Lightning Bugs

As summer came on at our old farm in rural Virginia, lightning bugs would blink lazily against the darkening trees as the day slipped off elsewhere. Inspired by their elliptical arcs, Lightning Bugs is knit from the top down in garter stitch. Gathered elongated stitches make the ‘bugs,’ and slipped stitches form the dots.

Skills required: increasing, slipping stitches, yarn overs, short rows. A photo tutorial is included for the ‘bug’ stitches.

Finished measurements: approximately 213.5 cm across and 38 cm deep

Gauge: 20 stitches to 10 cm in blocked garter stitch

Note: Though conversions to the metric system have been made on this page for your convenience, the pattern itself uses American measurements.


  • Knitting pattern for shallow shawl featuring elliptical firefly pattern
  • Photo tutorial included
  • Suitable for intermediate knitters

Materials you need at home:

  • Approximately 905 m of fingering weight yarn: 630 m of the main (background) color and 275 m of the contrasting (bug) color. Sample was knit in Skeinny Dipping Merino Single (100% superwash single-ply wool)
  • 3.75 mm/US 5 needles, or size needed to obtain gauge. Because of the number of stitches, a circular works best
  • Stitch markers
  • Tapestry needle for weaving in ends
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Laura Aylor

If ‘knitting designer’ had been one of the job choices for those aptitude tests they give you in high school, I wouldn’t have spent so many years trying to decide what I wanted to be when I grew up. My best subject in high school was math; my best classes in college were logic, drawing, and a commercial art class. After careers in computer programming/analysis and child-rearing, knit design snuck up on me, but I think it’s the perfect use of my odd skill set! I love every step of the process, from figuring out how to actually make what I’ve envisioned to putting the finishing touches on a pattern, not to mention all the knitting that comes in between!

I also love reading and hiking and spending time on Brier Island in Nova Scotia every summer.

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