Today I have the honor of interviewing The Purl Bee, a site that has long inspired me (and I have a feeling it's inspired you, too.) I've lost hours mooning over their lineups of yarn, stacks of fabrics, and online projects. If you have a crush on The Purl Bee - or even if you've never heard of them, I think you'll love today's interview. Let's meet The Purl Bee!
We've seen so many lovely and inspiring posts on the Purl Bee but your About page is tantalizingly short - can you tell us a little bit more about you?
Two of Purl Soho's co-owners, Joelle Hoverson and Page Marchese Norman, head up our Purl Bee team. They met years ago as stylists at Martha Stewart Living. While they bring that experience to the Purl Bee, they are both also enriched by fine art backgrounds, Joelle in painting and Page in ceramics. And most importantly, they bring to the Purl Bee a love for handmade expression and beautiful craft.
Purl Soho's third co-owner (and Joelle's sister), Jennifer Hoverson Jahnke, also lends vital support from her southern California headquarters. Besides managing our purlsoho.com website and coordinating inventory, Jen keeps a close eye on all of our most important decisions with valuable marketing and style advice.
The Purl Bee is also Whitney Van Nes, Molly Schnick and Laura Ferguson. These three women design and make the majority of the Purl Bee's projects and live to write about it all! Whitney is behind Whit's Knits where she focuses on knitting and crocheting. She also has a background in fine arts and is a painter. Molly is the brainchild of Molly's Sketchbook, which covers all things sewing, including embroidery and needlepoint. Molly studied filmmaking and is also a musician and a serious cook. And Laura is the namesake of Laura's Loop, which touches on all needlecrafts. She has an interior design background and is a budding Italian speaker and student of just about everything!
I love the subtle plays of color in your project photos - do you have any favorite color combinations?
We all tend to agree that neutrals, like cream and linen and sterling, emit a kind of quiet beauty that we love. These soft, earthy colors have a way of allowing the materials to speak for themselves, which is really important to us. Having said that, we each of us do have a deep love for color and can never resist adding a splash! Page leans toward bright neons and Joelle is partial to pinks and oranges. Whitney loves sunshine yellow; Molly is really into saturated blues; and Laura has a thing for electric melon colors. Deciding on colors between us all is definitely some of the most fun we have!
What do you love most about the online crafting community?
The pure creative energy! So much online crafting is done for nothing but the passion. That love and commitment inspires us every day!
Do you feel that crafting in an urban center like New York gives your projects a specific style?
We are totally inspired by New York City life, from what the kids are wearing in Bushwick to what produce they're selling in Chinatown. But most importantly, the city really does train us to hone our style. Here in New York we are confronted with so many images every day that we all become very adept at sorting through visual information, stripping everything down to what we find beautiful and interesting and ignoring the rest.
Do you have workshops and classes in your New York store?
Yes! We are always adding new classes and hosting special workshops at our Soho store. Here is a link to our current schedule of amazing classes: http://www.purlbee.com/classes-at-purl-soho/
If you could choose just 5 items from your store that are a must-have for any embroiderer, what would they be?
That's hard! If we had to choose just five, Sajou's Retors Du Nord Boxed Set would have to be number one. It includes 96 gorgeous colors of really lovely embroidery thread.
We also love Sajou's Eiffel Tower Scissors. They're super sharp and precision pointed, and they're also just beautiful!
We'd also choose Frank Edmonds 5-inch Embroidery Hoop. It's a great functioning hoop, strong and smooth, and it holds the fabric nice and tight!
For basic embroidery needles, nothing beats Clover's multi pack. It includes all the best sizes and they're always perfectly sharp!
And, finally, a great everyday resource is the Pocket Embroidery Guide. It packs all the basic information you need into one little on-the-go pamphlet.
Thank you Joelle, Page, Jennifer, Whitney, Laura, and especially Molly, for being kind enough to share a few words with us! All photos in this post are used courtesy of The Purl Bee and Purl Soho - click on each photo to be taken to Purl's project posts.
A few of my favorite Purl embroidery projects from the images above:
Sweet Home Sweet pillow
Heart and Arrow pincushion
Cross stitch iPhone cases
Felt flower charms
Pages's Felt flower wreath
And, just because I'm curious - if you could have anything from Purl's must-have list - what would it be? :)