It seems like a good idea to round up some of the amazing blankets that are underway right now as part of the Fringe and Friends Log Cabin Knitalong that is sweeping the nation.
But how to decide where to focus the lovelight? They’re all so good. An excellent place to start is the #fringeandfriendslogalong hashtag on Instagram, which is robust and constantly updating.
Today, I’ll focus on three MDK blanket patterns. This is undeniably self-congratulatory, but on the upside: all love guaranteed 100% sincere.
Seriously, each log cabin blanket that we have put out in the world started as an idea that would not let me go. These ideas did not care that I am not a knitwear designer; they wanted to get out there, and get knitted by people who enjoy a good long wallow of easy knitting that ends up with a blanket full of good vibes that is loved forever. Each pattern represents the seed of an idea that that knitters have made into entirely their own, new thing.
Fussy Cuts appears in the 2011 book Craft Activism, by Joan Tapper and Gale Zucker (who also took all the photographs). (The book is out of print, but used copies are plentiful and inexpensive.) Check out the bountiful project gallery on Ravelry, or just bask in this image of a recently finished Fussy Cuts by @lorinleith.
Lorin documents the individual log cabin squares of her Fussy Cuts on her ravelry project page.
The Fussy Cuts pattern calls for the individual squares to be made using color-shifting Noro Silk Garden, and the “frames” (miters, which then are joined with 3-needle bindoff) to be knitted in a solid shade of Brown Sheep Lamb’s Pride Worsted.
Lorin’s genius? She did the framing and joining in Noro Silk Garden #84, a mix of deep reds and purples, instead of a flat solid. The squares of Lorin’s Fussy Cuts (in Noro Silk Garden shades 341 and 400) float and pop in a wine-dark sea of shade 84. It’s one of the most beautiful pieces of knitting I’ve ever seen.
2011 was a good year for log cabin blankets. Mitered Crosses is kind of like Fussy Cuts on Opposite Day. Instead of log cabin blocks framed with miters, the Mitered Crosses blanket is mitered blocks framed with log cabin. Also joined with my favorited method: three-needle bindoff.
Instagram photo by @whistlinggirlknits.
I claim zero credit for the fact that 1070 Mitered Crosses blanket projects are in the Ravelry project gallery. The pattern was sold (and still is sold, and always will be sold) with all proceeds to benefit Mercy Corps.
But it’s fun to knit, and I’m thrilled to see so many lovely versions in the #fringeandfriendslogalong hashtag. Some are newly started, and some have been fished out of the 2011 layer of deep stash, to take advantage of the knitalong mojo to get finished at last. No questions asked!
Photo by Gale Zucker.
I’ll let you in on a secret: of the three blankets, this one is the easiest to make, by far. It’s only four blocks, only three seams (three-needle bindoff, you guessed it), an i-cord edging (or not) and DONE.
It remains a wonderment to me that a giant star forms in the middle of a log cabin when you knit very thin strips of a contrasting color on one “corner” of the block. The block stays square. Fun fun fun.
Karen (@choochooknits on Instagram) knit the sample for the book, and then knit two more of them for herself in the year before the book came out. (To fact-check this statement, consult the project gallery.) Those secret blankets made me so happy! And now she’s knitting another one, whose colors had to be kept secret for a gift.
Lost Log Cabins
The magnificent log cabin-and-miters project you dredged up sent me digging in my own Way Back, and look what I found:
(Carbon dating puts this large cotton textile circa 2008 CE, my turquoise and olive period.)
The original idea was to make a blanket with 4 giant mitered corners, picked up and knitted onto each other seamlessly. (I was weary of all the joinery required, and ends generated, by small, striped miters in other blankets I’d been knitting at that time.) If memory serves, these big miters started with 360 stitches and reduced down to 2 stitches over many. many. rows.
yarns: tahki cotton classic, rowan denim (ecru and recycled blue), and rowan handknit cotton (white).
After I got the first two miters done, I thought knitting two more would be Too Much. So I started to log-cabin a striped garter section onto one side of the two miters, with the intention of making at least a one-strip border on all four sides to give a flat edge to the stockinette miter edges.
At some point, without making a conscious decision, I abandoned the enterprise, due to Rows Too Long To Bear. Knitting them required much twisting and turning of this heavy piece of cotton, and I got weary.
I’m not sure when my long-row mojo will return, but this blanket still looks good to me. And we are in the middle of a log cabin knitalong, after all.