Log Cabin Update: Next in Line Afghan

Just three more rows, friends — two rows of knitting, plus binding off — and Log No. 16 of my Next in Line afghan will be finished! 

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The afghan now measures about 43 x 56 inches (110 x 142 cm). That's a respectable size for a throw, and I could stop now. But I want more than a throw. I want this to be a big, cozy blanket — the perfect size for snuggling under on a winter evening with your toes well covered and toasty. 

Also, it's a gift, one that I hope the recipients will use for many years to come. So I don't want to skimp. I don't want them wishing for the next 30, 40, 50 years that it was just a little bit bigger. 

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Log No. 16 is just like the very first log I knit, with two sections of grey accented with straw stripes. I chose to work two sections rather than one for Log No. 16 not only because I thought it would look good, but also to add extra length on one side, making the afghan more of a rectangle than a square. After the addition of the remaining three logs, the piece will retain an overall rectangular shape.

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When will the project be finished and the pattern ready? Well, I had hoped it might be this month — but that's clearly not going to happen. I had a couple of design submissions accepted recently, and since both of them have firm deadlines, they take priority. But I do knit on Next in Line most days, even if only a few rows, so it's always moving steadily forward. It's just that, at this point, the rows are so very  L  O  N  G!

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I hope you have a wonderful weekend (and a very happy Memorial Day, if you're in the U.S.). Thanks for reading!

LINKS
Next in Line Instagram posts (hashtag: #nextinlineblanket)
My Ravelry project page
Next in Line blog posts 

Avoiding Second Sock Syndrome

Whenever you need to knit two of something — a sock, a mitten — there's a risk that the project will stall. It can be boring to do all the same stuff over again, which leads to procrastination. Isn't it curious how all kinds of temptations suddenly appear? You notice a whole bunch of new patterns on Ravelry you really must cast on. Or some gorgeous yarn you've always wanted to try goes on sale, so of course you have to get it on your needles ASAP.

Or maybe the second item isn't boring to knit, in fact you know you'll enjoy it, but because the first one took so long (life gets in the way!), you're now in the wrong season. It's hard to feel motivated in June to finish a pair of mittens you began back when it was actually mitten weather.

And how about sweater sleeves? Raise your hand if you've got a sweater three-quarters finished, but you're not sure when you'll ever actually wear it because you just can't bring yourself to slog through the second sleeve.

 Sock knitting at MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts

Sock knitting at MASS MoCA in North Adams, Massachusetts

My solution is to work these kinds of projects in stages, rather than finish one completely and then start the second one. For socks, I work the leg on the first one, then set it aside and cast on for the leg of the second sock. When both socks are done to the heel, I work the heel and gusset on each, then the foot on each, and last of all the toes.

An advantage to this method is that since the heels and gussets are done close to each other in time, I'm more likely to remember any special adjustments or modifications I made and do the same on both socks. Ditto for the toe shaping.

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Here's my current sock project, a "plain vanilla" sock knit over 64-stitches, with 2x2 ribbing followed by stockinette stitch. The first sock is finished as far as the heel, so I've transferred the stitches to dpns and set it aside for now (this frees up my 9-inch ChiaoGoo circular for the second sock).

 Sock knitting on the Norwottuck Rail Trail in Amherst, Massachusetts

Sock knitting on the Norwottuck Rail Trail in Amherst, Massachusetts

For these socks, I'm using Platinum Sock from End of the Row Yarns in the Peacock colorway. I'm really smitten with these saturated colors — they're so evocative of spring and summer and all the color that's bursting into view this time of year. I'm mostly working on this pair while walking — I keep them in my shoulder bag, so whenever the urge or opportunity to walk arises, I can pull out the sock and get in a few rounds while also getting some exercise.

 Sock knitting at the Quabbin Reservoir in Ware, Massachusetts

Sock knitting at the Quabbin Reservoir in Ware, Massachusetts

Have you tried knitting two-at-a-time socks on circulars? That also seems like a really great way to avoid Second Sock Syndrome. I haven't gone there, because I'd need to purchase even more needles, and I feel like I already have enough. I'm also not sure how well the long circulars would work for walking and knitting. 

Do you suffer from Second Sock Syndrome? What are your favorite tricks for finishing projects that require knitting two of anything?

Update: Next in Line Afghan

While I'm not at the finish line yet on my Next in Line afghan, I'm inching closer and closer. Quite a few knitters have let me know they are eager for the release of this pattern, and I'm doing my best to keep knitting away on it (while also juggling other projects and work). I'm not a sadist and don't want to make anyone wait forever — really, truly I don't! So while you're waiting, how about a quick progress report?

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The temperatures climbed into the upper 80s yesterday, so I combined my desire to get outdoors and walk with the need for some new photos. When I began this blanket a few months ago for the Fringe and Friends Logalong, it was really pleasant to have it on my lap as I knit on chilly winter evenings. Now, now so much!

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The blanket is going to consist of 19 "logs" in all. I'm currently knitting Log. No. 15 and expect to finish it in the next day or two. That leaves just four more!  When I finished Log No. 14, the piece measured 39 x 45 inches. The projected measurements of the full afghan are 52 x 60 inches.

I'm using worsted weight yarns — three colors of Cascade 220 (Silver Grey, Straw, and Doeskin Heather) and one color of Valley Yarns Northampton (Lake Heather). It's called Next in Line because each log contains a few rows or "lines" of the main color of the next log. There are five different color/line combinations that appear throughout. For some, the contrast rows are in the center of the log, and for others they come at the end. The depth of each log varies as well, leading (I hope) to an overall design that's both lively and a little unpredictable.

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It's too soon to give final yardage — the last four logs will eat up more and more yarn, as they get longer and longer. But at this point I can share that I've used all or part of ten skeins (or 2,200 yards, more or less). I've used more of the silver grey than any other color, because it's the main color in two of the five color sequences.

If you want to keep abreast of this project, the best place to see frequent updates is my Instagram account — follow the hashtag #nextinlineblanket. (I've posted a few technique videos there, along with lots of still photos.) I also add photos or notes now and then to my Ravelry project page. Or, follow the project from its beginnings by reading all of my blog posts about it.

I guess I should log off now and get back to knitting. Garter stitch, here I come!

New Pattern: About Town Shawl

Attention, shawl lovers: here's a new pattern perfect for spring!

Worked from the top down in three colors of fingering weight yarn, the About Town Shawl showcases a striking mix of knit-purl textures, garter stitch, and lace — plenty of variety to keep the knitting interesting. Make it your own with colors that suit your style — subtle neutrals, or bright colors that pop — it’s your choice!

The About Town Shawl is on sale in my Ravelry pattern store for 25% off through Thursday, April 19 — use the coupon code SHAWL25 to get the discount.

I designed this shawl to match the About Town Mitts. The two patterns can be purchased together as an ebook set in my Ravelry pattern store for just $8.

For the sample, I used stash yarns, including some laceweights held together with light fingering weight yarns. The peach color was a skein of Tika Designs sock yarn that I purchased at Rhinebeck a couple of years ago and later dyed with red onion skins. It was really fun combining yarns and colors — I went with soft, gentle colors, but that's just one possibility. There are so many others — I can't wait to see the combinations knitters use! You can find a complete rundown on the yarns I used, plus yardage requirements for knitting your own shawl, on the pattern's Ravelry page.

The About Town Shawl would be a lovely project to cast on for the KATT (Knit All The Things) KAL. Find more info and join the KAL in the Ravelry Blue Peninsula group. It starts this Thursday, April 19, and ends June 10.

Thank you very much for reading!

Things to Come

Hello, blog readers — I hope you're still around after my rather long absence! Just as the scilla and snowdrops are emerging around town, so I feel I am emerging from weeks of being buried in work (and not the fibery kind that's fun to blog about).

Fun, fibery things are indeed coming up, though. I recently bound off and blocked a new shawl (a companion to the About Town Mitts) and am very pleased with how it turned out.

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Knit in three colors, with lace, knit-purl textures, and stripes, it's got plenty of variety to keep the knitting interesting. The pattern is coming very soon, but if you want to stash dive ahead of time, you'll need fingering weight yarn in three colors: Color 1 (which is peach in my sample, dyed with red onion skins) - 290 yards/265 m; Color 2 (cream) - 175 yards/160 m; and Color 3 (the lace section in the sample) - 135 yards/124 m. Total yardage, if you want to make it a single color: 600 yards/549 m. After blocking, the wingspan of my sample measured 58 inches/148 cm.

The About Town Shawl would be a great project for the next knitalong in the Ravelry Blue Peninsula group. The Knit All The Things (KATT) KAL starts a week from today, April 19. It's a leisurely KAL, lasting until June 10, so there's plenty of time to cast on and finish a large project like a sweater or a shawl. Of course, small projects are welcome, too!

Any of my designs can be knit for the KATT KAL, and if you want to finish up a WIP rather than start something new, that's fine, too. We have lovely prizes of yarn, free patterns, and other goodies, and as always there will be lots of friendly knitting conversation. Come join us anytime — we're already discussing possible patterns and yarns.

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One project I've been working on during the past month involves this gorgeous Phantom Ship colorway of Stitch Sprouts Crater Lake, a soft and squishy bulky weight merino. The design must stay under wraps until later this year, but I loved the yarn so much I just had to share a peek with you.

I'll be back soon with the new About Town Shawl pattern. In the meantime, if it's spring where you are, I hope it's beautiful!

 Spring color at the Mount Holyoke College Botanic Garden's annual flower show

Spring color at the Mount Holyoke College Botanic Garden's annual flower show

P.S. If you don't already receive the monthly Blue Peninsula newsletter, now's a good time to sign up — the next issue will have something special just for subscribers.

Next in Line Afghan Update

My Next in Line afghan project for the Fringe and Friends Log Cabin Make-along grows and grows. Right now, it measures about 32 x 36 inches. If all goes according to plan, the finished afghan should measure about 52 x 60 inches. Nice and big — perfect for cozy winter evenings on the sofa, right?

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Knitters have been asking for yardage estimates so they can get their yarn before the pattern is released. But it's really too soon for that. I'm currently knitting Log No. 12, and if I stick to my current plans, there will be 19 logs in all. So hang in there; the end — while not exactly near — is in sight!

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While you wait, you can check out the videos I've posted on Instagram about this project. One shows my method for weaving in ends; the other shows how I pick up stitches along the bound-off edges. I'm @bluepeninsula on Instagram, if you'd like to see them.

Here's a closeup of the wrong side. It's different from the right side, but just as nice:

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The weekend's almost here, and after a week of not one but two Nor'easters, I'm ready to curl up with this project and enjoy lots and lots of non-stressful garter stitch. Hope your weekend brings lots of satisfying knitting time, too!