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Entries in Laura's Loop (60)

Sunday
Jul202014

Laura's Loop: Bamboo Shell

Knitting in front of nail-biting soccer matches has its pitfalls. High tensions result in tight knitting. Jumping in celebration leads to dropped stitches. Mournful losses extinguish all desire to even pick up your needles. Oh, but when a game is good and you’re working in speedy, soft bamboo, progress really barrels along!

I did not initially envision this top to be quite so long, but before I knew it, I had breezed through 6 inches of seed stitch and 12 inches of stockinette, bidding farewell to the cropped top dancing in my head and saying hello to an elegant, hip-length version. Loving this length, but unable to quite let go of my original vision, my Bamboo Shell pattern gives instructions for both, plus an in-between waist-length style.

Back to the action… The fast-growing back of my sweater meant I needed to quickly work up and over the shoulders in order to knit a slightly shorter front. Translation: I had a lot of knitting ahead of me, but a lot of soccer too! I couldn’t have been happier.

Habu’s Dyed Bamboo is beyond delightful. It’s cool and quick, but what’s even better is its magical property of perfecting stitches. My knitting was far from steady during these past few weeks of exciting soccer action, and yet, my stitches have never looked so smooth and even. 

Perhaps it is the Dyed Bamboo’s rich, saturated color and subtle sheen that highlights stitch patterns so well. Shoot, maybe it was the magic surrounding the World Cup. I know not! What I do know is that I’ll be knitting this Bamboo Shell again. Baseball anyone? -Laura

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Thursday
Jun262014

Laura's Loop: Tulip Tank Top

At first bud a tulip’s elongated petals are packed tightly, protectively hugging its center, but it doesn’t take long for the stance of the petals to soften. Those lovely ovals separate slightly and open finally, giving a glimpse of what’s inside. Even as the petals flounce, they remain in an embrace, now catching the sunlight, as well as the attention of admirers.

Wanting to experience the beauty and femininity of a tulip’s structure, I designed this Tulip Tank Top to wrap and overlap, to gently hug my center… maybe even to attract some admirers!

I took advantage of the beauty and drape of Louet’s 100% linen Euroflax, knowing it would fall gracefully and catch the light with movement. I knit this piece primarily in stockinette stitch for a smooth finish and a pretty, little curl along the short-row-shaped edges. And over time, you can expect the linen to soften and relax, becoming better with each wear.

I may not be frolicking amidst the actual tulips this year, but my new Tulip Tank has me feeling as fancy-free as if I were! -Laura 

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Sunday
Jun082014

Laura's Loop: Striped Summer Shirt

There was a great big, old, white clapboard house near where I spent my summers as a kid. The shutters were white. The doors were white. The fence that wrapped around the vast corner lot was even white. And under each and every window was a white flowerbox overflowing with brilliant red geraniums. A house that nearly disappeared during the snowy winters was enlivened every summer by those rows of exuberant red.

While a lot of red is pretty powerful stuff, a well-balanced dash of it adds vibrancy and spice, elegance and timelessness.

To design a shirt evocative of that beautiful home from my memories I turned to Habu Textiles. The white “clapboard” backdrop is a narrow ribbon-like yarn called Silk Gima. The silk stitches create a subtle texture perfect for planting my “flowers”:  garter ridges of red and salmon in Habu’s Linen Wrapped Silk. This multi-fibered yarn creates depth within the stripes and a glow, not unlike those sun-lit geraniums, where the colors transition from one to the next.

This Striped Summer Shirt is my flowerboxes. Summer is nearing, and I am ready and raring to sport these charming stripes! –Laura

PS: In a sailor boy mood? Click below to see an alternate blue color palette!

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Thursday
May152014

Laura's Loop: Edged Linen Wrap

Not much is more meditative to me than crocheting along a hemmed edge. This is not due to expertise; I am a knitter first and foremost. In fact, this is the only type of crochet I know how to do (if you discount making a chain for a provision cast on). But, oh, the joy it brings…

With a single hook in one hand and the softest of yarns flowing through the fingers of my other hand, a rhythm takes over, and in no time, a simple hemmed rectangle has totally transformed into a gorgeous wrap, seemingly with no effort at all. 

I outlined Robert Kaufman’s crisp Waterford Linen with Purl Soho’s merino beauty, Line Weight. Its brilliant color and graphic stitches highlight the natural hand and drape of the Waterford Linen, softening its edge with the wool’s subtle bloom. 

This feminine, modern wrap continues to comfort and soothe me with each wear. I hope you’re inspired to whip one up for those cool summer nights to come. -Laura

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Sunday
Apr272014

Laura's Loop: Colorblock Bias Blanket

Whenever I am faced with a pile of undeniably beautiful yarn, I turn to an old-friend-of-a-project, the Colorblock Bias Blanket. It is a project that never grows old; it soothes your knitting soul when you’re stumped by a contiguous sleeve or bogged down by too many bobbles; it inspires combinations of color and texture that never before seemed possible; and like all of my most treasured things, this pattern was handed down to me by my dear Aunt Julie.

Julie’s wild sense of color and unique personal style constantly inspire me to freely experiment with textures and values and tones. So recently, when I found myself strolling the aisles of Purl Soho with seven skeins in a vice-grip-like hug, realizing I couldn’t let a single skein go, I knew exactly how I could pull them all together.

I knit my Colorblock Bias Blanket in simple garter stitch, using three different hand-dyed, DK-weight yarns in a spectrum of seven amazing colors. Starting with pops of peach, I used Koigu’s crisp and lively Kersti Merino Crepe. Then to contrast with the smooth consistency of the Kersti, I moved on to Madelinetosh’s Tosh Merino DK, a single ply yarn that quietly shifts from thick to thin. Next I used Anzula’s luxurious Cricket , a blend of superwash merino, cashmere and a touch of nylon. Its machine-spun quality and soft, sandy colors add elegance and subtlety. And finally, I finished the blanket with two more skeins of quirky Tosh Merino DK.

The whole is indeed greater than the sum of its parts (thank you, Aristotle). Each of these yarns has its own special personality, but together, they create a rich and complex fabric. You can create your own beautiful blanket with Purl Soho’s Yarn for Colorblock Bias Blanket kit. Choose from three lovely colorways: this toasty Peach, cool Mint or burst-of-yellow Lemon! -Laura

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