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Entries in Molly's Sketchbook (89)

Thursday
Jun272013

Molly's Sketchbook: Braided Friendship Bracelets

It will surprise no one that at summer camp my favorite activity was always and without fail arts and crafts! I wasn’t great at archery or rowing, but I could make a lanyard like nobody’s business. I loved that camp craft projects were simple and fun to make, with no fussy equipment required. My summer days were happily filled with the satisfaction of gods-eyes, reed baskets and of course, friendship bracelets!

I’ve talked about my love for friendship bracelets here before, and we have created versions in cotton, wool, and even cashmere. This time I kept the colorful essence of a traditional macramed friendship bracelet but used a completely different (and much easier) technique to create a new kind of bangle: a craft-hybrid of friendship bracelets, rope tying, and lanyards! 

To create these little beauties I used our thickest Chinese Knotting Cord which comes in a vibrant rainbow of colors, and I finished them with a neat and effortless sliding closure. The resulting bracelet is so pretty and best of all, it perfectly captures the spirit of summer camp!  -Molly

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Thursday
Jun132013

Molly's Sketchbook: Embroidered Cotton Jumper 

Last fall I espoused the simplicity and versatility of the huipil with my Embroidered Denim Jumper. Its timeless shape is easy to sew and even easier to wear, but my favorite part of the huipil is, of course, its unique and beautiful hand embroidered yoke.

This summer I wanted to make one for my year-old daughter. There is no better warm weather outfit, and there’s no one I’d rather sew for than her! For Lupe’s dress I used breezy Kona Cotton in bright white and adorned the neckline with playful zig zag embroidery in a candy-colored rainbow of DMC floss.

I can’t wait to put little Lupe in this crisp summery Embroidered Cotton Jumper! It’s classic and one-of-a-kind, just like her! --Molly

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Thursday
May302013

Molly's Sketchbook: Wool and Liberty Teddy Bear

In my mind’s eye, the perfect teddy bear is based on my own childhood toy, aptly named “Teddy.” He would sit with his arms outstretched, all round and cuddly in his  midsection. Sadly, he was lost in a move, but his ideal form has stuck in my head.

To tackle my own version of dearly departed Teddy I knew I had to use Mary Flanagan’s 100% Felted Wool. Not only does this material feel soft and rich, it also sews like a dream. The wool’s natural elasticity smooths the edges of curves and kindly forgives little imperfections. And to make my bear extra special I finished off his ears, nose, paw pads, and tail with some sweet Liberty of London Tana Lawn. Get all this, plus thread, buttons and stuffing, with our Materials for the Wool and Liberty Teddy Bear Kit!

Usually, I am intimidated by 3-D sewing. It seems so complicated and advanced, but I’ve found that if I work slowly and methodically, it is totally doable. If you have sewn a garment or any other intermediate project, I’d say you’re ready for this project! For me, all of the detailed work was easily worth it because this sweet little bear looks and feels just like my old pal, Teddy! --Molly

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Thursday
May162013

Molly's Sketchbook: Simple Four Square Quilt

I’m not a painter, but I have always imagined that quilt making is a lot like oil painting. Both involve a detailed setup and complex series of steps, yet both tap into a deep well of freedom and creativity.  My sewing projects tend towards the quick, easy and practical, but every once in a while I like to slow down and explore big gestures using the refined techniques of quilting.

This Simple Four Square Quilt crystallizes everything I love about quilt making! It uses traditional block patterns in a decidedly unorthodox way, exploring color and proportionality much like a striking modern painting. I used Robert Kaufman’s Architextures prints, whose simple mechanical drawings I love for their clean freshness. I anchored the prints with a cool gray solid, and for fun, added a hot pop of neon orange dots.

With a project like this, it is important to do all of the steps, from the cutting to the piecing to the pressing, with care. Savor this deliberate process; it is well worth the extra time! The finished quilt is truly something special, an heirloom that is modern, elegant and simply beautiful! --Molly

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Thursday
May022013

Molly's Sketchbook: Everyday Tote

I’m someone who needs a large bag. I don’t understand how people can carry dainty little purses! Where do they put their stuff? My ideal bag needs room for a whole lot of life’s supplies: a sweater, wallet, book, notebook, cell phone, and laptop, plus some baby toys, my current craft project and tonight’s dinner. It also needs to be sturdy, easy to carry, and good looking! The Everyday Tote fits the bill… and all of my things as well!

I’ve made many bags for the Purl Bee, but I feel like they’ve all been leading me to this Everyday Tote. Using techniques honed on my 40 Minute Tote and Inside Out Bag, I think I’ve finally created my ideal carryall! Since it’s made from Cotton Duck, this bag is strong and utilitarian but also attractive with accents of Neon Bias Tape and yarn dyed fabric.

The Everyday Tote is a blast to sew. It uses lots of different sewing techniques so it’s never boring, and the result is so refined and professional looking, no one will believe you made it yourself!  Best of all, the finished bag is totally modern and totally functional. You really are going to want to carry it everyday!

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