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Road Trip Blanket

We decided to be daring this summer and try something we hadn’t tried before with our son. We thought long and hard about it, planned it, packed for it and finally the day came. Our first road trip as a family. This could be a really great thing or something we would regret after the first few dozen miles…

We’d be driving about 1500 miles roundtrip. With a car stuffed to the gills with clothes for all weather conditions, a snack bag that had so much in it we could open our own convenience store, books, DVDs, a ridiculous amount of knitting, toys, pillows, shoes and a birdhouse (don’t ask) we were off.

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The thing about road tripping in the summer with a kid in the backseat is not only do they get bored easily (see the list of supplies above), but they can get chilly. The car air conditioning blowing on me keeps me awake and engaged the way a driver needs to be, but I know it can make the little guy cold. With this in mind I designed the Road Trip Blanket.

I’m a fan of knitting with cotton. Cotton is a magical fabric that is lightweight, can keep you warm in the chill and cool in the heat. I wear it year-round. I’ve always liked knitting with plant fibers and Peruvian cotton is no exception. Cascade Yarn’s Luna is a machine washable and dryable 100% Peruvian Cotton.  With over 50 colors to pick from, I chose 5 that worked well together, mostly in shades of green. We were heading north after all, to the land of green trees everywhere, green mountains, green moss-covered rocks and green plants. A dash of yellow added a bit of cheer, so I hurried up and casted on.

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Feather and fan is such a classic, unisex lace pattern. There are dozens are variations and it reminds me of my grandma who knit a feather and fan baby blanket for me as a child. By using colors a few shades different than the one before (and with over 50 shades of Luna, this is super easy to do) it creates a cute gradient that kids love with a wavy edge. Nubby, soft cotton + bright, fun colors = a warm little boy under a blanket that’s easy to spot in the mess that we call “car.”

The beauty of the Road Trip Blanket is that with only 6 hanks of yard at 82 yards each on size US 8’s, you’ll have a blanket large enough to cover a sleeping child in a car seat or stroller. It knits up quickly, blocks beautifully and when some of the 5,000 snacks you’ve packed for the road trip dump, you can easily throw it in the washer and dryer and it’s as good as new.

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As we embarked upon our journey north at 5am, I tucked the blanket I had made for my son next to the car seat and didn’t say a word. When I looked back a little while later, he was cuddled under it with his lamby in one arm and his thumb in his mouth, fast asleep. I’d call the Road Trip Blanket a smashing success!

Free Road Trip Blanket pattern available for download here.

Brynna’s Shrug

One of the things I miss most about living in Washington DC (we moved a whopping 8 miles away across the border to northern Virginia) is my friend Mary Beth and her daughters, Brynna and Rory, who lived 2 blocks away and often accompanied us to the playground. Luckily they still come to visit us!

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Brynna & Rory

Brynna and Rory are my son’s “unofficial sisters” and watching the three of them interact has been both hilarious and heartwarming. These two boisterous girls that I see running around like maniacs at the playground, jumping from the top of the slide and performing daredevil tricks are so calm and gentle around my 2-year-old. They hug and snuggle with him like he’s a little bird, treating him with the love and care that only an older sister can. He adores both them and the attention they shower on him, the little flirt!

No stranger to handmade clothing, Brynna and Rory’s mom is a talented sewer and a great knitter. With Brynna in mind, I grabbed some of Cascade’s super soft Sateen yarn and casted on a shrug for this little spitfire of a young woman whom my son has a crush on.

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The best thing about Sateen is the softness and sheen. Unlike silk or bamboo yarn, I had no issues with splitting and it ran easily though my fingers, making it a pleasure to knit with. It’s machine washable and dryable (a MUST for an active 7-year old), comes in almost 35 colors (a shade for every picky kid out there!) and has hefty yardage at 301 yards a skein! Being a knitting mom on a budget, throw a machine washable yarn with 301 yards a skein my way and I’m a happy lady!

I don’t normally reach for a variegated yarn, but the ones offered in Sateen have quite a few subtle ones, which mean the lace pattern I knit up didn’t get lost in the colors. With so many color options you can knit one for all the girls in your life in their preferred color so they’ll actually wear it!

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Knit in a rectangle starting and ending with ribbing, the rectangle is then tipped horizontally and seamed at the ribbing to create sleeves. Not only is this shrug adorable, but it’s simple to knit and easy to size up or down. For a bigger kid, knit a few more lace reps (measure the “wingspan” of her shoulders from end to end, add a couple of inches and that should be your lace portion not including the ribbing). You can also omit a few reps to make it smaller. The finished shrug is stretchy enough that it can be worn for multiple seasons and won’t be outgrown right away.

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How cute would this be for grade school graduation or to wear to a summer wedding?

Free pattern available for download here.