Log Cabin Knitting and a New Way of Thinking

One of my goals for this year goes something along the lines of 'knit less, art more' but only in the sense that I don't want my studio practice (read: personal art) to suffer at the hands of my more practical pursuits. Of course I still want to knit all the things (it's a problem!), continue building my wardrobe through home sewing, and learn new techniques to challenge myself on both those fronts, but everything in balance.

That being said, leave it to me to spend nearly the first full week of 2018 knitting, and in the end finding that I might have struck a happy middle-ground between my Art and what I've up until now seen as just a hobby.


I'm obviously not a knitwear designer, and yet I've spent the past week painstakingly bent over my Log Cabin knitting making design choices with every turn of my block, stressing every which way over right and wrong moves. But the funny thing I'm realizing now is, why do I spend so much time second-guessing myself when knit comes to purl, so to speak, if I'm comfortable (and confident) to make these kinds of choices every day in my illustration and textile practices?

I've always seen knitting as a relationship between the pattern designer, yarn company, and myself and never thought about there being room for me to call more of the shots. I don't think I trusted myself to know enough about knitting to mold it, to really put it work and extract things unexpected. With Log Cabin I'm finding that not only have I learned a lot about knitting since I started in earnest roughly two years ago, but I can trust myself to intuit moves like never before. I'm seeing now that knitting doesn't have to be a practice that is separate or opposite from my studio work, that it's just another tool in my belt and the possibilities are limitless. 

I've finished one block for the #fringeandfriendslogalong, a pillow front of lopi I picked up in Iceland on our honeymoon in 2014. Purchased before I was even a knitter, but that never stopped my yarn-obsessed butt (you can use any yarn when you're a weaver!). All these years I could never find the right project to do the yarn justice, not with heavy emotional burden I placed on it as a major part of my relationship history. A pillow is a simple thing, easy to adapt for Log Cabin knitting, and will guarantee it both a practical and special place in our home. 


In terms of design, I'm most pleased with the transition from that cool, icy gray to mottled black, achieved by picking up stitches along the purple block with both black and gray yarns held together, then dropping the black to pick up stitches the rest of the way. In this manner I was able to knit continuously from solid to mottled on one strip, picking the black yarn up for the full width when I was satisfied with the proportions. A simple adaptation, but it felt like a power move. 

I started a second block to play with the ideas I developed in the first, so excited was I with this newfound magic power. I don't know how this will grow, or how it will live when it gets there, but the journey is most of the fun anyways.