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All Whimsy and Delight

It's been a winter of shawls, socks, mittens, hats, sweaters, wash cloths, and afghan squares -- knitting for others, and myself. I'm a practical knitter to the core, but when the first flower patterns appeared in the Lion Brand Newsletter, an unexpected longing seized me to break loose. Knit a Morning Glory. For Pete's sake, have some fun.

In one of my many knitting baskets were several skeins of LB Collection Cotton Bamboo. The colors and subtle texture reminded me of the Morning Glories that had covered our front porch in true glory last summer. Before casting on with it, visions of indoor vines and bouquets appeared.

Reality set in quickly. Whole new brain pathways were forged in the details of this pattern. There would never be enough time in my life to knit a vine. Sliding a chopstick through the extended hollow stem, my single Morning Glory proudly mingles in my pencil jar. It pleases me with its presence. Which was exactly the point.

Not ready to leave the quiet whimsy of flowers, I started a petunia. Far simpler, it was just two needle knitting, with a five panel repeat. Adding another set of petals might make it a nice washcloth. Something I plan on trying out soon. Completed, my petunia graces a new knit shoulder bag.

Flowers were my warm-up for the hardy amusement and delight of knitting toys. On Mother's Day, relaxing out on the screen porch, an afghan over my chilled legs, coffee served to me by my dedicated husband, I knit two owl wings in Pea Green Vanna's Choice, a tiny beak in Rust, and reasoned out the crocheted wooly eyes. Attaching the Colonial Blue bow tie to my Wise Old Owl, the very last step, it was hard not to smile.

Tonight I'll be finishing my Cuddly Caterpillar. In between the flowers and the owl was the Cuddly Bunny, using a strand of Jiffy and Cupcake. Next on the list is Francis the Fish. All will make fine gifts and donations. Soon I'll return to my old staples, but then again, I might just wait a bit. Learn to crochet myself a frosted donut. Or a piece of candy.

Whimsical patterns, flowers and toys, are wonderful ways to enjoy and stretch as a knitter. Most require mastering three needle knitting, a fine rehearsal for a sock. The short rows in petunia's five petals are excellent preparation for turning heels. Thinking of knitting socks toe-up? Try the Cuddly Caterpillar, and move to the head of the class. Learn to make antennas, bow ties, stamens, leafs, and sepals and much, much more. Surprise yourself with the sweetness coming from your needle, the adorable creations that emerge. And when you put your needles down, grab a piece of chalk and a pebble. Play hopscotch. Blow some bubbles.

Happy Knitting!

For those of you who crochet and worry about comparable patterns, you will find a treasure trove, just type in “toys” in the search box.

Editor's Note: All light brown text above is clickable and will lead you to the patterns/flower designs identified.

Authored by

Michelle Edwards is the author/illustrator of A KNITTER'S HOME COMPANION and many award-winning children's books including CHICKEN MAN and STINKY STERN FOREVER. In her spare time, Michelle enjoys talking about books in schools throughout the US and beyond. Her newest book, Room for the Baby, will be available from Random House in Fall 2012. Visit Michelle Edwards at her website or on Facebook.
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