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Entries in Whit's Knits (83)

Sunday
Apr132014

Whit's Knits: Woven Pearl Cowl

Rigid heddle weaving is a relatively new pursuit of ours here at the Purl Bee. With last spring's arrival of Schacht Spindle Co's tabletop Cricket Loom a whole world opened for us, a world of reeds and shuttles, warps and wefts. And as we explore this unfamiliar land, under every rock is a surprise even more beautiful than the last.

This project pairs fine yarns with a fairly open reed and a light touch. With the ocean and its salty breezes and sparkling tides on my mind, I chose for the weft Alchemy's Silken Straw. It embodies the rusticity of driftwood together with the elegance of a pearl. In contrast, Purl Soho's extraordinary Line Weight serves as the warp. A simple single ply of merino, it brings a cottony, matte softness to the project.

As exquisite as the Pearl Cowl looks, it's actually a breeze to make. Even if you have never woven before, you can plunge into the ocean and come up with a pearl! To get started, pick up Purl Soho's Materials for Pearl Cowl, which comes either with the 15-inch Cricket Loom or as a yarn-only kit.

And don't forget dear mom, whose day is less than a month away. Wouldn't she feel as beautiful as a mermaid in her own Pearl Cowl? Happy weaving! -Whitney

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Sunday
Mar302014

Whit's Knits: Chick-in-an-Egg

Early spring, with its skipping lambs and bobbing daffodils, is certainly a good time for whimsy. And Easter, with its symbol-rich traditions, is definitely a good time for whimsical knit chicks!

Like all new life at this time of year, these funny little chicks are spirited with the wonder of birth, blinking and peeping, curious and eager. Sounds a little like us battered northerners, emerging from the dark depths of a long winter, intent on what's next!

Soft and squishy, roly and poly, these chicks are just the right shape and size for Easter baskets and little hands. Knit up in one of our all-time favorite yarns, Koigu Premium Merino, get all these colors in one place with our Yarn for Chick-in-an-Egg kit.

Each kit comes with enough materials to make a dozen sweet chicks. So fill your Easter season with lots of cheer and welcome spring with whimsy! -Whitney

P.S. Our beautiful Super Simple Felt Easter Basket is a perfect nest. Click here for the free Bee pattern!

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Sunday
Mar162014

Whit's Knits: Kid's Fair Isle Vest

For this Kid's Fair Isle Vest I used a technique credited to a tiny island north of Scotland (aka Fair Isle) and a stitch pattern from another tiny island, this one west of Estonia (Muhu). In times and places where, by logic, function should have ruled sweater design, instead, knitters seemed to have taken sheer joy in form. It seems to me that, when they cast on for a new sweater, the women from these cold, isolated island places threw all of life's hardships and frustrations right out the window.

Such knitting ingenuity from anywhere, anytime is awe-inspiring, and the creation of this vest was a wonderful opportunity to get inside the minds of the incredible knitting women who came before us. Armed with the beautiful book, Designs and Patterns from Muhu Island, I used a pared-down palette and design to bring a modern sensibility to this extraordinary traditional stitch pattern.

And since my son, the intended recipient of this vest, doesn't plan on spending the next few months aboard a fishing vessel, instead of thick, scratchy wool, I chose Anzula's soft and supple Cricket. A combination of merino, cashmere and a touch of nylon, this subtly hand dyed yarn isn't necessarily seaworthy, but it is what we modern city-dwellers have come to appreciate!

The Kid's Fair Isle Vest is a fun challenge and also a truly satisfying trip into knitting history. Thank you to all those inspiring women who innovated such beauty by lantern light! -Whitney

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Friday
Feb142014

Whit's Knits: Seed Stitch Mittens and Hand Warmers

Many of us would agree, I think, that seed stitch is one of knitting's most refined patterns, as elegant as Grace Kelly and as classic as argyle. But what may go a little under appreciated is the feel of seed stitch.

A firm seed stitch has a wonderfully satisfying texture, like warm pebbles on a garden path or like crisp kernels on a sweet cob of corn. In the dark, I'd take a swatch of seed stitch over stockinette any day! And so I thought, why not put the feeling of seed stitch literally at my fingertips?

In Purl Soho's Alpaca Pure, seed stitch couldn't really feel any better. Soft and cozy, dense and hefty, Alpaca Pure seriously ups the pleasure ante on these Seed Stitch Mittens and Hand Warmers!

Finger-hugging mittens for the frigid cold and finger-liberating hand warmers for the milder months of early spring, both are super easy to make and both feel absolutely incredible! -Whitney

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Thursday
Jan302014

Whit's Knits: Stitch Block Cowl

Knitters who have made their fair share of garter stitch scarves, ribbed hats and stockinette sweaters, will understand the hankering to shake things up a bit. I love the rhythm and certainty of the basic stitches, but every now and then I relish the challenge of stitch patterns that unfold in surprising ways, that teach me yet something else about the wondrous potential of knits and purls!

I've done a lot of knitting in my life, so much that I sometimes wonder if there are any stones left unturned, but this Stitch Block Cowl took me into new terrain. I've knit colorwork and I've knit "in the row below", but I've never done the two together. It's terrifically easy and proves, once again, that knitting is inexhaustibly interesting.

Each of the three stitch patterns in our Stitch Block Cowl employ this simple technique of knitting stitches in the row below (don't worry, we explain what that means in the pattern with photos and everything!). This is ultimately a lot like slipping stitches and has the same effect of creating a very cozy fabric with a whole lot of squish and depth. Add to that the remarkably soft merinos of Purl Soho's Worsted Twist and Madelinetosh's Tosh Merino and you've got one voluptuous cowl!

Ready to take your own journey into uncharted knitting territory? Make sure you pack one of Purl Soho's Yarn for Stitch Block Cowl kits, in this pretty Yellow, subtle Gray or icy Blue. And don't forget to send a postcard! -Whitney

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