Sunday, March 9, 2014

"If we had no winter,

the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome."   ~Anne Bradstreet
We definitely had March come in like a lion here so it needs to spring ahead to its lamb mentality now!  Do you know that phrase actually dates back to a 1624 play by an English writer, John Fletcher.  In his play A Wife for a Month (described as a tragic comedy...and he did not even know the real housewives!), he wrote: "I would chose March, for I would come in like a Lion...But you'd go out like a Lamb when you went to hanging."
Yes, spring is coming...with the time change, the extra evening light does harken to those warmer days.  Still, there is always a chill in the air especially on spring nights.  And, for that spring, we have American made....yes...made in America...afghans.  The rose pillow is from an American company also.

 
The knitted or crocheted blanket we call an "afghan" is actually named for the people of Afghanistan.  The noun "Afghan" first appeared in English in the late 1700s as a name for the Pashtuns of eastern and southern Afghanistan. (The name is not Pashtun in origin; however,  "afghan" is the Persian name for these people.)

Afghanistan is known the world over for its textiles - particularly its carpets and karakul (sheep breed) wool - so it's no wonder that "afghan" was soon used in English to refer to knitted or crocheted wool shawls or blankets. This use of "afghan" (always lower-case) arose in the early 1800s.
I thought these informative tidbits were fascinating.  Even though the original afghans were woven, we tend to think of the knitted or crocheted versions now.  With that in mind, there are three styles...the mile-a-minute afghans, join as you go afghans, and motif afghans. Mile-a-minute afghans are usually made in one piece and with a minimum of stitches; they are the simplest style to make and are especially popular with beginners.
 Join as you go afghans are made up of many different pieces, one of which begins where the last leaves off.
Motif afghans, such as the granny square, are composed of many different small pieces, called motifs, squares, or blocks. These motifs may be all of the same design or of different designs, but they are typically the same size, for ease of joining. Some favor the motif style because of its portability and versatility of design. The motif style is still a very popular and a complex design for making a blanket or a scarf.
And, since today marks the switch to daylight savings time, this plays in with our discussion of afghans (really blankets), when told the reason for daylight saving time, the Old Indian said, "Only the government would believe that if you could cut a foot off the top of a blanket, sew it to the bottom, and have a longer blanket.”

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