I’m feeling a little enthusiastic today—that feeling when you’re on to something so utterly fantastic that you want to draft anybody within ten feet of you to do it, too.
You know: the diet, the podcast, that time when you got all wound up about composting.
You have got to make a Donegal Tweed blanket using a log cabin blanket pattern and sequence knitting.
During the holidays, I had one of the most delightful knitting experiences of my checkered career as a knitter.
My basic dream for this blanket appears over at Fringe Association, “Log Cabin Make-along: Meet the Panel!”
Today I’ll share some of the nuts and bolts of blanketry that have been so much fun these (incredibly cold Nashville) days. This is all news you can use when scheming up your own log cabin blanket.
Draw a Sketch.
Maybe you’ve got your blanket idea all set in your brilliant, vast mind. I mean, I thought I did. It was only when I made my schematic that I realized I had a significant problem.
See where it says 105″? That’s 8.75 feet. That’s more blanket that most people need.
Sketch Number 1: The top squares are GINORMOUS.
Sketch Number 2: The top squares are NOW 15″ x 15″, not 20″ x 20″.
The proportions have changed, but so has the likelihood that I will ever finish this thing.
This is frankly optional. Some of the greatest log cabin blankets are completely improvised—you keep knitting until you have a blanket. The yarn appears when necessary (often after a refueling trip to the yarn store).
But I was curious to know how much yarn I’d need for this blanket.
Basic exercise: knit a square, weigh it, and multiply that weight by the approximate number of squares you’re making. Divide that total by the weight of one skein of yarn. The result is the number of skeins you’ll need.
After knitting a strip and weighing it, I concluded that a skein of Tahki Donegal Tweed yields about 10 5″ squares. Because the entire blanket is based on increments of 5″ squares, I can get at least a ballpark idea of how much yarn I’ll need.
For an 18-strip blanket, I’ll need 22+ 100g, 185-yard skeins. Probably more, given the way the colors break. Will I end up making the biggest squares? Do I have the stamina?
Wet splice your ends.
Game changer. Blanketophobes whinge on about all the ends that a log cabin blanket generates.
I say phooey.
When you change colors, just wet splice the yarns. If you’re working with non-superwash pure wool (like this Donegal Tweed I’m using), or alpaca, you can eliminate virtually all ends by wet splicing (or spit splicing, which just sounds gross but there it is).
In this blanket, I stop seven stitches from the end of a square and break my yarn, leaving a tail about five inches long. Then I splice the new color to this tail and knit to the end of the row. Voila: the new color emerges at just about the right moment. With no ends to fool with later.
Can you tell where the wet splices are? No? It’s a dream come true.
Block your strips.
Sequences create all sorts of fabrics—flat, pleated, accordion, bumply, zigzaggy, ribbed.
You will notice that some squares do not knit up to be square. Not even remotely square. It’s the ribbed and accordion sequences that pull in the most.
Before blocking. YIKES!
After blocking. AHHHH.
I knitted these wonky strips with great confidence, because we had learned during the process of making Field Guide No. 5 that the mighty redemptive power of blocking transforms these crumpled squares into flat squares. When we sent Cecelia Campochiaro photos of our Corrugated Wrap sample, concerned about the pulled-in sections, she replied that it looked fantastic.
Here’s what I’ve got:
These strips aren’t in the right order, but at least you can see the colors. The top strip is unblocked. (I guess that’s obvious.)
Not sure what I can do to convey the limitless joy of thinking up sequences except to say: there is limitless joy to be had here. MDK Field Guide No. 5: Sequences explains exactly how Cecelia Campochiaro figured out cool ways to get get all these textures without really trying.
The width of the square affects what the sequence does. Knit 5, purl 4 looks different when made at 20 stitches wide, or 40, or 60. It is the coolest thing.
So great to see all the projects showing up on Instragram #fringeandfriendslogalong.