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Entries in Laura's Loop (55)

Thursday
Aug162012

Laura's Loop: Striped Stockinette Snake

After years of knitting for my nieces, I am thrilled to now be knitting for my very first nephew. As it turns out, a dear friend of mine, Natalie, also recently welcomed her first nephew, and like me, she wants to shower him with handsome hand-made treasures. It's been quite some time since Nat picked up her needles, and so she turned to me for some tech support and basic hand holding. Together we each knit up a Striped Stockinette Snake. For Natalie, it proved a very helpful reintroduction, and for both of us, it became the perfect present for our baby nephews!

Along the way, we conquered the I-cord, learned how to increase and decrease both to the left and the right, and explored the characteristics of stockinette stitch. As seasoned knitters know, fabrics made out of stockinette stitch curl along the edges. Often stockinette is paired with another stitch pattern to keep the piece laying flat, but for our purposes here, the naturally curled edges are just what we needed! We were able to knit flat (rather than in the round) and still create a tubular, snake-like object. Pretty nifty!

To add to some more snakiness I incorporated single-row striping, using two beautiful self-ombreing yarns, Cascade's alpaca-merino Eco Duo. With rows and rows of easy stripes, boredom never strikes as the two yarns fade in and out from darks to lights. It's nearly hypnotizing.

Whether it gets lovingly dragged around or slyly stacked on a shelf, this super simple Striped Stockinette Snake will slither its way into your dear little boy's (or girl's!) heart! -Zia (Aunt) Laura

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Sunday
Aug052012

Laura's Loop: Garden Party Napkins

Maybe it is the nature of summer that hardly a week goes by without finding an excuse to celebrate! Birthdays, engagements, baby showers, weddings... so many joyous occasions.

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Sunday
Jul292012

Laura's Loop: White Caps Cowl

My mom lives an urban life in a landlocked city, but I've always felt she belongs in a small town by the water. It's so easy to picture her hopping on a boat or walking along the shore, her salt and pepper hair mussed by the sea air, her sneakers tattered, her jeans old and worn, but her sweater a chic slip of linen or cashmere. 
Have you ever known someone who so throughly embodies a duality that you can hardly describe her? That's how I feel about my mom, but one thing I can say for sure is that my mother's elegance depends on her rustic nature. You'd never see her in make-up, but that is precisely what makes her beautiful. Whether I knew it or not, when I started this cowl, I was knitting with her in mind. It, like she, pairs unlikely opposites that together create a one-of-a-kind amalgam, radiant with depth and beauty!
I knit this cowl primarily with Habu's thick-and-thin Cotton Nerimake Slub. It creates a decadent, cloud-like fabric that is both hearty and ethereal. And set against the cotton are thin stripes of Alchemy's Silken Straw, a meticulous, flat silk ribbon with a crisp finish and pearly shine. Together, these yarns form a graceful and surprising union, each complementing the other!
We named this the White Caps Cowl because the cotton captures the feeling of frothy caps on ocean waves while the silk subtly shimmers amidst the cowl's folds and drapes, like light dancing across the surface of the sea. To add some duality to your life, you can get the full pattern for the White Caps Cowl here! -Laura

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Friday
Jul132012

Easy Drawstring Bag: Four New Sizes!

My creative mind does not work in a super linear fashion, and as a result, I'm always juggling a handful of projects at once. I somehow manage to keep all of these various projects quite well organized, if I do say so myself. How? Easy Drawstring Bags, loads of 'em!  Some big, some small, some bright, some subtle, the more I make the more I use and not just for knitting and sewing. I find they come in handy all the time, as a cute gift wrapping alternative, a toiletry sack, a shoe bag, a pajama pouch, the list goes on!

Actually, we originally designed the Easy Drawstring Bag to store a bundle of colorful Felt Jelly Bean Bags, but since then it has become an integral part of all of our lives, tidily tucking away all sorts of things. And so, when our dear friends from Martha Stewart asked us to do a post for their wonderful Craft Department blog, picking which project to share was a no brainer. You can visit us at Martha Stewart right here!

For this new version of the Easy Drawstring Bag, we created four more sizes and we gave them a fresh look with some of our very favorite fabrics. We chose Kokka's timeless Small and Large Ginghams, as well as the slightly nubbly, handsome blues of Kiyohara's Upholstery Weight and Linen Blend Solids. To jazz up these classic colors and prints, we paired them with the richly textured, cotton-linen Fishtail Braided Cording and electric Neon Lacing. You can find these and even more fabric and trim options right here!

For instructions on how to make these super fast and simple Easy Drawstring Bags visit the project journal right here!  -Laura

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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