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Entries in Home (62)

Sunday
Jul012012

Molly's Sketchbook: Picnic Roll

From Griffith Park to Prospect Park, it’s picnic season! What could be better than packing up a basket of tasty treats for some dining al fresco? Growing up, we used to throw some sandwiches in a bag and head for the hills of Berkeley’s Tilden Park. We'd watch the hawks soaring overhead and take ride after ride on the carousel before settling down for our picnic. Now in my adopted hometown of New York City, I've discovered the fun of cosmopolitan picnicking, from evening concerts in Central Park to outdoor movies at Bryant Park!

I usually just bring along a sheet or tablecloth, but this year I decided to design something special for the task! To add some summertime cheer, I chose festive, citrus-bright colors, and to keep things simple, I geared the design toward practical convenience, easy to make, carry, use and wash!

I made my Picnic Roll out of hefty Organic Cotton Duck and crisp Essex cotton-linen. Essex comes in tons of bright saturated colors that scream summer and that are beautifully grounded by Cotton Duck's rugged neutrals. The whole thing rolls up into a neat little package thanks to orange Cotton Webbing and our sturdy new D-rings. Best of all, it’s so quick to sew that if you got started now, you could be watching fireworks on it by July 4th! --Molly

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Thursday
Jun282012

Laura's Loop: Nautical Needlepoint Coasters

Once again summer is here, and my family is planning its annual trip to Maine. We'll all cram into the old riverside home that was once my great grandfather's, a naval man who never did hide his love for the sea. The walls are still covered with regalia from his days on the water, and this maritime-themed hostess gift will definitely fit right in!
These Nautical Needlepoint Coasters go hand in hand with last year's Nautical Flag Napkins. Both take advantage of the amazing graphics and colors of the traditional nautical alphabet. To get the pop of really saturated reds, yellows, and blues I turned to the beautiful hand dyed colors of Koigu's Premium Merino. And for a table-friendly backing, I used Wollfilz Wool Felt, so soft and gentle!
This project is so portable it fits right into the small pocket of a tote bag, so I know I'll be whipping out my needle and yarn a couple more times this summer as I head off to visit friends and family, arriving with the perfect gift in hand! Make just a simple set of two coasters for the bedside or for fun, choose flags that spell something personal. These eight coasters together are the letters of my family's name, F-E-R-G-U-S-O-N!
I look forward to spelling my way through the rest of the letter flags, celebrating summer, the sea and the generosity of this season's hosts and hostesses! You'll find free templates for all 26 letters of the alphabet in my Nautical Needlepoint Coasters Project Journal, along with step-by-step instructions right here! Happy summer seas! -Laura 

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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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