How to knit a log cabin blanket
Here's an interesting bit of information.
The pattern that I get the most email queries about is one that isn't even my own. Yes, at least once or twice a fortnight I receive an email requesting the details of it. How to knit it? Where does the pattern come from? And even asking for advice on yarns to choose for it. At the moment this seems to have escalated and it seems more like a couple of emails a week.
Now this doesn't bother me as really it's lovely to get an email from someone telling you they love something you've made and would like to make something similar. It's the highest of high crafty praise. It did, however, get me thinking about why it happens so often and why that particular knit.
And so I looked back through my blog and my Ravelry projects. And while, I've shared photos and some details I've not really written a comprehensive blog post on it. Truth be told, I think theres quite a few projects I've not blogged. Do you think that the altering sphere of social media has changed blogs and the way we use them? I suspect the instant appeal of Instagram has spelled the death knoll for some blogs. I do think though, that blogs do still have so much to offer. Take this project as an example, the photos that I shared here and on Instagram (and are probably on Pinterest too) don't provide all the necessary details. More is obviously needed, otherwise I wouldn't get so many emails. The pretty just isn't enough. That's been an interesting learning experience for me, and a reminder to share the crafting journey more on my blog; as I once did.
So you want some more details about this blanket?
I think the fact that, when I googled 'log cabin knitted blanket' to look for some pattern options, my previous post about knitted blankets came up; does tell me something. There's not even any information about log cabin blankets in that post; just a photo of this very blanket!
Let's see if this post can answer some if not all of those questions.
The pattern I used came from a book called Mason-Dixon Knitting and it was How to Log Cabin. From memory, this was more of an instructional rather than a pattern but it does walk you through the fundamentals of the process. If you're after a more thorough pattern, the same book contains the pattern Joseph's Blankie of Many Colours.
To be honest, it has been so many years since I knit this blanket and I can't remember if I followed their instructions or varied from it a bit. Probably the latter, knowing me, and unfortunately, I don't have access to the book as it was a library loan.
My initial rectangle looks to be about 20 stitches and 48 rows.
If you can't get hold of this book or want something now, or more specific, a quick search on Ravelry yields a number of results, like this one (which is based on the same pattern I used) or this one (which comes with lots of video support).
PICKING UP STITCHES
There is quite a lot of picking up stitches in the Log Cabin. I like picking up stitches. I also like grafting and knitting sleeves, which perhaps says a lot about me as a knitter. Anyway, picking up stitches. The basic rule I followed when picking up stitches for the next colour blocks, is to pick up one stitch for every stitch (where applicable) and one stitch for every garter ridge.
When working a blanket like this I DO NOT pick up and knit stitches as I would traditionally do, say if I was knitting a neckline (gosh, they're fun to knit too!). Instead of working each new stitch individually, you will get a much better finish if you pick up ALL the stitches at once and then work them.
Pick them up by sliding your needle in along and through the edge bump on each garter ridge from left to right. There are far clearer instructions in my Memory Blanket pattern as to how to do this. Alternatively, Stephanie Pearl-McPhee has a cracker of a tutorial on her blog.
The yarn that I knit my blanket in is WOOLGanic Head, Hands and Heart. Unfortunately, it is discontinued. It is also not an Aran weight yarn as it is listed on Ravelry, it is around a 16ply. Quite a significant difference really. Just to give you some context, I knit this yarn on a 8mm/US11 size needles.
This yarn is a glorious soft organic merino. It is incredibly beautiful but be warned that if you do create a blanket using the combination of gorgeous super soft merino and garter stitch, it will pill like the clappers. That's fine if you're ok with pilling or own a nifty gadget to get rid of those pills with a minimum of fuss. If that doesn't float your boat, I suggest looking for an alternative yarn.
So what are some good alternatives?
I have to be honest and say I'm not that familiar with the market for Super Bulky yarn. I live in Australia. Worsted weight and aran is really about as thick as I'm ever going to need a jumper in my climate, and even delving into yarns that thick is a bit of a rarity for me. Ask me about 8ply/dk weight and I'm your girl, I'll know all the good answers, but anything thicker and I'm a bit lost.
Remember, this is quite a thick blanket. If you're looking for a similarly thick yarn maybe something there is something in this Ravelry search that you will be familiar with.
While not quite as thick, Nundle Woolen Mills have a 12 ply that looks like it would be quite nice to work with.
Bendigo Woollen Mills Luxury 10ply would make a good machine washable alternative, and they have a good array of colours. You could even double the 8ply to give you around a 18-20ply for a lovely chunky finish.
The good old workhorse Cascade 220 would also work really well.
I could point you in the direction of some super stunning organic and ethical merino 8ply yarns that this blanket would be totally die worthy in, but I don't want to break your bank account, so let's just ignore all my favourite yarns for now.
I knit my blanket in seven colours, basically the colours of the rainbow but with the inclusion of a pink. I started with the pink as my central rectangle and worked through the spectrum as I added each additional rectangle. If I knit this blanket again, I'm not sure I would follow the same idea, although I haven't really pondered what I would do instead. Although having said that, I do like how working it this way didn't give it that deliberate rainbow look, I like how the colours work and compliment each other as you look inwards rather than presenting the rainbow.
The order of my colours went:
Pink, Purple, Blue, Green, Yellow, Orange, Red.
If I was to work this with something like the Bendigo Woollen Mills Luxury to achieve a similar result, the colours I would use would be: Lotus, African Violet, Bermuda, Leaf, Sunflower, Tangerine and Sunrise. (Just a note: I don't think the colours are very true on the BWM website, so if in doubt request a colour shade card from them).
My blanket is now quite big, around about a queen bed size. It still fits nicely on my daughter's single bed with some overlay.
Blanket knitting is really meditative and I love knitted blankets so much. They're a great relax and no-brainer knit for me. I waxed lyrically about the beauty of knitted blankets in my previous blanket post, so I won't do it again here, but I am thinking that my next blanket may just be another log cabin, this time made with 8ply leftovers. Yes, I have enough of those each year to knit a multitude of blankets!
P.S. i haven't updated for awhile but my Memory Blanket which I'm knitting from my 8ply leftovers to infuse it with childhood memories has past the 200 square mark!
Let me know if there's anything I haven't covered and I'll do my best to add my thoughts in later.
7/6/2015 06:16:46 pm
Ah, so glad you wrote this. I'm enjoying my Memory Blanket so much. I'm knitting mine in 4ply and I think my next blanket will be 8ply. Log Cabin is certainly now a contender for the next pattern I'll use.
7/6/2015 08:26:19 pm
I knit all of my blankets in cotton, usually 8 ply. I've done several memory blankets in varying sizes for babies. I love the look of this log cabin blanket. I think that when I've finished the 2 I'm currently doing, it may be next :-)
10/6/2015 06:30:40 pm
Georgie, I've been trying to source 20 cm circular needles but with no success. Any suggestions?
4/9/2015 04:58:03 pm
Where can I source the pattern to knit this beautiful blanket? Or am I missing something? Michelle
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