Sunday, April 23

Log cabins - oh boy!

I went to Borders about a week ago and saw the new Mason-Dixon knitting book. I actually sat down right in the aisle and did a fairly thorough flip-through. I've been hearing a lot of rave reviews about this book all over the internets and I was really impressed. So the next day I went ahead and placed an order on Amazon. It arrived on Friday, though I didn't get home until late Friday night, I read it straight through, and last night I went ahead and cast on for an off-center log cabin blanket. Come on, when I read that I shouldn't feel weird about letting people see that I'd made an entire bedspread - my friends already know I'm crazy. I just had to laugh. I still want a rug - a knitted rug. Yeah baby, but I need to either spend some pretty major time at the dye pots in order to start a project of that magnitude, or massive time in front of the spinning wheel, spinning enough fiber for a rug. Yeah, I know - it's madness. But I also just loved the bit about giving me some acreage and I'll cover it with garter stitch.

I just happen to have gobs of DK weight cotton in my stash that I have no immediate plans for (this isn't all of it obviously - just what I brought with me), so I dutifully cast on 20 stitches in the traditional red and did 20 ridges of garter. I am really pleased so far. The book mentioned that there were a lot of variations on the basic log cabin theme, and even showed a few of them - but didn't go into the off-center variation. It will be more apparent when I get a few more blocks finished, but basically if you work one set of colours (in my case the warm colours), wider than the other set of colours you end up with a nice optical illusion of circles interspersed with diamond shapes.

My warm colours all have 7 ridges of garter stitch, while the cool colours all have 4 ridges. This first square is just about 12" square (or almost square anyway). If you squint at this picture and realise that you're just looking at one quarter of a motif maybe you can start to see what I'm talking about with the circles and diamonds.

I'm quite sure that the purpley strip 2nd in from the bottom was yarn that was in the stuff that did end up getting shipped to England, and obviously back again. That's some well travelled yarn!

I am particularly pleased with the effect that picking up one loop of the bound off edge gives, and how it gives a nice almost "stitching in the ditch' effect which I hope shows up in the picture here.

It's so nice to finally feel like I have a project that I can sink my teeth into! I've been feeling like I've been floundering. The thing about having a stash that is a monstrosity like mine, is that it almost ends up hampering my creativity. When it comes time for the age old question - what do I want to be working on? Or even better, what do I want to make (sounds a lot the same, but it really isn't). Where to start? Where to begin? Especially with the internets throwing out free patterns galore, patterns to buy even more - I have a whole bookcase at home that's bulging with knitting books and magazines. I have my own ideas and designs that I want to play with. I have projects from years ago, not finished. I am only one person with one set of hands, and though I'm pretty fast, my time is not infinite. My hands can only concentrate on one project at any given moment. My brain, on the other hand is thinking of more possibilites, more things I want to make, more stuff that I could start and probably never finish.

I remember in the days before having a Monstrosity of a stash - I'd dive into a project and it was such a challenge to figure out how I could make the best use of what I had. It was fun! It was challenging - I really felt that my creativity was being expanded and that I could do anything I could put my mind to, just think of what I could do with more materials and choices at my fingers to. Now I have that - and I miss the old days.

I was talking to the BBE about the OCLC (off-center log cabin). He made a comment that it was going to be a very expensive blanket. Actually, the yarn itself is mostly stuff that I bought in the UK - Patons Cotton DK makes up a big proportion of what I've pulled out of stash so far. I think this is like the UK's version of Sugar and Cream, it's a bit nicer in that it's mercerized, but not more expensive (or much more expensive anyway). Still, when you're looking at a queen size bedspread... it does add up - though all this is from stash, well aged even.

Anyway, we were talking - he was saying that this would be an expensive project. I basically said, not really - the yarn itself isn't that expensive, and the best part is that it will put a pretty decent dent in the size of my stash. Which right now, for me, is a very good thing. His answer, "Oh, so you can buy more!" Yeah, he's a keeper.

My daughter called me the other day.

BearBear: Hey, there's a knitting show going on this weekend.

Me: You mean the TKGA Knitting and Crocheting show at the Oakland Coliseum?

BearBear: Yeah

Me: Like I wouldn't know all about it already?

BearBear: Well, I just thought, you know just in case.

Me: Yeah, well, I can't really afford it right now.

BearBear: It's only $8 to get in.

Me: I know, it's just that once I get in....

BearBear: Oh.... Oh, yeah... OK

Me: Thanks anyway sweetheart, it was nice of you to think of me.


Monika said...

Hi Abigail, I read your post at the modknits yahoo group. I'm a member there as well (fairly new one). I was inspired by the Mason-Dixon Book too and I'm working on a Log Cabin. I'll put some pictures up soon. It was to dreary outside and too dark inside to make nice pictures. Mine is different as yours and it's one of 4 things I'm working on right now. It's the most fun project though. I like yours a lot! Monika

Monika said...

I've just tried to post a comment, if this comes twice please delete one. Hi, I was just saying, that I was inspired by Mason - Dixon too. I'm working also on a Log Cabin blanket. It's one of 4 things I'm working on right now. I like yours a lot. The possibilities are endless! I'm also a member of the modknit yahoo group, that's were I found your blog. I'll be back to read more about your knitting. Monika

Meg said...

Very cool man - nice to know they're still around :o)
There are those other things, too - like the sense of accomplishment, cheaper than therapy, and having a unique, handmade blanket to cuddle under. Actually, it's pretty cost-effective entertainment, yes? ;-)

shizzknits said...

Love the blanket so far. I've also started one, thanks to MDK...tho mine isn't as purty as yours. :)

Monika said...

Hi Abi, you are very brave to takle this Log Cabin with # 3.75 needles! I'm making mine with 4.5mm. Last night I made two new "logs"; it's going to take a while. I'll keep checking on yours. ;o)