Have you been following the new log cabin knitalong happening over at the Fringe Association blog? It's nicely open-ended: You can join anytime and make whatever you like using some form of log cabin construction. All sorts of log cabin projects are sprouting up in the #fringeandfriendslogalong Instagram feed, from very traditional to freeform blankets, to beer bottle cozies, to treasure bags, to an utterly genius translation of a Joseph Albers painting into a cowl. (Seriously!)
Intrigued (I've never made anything remotely log cabin-ish), I flirted with the idea of joining — then told myself no, that's crazy, I've got too much going on already. After all, I've got my own Treat Yourself KAL going full steam in the Ravelry Blue Peninsula group, plus magazine projects to finish, design submissions to send in, and new patterns to prepare for publishing. In other words, a lot on my plate!
But in spare moments after Christmas I found myself getting more and more drawn in. I started perusing log cabin projects on Ravelry. I pulled out stash bins to see if I had anything that might work and discovered several leftover skeins of Cascade 220 in colors that played really well together. At the same time, I received the happy news that a friend was getting married! Well, that did it. I decided the perfect gift would be a log cabin throw . . . or afghan . . . or blanket (that part will get sorted out eventually).
On New Year's Day, I cast on. With no plan. No sketch. No worrying or fretting in advance. I'm going to improvise and do what looks good, just as I do when painting or stitching abstractly. I may change my mind now and then and have to rip back, but that's OK. It's part of the process.
I'm using three colors of Cascade 220 from my stash (silver grey, straw, and doeskin heather), plus one color of Valley Yarns Northampton (lake heather) — which I did have to purchase.
No predetermined plans, just one recurring design element: each log will have a few contrasting rows of the color that will be the main color of the next log. So the first log was grey, with straw stripes. The second log was straw, with doeskin heather stripes. And so on.
After binding off each log, I'm reorienting the piece and picking up stitches along another edge. So each log is connected to the last yet knit in a different direction (see photo above). I'm keeping scrupulous notes, so I can write up the pattern later on. (The pattern will be called Next in Line.)
I've thought about knitting a log cabin blanket before, but one thing held me back: all that garter stitch. I was afraid I'd get bored and never finish. But now that I've begun, I'm pleasantly surprised. So far, it's been a satisfying, joyful knitting project — even weaving in the ends has been fun (I'm weaving them in log by log, so as not to have a gazillion to deal with at the end).
It's a nice change of pace to knit something without referring to a chart, or keeping track of shaping. And it hasn't been boring because each log brings new creative decisions: what color should it be, how long and deep, how many stripes should there be, where should they be placed, etc.