Extras for Build A Blanket: Log Cabin Blocks

Welcome to the goodies page for Build A Blanket: Log Cabin Blocks. Here you’ll find an assortment of links, mini tutorials, inspirational photos, reference lists, and the like. Thanks for being a student in one of my classes!

Please note: I am a participant in several affiliate advertising programs. They provide a means for me to earn a small fee by linking to affiliated sites. There’s no extra cost to you, these fees just help keep the lights on!


Sunshine and Shadow Variations

Options for Sunshine and Shadow BlocksYour handout had a small illustration of some traditional ways to assemble the same Sunshine and Shadow blocks. I’ve updated the illustration; hopefully it is easier to see how the blocks are put together. Click on the illustration to get to the large version.

Most of the blocks at right and which I showed you have a center “hearth” in the a different color than the logs around it. Simply changing the hearth to the same color as one of the logs in an otherwise “sunshine and shadow” block can vastly change the visual impression of the afghan!

Change the color of the center squareBelow I’ve taken another arrangement of this sort of block at left… and changed the hearth color of every other group of four blocks. The pattern goes from 4-lobed clovers to a bed of clovers and 8-petalled flowers.Two color block options


Golden Ratio Blocks

Half blocks, each of 1 tier in Golden Ratio

The Golden Ratio, Section, Mean or the Greek letter phi (φ): all stand as ways to express a proportion and pattern that the human eye (and nature) find aesthetically pleasing. It is also intellectually pleasing, and in our case can be used for some easy knitting when mixed with our log cabin skills. The example below represents a garter stitch block, wherein one ridge = 2 rows = the same height as one stitch in width. Because of this relationship I can use stitches and ridges for my proportion calculations. Sticklers might say I should be using inches or centimeters or millimeters, but all would require rounding anyway. Close enough to the beach, IMHO.

Once the first square and log 1 are worked, all subsequent logs are actually squares. All we have to do is pick up stitches across, and work to the same number of ridges. Viola!
Figuring golden ratio


Yarn Amounts: Another Example

Calculating yarn amounts can be done the ballpark way, or the scientific way. If I have lots of yarn at hand, can easily get more, and/or don’t care about dye lots, I might choose the former method. But when I have a particular design in mind and no yarn at hand, I choose the scientific method.

I had a design proposal accepted recently and needed to calculate amounts required. It was a two-color design, so I bought a skein of A and B.

After winding each into a ball, I checked the alleged weight from the label. Instead of 100g, A weighed 99g and B weighted 101g. Then I began knitting my test square, which you can see above. When I was done, I weighed what remained of each ball: 49g of A and 94g of B. Subtracting, 99-49=50g of A used in 1 square; 101-94=7g of B used in 1 square.

My design has 30 squares. 50g/1 square x 30 squares=1500g of A, or 15 100g skeins. 7g/1 square x 30 squares=210g of B, or 3 100g skeins. Given the variation of actual yarn in each skein, I ordered 16 skeins of A; I’m probably ok with 3 of B as there are about 70g to play with in skein 3. Fingers crossed!


Miscellaneous Links

I wrote a blog post a few years back on the story behind the Streak of Lightning afghan you saw in class. The pattern and an article titled Building a Log Cabin were published in the October 2013 issue of Creative Knitting presents: All Season Throws. Check the Creative Magazine website for back issues!

To the best of my knowledge there is no “log cabin knitting” book. There is a nice chapter in Kay Gardiner and Ann Shayne’s Mason-Dixon Knitting, published by Potter Craft in 2006.

One of the best set of skills you can pick up are those around “finishing.” This one by my friend and fellow teacher Chris Bylsma includes several ways seams are sewn (horizontal to horizontal, vertical to vertical, and combinations), picking up stitches (:-), and edging options.


Finishing Made Easy: The Beginner’s Guide – $19.99

from: Craftsy


Traditional Fabric Quilting References

My interest in quilting grew from my mother-in-law’s. She was a fantastic sewer (she made my wedding dress) as well as quilter. I cherish the serger and sewing books that she left me when she passed. She told me about the quilts of Gee’s Bend, and when the exhibit of them came to the De Young Museum a few years back I had to go see them.

They were amazing. All made in the traditional way, with real fabric scraps and worn-out clothing. The shapes and colors and pattern arrangements were inspiring; the Pop Art Afghan was my take in knitting on one of the quilt designs I loved most.

I also find the quilting books below inspiring; perhaps you will too!

Beal, Susan, Modern Log Cabin Quilting. New York: Potter Craft, 2010.
Davis, Boo, Dare to Be Square Quilting. New York: Potter Craft, 2010.
Dubrawsky, Malta, Fresh Quilting. Loveland, CO: Interweave Press, 2010.


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