Saturday, June 23, 2007

Log Cabin Knittin'

Upon reading about a knitted curtain recipe found in Mason Dixon Knitting, I placed a hold on the title at the library so I could take a gander at it. Sadly, it was for a small window and the authors didn’t recommend using it for large areas. T’was ok since I didn’t care much for the pattern – it was supposed to resemble champagne bubbles (!) and I guess it did . . .

BUT: what really caught my eye were the Log Cabin patterns. I wasn’t familiar with this method so, naturally, fell into the pond headfirst. I’m just finishing up my first (sacrificial) project – a kitchen towel which will NOT win a beauty pageant. But, I chose colors that would kinda go with the kitchen and give enough contrast between the blocks so that I could see and understand the construction easily. Well, it’s important at my age.

The picture shown here is not my work but a picture I found online (“Knitty Knitty Bang Bang” is the blog and a gal named Molly worked it up); it shows clearly how the thing is composed. How cute is *that* blog name, BTW?

If you don’t know about Log Cabin here’s the skinny:

It’s REALLY REALLY mindless knitting – super easy, no counting, no worries about putting it down and wondering where you left off, no trips to the (dreaded) Frog Pond, no life-lines . . . just pure knitting. A nice break from that 34 line lace pattern you’ve been slogging through. Here’s how it works: You start with a center shape, say a square or rectangle, and the fabric ‘grows’ from that center shape out by picking up the stitches on the left side of that shape. (Viz: Look at the photo. First shape is the red square. : Red goes to orange to pink to blue to purple to light pink to yellow to green to navy, etc., round and round, always to the left ending with the top strip of lighter green.)

You garter-stitch a square or rectangle. You’ll have to make up your mind how many ‘ridges’ tall these strips will be. (I chose 6 ridges, counting them on the right side!) Decide which side will be the Right side. When you determine that your first block is the right size for the center of your piece, cast-off on the right side. You’ll end up with one stitch left on your right needle. Turn the piece 90 degrees so that you now have what was the left hand side of the shape on top. Either stay with your first color or tie on a new color for your next strip. I tied on then cut the old color off. Take your left needle and pick up the ridge stitch closest to that remaining stitch. Now, knit it. Continue picking up the rest of the ridge stitches until you get to the last one; in my case I had 6 ridges so I had 7 sts. on that first picked up edge. Turn work and knit back across until you’ve got 6 ridges on the new right side. Bind off, turn work 90 degrees, select new color or use the old one again, pick up the side (actually this is your cast on stitches side so if you cast on 20 sts., you’ll be picking up those 20 sts. BUT IT DOESN”T MATTER A WHIT if you don’t get all 20 or get more than 20. This is mindless knitting: just plough forth!) Continue knitting until you get those 6 ridges again. Bind off on the right side, turn 90 degrees, pick up the edge 6 ridges and you’re off.

Start off with a (gasp) SAMPLE to get the hang of it. My sample was my ugly towel. The book shows patterns and pictures for some beautiful blankets and throws. You can even use this technique for odd-shaped parallelograms, or any other shape you create. One of the other patterns that they show is a wonderful bathroom bathmat which will be worked up for the master bath shower room. It’s done with 3 strands of Wally World 1 pound cone cotton. I’ve got two cones in cream and one in snow white. Worked on size 15 needles, it will take, I’m guessing, 45 minutes and change. (=^D)

1 comment:

Denise in Kent, WA said...

I haven't tried this technique myself, but a friend of mine made a rectangular shawl last year that was constructed in log cabin style. Definitely looked like a fun knit, and a great way to use up odd bits. Thanks for the reminder! I will have to add this to my project list...