Next in Line Afghan: Heat Wave Blocking Party

Cast on January 1, bound off July 4: my Next in Line Afghan is now complete!

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It took me awhile to carefully bind off the 263 stitches of the 19th and final log. I sat directly in front of a big fan the whole time. It was the only way I could possibly stand to knit, because we've been having quite the heat and humidity fest this week.

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As soon as I finished binding off and wove in the ends, I did something really crazy, considering how hot the evening was. I just had to run to the couch and drape it over me, to be absolutely sure of the size. Was it big enough? Cozy enough?

Yes, and yes! Absolutely perfect for chilly winter evenings. 

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The finished measurements (before blocking) were 52 inches x 60 inches. There's no way I was going to attempt wet blocking something so big, so I chose to steam block it lightly — just enough to even out the stitches and allow the wool relax a bit.

Early in the morning (the only minimally comfortable time of day when it's in the 90s and humid), I hung the afghan over the shower rod in my bathroom and steamed the right side, then flipped it over and repeated the process on the wrong side. Then I laid it out on a sheet to dry (it was only slightly damp), carefully smoothing the fabric with my hands, working from the center outward toward the edges.

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I haven't yet measured it again, but I expect that blocking might have increased its size just a little — we'll see. I know many of you are eagerly awaiting the pattern, and I'm excited that we are now so much closer to that moment. But there's still lots to do: calculate yardage requirements for each color, take photos and edit them, write the pattern, have it tech edited, finalize layout, etc.

I will share the yardage requirements when the pattern is released or shortly before, so hang tight. It won't be long now!

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

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 

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!

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!

Logalong Progress

Confession: When I cast on for the Fringe and Friends Log Cabin Make-along, I wasn't sure how far I'd get with it. For one thing, there was the worry about garter stitch being boring (turns out it's not boring at all, but soothing, meditative knitting). I also wondered if this project would steal too much time from other design work, causing me to put it "on the back burner." That concern also has disappeared — my Next in Line throw is actually moving along at a respectable pace, and so far it's left me sufficient time for other projects.

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The design process is enormously satisfying. I'm enjoying choosing the next color for each log, deciding how wide it should be, and where the contrast color stripes should be placed. The more I knit, the more I love these colors! Knitters have contacted me to ask about them, so here they are: Cascade 220 in Silver Grey, Straw, and Doeskin Heather, and Valley Yarns Northampton in Lake Heather.

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I might be a little too smitten with it — Snickers has had to remind me to take breaks and remember that "all knitting and no play" makes me a very dull girl.

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Yesterday, I finished Log No. 8 and began No. 9. The piece now measures about 22 x 24 inches, so I've got a ways to go — I'm aiming for about 48 x 60 inches. I don't want it to be as small as a baby blanket, but it's not meant to be a bedspread, either.

What do you think? What's your preferred size for an afghan or throw?

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Logging Along

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 Josef 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. Lo and behold, I had 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).

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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.

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There is 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.

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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.)

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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. 

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Read all the blog posts about the Fringe and Friends Log Along here and see all the Instagram posts here. What do you think? Will you join the party?