Streak of Lightning: a little help from my friends

2013_CKSIP_AllSeasThrw_CVRI’ve had this not-so-secret love affair with log cabin knitting going for the last few years. There are partial blankets with different types and arrangements of blocks tucked away in my stash, waiting to become full-size things. They come out 4 times a year, when I teach the Playing with Patchwork 1-hour Market Session at STITCHES events. I was thrilled when I saw Creative Knitting’s Autumn 2013 Call for Proposals was all about afghans—at last, an excuse to make a full-sized Streak of Lightning afghan!!! AND I got to work with some great yarn, Cascade 220 Superwash, in beautiful colors.

One of the things I love about making log cabin squares is the soothing, rhythmic nature of the knitting. Especially in garter stitch, where the numbers are logical and easy to remember (1 stitch being the same width as 2 rows’ height). And blocks are also portable knitting, also a good thing.

Afghans, however, are big. Like, linebacker-boyfriend-sweater big. Bigger. And sample blankets have deadlines. So if 1 block takes 3-4 hours to make, and an afghan has 42 blocks… well. That’s a week of all-nighters for some poor sample knitter. :-(

Fortunately for me and my poor sample knitter, the amazing Kellie Nuss (of Kellie Nuss Photography, who also took the photos for the article accompanying the afghan), STITCHES West was approaching, and helping hands were recruited to help raise these log cabins and put them all together. Folks in the Santa Clara hotel lobby and bar may have spied our “knitting bee” in progress, with Sarah Peasley and Cindy Craig joining us and Edie Eckman providing moral support while on the DL (recovering from shoulder injury).

By the end of the weekend most of the afghan was done. I can’t imagine what I would have done without your help, friends—thank you, thank you, thank you. The work on display on the gorgeous magazine cover shot is yours at least as much as mine.

It seems fitting that a traditional design ended up being completed in a traditional way. My son wants it for his bed, but he’s going to have to wait to inherit this one. It warms more than just my cold feet.

Coda

bigger_square

Interested in making a Streak of Lightning bigger than the one in the magazine? Add another strip of blocks to the side and along the bottom for a 63 x 72 inch afghan. OR, try resizing the blocks!

There are 4 tiers in the blocks in the magazine, amounting to 9×9 inch square blocks. I recently was asked to contribute a 12×12 inch block to a joint afghan project. Of course I wanted to make a log cabin block, but I needed to upsize it to fit.

Log cabin blocks are easy to size. I could have added a row or 2 to the logs in each tier, or increased the size of the center square. Since each log is about an inch tall, a tier adds 2 inches to the block’s dimensions; I filled out the final necessary inch with a block border in yellow, the same color as the center square.

Make each block just one tier bigger, and you’ll have yourself a 67 x 78 inch afghan. Don’t forget to buy more yarn!

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