Search The Purl Bee
Sign up for our newsletter!

Idea Center
Follow The Purl Bee

Entries in Whit's Knits (76)

Sunday
Jun052011

Whit's Knits: Perfect Fit Socks

I think hand knit socks are one of life's underrated pleasures. Like juicy watermelon on a steamy day or good rainboots in a downpour, hand knit socks make everything okay! 

I designed these Perfect Fit Socks to wrap your feet in extra deep comfort. For an honestly perfect fit, the toe shapes around your toes with no ouchy seams; the length of the sock is customized to your foot (size charts included); the heel has cozy slip stitch padding; and the leg and top of the foot conform wonderfully to any body, thanks to 2 x 2 ribbing.

And for truly happy feet, I turned to Anzula's latest creation, Cloud. Cloud is a beautiful blend of superwash merino (for softness and structure), nylon (for durability), and cashmere (for dreamy goodness). This yarn is so lightweight and fine that you can look forward to hand knit socks that will actually fit in your shoes! And, at a whopping 575 yards a skein, the best news is you'll only need one!

These socks are sized for men and women, so, while you may want to get started on a pair for yourself, don't forget dad! Father's Day is around the corner, and in the thoughtful present category, nothing beats hand knit socks. Let him know it's time to kick his feet up!

You can purchase a copy of our Perfect Fit Socks Pattern right here, to choose a skein of Cloud, just click here!

Thanks! -Whitney

Sunday
Feb272011

Whit's Knits: Baby Girl Fair Isle Cardigan

I love to knit for babies. Not just for the usual reasons of it being fast and immediately gratifying, but because I love while I'm knitting to think about the baby herself, her budding life and the amazing road ahead of her. I love to think about the explosion of feelings the baby's parents are experiencing and the cocoon of love they are busy creating for their little one. And I love to think that all of these thoughts and good wishes are soaking right into the gift I'm knitting!

I wanted to design a sweater that would reflect these thoughts, that would feel almost as precious as the baby herself.  I wanted it to be delicate and pretty, but practical too, a small version of something that I would want to wear. In short, I wanted to design a super special baby sweater!

Of course a super special baby sweater would have to be made out of something incredibly soft and beautiful and so I turned to Blue Sky's Royal Alpaca. Spun from a very rare quality of luxury alpaca fiber, this yarn is as sumptuous as cashmere and as singular as the baby herself! Royal Alpaca comes in a vintage palette of gentle colors, from petal pink to warm cocoa, perfect for heirloom baby gear. (You'll only need one skein for the newborn or 6 month size and two skeins for the 12 month size.)

So things didn't get too serious, I decided to add a burst of happy color around the yoke in a simple fair isle pattern. When just a little bit of yarn is needed, we love to use mini skeins of embroidery or needlepoint yarn, like Gumnut's Blossoms crewel yarn. It's 100% wool and comes in such a huge array of rich and sophisticated colors that choosing four is a real pleasure.

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Dec122010

New Felted Christmas Trees!

Last year Whitney created a wonderful heirloom Felted Christmas Tree pattern that I've had my eye on for this Christmas.  As you no doubt have noticed if you are a regular follower of The Purl Bee, we just can't get enough of pink, red and white at Christmas so I thought it would be fun to revisit Whitney's pattern in our favorite holiday color palette (plus it just so happens that this color palette looks great in my own house!).

Last year's felted trees were knit with Cascade 220, a great basic yarn that is wonderful for felting.  This year's felted trees were knit with Manos Del Uruguay Handspun in Natural, one of my all time favorite yarns,  (two skeins made one large tree and one small tree) and it worked beautifully for this project. 

Please note, for this year's trees, I felted them BEFORE decorating them.  Once they're felted the tall tree is approximately 11-inches tall, the small tree is approximately 6-inches tall.  

I decorated the trees with Koigu KPM in hot pink, color #1150, and bright red, color #2229 (one skein each is enough to decorate about 12 trees).  I love the way the two colors work together, glowing like real ornaments on a tree.

The embroidery stitches I used to decorate the trees are very, very simple.  The challenge of the embroidery is finding a needle that is sharp enough to get through the felted wool, but big enough to accommodate the yarn.  I found several that did the job in this collection of needles.  A thimble for pushing the needle through the felted wool was also a big help.

To decorate the little tree I made little plus marks (in the neighborhood of 1/4-inch wide and 1/4-inch tall) in bright red all over the tree, then went back over a few of the larger plus signs with hot pink.  

On the big tree I first made big plus signs (around 1/2-inch wide x 1/2-inch tall) all over the tree and then went over those again in the center with a diagonal plus sign, both in hot pink.  Then I went over the diagonal plus signs again with bright red.  To finish the large tree I made small plus signs (about 1/4-inch wide by 1/4-inch tall) in hot pink all over between the large motifs.

I did the motifs on both trees totally freehand and without any attempt at uniformity which gives the design a lively quality that I am really fond of. Also, there is no need to cut the yarn between shapes (just bring the needle back out wherever you want the next motif to be) so the decorating goes very quickly.

If you need help with these stitches, please visit Molly's Asterisk Embroidery Tutorial right here which explains the technique for the motifs step by step.

I was so delighted with the way these trees turned out.  They have a sweet simplicity and happy quality that makes me smile every time I look at them.  They make great gifts too!

If you'd like to make them you can find all you need right here:

Merry Christmas!  --Joelle

Sunday
Nov212010

Whit's Knits: Winter Hats for Everybody

Our customers are always looking for simple, no-nonsense winter hats. Some people don't want floppy or funky or trendy or slouchy or sassy. They just want "a hat, you know? A hat...". This Winter Hat is a classic, timeworn shape and design, good for babies, kids and adults; boys, girls, men and women; country and city.

But, for us, of course, "a hat" is not just a hat. It is a stage, a quiet place for yarn to soliloquize, "I am gorgeous and special yarn gracing the head of this wearer!". We consider such a quiet place a wonderful opportunity. We dive into our shelves for some of our truly most beautiful yarn, and often we surface with Jade Sapphire's 100% Mongolian Cashmere.Jade Sapphire's cashmere is the softest yarn I know, a crucial point because nothing is more irritable than a scratchy hat; unless it's a too bulky hat, one that overzealously does its job and leaves the wearer with a sweaty head and a red overheated face. That's why the Zageo 6 ply is the perfect hat yarn, thin and lightweight, but, because it's cashmere, toasty warm and guaranteed not to scratch!  The colors pictured above from left to right are: Ivory, Creme de Menthe, Pebble Beach and The Blood Orange. 

We made all three of our Winter Hats for Everybody with theses 4 skeins, and had enough yarn left over to make two more Baby Hats, or one more Kid Hat or one more Adult Hat. If you would like to modify the pattern with your own ideas of stripes or embellishments, or switch to a different yarn altogether, here are the yardage requirements for each hat:

  • Baby Hat uses 85 yards
  • Kid Hat uses 130 yards [not including the pom pom]
  • Adult Hat uses 165 yards. 

You can find our pattern right here, you can find Jade Sapphire's Zageo 6-ply Cashmere right here (or, if you would like to explore some of our less expensive yarns for these hats, you can use any light worsted/dk weight yarn at this link).

Our Winter Hats For Everybody pattern includes easy-to-follow directions for three sizes of hats: Baby (3 months to 15 months), Kid (toddler to preteen), and Adult (everybody else!). It also includes instructions for making the stripes just like we did here and also for making three different toppers: an I-cord loop, a pom pom and a little tassel.

I love the idea of giving the same thing to everybody in my family, from oldest to youngest, from grandpa to niece. I think it's a wonderful symbol of the season, that we get the same thing because we all have the same needs and desires and that we are, after all, one big family.

If you would like to keep everybody on your list warm this holiday season with our Winter Hats For Everybody, you can find the pattern right here.   Thanks! - Whitney

P.S. For perfect pom poms, we suggest you give our new Pom Pom Makers from Clover a try!

Saturday
Oct022010

Whit's Knits: Pixie Dust Lap Blanket

This is a where-did-you-get-this?! kind of blanket. Big, loopy stitches; hand dyed, extraordinary color; and smatterings of sparkly "pixie dust" all conspire to make this no ordinary blanket.

Click to read more ...