Learn to Knit a Log Cabin Blanket

Uploaded by verypinkknits on 10.02.2012

In this tutorial weíre going to learn to make this Log Cabin blanket, hereís a little
more of it.
Log Cabin is a traditional quilting technique thatís been adapted over the years to both
knitting and crocheting. Weíre going to learn how to make this knit blanket.
And for this we have a pattern you can follow along with.
Itís available for free over on my website verypink.com, or you can follow the link I
put in the video description below.
Now before we get started, there are three things that I want to talk about with this
Um, first up is the size.
And Iím giving you instructions for, very specifically, a 47 inch by 63 inch blanket.
But itís very easy to adapt by adding more quilt blocks, or even adjusting the size of
the quilt blocks, which look like this.
Um, and Iíve made this, Iíve designed this pattern to use up leftover bits of yarn from
other projects.
You can plan out one of these blankets. It looks really cool when the colors are carefully
I really just used leftover bits that I had from other projects.
So thatís about the size.
For the yarn choices, Iím going to recommend that you use, that you stick with one fiber
If you want to make an animal fiber, mostly wool, for example, stick with that.
You can also use cotton or other plant fibers, or an acrylic blanket.
I will tell you this ñ youíll have the best luck with this blanket if you use animal fibers.
Now if you donít have any, donít worry about it.
But if you have, if you make any kind of tension mistake with this. Like you have a bind off
thatís too tight or stitches that are a little bit loose.
Animal fibers are going to be really forgiving when you block them out, and youíll still
end up with nice, right angles.
Which is what this blanketís all about.
Also, as far as your leftover bits of yarn go, Iím talking about not very much yarn
at all! [laughs]
This is ten yards of yarn, which is enough to work the shortest strip in the quilt block.
And this is 30 yards of yarn, just to give you an idea. And this is enough to work the
longest strip in the quilt block.
So you can measure it out to make sure you have enough for any given strip, but um, just
for an idea, this is ten and this is 30.
The last thing I want to mention before we get into the technique are colors.
And like I said, you can carefully plan the colors for this blanket, or you can just use
the leftover bits of yarn that you have.
I did not pay very much attention to what the colors were doing when I put this blanket
I did pay attention to a couple of things.
I made sure that no single block was dominated by one color.
I have a lot of green leftovers. I could have made this whole blanket with different colors
of green! [laughs]
But I wanted to shake it up, so I paid attention to that.
I also made sure that no single block was really dark or really light. So I tried to
mix that up.
And I kept really uncomplimentary colors from being next to each other in a block.
I did use colors that didnít really match in a single block, they just didnít touch
each other.
So those are some things to think about. Go ahead and get your free pattern over on my
And first up weíre going to get started with the center square.
Weíre ready to get started with our first quilt block.
And something that I forgot to mention in the intro is that for all of you purl stitch
haters ñ there is not a single purl stitch in this whole blanket.
It is 100 percent knit stitch.
You know who you are! [laughs] Youíre going to like that part of this project!
Letís go ahead and take a look at the construction of this.
Here is a finished quilt block. And this is unblocked, so itís a little lumpy and bumpy.
We start with this center square here.
Cast on 20 stitches, knit for 20 ridges.
And weíll talk about that a little bit.
Then you bind off and you knit this strip.
You bind off, and then you knit this strip.
You bind off, this is four ñ uh, this is three.
Four, five, six, seven, and eight.
And itís all clear in the pattern.
If this is confusing now, donít worry.
Itís just a matter of turning the work counter clockwise every time you bind off.
To knit the next strip, and itís just kind of all laid out in front of you.
So the first thing we do is we cast on 20 stitches and knit for 20 ridges.
This is a bulky sample, this is much bigger square than I got when I used worsted weight
This is just for example.
Letís talk first about what is right side, and what is wrong side.
Because right and wrong side becomes really clear after youíre finished with your center
square and your first strip.
But with the just the center square knit, Iíll show you how I determine what is right
and wrong side.
This is my cast on row here.
And this is what I consider the right side.
Itís a nice, twill edge to the cast on row.
And I did the long tail cast on, and my working yarn ñ uh, my tail end ends up over here
on the left side.
The wrong side of the cast on looks like purl bumps.
So what I did ñ the reason thatís important is because I bound off on the right side.
So I cast on, I knit for 20 ridges.
Now when weíre talking about garter stitch, itís easy to see how many rows you have because
you can just count these ridges.
And each ridge is actually two rows, down and back.
If you pull them apart, they look like purl bumps, but if you pull them apart, there is
a knit stitch between there.
So it ends up actually being 40 rows, 20 ridges.
And then I bound off.
And throughout this pattern, the bind off ñ I want you to do a regular bind off, nothing
And Iíll give you a link in the pattern to what a regular bind off is, in case you need
Regular bind off is stiff, and itís going to provide stability throughout the pattern
so itís not just a big stretchy piece of garter stitch.
So a regular bind off, we bind off all the way off, and we leave the last loop.
Normally when we bind off, you would pull that last loop through and fasten it off.
Nope, we need to leave that live.
And then you bind off, you turn your work counter clockwise so that your loop is over
here on the right side.
And this is where weíre going to pick up and knit.
Got my needles here.
And I have the next color of yarn that I want to use, all ready to go.
So weíre going to pick up stitches between the ridges.
And weíre going to pick up 20 stitches here.
I have this loop in the old color left on the needle.
And if you look between the ridges, this is actually between the bind off row and the
first ridge, there is a place where the needle just wants to really easily go.
And when you put your needle in there, youíll have two strands up on the needle.
Iím going to take my next color of yarn, and leaving like a six inch tail, Iím just
going to make a loop, and put that over the needle, and pull it through.
And then Iíll separate my working yarn from my tail end.
And then again between the ridges, kind of up almost into the next ridge, there is a
hole there that makes it so easy to pick up a stitch.
So I put my needle in there, wrap the needle, lots of tension on the working yarn here.
Whoops, I just lost it.
Pull that through, and then loosen that stitch up a bit if you pulled the working yarn really
So right in there.
And if you are worried about whether you are picking up a stitch in the right spot, it
doesnít really make that much difference.
As long as you are consistent across the whole row, it will look good.
Youíre going to have to bear with me here.
Okay that should be 19.
For the very last one I pick up, I want to pick ñ well, let me double check.
Nope, that was one too many.
My last stitch, you would assume, would go right here.
But I want to pick it up as close to the edge as possible.
This would be picking it up as Iíve done on all of these.
Iím going to skip that little spot and really kind of go into the upper knot.
And the reason I do that is to even out this edge with the next bit of knitting.
I donít want there to be a jog there, so I try to get things as close to the edge as
And now I have 21 inches. 21 inches! 21 STITCHES on the needle.
Because I have this one in the other color, and I picked up 20.
Now Iím going to turn the work, and just knit across.
No purling!
And the bit that you just picked up, the wrong side row after the first bit that you pick
up is always the stiffest row to knit.
It gets easier from here.
Get all the way down to the last two stitches, one of those stitches will be in the new color,
one in the old color.
And knit those two together.
So I picked up 20 stitches, and now I have 20 stitches on the needle.
Now we left these two ends loose.
Weíre going to get to that here.
Turn your work again, and this is how I do, how I finish up attaching my new color.
I knit across a few stitches.
And the reason I knit across a few is so that thereís enough on this right needle so that
it doesnít fall out.
You can see here, I have some of the tan showing from that loop, and this is just all kind
of loose and ridiculous looking.
Iím going to take those two ends and pull them. Especially pulling on the tan one.
Donít be shy about pulling hard.
Pull it until you donít see any more tan in there, and the stitches look even.
Then, I tie a knot with the two ends.
Like so.
And thatís not going anywhere.
When I go back to weave in the ends, this knot will be nice, it wonít cause any problems.
Now, um, hereís the right side of the work. Hereís the wrong side of the work.
I want to show you ñ I think this is really pretty. Even without the ends woven in yet.
If you are consistent with where you pick things up, you end up with what looks really
nice and neat on the wrong side of the work.
It also becomes really obvious to see what is the wrong side of the work, because all
of the ridges are on the back, and the front is very smooth.
Next up weíre going to take about picking up the second strip.
Now Iím going to show you how to pick up the second strip.
Youíve done the center square and one strip, weíre going to pick up the second strip.
And after you get this technique down, youíre good for the rest of the blanket!
Thereís nothing else for me to show you other than seaming the pieces, the quilt blocks,
So letís take a look at this.
Thereís my center square, thereís my first strip.
And again with this first strip, I picked up the stitches, and we covered all that in
the last one, and then you just count the ridges.
And I did ten ridges and bound off on the right side of the work.
Thereís the wrong side with the, um, the ridge on the back.
So weíre ready to pick up for the second strip.
Bind off, turn it counter clockwise, and weíre ready to go this way.
So the things that different about this one, and itís the only other technique that you
really need to know, is that weíre going to picking up between garter stitch ridges
and on a cast on edge.
Which is the same as a bind off edge.
Thatís the, um, the only thing you need to know about picking up stitches is that itís
not all between ridges.
For different blocks we have different edges to pick up from, this one happens to be a
cast on edge.
So letís get started.
Again, Iíve left the last stitch from the first strip, Iím going to put my needle in
just like I did when we picked up for that first strip.
Leave myself about a six inch tail, make a loop, wrap that around the needle, lots of
tension on the working yarn, pull that through.
And I will pick up ten along this edge, which will give me 11 on the needle, because Iíve
left that first red stitch.
2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 11.
There are 11 on the needle now because I picked up ten.
Now weíre ready to start picking up in the cast on edge.
And Iíll tell you, um, there are just enough stitches to pick up.
But this very first one in tan, I always have a really difficult time picking it up.
So I pick up the first that I see, or here in red, from the first strip.
Now what Iím picking up are two legs, Iím going under two legs of the V.
Wrap it and pull it through.
Now I just did that because itís much easier to pick up than this first tan one.
So now going across this tan ridge, Iím going to put my needle under, as I said, both legs
of the V.
Wrap it and pull it through just like you did with the garter stitch ridges.
And thatís it.
Its going to be the same all the way across, itís going to be the same for all of the
ridges, or all of the strips.
So I picked up between the ridges here, and I picked up from the cast on edge of the second,
of the center square here.
Iím going to do the same thing I did on the first strip for this strip.
Iíll pick the stitches up, knit back, and when I get to the last two stitches, Iíll
knit them together.
Iíll make sure and pull them tightly to make any trace of the red disappear from this cream
color strip.
And knit for ten ridges and bind off. And then again turn it counter clockwise.
And I make it really clear in the pattern just where you are and where to go after you
finish a strip, where your next strip will appear.
It becomes habit and it gets to be pretty easy the more quilt blocks that you do.
Okay, next up we are going to talk about steaming the finished blocks, figuring out placement,
and knitting the borders on the blocks.
Now that you know all of the techniques you need to knit the blanket, letís talk about
the bigger picture of putting the whole thing together.
I knit up a whole bunch of quilt blocks before I took the next step to go on and start weaving
in ends and thinking about placement and knitting the borders on this.
First letís talk about steaming out the blocks.
We are here on my blocking board.
You donít have to have a blocking board. You can use an ironing board or whatever else,
whatever surface you have thatís not going to burn or melt with the iron.
And um, the blocking board is nice and ironing boards are nice because you can pin into them.
With these blocks that I did, it just so happens that they block out to 13 inches square.
And so every time I knit one ñ I love it when things end up with perfect right angles
and everything looks really good.
I spent a lot of time steaming before this blanket was finished.
And so I blocked the, whoops, not quite 13 inches square.
So I would pin it out like this, really making sure that my right angles were looking nice
and nothing was stretching.
And um, see what Iím doing here?
This piece is unblocked and I donít have an iron here, but the way that I would do
it is turn the iron on, and since Iím using wool, I can use the highest heat setting,
the highest steam setting.
Set it on steam and without pressing down, just steam all over just hitting the steam
button and having the steam spray out.
And then with wool, I was able to pat it the way that I want it to be to make sure that
itís perfect and straight.
And Iíll tell you, after I did even just the center square, I would block, I would
steam this out to be a perfect square before I started knitting on it.
I tell you, Iím a fiend about right angles. [laughs]
So I was really careful to make sure that everything was square throughout the whole
Also, steaming it will give you an idea if things are going well.
For example, if youíre really watching your work and making sure that things look good,
youíll be able to tell right away, for example, if one of your bind off edges is too tight.
Then you can go right back and fix that before you go on with your work.
And thatís, steaming is actually a way to make sure that your work is looking good.
Now, next up weíre going to talk about placing the blocks.
And for the blanket, for the 70 ñ sorry. For the 47 by 63 inch blanket, I have 12 blocks
And I made this so I can show you how Iíve worked the placement on these.
I have colored in the longest strip, strip number 8, on each one of these little blocks
to make it clear.
Now, instead of arranging them all facing the same direction.
You see how I have the colored strip over there on the left side?
I decided to kind of make the eye dance around a little bit, and not see that much pattern.
So I twisted them a quarter turn.
Going across like this and down.
You see how I did that?
And then when I did that I would just make sure that I didnít have, you know, red next
to red or white next to white.
And so I actually set all of this out on my bed to make sure that I liked how it looked
before I started knitting borders.
Because you do need to know how you want it set out before you start knitting borders.
And Iíll tell you the reason for that.
We want all of the spaces between the quilt blocks to be exactly ten ridges.
And I wanted it set up so that the seam would run exactly between those ten ridges.
So for example, when I knit the border on this square up here, I did five ridges one
side, ten ridges on this side, ten ridges on this side, and five ridges on this side.
So it would fit together with the rest of the blanket.
And to do that, I needed to know this would be my upper left blanket.
And letís take a look at the piece I have here. This might make it more clear.
This is actually the bottom leftÖis it? Yes, itís the bottom left piece.
Iím still working on that blanket. I still have three more blocks to go.
And this needs to be blocked but you can see here that I have five ridges here, five ridges
Because itís going to fit up in this corner here.
So itís five ridges, five ridges, ten ridges, ten ridges.
And thatís what Iíve got going here. Ten ridges, ten ridges.
Once you know where theyíre placed, you know how many ridges to put on each side.
And for another example, here is the piece Iím currently working on.
This is the center bottom piece.
So that itís five ridges here, five ridges here, five ridges here, which Iím still knitting,
and ten ridges here.
And once I figure out where something is going to be placed, I take a little clippie marker
and mark the side that needs ten ridges.
So I donít forget when Iím watching a movie in my knitting chair.
And the borders are knit just like every other strip. You leave an extra stitch, you knit
your ridges, you bind off turn it a quarter turn, and thatís whatís going to give you
the edges.
Now, I used scrap yarn for everything, and I bought this yarn.
And I ended up using, for this size blanket, about 900 yards.
The details will all be in the pattern.
But Iíll tell you. As cool as black looks, it made seaming really difficult. [laughs]
If I were to make another one of these, I would probably pick like a tweedy brown or
something instead of this black.
I had to sit under a bright light to be able to see what I was doing when I was seaming
these pieces together.
Anyway, itís all spelled out in the pattern, but thatís the idea you want for figuring
out how to place these and knitting the borders on each block.
And next up, weíre going to talk about weaving in the ends on the back of the work.
Yes, with this blanket youíre going to have a lot of ends to weave in. Hopefully you donít
hate it!
But usually I find that when I teach someone the really correct way of weaving in ends,
they end up disliking it less.
I donít mind doing it.
I think itís pretty fun.
Letís take a look.
Here is a finished quilt block with none of the ends woven in. [laughs]
And for those of you who hate weaving in ends, this probably looks like a nightmare. Itís
And Iím going to demonstrate how to do it on this bulky piece here.
Now if you know how to weave in ends already, weaving in in garter stitch is very much like
weaving in ends in reverse stockinette, on the back of stockinette work.
Iím taking my tapestry needle, Iím threading this on there, and Iím going to go under
this ridge.
Because I want to weave in the red end in the red area.
Okay. Now if you look at the work, you will see what I call umbrellas and smiles, umbrellas
and smiles.
And this like I said, this is just like weaving in ends in reverse stockinette, but if you
pull it apart youíll see that there are knit stitches between the ridges.
Weíre going to pretend that this is reverse stockinette, and there are no knit stitches
between the ridges.
Weíre going to treat it that same way.
So I want you to come up, Iím going to come up picking up a smile and picking up a smile.
To get myself away from the very edge of the work.
Now Iím going to travel to the right here.
Just to the right of where I came out, there is an umbrella.
Iím going to follow the umbrella around, and go down into the smile next to it.
Angle my needle to the left, and go down into the umbrella. I went through a smile and through
an umbrella.
There, pull that through.
Traveling to the right, right next to where I came out, there is a smile.
Itís hard to see, because itís folded up under.
Thereís a smile.
Iím going to go up into the umbrella, right next to the smile, angle my needle to the
left, and go up into that smile.
Pull that through.
Thereís an umbrella, go down into that smile, angle to the left, go down into that umbrella,
pull that through.
Itís like youíre making a figure 8.
And if you need a really slow review of this where Iím using contrasting colors, Iíll
give you a link here to my video on weaving in ends, as well.
I usually just weave in just a few times like that.
I guess I wove it in maybe six times, and then cut the end short.
And I donít have to worry about that going anywhere, because I did tie a nice knot right
So it was really just a matter of hiding the end.
You can see ñ you can barely tell that thereís anything different going on here than the
rest of the piece.
And thatís the way we want it to work. We want tidy work on the back.
Next up the last bit, we are going to talk about seaming the pieces together.
Once you get some blocks finished itís time to start seaming them together.
Youíll knit the quilt block, figure out where you want it, knit the borders, and before
I forget to tell you this, the easiest way to seam these is to seam a strip, seam them
in strips and then seam the strips together.
Trying to seam them together on different sides at the same time makes it really awkward
to fit the pieces together.
So maybe youíll three of these done, and seam them together, and then knit other projects
wait until you get more leftover yarn together, and then knit up some more.
The seaming for this is just basic mattress stitch, but there is a little twist because
sometimes weíre seaming garter stitch ridges.
Most of the time weíre seaming bind off row to bind off row, which is easy.
But sometimes garter stitch ridges are in there, so I want to show you how to cover
Letís take a look.
These are my bulky samples.
Obviously these are not finished blocks ready to be seamed together.
And Iím going to use a contrasting color so you can see what Iím doing.
First I want to show you how to seam bind off to bind off.
And actually, I had it the wrong way.
This is bind off to bind off.
Pull that.
I will poke through the very edge here with my tapestry needle.
Pull that through, leaving myself a tail to weave in, and go through that same hole again.
This is how youíll always start a block.
Then jump over to the other piece, and go into the very bottom corner there.
Okay now we have the two pieces attached together.
Now with the bind off rows, you see itís a series of Vs, all the way up.
And right below the V going this way, is a V going this way.
Itís a knit stitch, tucked down in there.
Put your needle behind both legs of that V and pull it through.
You always stay on this side of the work, youíre never poking straight through to the
back. Jump over to the other piece, and pick up
the first two legs of the V that you see, just below the bind off row, over here.
Iím not pulling anything tight yet, if you notice.
Iím going to go into the same hole that I came out of, pick up the two Vs over here,
go into the same hole I came out of, pick up the two Vs over here.
Go into the same hole, two Vs ñ two LEGS of the V, I mean.
You see how easy this part is?
And the reason I leave it loose ñ there are two reasons I leave it loose.
One is it makes it easy to see where I came out of last time, to pick up the two legs
of the V on each side.
And the other ñ I like to leave it a little bit so that I can have what I always call
the ìmagic momentî. I love this.
When you pull it together and it looks so awesome! [laughs]
You canít even see the white colored yarn, can you? It just looks so good!
Now I actually need to take this out so I can show you how to seam bind off row to garter
Which you never have to do very much of, but it does happen.
So Iím going to get it started the same way.
Going through twice over here, jumping over here, and going through the very edge there.
Now, doing the mattress stitch on this side is just the same.
Iíll pick up two legs of the V just under the bind off row.
Then Iíll jump over here.
Iím also going to pick up two things, two legs over here.
One of them is kind of hidden between the ridge, and one of them is the ridge.
Iíll show you that again.
Go into the same hole I came out of and pick up two.
Go into the same hole I came out of, pick up what was between the ridge, and the ridge.
This, um, the thing is ñ youíll go into the same hole, and youíll pull your needle
up, and youíll come up with something that is kind of behind, and then the ridge, you
see, is there in front.
I would say the most important thing, if youíre having a difficult time finding what Iím
talking about.
The most important thing is to make sure that you are working, whatever youíre picking
up is a straight line.
And youíre not dipping into the work and coming back out, because keep your edges from
being straight.
Magic Moment!
And that looks really good.
I can even pull that a little tighter.
And thatís how youíre going to seam the pieces together.
Again, the free pattern is available over on my website, verypink.com.
Good luck.