50 states

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With bright sunlight still shining, though not quite as long, and weather still warm but carrying a cool breeze, Free Pattern Friday will slowly drift back to knitting as the weather changes seasons. In the meantime, this week’s pattern continues the 50 State flower quilt and features Utah, a state known mostly for a small splinter group of a larger religious movement. If you’re desperate for some hint of Mormonism, you can read this pleasant conversation between two friends about one’s life in a Mormon family. Or actually, read this breakdown of Twilight via Mormon symbolism, wherein Stephenie Myers didn’t realize how much she imbued the book with Temple learnings (or creepy gender politics).

Instead, here are a handful of gorgeous images from a genuinely beautiful state. Utah has numerous national parks, including Arches National Park which contains the famous natural bridge featured on the Utah license plate. As a bonus, hiking trails run the gamut from several hours to 30 minutes, and all will make you feel as if you stepped into a Wile E. Coyote cartoon.

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I did some basic research on Oklahoma hoping to find some edifying tidbit to share on the Sooner State, instead of lazily going for the obvious reference. That didn’t pan out so…

We know we belong to the land! And the land we belong to is grand!

You may notice the ugly new watermark covering the image – please feel free to thank Ebay user bythelightofthemoon, aka Etsy’s toknittowoo, as their repeated theft of free patterns led me to this decision. Also note that it says right there in plain Latin that this stuff is FREEEEEEEEEEE for personal use. Do note if you’ve not already the clarifying paragraph on the RIGHT under HEADS-UP, stating the specifics of this personal usage.

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As I belatedly type this on the eve of Hurricane Irene, after a day’s worth of panic from the radio (“If you and your children should find yourself near downed power lines, don’t touch them!” Thanks guys!), trudging through endless grocery lines, and now nervously wondering if the few people I know stuck in Manhattan made the last subway train out (deadline: 12:00pm), it all seems a bit extreme.

We on the East Coast are geographically fortunate, mostly avoiding natural disasters that plague the rest of the country. We’re on a major fault line, but it’s mostly inactive. We do get storms, but they’re weakened after moving up the coast. We’ve even had the occasional tornado, though with the dense build-up they’re rarely as destructive as those in the Midwest and barely touch down. So it’s a bit of a surprise having a hurricane follow an earthquake in less than a week.

The yin and yang of stereotypical New York mindsets, the high-strung neurotic and the blasè rock, are reacting about as expected. For every gallery owner panic-grabbing fontina and prosecco at Eataly screaming “I HAVE CHILDREN TO THINK OF!”, there’s a stoopfull of elderly Hispanic guys quietly chatting and playing dominoes (which they would continue doing whether the sun came out or a car exploded in front of them). Given how hectic day-to-day life in a crowded city is, either mentality is an acceptable coping mechanism, but it’s funny how few major disasters the city has to deal with. With the 10-year anniversary of September 11th drawing near that may seem strange to write, but it’s the 10-year anniversary, and how many large-scale terrorist attacks have we experienced since? Exactly.

Which brings me rather long-windedly around to this week’s pattern, from a state that’s no stranger to devastating natural events.

Stay safe, everyone.

On a random tangent, I declare the Allan Moore lookalike the Stevie Nicks of Kansas, for while the rest of the band plays 12 instruments each, he sings and plays tambourine. And sports a boss beard.

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This week’s pattern comes from the Lone Star State, while I’m currently inhabiting the Hawkeye State. Some states are bigger than others, but due to jet lag it’s difficult to riff eloquently on Texas’ storied history. Please enjoy this instead. I lack the energy to do the most basic research on Texas, but spending 20 minutes editing Wikipedia for an MST3K reference? No problem.


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For anyone not growing up in the Tri-State area, ‘two states at once!’ is what’s shouted crossing through the Holland Tunnel as you reached the tiled Underwater State Boundary Delineator:

(if the tiling looks different it may be because a truck blew up in the tunnel in 1949. Or maybe just redecoration).

Which brings me somewhat vaguely to a point: While familiar enough with New Jersey, I remain woefully ignorant of most of these United States. Case in point, this week’s pattern-states Louisiana and Oklahoma (two this week as nothing was posted last week). Since I have little to no firsthand knowledge of either state, I shall follow the rules of a game a friend introduced me to some time ago, whereby a room full of inebriated nerds is challenged to speak with authority on any given topic for 5 minutes. The topic is of random choosing by an audience member, no padding by means of digression or excess floridity is allowed, and the speech must be convincingly informative (actually informative is not even the point). For this exercise I won’t even allow myself to search the sweet nest of information that is the internet. So!

Let’s see, Louisiana. The Magnolia State! Home of the Crescent City, New Orleans, which while not completely rebounded is doing better and remains a lovely place to visit. “A Confederacy of Dunces” took place there. Indeed, right outside a hotel in the French Quarter a large bronze statue of its main character, Cornelius stands with scarf and parrot. Gambit hails from this state, as can be heard from his distinct Creole accent. Alligators appear to be a common threat and entree. Uh, that’s about all I got.

Oklahoma. Damn. There is a song about it that is part of a play of the same name, I believe. The people of this state are given the derisive, though occasionally intended endearing, nickname of ‘Okies’. On ‘Full House’ Uncle Jesse’s newscaster girlfriend was from Oklahoma. They probably have a great deal of some sort of grain, like wheat, growing in vast, rolling fields. Native Americans, I’m not sure which, occupied the land at some point in their past. Perhaps they are in the tornado belt (Geography: also not a strong suit). Uhh….I got nothing else. Enjoy!

Feel free to correct me in the comments, folks!

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