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Entries in Molly's Sketchbook (89)

Thursday
Feb072013

Molly's Sketchbook: Liberty Hot Pads

Perhaps it’s just my practical Virgo nature, but my ideal sewing project is first and foremost functional. I’m not one for decorative topstitching or ornamental buttons; I want my finished projects to work (and to look good doing it)!  Hot pads are a perfect utilitarian undertaking because they’re quick to make and oh, so useful!

To keep this particular set of hot pads from becoming too hard-nosed I used the stunning new Flora Eve print from Liberty of London. This very special floral pattern looks like something in between a watercolor and a photograph and is printed with the exquisite detail and color that only Liberty can deliver.  And when paired with a rich yarn dyed denim, the contrasts take on a drama of their own: casual and elegant, inky and ephemeral,  practical and charming.     

This project is very easy to sew but uses a lot of different skills so it’s never boring. Just quilt the fabrics together using specially insulated batting and then hand sew cotton twill tape around the edges, and you’ve got a truly unique, beautiful, and best of all, fully functional hot pad! -Molly

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Sunday
Jan132013

Molly's Sketchbook: Simple Felted Wool Mittens

Winter weather brings up a lot of big questions: scarf or cowl? hot chocolate or coffee? And perhaps the most controversial of all: mittens or gloves? I am a mitten person. They keep your hands warmer than gloves; they are a cute classic shape; and on a personal note, they help with my New Year’s resolution to not text while walking! They are also exceptionally easy to sew for yourself, which is a big plus in my book.

Made with ultra soft and warm Mary Flanagan Felted Wool, my new Simple Felted Wool Mittens could not be easier to sew. They are based on my Felt Mittens with Knitted Cuffs, which have a clean and surprising construction that I’ve always wanted to explore again. This time around I dispensed with the knitting, making this version practically effortless: 6 pieces to cut and 6 seams, that’s it!

I used the beautiful undyed Mary Flanagan as a base and added a splash of color at the palm. This unexpected little burst serves to highlight the mitten’s unique assembly and classic shape that I love so much. -Molly

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Tuesday
Dec112012

Molly's Sketchbook: Super Simple Super Soft Merino Baby Hat

Although I know how to knit, I tend to be all talk and no action. I’m great at buying yarn and casting on, but I’m also quite good at abandoning my projects before they’re done. But with everyone at the Purl Bee creating such amazing projects with our new Super Soft Merino (like these great hats and this awesome cowl), I was beginning to feel a little left out!

I knew I wanted to get in on the Super Soft Merino action, but I certainly didn’t want another partnerless mitten or half-finished sweater. With winter here and a new baby to keep warm, I decided I could probably manage a simple baby hat, as long as it was really easy. This pattern fits the bill!

The Super Simple Super Soft Merino Baby Hat is truly the easiest hat you will ever knit. The yarn’s chunky weight makes it quick, and its vivid range of colors makes it fun. It also happens to make the softest, fluffiest pom poms so I added one to the top! I had such a good time making mine that I ended up knitting two versions in as many nights. I was so proud of myself! The short version just covers the ears, while the tall version can be worn cuffed up and trim or unfolded and a little floppy. -Molly

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Sunday
Oct282012

Molly's Sketchbook: Reversible Sashiko Placemats

Have you ever noticed when you learn about something new and then all of a sudden, it’s everywhere? For example, a few months ago I saw a very cool picture on my mother’s Pinterest page. It showed a detail of Sashiko-style embroidery forming little crosses on one side and dashed grid lines on the reverse. A few days later Laura showed me a picture of a quilt with the same stitching on it, and then a week after that, I was in a baby store and wouldn’t you know it, a very similar quilt was on display there as well! The universe was trying to tell me something.

And so with Thanksgiving right around the corner, I got really excited to make a set of Sashiko Placemats using this technique. The process of Sashiko stitching is soothing and repetitive, kind of like a simple knitting project. Once you get started it’s hard to put down! The fun and beauty of this particular stitch is that its result is so unexpected, a totally reversible graphic pattern!

For a beautifully understated and elegant look, I used Kiyohara Linen Blend Solid in Brown for the base and soft off-white Sashiko Thread for the stitching. The finished placemats are so graceful and pretty,  perfect for a Thanksgiving feast! 

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Wednesday
Oct242012

Molly's Sketchbook: Buttonhole Napkins

Since 2006 it’s been my Thanksgiving tradition to design a festive set of dinner napkins. (Browse the archive here!) The inspiration for this year’s napkins came from an unlikely place: 35,000 feet in the air!

You see, my husband travels a lot for his job, and that means we usually get upgraded when we fly together. He’s pretty used to it, but I’m still super excited each time it happens, marveling at the free packets of socks and the pre-takeoff champagne. Recently, on one such flight, our dinner arrived (complete with metal cutlery, actual glassware, and tiny salt and pepper shakers!), and I looked over to see that Rafael had somehow attached the cloth napkin to his shirt.

     “How is your napkin staying up like that?” I asked.

     “Oh, the napkins have buttonholes,” he said, nonchalantly. My mind was blown. How had I never heard of this before? I knew what I’d be doing when we got home!

These pretty Buttonhole Napkins are perfect for Thanksgiving because not only are they beautiful and seasonal, but no one will go home with gravy stains on their fancy duds! I used our very special new Liberty Half Yard Napkin Bundle in the "Cranberry" colorway which contains six gorgeously detailed prints in a rich palette of russets, purples, and browns. (The bundle also comes in a "Woodland" coloway in cooler, greener hues.) And for fun, I finished each napkin off with hot pink topstitching and buttonholes!

</p> <h2>Materials </span></span></p> <p><br /></p> <p><br /></p> <p>To make a set of twelve 16-inch square napkins:</p> <ul> <li>A Liberty Half Yard Napkin Bundle. I used

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