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Entries in Stripes (24)

Tuesday
Nov222011

Whit's Knits: Hudson's Bay Inspired Crib Blanket

We love the Hudson's Bay Blanket for its classic simplicity and beauty. And maybe more, we love the underlying belief that, even in the midst of the great Canadian wilderness with its arduous cold and haunting vastness, the Hudson's Bay Blanket will protect us. 

Originally, the Hudson's Bay Blanket's lightweight warmth and insulation made it common barter for Native American goods, like beaver pelts, buffalo robes and moccasins. But in the last three hundred years the Hudson Bay Blanket has come a long way. Now it is practically a national symbol to many Canadians, and to the rest of the world, an unmistakable design icon.

I love the idea of a handknit version, borrowing the iconography of the original and lending it a little homemade twist! Sized for a baby's crib, I'm also tickled by the notion of a small child wrapped in the gear of a rugged adult. No baby in sight? Use it as a gorgeous throw over your favorite chair, in front of a roaring fireplace. It may not be an open fire deep in a white pine forest, but, hey, you're probably not a fur trapper either!

For this special project we turned to Anzula's absolutely gorgeous For Better or Worsted. A merino, cashmere, nylon blend, it is the perfect blanket yarn with its machine washable durability and cuddly soft coziness. And its quirky hand dyed colors give the Hudson's Bay Blanket a fresh look, warm and bright!

So, for a great barter idea this holiday season, give a handknit Hudson's Bay Crib Blanket. In exchange, you'll get a whole lot of love!

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Friday
Oct212011

Molly's Sketchbook: Pulled Fringe Napkins

I have celebrated Thanksgiving all over the country, from sunny California to crisp New England. Everywhere I've spent the holiday has unveiled its own unique traditions. One year I went to Kauai and ate poi with my turkey, while an army of giant ants enjoyed our homemade pies. Last year I helped my friend Nicole make a delicious Mexican mole turkey in Richmond, Virginia. But no matter where Thanksgiving finds me, there are always some comforting constants: good food, friends and family, and a thoughtfully set table.  

I've made it something of an annual tradition to contribute a new set of cloth napkins to the Thanksgiving table, wherever it is! In fact, this is my fifth set! (You can see all of them here.) It's a tradition I love because, even if you're like me and don't have real silver or good china, it feels special to embellish your mismatched plates and odd serving dishes with some beautiful homemade napkins!

This year's napkins were inspired by pretty antique linens. I used the soft and lovely Prairie Cloth, whose subtle texture and loose weave lend a warm, homespun feel. I gave the edges a fringed finish to add to the napkins' old fashioned charm. My Pulled Fringe Napkins are as simple as pumpkin pie to whip up and will surely make your Thanksgiving festivities a little extra special!

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Sunday
Oct162011

Gina's Brioche Hat and Cowl

Like all members of the Purl family, I live in a world where color rules. If you shop at our store in Soho, you've probably seen me restocking shelves and cutting fabric. I'm the one wearing a colorful dress (that I made myself, most likely out of lovely Liberty of London!) and the reddest red lipstick. In my view, nothing perks up a gray day more than a brightly hued ensemble. Top it all off with a handknit scarf or hat, and I'm happy!

But in all that colorific bliss hides a small problem. How to limit myself to just one color, especially when I'm surrounded by a veritable rainbow of temptation all day! Luckily, I recently discovered the Brioche Stitch (click here to find our Brioche Stitch in the Round Tutorial). Brioche knitting is a simple multicolor technique that creates a beautiful fabric of ridges and valleys. The color play of fair isle or intarsia without the bother of tangled balls of yarn and pesky tails? Yes, please!  And better still, Brioche fabric is truly as lofty and luxurious as its namesake, the light and buttery brioche bun, making it just right for cozy cold weather accessories. I'm completely obsessed!

For my perfectly simple Brioche Hat and Cowl, I chose Manos Del Uruguay's Maxima and Blue Sky's Suri Merino. I love how the vivid intensity of Maxima peeks out from between the soft, fuzzy clouds of Suri. A two color project that's twice as nice

Want to become obsessed too? Check out my Brioche Hat and Cowl Project Journal right here! --Gina

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Tuesday
Oct042011

Sweet Stitching with Erin: Cross-Stitch iPhone Cases

I freely admit to being one of those people who stands on the street corner with my iPhone, checking emails, looking for the closest Chinese restaurant, and calling my mom... all at the same time. But as a crafter and general lover of all things homey and handmade, Ive longed to somehow make this sleek plastic piece of technology fit into my aesthetic worldview a little better.

So, when the Leese Design Cross Stitch iPhone Case arrived at Purl Soho I could feel my crafty fingers just itching to give it a try. I couldnt decide if I wanted a modern, punchy and fun design, like the iPhone's , or if I'd prefer an ironic twist, juxtaposing four year-old technology with centuries-old craft. So, I made two!  

The Bird in a Tree version of the iPhone case, features a pattern from Caroline Vincent’s Sampler Workbook: Motifs & Patterns, an expansive collection of cross-stitch themes from the 17th through 19th centuries. The historical Autumn Tree Pattern is a classic design with a fresh and modern edge. I worked this pattern in Sajou's Retors du Nord, a lovely collection of 4-ply embroidery floss. Sajou uses vintage reproduction thread cards to wind their floss, so it felt totally natural to use their beautiful Retors du Nord for this traditional pattern.

For the striped design, I turned to the classic 6-ply DMC embroidery floss. With hundreds of colors in the DMC spectrum, including fluorescents, narrowing them down to twelve was both a pleasure and a challenge. I loved experimenting with different size stripes, mixing and matching the order of the colors to create both subtle shifts and sharp contrasts. Freeform cross-stitch is rare, so it was fun to design a project where I could really indulge my creative whims!

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Thursday
Sep152011

Whit's Knits: Chevron Baby Blanket

If you lived through the 60s and 70s perhaps you have vivid memories of a chevron afghan. Perhaps you appreciated it at the time; were indifferent to it in the 80s; despised it in the 90s; and have developed a deep affection for it over the past decade, itchy acrylic, zany colors and all!

This knitted Chevron Baby Blanket makes some accommodations both for modernity and for babies. Instead of hard-to-cuddle acrylic, this 100% cotton blanket is as deep and soft and cozy as a cloud. And instead of fast food orange and kitchen appliance avocado, this version is a delicate spectrum of natural colors just right for babies!

The next generation of chevron blankets starts with Blue Sky Cotton. Loosely spun into a uniquely cozy cotton, this is one of our very favorite baby blanket yarns. For delicate skin, it's non-allergenic cotton, and for busy parents, it's machine washable (yay!).

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