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Entries in Molly's Sketchbook (89)

Friday
Aug262011

Molly's Sketchbook: Apple Coasters

When I was a kid I dreaded the day that I would start seeing commercials for school supplies and my mom would suggest we go buy a new backpack. I didn't even want to think about giving up my summer freedom. Sometimes, to add insult to injury, the first day of school would be on my birthday!

But these days, with first-days-of-school far behind me, I actually look forward to this time of year more than any other. I love the crisp weather, the foliage, my birthday, and I really love apples! Since apples are so quintessentially autumn and because they're so graphically appealing, I was inspired to celebrate this beautiful time of year with a super cute set of Apple Coasters. They'll add a barrel of autumnal cheer to any table!  Or start your kid's school year off right with the perfect teacher gift.

The Apple Coasters are close cousins to my summertime Citrus Coasters, which is to say that they are a total breeze to make, no fancy stitches or skills required. For this season's version we chose our favorite reds, greens, and yellows for our new 100% wool felt Apple Bundle. I just love the way they look all together, so fresh and bright!

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Thursday
Aug112011

Molly's Sketchbook: Adjustable Unisex Apron

I wear aprons all the time, and I'm not kidding when I say "all the time". My typical at-home outfit involves a bandana to keep my hair back and an apron to keep at bay all of the thread and fabric fuzz that follow me everywhere. When friends stop by unexpectedly they are always surprised by my house frau attire, but nobody wants a lint brush for a best friend!

As you might imagine, I have a good collection of aprons, many of them vintage and quite feminine. Some of my favorites include a pink one from the 50s made out of a feedsack and one with ruffles and a pie shaped pocket that my sister made for me. Even though I love them all, these fanciful aprons don't come in very handy when it's time to roll up my sleeves and get messy in the kitchen, nor does my husband really appreciate his options. So I decided to make a rugged, adjustable unisex apron for both of us to use in the kitchen. It's big enough to be worn by a 6 foot tall guy but can easily be folded up to fit a 5 foot 4 gal like myself. Plus the no-nonsense styling means neither of us will risk batter-splattered ruffles!

The Adjustable Unisex Apron is an update of a pattern I designed way back in 2008 called the BBQ Apron. Although this version is perfect for Labor Day grilling, its classic design and super simple construction make it useful well beyond the BBQ pit.  I used some amazing new fabric, Kokka Canvas Ticking, which seems like it was born to be an apron. It's both soft and strong and will wear and wash beautifully. I love its classic denimy feel and its subtle colors. Best of all this apron is beyond simple to make. It's so easy that I think I might make two so my husband and I don't have to share! 

(P.S. The beautiful wooden spoons in the pictures above can be found at Timber from Live Wire Farm right here.)

Update:

To make the version of this apron posted on 2/9/12 you'll need the following materials (everything else is the same!):

 The matching dishtowels can be found here.

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Jul102011

Molly's Sketchbook: Friendship Bracelets

Macraméd friendship bracelets were all the rage when I was growing up in the eighties. All the girls at my school would obsessively make them for one another in a dizzying variety of colors, widths, and patterns. It's amazing, thinking back, that such young girls could make such beautifully intricate accessories.

I, of course,  tried my hand at making them as well. I would ride my bike down to the five-and-dime store and pick out the most sophisticated color combinations of  embroidery floss I could find, but when it came to the actual macramé I never got beyond plain stripes. There was nothing wrong with plain stripes, except that the other girls seemed so much more advanced with their diamonds and chevrons. A bit intimidated,  I never did become a big friendship bracelet expert.

Fast forward 20 years: Purl Soho started carrying DMC Cotton Embroidery Floss in every conceivable color (including fluorescents! ) and so, clearly, my time with friendship bracelets had finally come! After a bit of research, I discovered that what had eluded me as a child is actually really simple. It turns out that there are only two major friendship bracelet knots, a right knot and a left knot. That's it. After all these years, they only took me a few minutes to learn!

Making friendship bracelets is a  surprisingly easy craft, and best of all, in the end you'll have a bunch of cute summer bracelets to give to your pals. These are also a great thing to make with kids because they don't require any pins, needles, or scissors, and you can make them as simple or as complicated as you want. Once you learn the basics there's no limit to the beautiful patterns you can create!

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Wednesday
May252011

Molly's Sketchbook: Lap Duvet

Even in the mild Spring weather I still find myself reaching for a blanket if I am reading or watching a movie on the couch at night. This is a problem because, until now,  I didn't have any throw sized blankets, only gigantic bed sized quilts which aren't very convenient when you have to fold them back up at the end of the night.

At a recent Purl Bee meeting Page mentioned that she was having the same issue and the idea for this project was born! We decided to make a very quick, very simply quilted lap blanket using a technique that Joelle used in the "Super Quick + Easy Baby Quilt" project from her book, Last Minute Patchwork and Quilted Gifts.

We also decided to use some of our favorite new fabric from designer Naomi Ito's Nani Iro line. These prints are beyond gorgeous. They have a unique painterly quality and come in the most beautiful colors. The fabric itself is a soft double gauze perfect for a Spring project. The wool batting I used made this piece feel so lofty that it in the end it seemed more like a fluffy duvet than a regular blanket.

This is my absolute favorite kind of sewing project: useful, beautiful, and quick. I actually timed it and it turns out that the entire project takes less than 2 and a half hours from start to finish. It would make a great housewarming gift and best of all you could whip it up on the afternoon of the housewarming party!

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Thursday
Apr072011

Molly's Sketchbook: Father's Day Tie - Updated!

Two years ago for Father's Day I designed a tie using one of our favorite fabrics, Liberty of London Tana Lawn. The combination of a classic neck tie and the gorgeous Liberty prints was an instant hit.  We heard from so many sewists who made amazing gifts for their dads, husbands, brothers and friends. This year I decided to rework and update the pattern to make it more streamlined and easy to follow.  During this process I couldn't resist making three more ties out of some of our wonderful new Tana Lawn prints.  They are, clockwise from the top, the subtle, summery Gray Princess Emerald, the fun and Springy Green Lola Weisselberg, and the bold, modern Brown Yellow Pepper.

If you'd like to make one for your dad, grad, or yourself (!) please check out our updated Father's Day Tie project journal right here. --Molly