Farmhouse Bread Blanket

Creative Self

I’ve crafted a pattern. I hope you like it.

I am a maker. I’m also a high-strung introvert. That doesn’t mean any more than it reads. I’ve just always been one to get easily stressed and not share it (and I understand the irony here). I emotionally absorb the stresses from people I care about (whether they know it or not). I am…a fixer. My husband has suggested that I meditate (he does, every morning) but I have difficulty sitting there. Sitting. I’m unable to just sit. Then what? I have to be actively doing something, something tactile. I should say at this point I draw for a living. I’m a surface designer and an illustrator. I do bring my iPad Pro or sketchbook places, but often times I wish I’d not (I’m actually typing this outside, which is completely different than in public). I’ll forget a certain pen, or I’ll start getting into the flow of a sketch and I have to abruptly stop because either I’m in the pick up line and my kids get in the car, or my appointment is ready, then I’m fumbling and putting things away or someone asks what I’m drawing and I don’t want to share it, etc. Drawing in public is a challenge for me, I need to get over my Perfection Factor and make do with what I have. However, knitting in public is not. Knitting is kind of my meditation. It transitions well: busy to still and back to busy again. Then back to still. I don’t need time to get back to it, I can pick up where I left off. When I’m drawing or designing, I need about ten minutes or so to get back to the same level of concentration as when I left my drawing work (full disclosure: I’m not knitting lace or Fair Isle or intarsia, these techniques would need far more concentration than what I’m doing, and would defeat the purpose of why I do it). People can see what I’m doing, ask me about it, sometimes they knit too. I like talking about it, I like listening to others talk about it, I can easily put it away as it doesn’t have the same issues as illustration media, I can put stoppers on my needles and throw everything in a bag… and I’m accomplishing something with even just one row.

Also, being a fixer, I enjoy knitting for those who are not as fortunate as many of us. Currently, I’m making red scarves for the Foster Care To Success Red Scarf Project (I’ll be sending them in September). I’ve made things for my family, a few things for friends, I ask them what they like and have them pick a yarn, and I craft something for them. It’s definitely a charge to see them wear or use it. I love illustrating, but, I really needed a creative “hobby” where I felt I was contributing and I could decompress from drawing. There’s comfort in the fiber arts that I think is only matched by baking. Making something warm for someone who needs it, it’s kind of a hug, even for people who don’t like hugs. Everyone likes scarves, and cookies. It’s making something woolie when you get the squishies for cooler weather. It’s protecting little hands from Jack Frost. It’s being consumed by cinnamon and brown sugar when you open the oven. It’s yearning for something nostalgic and familiar when you need solace.

As a maker, we also appreciate the help given to us. Many folks have helped me and don’t even know. I’ve watch so many YouTube vids, listened to podcasts, read blog posts, friends have knitted for me, I’ve combed Ravelry and checked out tons of books from our library (they do have a fiber group I may join, if I don’t chicken out). That last bit gives me access to a lot of free patterns. I have used many from making a cable throw, to handwarmers and hats, to sometimes forging my own for neckwarmers, scarves, even mug warmers. Soon, I’ll be starting my first sweater from Purl Soho (I actually paid for a pattern finally, so I’m feeling confident)!

I wanted to give back something, gratis, paying it forward for all the help I’ve received over the past couple of years, so I’ve created a pattern, the first of what I hope are many. It’s small, and unobtrusive, and if you’re a baker or know someone who is, you might appreciate having it. It’s my little bread blanket. We normally wrap our rolls or bread in a clean dish towel, but I dunno, that feels impersonal and rushed. Like, we just baked this lovely thing, it should be tucked in with something equally lovely.

This is a sweet, little project with a purpose. It’s a charming upgrade to those cute, striped vintage tea towels and it can cleanse the palette between bigger knitting projects, or when you want to make a gift but just can’t stomach another hat. The billowy mini cable offers insulation while the yarn will absorb condensation. It’s simple but not boring, easy to take out in public, uses cotton (or a blend) yarn, and gauge isn’t crucial. It’s a good novice project and could be adjusted with different stitches in the MC to accommodate evolving skills (but may change the multiples in your cast on). And, you can make a few of these over the hot summer, to keep all your fall baked gifts warm! This is my first published pattern, so please be kind if you find mistakes, but by all means, let me know, or ask any questions you may have, I’ll answer them to the best of my ability. I’ve also added a photo of a second blanket in the opposite palette.

A slightly different stitch (really just a cable without the purls), which I haven’t added here, but wanted to give a good visual when using a darker color with the light stripe.

Approx. Finished size: 11″ x 17″

Yarn: Gauge is not crucial for this pattern. I’m using Sugar & Cream Super Size in Ecru (MC) and Blue Jean (CC). One skein (100g) of each MC and CC in Bernat Handicrafter DeLux; Knit Picks Dishie and CotLin; or whatever you like to knit with that’s washable and contains natural fibers. You can create two blankets from the two colors, if you flip the MC and CC color positions for your second blanket.

Needle: I knit this flat on a US size 7 bamboo circular needle. Naturally, you should use what you’re comfortable with for the yarn you’ve chosen.

Cast on: Multiples of 4 plus 1 if you wish to change the width. Keep in mind that you may need additional yarn if making this larger.

I slip the last stitch of a row: purlwise on the knit side (bring yarn to front, slip stitch to right needle); knitwise on the purl side (bring yarn to back, slip stitch to right needle). You don’t have to do this, but it gives me a finished edge.

I give instructions for my CC stripe but you can clearly make yours with an alternating pattern you like. If you want to keep a vintage, rustic farmhouse feel, I recommend keeping your palette to two colors.

Farmhouse Bread Blanket

Cast on 53 stitches (I used long tail).

Mini Cable:

MC

Row 1:  *P1, K3; rpt from *, end P1

Row 2 & 4:  *K1, P3; rpt from *, end K1

Row 3:  *P1, Skip 2 sts, K third st on LH needle, K first st, K second st, then sl all three sts off LH needle; rpt from *, end P1 (note: leave sts on LH needle until all three have been worked, then sl to the RH needle. If you own the Vogue Stitchionary 1, this stitch is on page 44).

Repeat Rows 1-4 six times

Row 25:  *P1, K3; rpt from *

Row 26:  *K1, P3; rpt from *

Repeat this pattern five times

 

Change to CC

Repeat this pattern four times

 

Change to MC

Repeat this pattern two times

 

Change to CC

Repeat this pattern two times

 

Change to MC

Repeat this pattern four times

 

Staying with MC

Repeat Rows 1-4 (mini cable stitch) twelve times

BO in pattern, weave in ends, block, bake something delish and cover!

What’s Happening?

Creative Self

The last time I’d posted, was September of last year, and what a different world we were living in! I’d spent so much time on our school’s musical, and getting swept up in the 24 hour news tornado, enjoying the holidays and spending time with my family, I wasn’t making time for my blog, site or personal projects. I’d even started revamping my website, but I got quite a bit of work at the same time. Why does it work out that way? I’m not complaining, certainly, but I’m not great at getting back into my own groove after an assignment. My bad. I didn’t even have time to make a New Year’s Goal, yet I’d committed to the 100 Day Project… I have four drawings done. Four. Everyone else is on like day 28. So hello May, it’s nice to see you again, I hope you can motivate me to keep my commitments and follow through on things! I’m not going to pile fifty photos on this post of what I’ve been up to since the fall (feel free to check out my Instagram), but I will put this little drawing from exactly two months ago, and going forward, will make more time to post. Also, folks have asked about my textures, so I will be making some available, gratis, in the upcoming months. 

We Made This…

Creative Self, Making

My husband and I made this gate. We’d needed a new gate for years, our old one was falling apart, the hinges were  barely hanging on, and we’d thought it had had enough of our Midwest winters and that we wouldn’t get through the next one. Having one huge project in one summer is a lot on anyone’s plate, let alone two! We’d built the new garden at the beginning of the season, and this gate was finishing out the summer. I won’t go into all the details about what we’d done, but feel free to ask me any specific questions in the comments!

Getting the 12′ posts set was one of the hardest things on this project, primarily because we had to take out the old posts. What a bear!

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After building the gate frame for both sides and fence pickets sandwiched in the middle, my husband installed the insert. There’s a template, but it’s a little confusing, and it asked for a 9/16″ drill bit, which is odd. Just ask for 1/2″! Still, that’s the size you need… ; )

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The pergola for the top was actually easier than it looks, but there is a lot of measuring and cutting. We wanted to keep the end cuts simple. Easy for me, because I didn’t get up on the ladder. Thankful the Mr. had no problem with it!

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We decided to only replace the fence on one side…

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And, to have a ninebark on the other side, between the post and the house. From a design perspective, I wanted a softer edge instead of a fence on both sides of the gate. With such heavy wood taking up two thirds of the space, we needed something to give the eye a rest, and to incorporate the structure into the yard. We didn’t want it to look like a fortress! ; )

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Our house number is the next project, stained glass mosaic. You can bet I’ll be posting those pix too!

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What I Did On My Summer Vacation

Creative Self, Curiosities, Illustration

May the 4th (Star Wars pun not intended) was the last piece I’d posted before our summer vacation started at the end of May. Our district is done before Memorial Day, and they had their first day back yesterday. We spent a lot of days reading (naturally we did the Summer Program through the library), evenings at the bookstore,

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cooked, vacationed (along the way I’d met up with one of my clients, and quick FYI, this was rootbeer, from Sprecher’s),

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saw some barn quilts, took in some fireworks,

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We really enjoyed Stranger Things and cannot WAIT for the second season! Speaking of stranger things, our older son has been writing for an online magazine, at 14, about comics, film and television (everything he loves). I can’t believe it, we’re so proud of him!

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canned, knitted (some for a hospital, some for friends and fam), sewed (some for RARE Science, some for friends and fam).

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Drew, a lot,

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celebrated birthdays, cooked some more, attended the county faire,

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and just all around have had a lovely summer! We are looking forward to Autumn though, with all its fab color, crisp nights, sunny days, and again with more of the cooking. I’ve heard there’s a pumpkin shortage coming, but each year we’re overwhelmed with them, I think being the number one producer and exporter of pumpkins skews our perspective a bit!

I did make a video of the process and progress of our garden, from May to present. The beds will also be “hoop houses” so we need to still attach more pipe to the sides, get the smaller pipes for the hoops, and I need to make the covers…

Music is Ghosts ‘n Goblins by Thiaz Itch under Creative Commons. Hope you’ve all enjoyed your summer, will post more soon!

a : )