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Entries in Molly's Sketchbook (98)

Thursday
Mar132014

Molly's Sketchbook: Springtime Running Stitch Napkins

After the darkness of winter, Easter and Passover come at just the right time for a springtime celebration! With the promise of warmth and friends and family around the table, everything feels brighter and more colorful, from the flowers on the table to the flavors of the food. We’re contributing to the good cheer with a pretty set of Springtime Running Stitch Napkins, sewn up  in a sunny rainbow of Liberty of London’s Tana Lawn prints. 

There is no simpler or better way to freshen a table setting than with special napkins. These are easy and fun to make and the vivid Tana Lawn couldn’t be more beautiful. Whip these napkins together on a machine and then take the time to handstitch the edges with a simple running stitch, a detail that won’t go unnoticed!

If you’d like to give this season’s holiday table a burst of vernal color, our Materials for Springtime Running Stitch Napkins kit has everything you need to make a set of six and is available in two lovely colorways. And for the original pattern just click right here! Happy Easter, Happy Passover and Happy spring! --Molly

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Thursday
Feb272014

Molly's Sketchbook: Ombre Edge Throw

Embroidery is the very first craft I ever learned. It was de rigeur at my elementary school, perhaps as a way to instill focus and hone fine motor skills. Whatever the reason, I’m eternally grateful (shout out to Marin School in Albany, California!) because I love embroidery to this day! I appreciate the relaxing rhythm of a needle pulling thread, and too, I love that embroidery is so self-contained and versatile. 

I recently felt a new burst of embroidery inspiration while I was stitching my Felted Wool Hot Water Bottle Cover project. I was fascinated by how the zigzag blanket stitch instantly transformed something plain into something extraordinary. And so, armed with a yard of Dorr Mill’s Wool and a whimsical spring rainbow of DMC Floss, this Ombre Edge Throw was born!

This project is super quick to make but looks so considered and elegant. I originally intended it to be a couch throw, good for curling up and watching a movie, but once it was done, I couldn’t resist the urge to wear it as a scarf as well. The Ombre Edge Throw is one of those great, versatile projects that can be anything you want… kind of like embroidery itself!

To whip up your own, be sure to pick up one of our Materials for Ombre Edge Throw kits right here! - Molly

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Sunday
Feb232014

Molly's Sketchbook: Purl Soho's Little Lamb Finger Puppets

I can’t tell you how excited I am for spring to come. This winter’s polar vortexes and never ending parade of snow and ice storms have been seriously awful! But with March right around the corner, I’m hoping that the old cliché will prove true: “In like a lion, out like a lamb!”

These Little Lamb Finger Puppets are my invocation to the spirit of spring. Their sweet faces and soft wool coats are so happy and hopeful that with each stitch the winter blues seem to melt away, making room for vernal daydreams. Just imagine how cute they’ll look peeking out of an Easter basket!

This project is truly a snap to sew. A playful palette of pretty wool felt is a joy to work with, and each lamb is stitched entirely by hand. Absolutely everything you need, from the pattern and felt to the needle and stuffing, is available in our Little Lamb Finger Puppets Kit here. (Or if you already have the materials you can get the just pattern!) Let the springtime reverie begin!

Thursday
Feb062014

Molly's Sketchbook: Watercolor Quilt

Several years ago I visited the Dia Beacon, a sprawling modern art museum just outside of New York City. It was a gray winter day, and my friend and I were practically the only people there. As we wandered around, I was stopped in my tracks by two spare, grid-like drawings. They were tentative and minimal but somehow conveyed so much power. I couldn’t stop looking at them. I learned that they were by the artist Agnes Martin, and since that time I’ve come to love her work, much of which uses hand-drawn, repetitive lines and soft, tonal washes of color.  (If you’d like to see more of her work you can click here.)

Since Martin’s drawings and paintings use so many straight lines, they make for perfect quilt inspiration, and this Watercolor Quilt is my humble homage. I chose subdued lilac gray and peach to closely match some of my favorite Agnes Martin paintings. And to make the project more my own, I widened the color range a bit and finished the quilt off with a luminescent (premade!) neon bias tape. The neon might seem weird at first, but it kind of makes the whole quilt glow!

Despite its highbrow origins, this project couldn’t be simpler or more fun to sew. You cut a bunch of strips and then sew them together. That’s it, no corners to match up or tricky angles! And all of these cotton fabrics are soft and lovely to work with, bringing their own intrinsic beauty to the picture. This utter simplicity somehow leads to an engaging and sophisticated piece of work, much like the simplicity of Agnes Martin’s paintings belies so much more.

To begin your own special quilt pick up our Materials for Watercolor Quilt kit right here, and get ready to make some art! --Molly

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Sunday
Jan262014

Molly's Sketchbook: Sweetheart Charms

Page and her daughter Coco have a really sweet thing: They each carry around a little stuffed fabric heart so that when either Page or Coco is missing the other, she can hold the heart and feel closer together. When I heard about this, I knew I needed to make a little heart for my own daughter, although at this point in her cognitive development, she might be more likely to plop it in her applesauce than to look at it and think fondly of me!

So, even though Lupe might be a bit young, this Valentine’s Day I’m starting our own ritual with these Sweetheart Charms. I added a simple pocket to each soft wool heart so you can stow a tiny note or a small piece of candy, and I also topped each charm with a sturdy loop so your keepsake can hang from a backpack, belt loop, or buttonhole!

This project is quick enough to make for a big group but also special enough to sew for your very favorite Valentine. And since these Sweetheart Charms are so easy, I’m going to make a few of them for Lupe and me. That way some of them can take a dip in the applesauce!

Happy Valentine’s Day! --Molly

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