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Entries in Molly's Sketchbook (98)

Thursday
Jul192012

Molly's Sketchbook: Elastic Fish Buckle Belt

Often I introduce a new pattern by talking about the stroke of inspiration that got me started. But in the case of these ultra quick, ultra cute belts, I’m afraid I can’t take much credit. Page, one of Purl Soho’s owners, has wanted us to make belts for as long as I can remember, I suspect because belts are the perfect vehicle for Page's favorite thing, a pop of color! Page is a true lover of statement-making color, a dash of neon, a touch of citrus, a burst of tomato. At a recent meeting she breezed into the store wearing a white shirt, white pants, and a blinding orange scarf, managing to make the wild shade seem playful and chic at the same time!

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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
Jun212012

Molly's Sketchbook: Newborn Kimono Shirt

My mother is now retired, but for most of my life she was the head designer and co-owner of a children’s wear company called Sweet Potatoes. Growing up I would occasionally find some of the very first clothes she made for me carefully tucked away in a trunk. I always marveled at how tiny the newborn sleep sacks, jackets, and dresses were. I couldn’t believe I had ever been that small!


Inspired by one such sleep sack, edged in bias tape and made for me thirty-three years ago, I designed this Newborn Kimono Shirt for my own little one who, as I write this, is due very soon (but who may have been born by the time you read it!). I realize that newborn clothing doesn’t fit fast-growing babies for very long, but I love the idea of showing her just how little she was!

For the body of the Kimono, I used natural Essex Linen which has a beautiful, timeless heirloom quality. And for the binding, I used Nani Iro's adorable new Bias Tape. I love its subtle but playful polka dots, especially because I think they work equally well for a baby boy or girl. The Kimono's construction is very simple but with attention to important details, so it doesn’t take long to sew, but it will last a lifetime! --Molly

P.S. In case you all are wondering, YES, Molly had her baby!  Guadalupe Raquel was born on June 17, 2012.  Both Mom and Baby are doing great!  Congratulations Molly!  xoxo - Purl Bee

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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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