Logalong FO No. 4 : Cal Patch

Log Cabin Make-along FO No. 4 : Cal Patch

One of my favorite things about this last fafkal concept, the Log Cabin Make-along, was being able to rope crocheters into it (no pun intended) — and particularly getting to include my friend Cal Patch on the panel. The crocheters have made so many amazing contributions to the #fringeandfriendslogalong feed (I’m particularly crazy about @peacockaren’s boxy sweater) and today I’m thrilled to show you Cal’s finished bandana-cowl, which she’ll be releasing a pattern for soon! For news on that and more of Cal, make sure to follow @hodgepodgefarm on Instagram. Here’s Cal—

. . .

You initially set out to make what you were tentatively calling a “log cabindana” — a neckwarmer with coverage in both the front and the back. Did you veer at all from your original plan along the way, or did you make exactly what was in your head from the start?

This is a case where my end result is very much exactly what I envisioned! I guess the only real difference is that it did end up a bit bigger than I imagined … possibly more into mini-poncho territory than a bandana cowl-esque thing, which was my intention. I am pro-poncho so this is not at all a negative for me! I did consider crocheting around the neckline to build it up higher around the neck, and I’d like to try another version and do that. But I loved this one so much once I joined the rectangles together, that I wanted to keep it just as it is.

I also didn’t imagine it quite this big — I love the scale of it. And I take it you love how it turned out?

I LOVE IT!!! The log cabin technique is so fun; I had dabbled in some LC sewing but never tried it in crochet. (Which, in retrospect, seems unimaginable that it took this long!) As a scrappy improviser, this method makes my soul sing! I’ll be wearing my Cabindana for the next few months as Winter transitions into Spring here in the Hudson Valley — always a chillier season than we’d like to think. So having this snuggly mini-blanket around my neck will be a welcome comfort.

We talked about this a little bit before, but have you used one crochet stitch the entire time and it’s just the yarns giving it subtle variation in appearance, or have you changed it up at all along the way?

Yes, this project is 100% half-double crochet in the back loop, which gives the ribby texture. Half-double is actually my favorite stitch; it’s the “just right” middle size between single (too short and potholder-y) and double (too tall and open). Any variation you’re seeing would be due to the slightly varying yarn weights and textures. They’re mostly sock yarns, but some were definitely lighter single-plies, verging on lace weight, and others may have been sport or DK. There’s even some handspun in there, from a bag of bits of leftovers given to me by a friend.

And you’ve gone totally freeform in terms of both the sizes of your various blocks and your use of color — or did you map any of that out ahead of time?

I did not map it at all; my only plan was that I knew the destination, or the finished dimensions of the two rectangles, which I had worked out in advance using some T-shirt jersey. So I worked freestyle and occasionally held the two rectangles up to the sample to guide me. I knew I could always add on a few “logs” to just the short sides, if I needed to make up extra length. It worked out perfectly.

Will the pattern invite people to be freeform about it as well, or have you broken it down into established chunks of crochet?

I’ve been mulling this over in my head … I’d prefer the pattern, which I haven’t yet written up (maybe for this very reason), to allow the maker to freestyle within the blocks like I did. But I’m not sure if that method suits everyone. Maybe I’ll include both ways in the pattern. It wouldn’t have been nearly as fun for me to be told the size of every log, but I’m sure there are many who’d like to be told the sizes. Feedback is welcome!

I mentioned before that I kind of feel like crochet is inherently modular and log cabin-like, but did working on this project make you want to do more in the log cabin realm? Or did it have any effect on your broader sewing/making practice? How soon before you log cabin again?

Yes, I definitely predict many more Log Cabin Crochet projects and designs in my future! My wheels are turning … and the crocheters seem to have embraced it over on the Insta. We’re using the hashtag #logcabincrochet to share. I haven’t decided what my next LC plans are; I may need to make another Log Cabindana to test the pattern, or a sweater, or some crochet mitts, or … I guess you can safely say I’m HOOKED on Log Cabin!

. . .

Thanks, Cal! Don’t forget there’s still activity on the #fringeandfriendslogalong feed, and we’ll have our final panelist FO q&a with Kay Gardiner once she finishes up her little gem of a sweater!


PREVIOUSLY in Log Cabin Make-along: FO No. 3 Veronika Jobe






Elsewhere: Yarny links for your clicking pleasure

Happy Friday! This has been one of those weeks that I’ve felt like I was dragging myself through quicksand trying to get through my to-do lists, so I’m extra excited about the weekend and some creative time!

But first, I’ve got a healthy stack of links for you to click around in today—

– One of my very favorite projects from the #fringeandfriendslogalong is @sari_n_’s blanket (photo above), and she’s now posted an in-depth video on YouTube talking about how she’s going about knitting it

– Also, Bonne Marie Burns has published the pattern for her beautiful rendition of “courthouse steps” blanket (20% off with code LOG for a limited time)

– I’m so excited that the long-awaited Vintage Shetland Project has come to fruition, and can’t wait to get my hands on a copy

– How are your favorites faring in MDK March Mayhem?

Here’s a guest list I wish I’d been on!

– “I’ll try anything,” I told her. “Just don’t make me stop knitting.”

– Meanwhile, studies continue to show knitting reduces depression, anxiety and chronic pain (thx, Rach)

– Pretty excited about Denim Days

Yes, please

These swatches. And these.

– “If you have ever wanted to crochet an eyeball …” is my favorite random phrase from Insta lately

– and What’s in your tool pouch? A little or a lot? (Tell me here or there!)

Have a fantastic weekend — see you back here next week!


PREVIOUSLY: Elsewhere + Mitts No. 6

Mini Porter + Elsewhere

NEW! the Mini Porter, limited quantity

Happy Friday! First things first: There’s a fun little oddball in the webshop today, which we’re calling the Mini Porter — cutest thing ever. It’s a happy accident, basically — the lemonade we made from a batch of wrongly cut canvas that was intended for Porter Bins, so the quantity is inherently limited. Get one while they last! (Also new or back in stock of late: black Porter BinPlain & SimpleWoods and A.L.J.; Lykke Driftwood interchangeable short tips and crochet hooks both now available individually; Wool Soap!; and mini matte scissors in highly amusing sheep shape.)

And, a wee Elsewhere:

“I love your look! Who’s the farmer?”

How the Faroe Islands got their landscape onto Google Street View (hint: sheep!)*

What Brandi said

Love this interview with a bespoke jeans maker


Style muse of the week

I’ll have this crocheted blanket, and the pup to go with

– and I want to make a bullet journal so I can have a page like this

Have an amazing weekend, and remember: Just a few more weeks till I start doling out Logalong prizes! See you on the hashtag? #fringeandfriendslogalong

*gravest apologies — I’ve lost track of which of you sent me this link!







Insights and inspiration from the Log Cabin Make-along

Insights and inspiration from the Log Cabin Make-along

I’ve finished my log cabin mitts, and am trying to figure out how I would/could maintain this blog if all I ever knit henceforth are more and more and more of them. Which is to say I am extremely pleased with how they’ve turned out (already started another pair, now that I’ve made this little discovery) and totally addicted to log cabin knitting. I hope to have photos to share next week, with the pattern soon to follow. Meanwhile, the #fringeandfriendslogalong feed continues to be a hotbed of creativity and inspiration and observation — already approaching 700 posts!

In addition to designer Julia Farwell-Clay’s incredible Richard Diebenkorn-inspired shawl-in-progress pictured above, influences cited have ranged from Paul Klee and Josef Albers to weaver Margo Selby (thanks, Cal!), a photo of Kirsten Dunst in Rodarte, indigenous textiles of Togo/Ghana, and yes, even a pay phone. Once you get log cabin in your head, inspiration is everywhere! The scale of projects underway ranges from a beer koozy to a circle skirt to sweaters and blankets galore. There are people exploring keeping stitches live and others savoring the recurring sense of satisfaction that comes with each bit of bind-off; some free-forming their blocks while others map out every detail; and still others starting projects without any idea what they might become (gosh, what a lot of pretty knits). And then there’s the log cabin meets Hello Kitty meets pussyhat hat.

Basically, you never know from one minute to the next what marvelous knitted block or insightful thought you might encounter! If you’re still on the fence, I would urge you to pick up some needles and a bit of yarn fluff from your stash, and knit a square. Then pick up sts along the side and knit another square. Then a rectangle alongside those. See what happens to your brain and where the exercise takes you! And like I said, I’ll be along soon with that mitts pattern, and then we’ll see if you can stand to not cast on.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, see the Log Cabin Make-along intro, Meet the panel and timeline posts. And whatever you’re up to this weekend (marching? knitting? cleaning house?), I hope it’s a good one! See you back here on Monday—


PREVIOUSLY in Log Cabin Make-along: How to avoid, minimize and weave in ends




Logalong: How to avoid, minimize and weave in ends

How to avoid, minimize and weave in ends

We all know one of the deterrents to any multi-strand or patchwork project — such as Log Cabin! — is how many ends it can leave you to weave in. Even the most sanguine among us — the ones who will extol the virtues of end-weaving as closure and bonding and meditation — can sour on the process when faced with too many of them. Ends are a fact of life, but not only are there lots of methods for weaving in ends, there are at least as many ways to minimize them! Which is what I’ve polled our illustrious Log Cabin Make-along panelists about for today. (There’s also lots of general community advice under How do you weave in your ends? and a good overview of basic methods in this Purl Soho tutorial.)

I have it comparatively easy. First: My fingerless mitts project consists of two 7-inch blocks — plus some appendages and fanciness — each made of 9 strips, so even if you changed colors on every single strip, the absolute project maximum would be 36 ends. (As compared to a blanket?) Second: Mitts have a wrong side. Nobody will ever see the inside of them, so it isn’t as critical for them to be artfully done. That said, all I’m doing is sliding my tapestry needle one direction under a stack of bumps, then back the other direction, as seen above. Done.

Were I more concerned about it (or more accurately, if I could remember to do it!), I would knit them in as I join each new color, which is done in the same way as trapping floats in colorwork. For this, I hold my working yarn in my right hand and the yarn to be trapped in my left hand. Every-other-stitch, for maybe 10 stitches or so, insert your working needle into the stitch to be worked and under the strand to be trapped, wrap the working yarn around the needle as usual and pull up the stitch. You’ve caught the loose strand in the backside of the stitch, and it won’t show on the front of the work. (Very Pink demonstrates an alternative version here.) Once you’ve trapped it a handful of times, snip off the rest of the end. For many people, this is sufficiently neat and tidy to be done even on a blanket or such where the back of it will inevitably be seen. If you want it to be more like invisible, or not to exist in the first place, here’s the rest of the panel with further thoughts and ideas! And of course, if you haven’t checked out the #fringeandfriendslogalong feed, I highly encourage you to do so!

. . .

Logalong: How to avoid, minimize and weave in ends - Russian Join

VERONIKA JOBE of YOTH Yarns (Instagram: @yarnonthehouse)

One of my tackles with my Log Cabin project has been the many ends I’m producing. Now, don’t get me wrong! I actually find a peace and rhythm in duplicate stitching my tails in place at the end of a project, but when we’re talking 18 ends per 9-block square, that makes even me cringe. I have high hopes in publishing this beauty as a pattern and kit at the end, so cutting down on work that the common knitter dreads is key.

I started by posting on Instagram to see what my community had for suggestions — went through various comments and links, eventually landing on the good old-fashioned Russian Join. I am by no means an expert at the Russian Join, but I do have some experience under my belt with this technique. If you are up for wanting to try it out for the first time, I highly recommend watching one of the many YouTube videos out there and seeing the actual process. [Editor’s note: My first introduction to Russian Join was this Susan B. Anderson video.] Here are just my little tips and tricks that I found useful!

1. I like to knit to the end of my row where I want my transition to happen, mark it using a thin removable marker inside the plies of my yarn, and then unpick 6-8 stitches back so I have enough room to work with.

2. My preference is to overlap my yarn ends about 3″. Most tutorials recommend 2″, but I like to lean on the side of caution.

3. Not all yarns like to be invaded and create a nice opening down the center, so I just weave my end in and out of the plies in a various manner. Nothing too precise. The key is to get that end to lock in. Weave or slide in further than you think. If you end up having a little tail sticking out, don’t worry. You’ve left yourself a whole 1″ cushion and you can just snip it off!

4. You can easily tighten or loosen your gauge a bit to make sure that the transition lands right where you want it to once you start knitting.

. . .

Logalong: How to avoid, minimize and weave in ends

KAY GARDINER of Mason-Dixon Knitting (Instagram: @kaygardiner)

I have a tough-love attitude about weaving in ends: I just do it.

With log cabin, which typically is worked in garter stitch, it’s not an unpleasant task, as it’s easy to hide the ends by weaving them back and forth through the “bumps” of the garter ridges. (The two photos of the WS of my piece show a mess of ends and then how neatly they disappear when woven in.)

I try to minimize the number of ends, for the sake of the integrity of the piece. It’s a game: When I eliminate an end, I win. One firm rule: I never cut the yarn after I’ve bound off a strip if the next strip is in the same color, as is the case with certain color schemes.

Logalong: How to avoid, minimize and weave in endsIn the case of my log cabin pullover, I’m knitting all the strips in a single color. If I were working the basic spiral log cabin block, around and around, I’d never have to cut the yarn until the main body piece was finished. Unless there was a knot or break in the skein (aka an Act of God), I’d have only 2 ends!

But my strip layout is done courthouse-steps style, with 3 sides that form a U shape. The pattern requires you to work the two side strips (which are identical) before working the bottom strip of the U. If you go back and forth knitting Side A and then Side B and then the bottom strip (C), you may end up with more ends than necessary.

After working the initial Side A, I cut the yarn. I start with new yarn to knit Side B. I do not cut the yarn after Side B; I then work Side C, the bottom strip that completes the U, then (without cutting the yarn), I work Side A of the next layer of the U.

Then I have to cut the yarn, go across the piece to the other side, and start Side B. But I knit 3 strips with only 2 ends—victory is mine!

. . .

CAL PATCH of Cal Patch (Instagram: @hodgepodgefarm)

I’ll be the gloater here because crochet has the clear advantage of being able to hide ALL THE ENDS as I go! I should really write  a post about it — I have several tips — but this one shows the main part of it.

. . .

ANN SHAYNE of Mason-Dixon Knitting (Instagram: @annshayne)

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 the 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. 

. . .

Thanks, panelists! And I want to hear from the rest of you: What’s your strategy? Weigh in below!


PREVIOUSLY in Log Cabin Make-along: How to crochet log cabin and Elsewhere






How to crochet Log Cabin

How to crochet Log Cabin

There have been a couple of questions about how to apply log cabin to crochet, which I honestly hadn’t anticipated! I think that’s because, to me, log cabin seems like knitting emulating crochet. I grew up making granny squares, where you pick up stitches in your previous work, work your way around and around, change colors, add on as much as you like, until it’s however big you want it to be! So crochet feels inherently modular and freeform and adaptive to me, and log cabin seems like you’d just be filling in the strips/shapes with crochet stitches instead of knit stitches. But since I am not a seasoned crocheter (much less log cabin-er), and the questions got me wondering whether there’s more to consider than I realize, I put it to the official crocheter on our Log Cabin Make-along panel, Cal Patch:

. . .

Log Cabin — in its strictest form — is about creating strips of color one after another. You knit a square, then knit another square, then knit a strip alongside them the same length and width as the two squares together. Then continue adding strips (laying logs) around and around and around, each one the width of the edge you’re working off of and always the same height. In knitting, it’s typically done in garter stitch because (as Ann pointed out to me the other day) stitch and row gauge even out in garter — 10 stitches wide will equal 10 ridges tall, or 7×7 or 30×30 or whatever scale you want to work with. So you can make a square 10 sts by 10 ridges, for instance, then another 10×10, then each strip is a multiple of 10 sts wide and always 10 ridges tall. How does that correspond in crochet as far as how to calculate how many stitches and rows to work along each edge. Is it important to stick with single crochet?

Well, my immediate thought is that I never assumed the height of the logs needed to be consistent! I should note that I’ve never read or learned any actual official guidelines of Log Cabin-ing; my main influences would be the Gee’s Bend school of improv quilting (example here or here) and Denyse Schmidt (example), who is also an improv quilter. That said, whether one wants their logs to be of consistent height is a separate decision from the stitch to be used, and its dimensions. I’m actually using Half Double Crochet for my project, which isn’t square at all, but it’s true that Single Crochet would be closer to square, though not exact. I tend to not concern myself with the actual number of stitches or rows, but rather work to a measurement. My rectangles will need to finish at certain dimensions to fit together properly.

Of course, there’s no reason you have to stick to those 1×1 dimensions, either — you can make narrower or wider strips or blocks, get all creative or improvisational with it, which starts to make sense once you’re doing it. True for knitting and quilting alike — and for crochet, yeah?

YES!!! That’s what I’m talkin’ about! I have always seen log cabin as a very loose, scrappy, improvisational technique. Clearly I’m not an architect! Did I mention that Wonky is my middle name?

Is there anything else you think people need to know before they try their hand at a crochet log cabin block? Or any particular resources you would recommend?

I would just dive in and play, at least to make a swatch, and then it will make much more sense (if it’s not already). The basic principles of log cabin knitting will apply to crochet as well, with the exception of actual stitch counts. Many knit patterns could probably be translated stitch for stitch into single crochet. One can definitely sketch and plan in advance, and map it all out, if that’s what makes one’s heart sing. But having taken a class with Denyse Schmidt in which you have to blindly grab your next strip out of a bag and use it whether you love or hate it, I prefer a more serendipitous approach (aka “winging it”).

One idea for actually fitting your crocheted squares/rectangles into something like a sweater, vest, hat or other type of project is to look at patterns designed for granny squares, since they are also blocks! That might get those wheels turning. (Examples here and here)

. . .

Thanks, Cal! I’m sure there will be others with additional or differing opinions, so please do leave your thoughts below!


PREVIOUSLY in Log Cabin Make-along: Highlights, timeline and prize news






Logalong highlights, timeline and prize news

Logalong highlights, timeline and prize news

There are already more than 200 posts on the #fringeandfriendslogalong feed and I’m giddy with all the variety and eager for what’s still to come! Speaking of what’s still to come, here’s are those details I promised you—

Upcoming blog posts will include varying perspectives on how to handle your ends as well as guidance for crocheters, and I don’t think it will be very long before we start having panelist FOs to talk about! (And hopefully my little mitts pattern even sooner.) But let me know if there’s anything else in particular you’d like us to address as a panel.


I don’t usually set an end date on knitalongs (blog content will come to a close around the end of Feb, but you’re always welcome to keep going) and I’m especially reluctant to do so with the Logalong since the range of projects underway is so broad. I mean, some of those blankets could take awhile! (Unless you’re Ann, a knitter possessed.) So there’s no firm end date, but we do need to set a date as far as …


I always say I’m conflicted about prizes because your finished object is your prize! — not to mention all the fun and learning and camaraderie along the way — but then I go and make up a whole bunch of extra prizes like I did with Summer of Basics because, let’s face it, prizes are fun. So I’m declaring the following prizes which will be drawn from all posts on the #fringeandfriendslogalong feed on February 28th and announced the following Friday here on the blog. Your project does not have to be complete at that time; I’ll simply be choosing from all contributions made to the feed between now and then.

One winner for each category will receive a $100 gift certificate* to Fringe Supply Co.:
• Best Laid Plans — for the most inspired or creative concept
• House Proud — for best photos/documentation
• Square and True — for best traditional use of log cabin
• Thinking Outside the Block — for best non-traditional use of log cabin
• Like Cabin (aka Mock Cabin) — for best adaptation/variation on modular knitting

Plus: I’ll do a random drawing of 5 posts from within the feed and those posters will each win a Field Bag in the color of their choice.*

As Jeff Probst would say, “Worth playing for?”

Bonus: Ann and Kay are giving away a Ninepatch Blanket Kit — details on how to enter that drawing are on MDK today.


The photos above are a few of the many standouts from this week’s posts on the hashtag. I didn’t intend them to be color-coordinated, but the feed has a definite palette to it so far! Click through to each one to read and see more—

TOP: @sari_n_’s amazing improvisation

MIDDLE LEFT: @phoebe.lle’s fascinating sock-fixing plan (note to Phoebe: can I have this?)

MIDDLE RIGHT: @dottidee’s persistence

BOTTOM: @knit_frog_repeat’s lovely little schematics

And of course, there’s so much more goodness to be found on the full feed, so I encourage you to check it out even if you’re not playing along.

Happy weekend, everyone!


*Note that your posts must be visible in the feed to be eligible, so post them using a public Instagram account and the hashtag #fringeandfriendslogalong. Contest is open to participants worldwide but all winners will be responsible for their own shipping fees.


PREVIOUSLY in Log Cabin Make-along: Meet the panel!