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Just as yarn is twisted, so are we

country living family free knitting patterns Knit Alongs knit-a-long knitting yarn

Fireflys Pumpkins We awoke at four o'clock this morning to flashes of lightning, thunder, and rain. It is raining off and on ... we have a possibility of snow flurries this coming weekend. That would be interesting. I'm going on a fund-raising walk for Breast Cancer on Sunday morning at a local farm, so I am thinking my new Lavender Scarf and Fetching gloves might come in handy. It seems along every roadway someone has a yard full of pumpkins for sale. People around here buy lots of pumpkins from the roadside farmers and then put them all over their porches and yards. We bought our first seven pumpkins the other day for about $10 and will pick up more shortly. I want to get one very large (24" diameter or so) pumpkin for carving. I am thinking that we will just carve a very simple, old-fashioned jack-o-lantern face rather than doing anything fancy. Pumpkin carving has become so artistic and beautiful and complicated over the past years that to my way of thinking, just the old triangles and a jagged smile will be divine. Barn and Golden Light on IvyThe photo of the barn is from a couple of days ago, during morning golden hour light. Too pretty not to share, even though the mood is quite different from today. Today we have no such light, and still the world outdoors shines. Yellow and gold foliage stands out in stark contrast to dark and threatening clouds. The lighting effects are very dramatic. With the storm, our Internet satellite connection is touch-and-go today, but at some point I will get my blog published. As for today's title, that line came up during an email exchange between Knit-and-Run and I this morning. If you knit, you can relate. It's a fever, an illness, a psychosis ... but the wondrous thing about it all is this: you have so much company. She had just confessed to more yarn purchasing, in order to participate in (imagine drum roll here) my first Knit-A-Long and pondered the thought of whether or not she is "bad". I suggested twisted, not bad. Jinnys Vines Hand Knit Blanket for NappingNow for progress on the nap blanket I am knitting my mother-in-law as a Christmas gift: I have decided to start a knit-a-long for this project so that anyone who wants to get started on it now may do so. Please note that I have never participated in a knit-a-long, so am not sure how they are usually formatted or run. I will play it by ear, but do bear with me as I discover this process with you. First I want to explain why I call it a "nap blanket". Last Christmas my niece and her husband gave me a nap blanket from Brookstone. It is a plush, cushy blanket and it is on the small side ... just perfect for a cozy little nap. I loved not only the nap blanket itself, but the idea of a nap blanket as well. Naps are so scrumptious when you are an adult and have learned how to appreciate ... no, that isn't quite the correct word. Luxuriate is better ... when you have learned how to luxuriate in one. When I was a child I wasted many an opportunity for a good nap, and I would guess you did as well. Cats know what it is all about, and children could learn a thing or two about a thing or two from cats when it comes to naps. Having babies and raising small children taught me an entirely different regard for naps, and it only gets better with age ... much as a fine wine. Side Bar: Wow, it is coming down hard out there. The branches of our cedar trees are sagging low under the burden. Hmm ... I want a hot cup of cocoa, would you hold on a sec while I go make one. I'll be right back. Continuing on with Naps: The idea of a special blanket named and dedicated to naps specifically delights me no end. The intended dimensions of the nap blanket are 36" wide by 52" inches long. My mother in law's name is Jinny, so I am naming this piece Jinny's Vines: A Blanket for Naps. Jinnys Vines Hand Knit Blanket for Napping CloseupI am using Lion's Suede yarn, but you may use any bulky weight yarn. For me, the dusty sheen of Lion's suede yarn is perfect for this blanket, because of the vine lace pattern I chose. If using Lion's, you will need five skeins of your main color (I'm using Sage), and one skein each of your primary and secondary accent colors (I am using Ecru and Rust). You will also need a pair of size U.S. 13 29" circular needles and a tapestry needle. Please be forewarned: I am going to make some flower decorations for this pretty knitted blanket. I haven't decided yet exactly what flowers I will make or what size needles I will use in order to make them, so that will have to be announced as we go along. This is a design in progress, so please do bear with me. I am using the Vine Lace stitch pattern from Barbara G. Walker's "Treasury of Knitting Patterns", but I am interrupting the pattern after three repeats in my main color with two rows of straight knitting in my primary accent color. Therefore, I am calling this an Interrupted Vine Lace Pattern. The Vine Lace pattern is worked in multiples of nine stitches plus four, so if you want to make your blanket wider than mine be sure to increase using the correct math. Here are the initial instructions: Starting Rows: Using size U.S. 13 29" circular needles and main color, cast on 94 stitches. A. Starting Rows:
    Row A1: Knit. Row A2: Knit. Row A3: Purl.
B. Pattern Rows: (worked in main color)
    Row B1: K3, *YO, K2, SSK, K2tog, K2, YO, K1*. Repeat from * to * across row, K1, turn. Row B2: Purl. Row B3: K2, *YO, K2, SSK, K2tog, K2, YO, K1*. Repeat from * to * across row, K2, turn. Row B4: Purl.
Repeat Pattern Rows twice more for a total of three Pattern Row repeats. C. Pattern Interruption Rows: (worked in primary accent color)
    C1: Knit. C2: Knit.
Continue by repeating B and C above until blanket reaches desired length. (To be continued ...) Here is a tip that might be helpful. I keep a piece of paper close by and write the rows on it in columns, and then check them off as I complete them. I have to do this so as not to lose my place or suffer other confusions. Also of note, I have done quite a bit of tinking during this project, because I get lost in thought or smile at my husband for a second, or some such thing and a few times I have gotten to the end of a pattern row and found that something clearly was not right. In each case, rather than getting frustrated, I calmly tink back (sometimes all the way to the first of the row) and then knit it all again. If you get lost or confused, don't get discouraged ... just tink and re-knit and keep notes as you need to. This pattern is very forgiving of an occasional mistake, and all will come out right in the end. The pattern stitch is very easy to memorize soon after you've gotten into the project. Within a couple of days I'll be finished with the main blanket and will be able to continue on with the directions. Have a beautiful day, my friend. ~firefly (P.S. A mysterious shout-out to a friend named Lucy ... in honor of perfect cat naps Lucy, there's a mouse in one of the photos above just for you.)

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