Recently in Log Cabin Baby Blanket Category

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Bringing Bright and Dark Colors Together

I promise, this will be the last square for a while. This is probably the last one I can use to illustrate anything interesting about how I am thinking about color for this blanket.

This square started with two ideas in mind. I wanted to use some of th bright blue/green yarn (in the bottom log) and I wanted to find a way to use the very light green/yellow yarn from the last block (in the top right log) such that it didn't stand out quite so strongly.

The one color that extends through all the blocks in this square is green. Not all the greens are the same, but each yarn does have some kind of green element. There's also a balance of bright and dark yarns. The top left and right logs are colorways with lighter tones and brighter tones, the remaining logs are darker. I think by putting the two brighter logs on one side of the square and the darker logs on the other, it creates an interesting balance and makes the brighter logs not seem so contrasty and unexpected.

I think most of the next squares I make are going to be variations on these themes. But it might be a little while before I get too much farther because there's a good bit of quilting starting up again...

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Completed Log Cabin Baby Blanket

Log Cabin Baby Blanket Specs
Yarn: Blue Moon Socks that Rock Heavyweight, Tanzanite, Stonewash and Jade
Needles: US Size 5 (3.75 mm) Denise Interchangables
Finished Size: 36" x 36"

It's always nice for me when I can finish up a project when there's still some sunshine to take pictures with. And it was almost a picture perfect, spring is coming sort of weekend here in Chicago. The blankie and I got to stretch out in 60F weather. I'm hoping that this weather is not just a cruel trick and is really the start of spring here in the Great Lakes region.

Unfortunately, even though the weather was nice enough for Chicagoans in my neighborhood to be sitting in outdoor cafes drinking beer it was still a bit wet and muddy to take the Blankie anywhere but onto the balcony off our master bedroom.

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The Blankie Can Be Compact When It Wants To Be

Here is the Blankie showing how compact it can be.

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Top Down View Showing the Edging of the Blanket

In the end, I opted for the reverse crochet or crab stitch for the edging. It provided a solid and durable structural edge without being too frilly or girly. I thought the dark purple was the best choice for the edge. As nice as it would have been to have worked with a 4th contrasting color for the border, this yarn is just a little bit too expensive to justify buying an extra skein of just for 5-10 yards to seam and edge the blanket with -- and I didn't want to edge it with a different yarn, because I expect this blanket to be washed and I wanted all the yarn to behave the same way when it underwent that process.. And I thought the purple really helped to pop the squares it touched.

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Four Corners Meet In the Blankie

Very pretty and very even on the front, I think. I'll just say that I was very pleased with the intersections of the squares.

Assembling these squares turned out to be something that was helped along greatly by my first quilting class. First, I made sure that all the squares were oriented the same way, then I connected the edges of the squares in each of the three rows across and then seamed the rows together -- exactly how I put Serenity together.

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The Back Side of the Blankie -- Visible But Clean Seams

When it came to seaming, I decided to use a crochet joining method. I picked it for two reasons. 1) It's durable and I was worried that my whip-stitching might not hold up to long term use and machine laundering. 2) If my friend, an excellent knitter, should ever want to deconstruct the blanket into it's component squares, the crochet edging and chain seaming will be trivial to pull out. I know it sounds strange to anticipate this, but I figure there's always the possibility that pieces of the blanket will wear out and not be worth keeping, while other pieces might still be worth preserving and using to create a pillow or some all small memory -- or even just replacing a region. I have plenty of yarn left and could probably create three more squares from what I have left. So, making it easy to take apart seemed like a reasonable idea.

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Blankie in Waiting

This last is just a picture of what I think is the natural habitat of the blankie -- the rocking chair. It is also an excuse to squeeze another picture in of my favorite piece of furniture ever, and to provide a sense of scale for the size of the blanket. And since I spent a good deal of time seaming in this chair, I couldn't help but notice how handsome the blanket looked against the chair. But, I'm biased. I think everything goes well with walnut.

Soon soon soon this blankie will make its way to its new home in Madison, Wisconsin. Love ya, Judy*! John and I just can't wait to meet your son. May he grow strong and be healthy and be a constant source of light in your life.

* This may seem like I am spoiling a big surprise... but I suspect that Judy lurks here every now and again, and I think I've dropped enough hints to make it clear where this blanket was destined for. When you like to make things (and Judy does -- she painted a lovely picture for my husband and I when we got married and she's knit no shortage of lovely sweaters) I like to think that it makes a project even more interesting when you get to watch it come together. Besides, I'm pretty lousy at the whole keeping secrets thing.

Square Nine

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A 9 Patch of Knitted Log Cabin Squares

All nine squares completed and the baby is still about a month away. Only the seaming and edging remains. I'm thinking that to seam them together, I will probably try to use a crochet seaming method. I think it will create a nice look on the wrong side of the blanket. I still haven't decided, however, how I will decide what color to use for the seaming. Since no two edges will ever be the same color (the layout above is pretty much the same as the layout I will be seaming together) I'm ultimately probably just going to have to decide to always use the darker color or always use the lighter color or maybe even to use the color that's not represented. I'm also tempted just to use one color throughout and call it a "design element" since the crochet chains will be visible on the wrong side.

For the edging, I'm toying with the idea of just using a nice single crochet. It will be simple and strong. I like single crochet edgings because they almost look like a bound edge and the firmness of crochet tends to hold knitted structures together well. Also, since I know the baby to be is of the masculine persuasion, I don't want anything too frilly -- and, to be honest, I'm not sure I have the patience for 144 inches of applied I-cord.

Square Eight

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Eight Log Cabin Squares

The end is drawing near for this project. Only one more square remains! Clearly a full DVR and a lot of unpleasant weather can lead to some productive knitting time. Now that I have most of the squares to look at, though, I'm still pretty happy with my original design. I just love it when things work out in real life the way you planned them out on paper!

Square Seven

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Seven Log Cabin Squares

It's beginning to feel like I am in the home stretch with this project. I now have 7 squares and I've started on square eight. I had thought that this project might have started to wear on me by now (I'm not known for either my patience or my ability to do most things multiple times), but instead I find it to be a nice comfortable project, perfect to work on when I need something to do with my hands. Probably it's only drawback is the fact that since it is a multicolored project, it is not terribly portable.

The baby that this project is being worked on for is only about 7 weeks away now. So I'm trying to pick up the pace a little bit so that I have plenty of time to finish the squares and get it finished out right. The more squares I have, the easier it is for me to visualize the final product.

Now I'm off to play with some fabric pieces. Tonight it's going to be time to start sewing the squares for my Serenity quilt together, and I want to spend some time thinking about what fabrics I like together the best. I'm actually really looking forward to sitting down in front of a sewing machine. Hopefully that feeling lasts through my class!

Square Six

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Six Log Cabin Squares

I am now 2/3 of the way through my log cabin baby blanket project. 6 squares finished, 3 to go. I was able to get through these 6 squares on the first three skeins of yarn that I used, which means I have nothing to worry about when it comes to having enough yarn for the last three squares. A lot of leftovers may encourage me to come up with a more elaborate border. Or someone may get an interesting pair of winter socks.

Working on the baby blanket is a very pleasant thing right now. A reminder that life ends, but new life begins as well.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to leave a comment on yesterday's post. It means a great deal to me and John also appreciated your kind words and thoughts. There's some really kind people who read your blog, he said. I couldn't agree more.

Happy V-Day to those of you who celebrate.. and even if you don't I wish you a very good Wednesday.

Square Five

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5 Log Cabin Squares

And then there were 5! This weekend saw the completion of my 5th Log Cabin square for the baby blanket. I am now officially over half way done with this project -- well, at least with the part that involves knitting the squares, and not really including the part that involves seaming and creating a border. That means I have at least 8 weeks to tackle the remaining 4 squares. For once, I am actually ahead of schedule on a knitting project....

Square Four

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4 Squares

Just a brief interlude to share my fourth completed log cabin baby blanket square. Almost halfway through, now! And it actually looks like I am going to be able to get six squares out of my first three skeins of STR heavyweight, which means that I will have plenty of yarn left over for seaming and edging the blanket. And, of course, the next square is already in progress.

Square Three

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The Three Basic Log Cabin Squares

The Log Cabin Baby Blanket project is a nice project to have in my back pocket. Whenever I feel tired or unmotivated, I reach into the basket and pull it out and start working in those simple garter stitch rows. Inevitably, after a few of those rows, I sit back, look at my work, and just smile at how those simple stitches turn into something with an elegant geometric quality.

I am now done with the three base squares. The most recent one is the one with the green border. I like looking at all three of them together. It's remarkable to me that you can use the same three colors in different proportions and have squares that leave very different impressions. I've read that early on babies see contrast better than they really identify different colors. If so, I think this blanket should be relatively interesting to my friend's upcoming new addition.

I've started on the fourth square. It's a repeat of the sqare with the blue border. Hard to believe I'm almost half way finished with this project. And there is definitely something about working on these squares individually that makes the whole project seem to go faster than I think it would if I was starting at the center and working my way outward.

Square Two

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Log Cabin Square Two

It's interesting to me how you can take the same three colors, change their proportions in a knitted fabric, and have an entirely different look. This square resonates much differently with me than the first one did. I like seeing that much green and purple side by side.

All of you who read my first post on this project and suggested that it would be the easiest from the point of view of weaving in ends were exactly right! Only 6 ends to weave in for each square. It makes for nice and easy finishing as I go.

And the third square is now cast on. One more and I'll have a whole third of the blanket done!

Square One

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Log Cabin Baby Blanket: Square 1

Here's the very first square for the baby blanket. Cara is absolutely right about this log cabin square making stuff -- you can't make just one! Right after I finished this one (and I mean finished -- I even wove in all the ends), I cast on for square 2, which will have a purple center. These make for just about the most perfect mindless knitting. Just garter stitch but garter stitch that leads to a very satisfying result.

I think all that 3-Ply Wool that I brought back from Mountain Colors is likely to end up in a very large single log cabin square. I've turned all those little skeins into balls and I think I am going to just randomly grab balls out of a basket and knit onto the square. The only real question I need to face: how big should the starting square be? Some of my colors don't have much yardage and I'd like to use them more than once. I'm toying with actually just starting with a square that is about 1" x 1" just so that I can see a lot of color changing occurring in the center. Hmmmm...

Building a Log Cabin

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The poll results for the log cabin baby blanket were as close as those mid-term elections in Virginia, Montana and Missouri, with the "T Keys" (#1) and "Random Squares" (#3) being the two pattern choices that were pretty much too close to separate. In fact, they also became difficult for me to decide between. The first one is kind of my own original sort of design, so it feels very personal. But the random squares are a bit simpler and require only two color changes (the squares for the key pattern would require a color change on every block). So in the interest of making sure that I could accomplish the project before the baby grows up and goes to college, I decided on the random squares.

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The First Log Cabin Square

The knitting of this square was surprisingly addicting for something that is mostly garter stitch. I was able to get all of this done on Friday and what little of Saturday I had to work in while I was getting ready to go on my trip.

The T Keys are not gone forever, however. In my mind it has morphed into a much larger project. Perhaps a full-sized afghan or a quilt for a king-sized bed? It would give me the chance to create more symmetry in the project if it were larger. Clearly a big project for the future.

Log Cabin Blanket Ideas

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I've mentioned on several occasions that I don't knit for babies. Babies are really too young to appreciate hand knit gifts. I do, on the other hand, knit for their mothers if they are special friends and I think they would appreciate it. Some people like hand made things, some do not. I try to match the gift with the friend.

I have a very special knitting friend who's baby is due in in April. I'd been trying to think of the right thing to do for her since I found out she was pregnant. Nothing really struck me until I saw Cara's finished Log Cabin Blanket. It seemed like a perfect idea. Stylish, handmade and something that I could try playing with color on. Made even better by the fact that I could make it out of machine washable yarn. It seems to me a bit of a cruel thing to give a new mom a hand-wash only baby blanket. So I took a trip out to the Fold to look for some good colors.

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Tanzanite, Stonewash and Jade Socks that Rock, Heavyweight

At the time, I didn't know the sex of the baby, and my friend hadn't started on the nursery, so I wanted to pick relatively gender neutral colors. When Toni pulled out that Stonewash (it is so much faded denimy goodness and the photo doesn't enitrely do it justice) I knew that was the color I wanted to start with. Somehow, the other two colors were the ones that I thought just needed to be part of the assembly.

Since then, I've been thinking about what kind of blanket pattern I want to construct. Cara's blanket is beautiful, but I wanted to use the opportunity to be come up with my own creative ideas. I looked around at the web a bit and even found a cool tool to help me experiment. But in the end, Excel turned out to be the best tool. Here are a few of the ideas I came up with:

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Design 1: T Keys
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Design 2: Lightening
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Design 3: Random Boxes
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Design 4: Waves

Except the first one, they're all pretty much based on existing traditional patterns (the first one could be, too, for all I know... there's so little new under the sun when it comes to quilting). They would all end up being about the same size (about 3' x 4' or 3' x 3'), I'll just alter the starting sizes of the center square to get where I need to go. Since I only have 2 skeins of each color yarn, I wanted to be as color balanced as possible, which may mean that Design #2 is not entirely an option. The idea behind the images in Design 4 was to see a couple of different wave color permuatations and also to see what happened when it became a 3 block by 4 block blanket instead of a 3 block by 3 block blanket.

My current favorite is the first design, but I don't know if I will have the stamina for 20 blocks, and I am a bit worried that it is a little too abstract for a baby blanket. At any rate, you know this is the part where I open it up to get other opinions. Which one do you like best? If it was going to be for your baby's room, which one would you pick? Or should I consider going back to the drawing board altogether?

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