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Entries in Laura's Loop (55)

Sunday
Mar032013

Laura's Loop: Bobble Sheep Pillow

I guess it isn't surprising that a knitter has an affinity for sheep. Obviously, some sort of kinship must exist with the animal whose wool provides daily enjoyment (and employment!). So as predictable as it may be, I will say it anyway... I love sheep. They are a funny creature with a neurotic voice and a body perfect for graphic adaptation. 

I love their bulbous bellies and knobbly knees, their googly eyes and pointy ears. I love how they amble about in groups, looking like earth-bound clouds. And it goes without saying, but I love what they gift us... don't worry, I'm not about to type "mutton." I mean, of course, their wool!

A dear friend pointed out that it may be a bit snake-eating-its-own-tail, but anyway, I had to make one... I had to make a sheep, made out of sheep. 

With the softest, loftiest, creamiest yarn I could find and the most dramatic, nobbiest  texture I could create, I knit up this squishable, squeezable, nursery-rhyme version of every knitter's best pal. Bursting with bobbles, this sheep practically implores you to cuddle. 

Incredibly soft to the touch, Purl Soho's Super Soft Merino could not have been more appropriate for this project, right down to its color name, Heirloom White. Your own Bobble Sheep Pillow is sure to be loved by many generations to come!

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Thursday
Feb142013

Laura's Loop: Roll and Dash Hankies

Don't you just love when a new technique is born from a happy accident?!? That’s the story of these hankies. It was business as usual. I needed to whip up a quick gift and so, sat down to make what must have been my hundredth set of Rolled Hem Handkerchiefs.  

I rolled and rolled the edge until Kokka's beautiful fine cotton fabric held the shape on its own. Always amazed at fabric’s sculptural potential, I took a moment to admire this tiny tube along my hankie’s border. It seemed a cause for celebration, and suddenly, I found myself working unlike I had on the previous ninety nine sets.

I ditched the matching cotton thread I would normally have used and chose instead the brightest, most surprising yarn I could find, Alchemy's Silken Straw. I threaded an embroidery needle, and rather than making an invisible stitch in the crease of the roll, I went bold. I carried the silk around the rolled hem, marking the gentle curve with graphic little lines of hot pink.

Form follows function, or something like that... does that apply here? I am not sure it does, but I am sure about how satisfying it was to turn my stitches into functional ornamentation, a series of dashes outlining each hankie. 

So, I rolled and dashed, rolled and dashed, and before I knew it, I had five unique handkerchiefs. Some with many dashes, some with few, some equally spaced, some hiccupping their way around the edges. It’s so fun to just follow your fancy! -Laura

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Saturday
Feb022013

Laura's Loop: Classic Mittens

Whitney made some. Molly too. And so I had no choice but to join in and make some of my very own wintertime mittens!

Being the last of three kids in my family, I might have a teeny, tiny bit of youngest-child syndrome. Some might even call it a fear of missing out (#FOMO). So after drooling over Whitney's elegant Gem Gloves and having a mom and daughter sew-along for Molly's Simple Felted Wool Mittens, I picked up some of Anzula's wonderfully bouncy, incredibly warm merino-cashmere Cricket and cast on.

With a hearty slip-stitch at the hemmed cuff and a perfectly rounded top, these Classic Mittens hark back to childhood days of bundling up at my mom's insistence, so anxious to slip out the door and chase after my big brothers.

Just as I used to run after my brothers, my creative eye is now on Whitney and Molly who have me inspired once more. Feel like tagging along? Get started! - Laura

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Thursday
Jan172013

Laura's Loop: Reversible Stripes Scarf

With an itch to make a scarf, I found myself happily lost in the pages of Barbara Walker's seminal "Treasuries" of stitch patterns. Intrigued by the rhythms and possibilities of her slip stitch patterns, I think I tried them all. And then I finally combined a couple, a bit of Woven Stitch and a dash of Linen Stitch and voila, a reversible stripe!
This magical world of slip stitches has me firmly in its clutches. How else could there be a simple knit fabric with so much complexity and fascination?!? One side of this stitch pattern is smooth and flat, seemingly woven, with impeccably thin horizontal pinstripes; while the other side is textured in deep, hearty ridges, running in vertical stripes like a knotted tweed. 
When wrapped, folded, and tucked around your neck, this scarf is delightfully dizzying! It achieves all I hoped for and more. No curled edges and two sides that aren't just both presentable, but whose contrast in pattern and texture actually enliven and complement one another.
In the spirit of the love and generosity of Valentine's Day, I knit up my scarf in Jade Sapphire's unparalleled Zageo 6 Ply Cashmere. An elegant yarn for a timeless scarf,  it is amazingly soft and toasty warm. If only I had the heart to actually give it away! --Laura

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Thursday
Jan032013

Laura's Loop: Sweater Shawl

From a seaside town in Italy, the Serra-side of my family has always sparked my imagination. I grew up poring over old family photos of women promenading arm in arm, weaving in and out of little alleyways. So, when last year, I found myself in that same seaside town ringing in the New Year with a warm and boisterous group of Serras, I harbored secret hopes of living out those images I had so long adored.

According to the old photos and confirmed by my own experience, it seems that no Serra woman has ever left the house without tossing a sweater across her shoulders as a shawl. It’s a style I'd grown accustomed to seeing on my grandmother (a true lover of knitwear), but it never felt more right than in that seaside town.

This Sweater Shawl is my interpretation of a classic Serra sweater, the one you want to drape over your back but have no intention of actually wearing. With “sleeves” for crossing, wrapping or tying and a back placket for keeping warm and looking very Italian, this piece is half sweater, half shawl!

I knit it up in a lofty brioche stitch, using Anzula's very lovely For Better of Worsted. This hand-dyed merino-cashmere blend has a graceful drape and a cozy weight that hugs your shoulders beautifully!

The Sweater Shawl has been in the making for a year (or maybe a lifetime!), and now that it’s done, it has become a staple in my wardrobe. Over a coat, a buttondown shirt, a long sleeve T, I've worn it every which way. My favorite, of course, is over another sweater, because after all, I am a Serra, and for us, the more knits, the better! -Laura

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