year, but July 4th is really this palette’s time to shine! The mix of warm red and cool blue is such a striking combination: bold, primary, and unforgettable!

I made these Ric Rac Napkins envisioning a fabulous Fourth of July picnic, complete with lemonade, watermelon and fireworks. I based them on an earlier napkin design, but this time around I figured out an easier construction. The new method makes the whole project a lot quicker and more enjoyable, a great summertime sew!

I used two amazing new Purl Soho Spectrum Bundles in rich reds and vivid turquoise blues along with a creamy ecru Ric Rac Trim. These cheerful combinations and pretty trim make this napkin set seem so old fashioned and sweet, just like grandma’s cherry pie! 

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Thursday
May242012

Whit's Knits: Crocheted Jewelry Dishes

I love the vitrines at the Metropolitan Museum of Art that are filled with household artifacts from places long ago and far away. Tightly woven mats and perfectly crafted sandals, hammered metal and braided leather, ancient objects still feel alive with the integrity and vitality of their makers.

What sometimes also strikes me is how little our aesthetic values have changed over the thousands of years. Beauty is still a human imperative and careful craftsmanship is still a revered skill. We still respond to simple shapes and beautiful materials, to whimsical embellishments and practical uses.

I thought about this a lot as I crocheted these Jewelry Dishes. I wondered if I were given the opportunity to slip them into a glass case at the Met, would they be so out of place? Or, if I put them on my dresser and filled them with my rings and bracelets, my pieces of sea glass and other curios, would it be that much different than, say, a Pacific Islander from centuries back storing glass trade beads and shell earrings in her own hand crafted vessel? And isn't this connection to the past really, deep down, why we craft?

My trip into antiquity was greatly assisted by the purity and simplicity of Habu's extraordinary fibers. I held two yarns together, Copper Bamboo and Dyed Linen. The bamboo and linen lend an exquisite rusticity to the finished pieces, while throughout, the copper flashes its chestnut sparkle, glowing like a warm ember.

It's not hard to make your own pretty little trays and bowls, just some simple crocheting... like it's always been done! --Whitney

PS Wouldn't these gorgeous brass bracelets be right at home in a museum case? The Maggie Bracelets were designed by our good friend Kerrilynn Pamer and are for sale online right here and at her lovely West Village store, Castor & Pollux!

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Sunday
Apr222012

Molly's Sketchbook: Lavender Sachets

I used to think that sachets were kind of silly and useless, along the lines of crocheted toilet paper covers. Turns out, I was wrong; sachets are cool and practical too! They're not only pretty and wonderfully tactile,  but they also make your clothes and drawers smell great! (Now could someone please explain to me what a toilet paper cover is for?)

My sachet change of heart was made possible by a remarkable new product, the Dutch Chintz Garden Roll. Like sachets, chintz sometimes has a reputation for being unstylish (or “chintzy”), but these Garden Rolls quickly dispel such a notion. Each Roll includes a whole world of historically accurate and totally beautiful fabrics that truly spark the imagination. Comprised of fifteen 4-inch by 60-inch strips of fabric, each strip is divided into three different reproduction prints. Plus, there are five tone-on-tone strips. And so, swept away by this rainbow of jewel tones and extraordinary prints (whose actual dimensions are so well suited for a hand-sized project), I decided to give sachets a try, despite my original skepticism. 

I quickly became a sachet convert. They were so simple and fun to make, especially in an assembly line, and they made my whole house smell like lavender!  I loved picking out my favorite chintz prints and matching them with others to create fresh smelling stacks of sachets. 

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Thursday
Apr122012

Whit's Knits: Mother's Day Washcloths

Not much is humbler than a washcloth. A small square of fabric drenched, soaped and wrung, it may not be glamorous, but a washcloth is one of the day's small pleasures. And when that washcloth is handmade, it is also one of life's pleasures!

Moms are notably deserving of such things. And so with their special day around the bend, I crocheted up this pretty set of Mother's Day Washcloths. Blue Sky's 100% organic Skinny Cotton combines with Habu's very distinctive Natural Cover Cotton for a vintage look with a modern edge.

Paired with beautiful soaps, your mom will really feel your love this Mother's Day... and every day!

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