June 28, 2006
The Palette Log Cabin
I think every artist who succeeds (in their own terms) has some ability to keep moving forward in the face of constant obstacles...emotional, mental, financial, physcial...and that is what sets them apart from those who always talk about trying or starting but never get beyond the talking stage. I WANTED TO MOVE FORWARD, AND I WANTED TO FIND A WAY TO WORK MORE ABSTRACTLY.
I've started on my next Log Cabin piece. I'm calling it Palette. I've been thinking and thinking and thinking about this new project. To the point where my brain is going to explode. I was going to wait for some new yarn but the need to get started was too strong so I decided against it and I'm going to use all of the yarns in this picture plus one extra (it's kind of orangey):
I just bought two new books: Debbie New's Unexpected Knitting and Nancy Crow's Nancy Crow. I've only really briefly looked through the New but I think it will be a great resource once I can get past the chemistry textbook feel. It's a nice resource for knitting different shapes.
And then there's the Crow. I was sitting in my car the other day waiting for my guru Kay when she ran out and threw Nancy Crow's book at me and told me it would "blow my fucking mind" then she left. When Kay returned to the car, my brains were indeed splattered all over my brand new car. I was caught between tears of joy and tears of Damn that Kay!!! Nancy Crow is my new hero. And not just because she takes color and shape and line and does miraculous things with FABRIC - the way a different kind of artist works with paints or ink or whatever medium. It's because she GETS IT! The book is filled with her sketchbook notes and thought and ideas and OBSESSIONS! "As I moved on with the new series I became consumed by it. Ideas flooded my brain, overwhelming me with possibilities, pushing me to make quilt after quilt." (Nancy Crow, p. 87) THAT'S EXACTLY HOW I FEEL! A couple of weekends ago I myself was absolutely consumed by this new piece. I was sitting at the computer making squares in Photoshop, filling them in with color. Then I was sketching things out on scraps of paper. Then I was telling anyone who would listen about what I wanted to do. I couldn't get it out of my brain fast enough! The creativity was PHYSICAL. I used to get this way with my writing, but I haven't felt it in a long long time and here it is! Still being creative, but in a new way. It's fabulous and frustrating and wonderful and scary all at the same time.
No fears. I'm not abandoning my knitting for fabric. Although I'll never say never because it always comes back to bite you on the ass. You see, the thing I love best about studying the art in Nancy Crow's book or The Gee's Bend Quilts is that I CAN SEE THEM KNITTED! I think garter stitch and log cabin construction are the perfect compliment to quilts. The binding off and picking up of stitches - which makes seams - mimics the stitching in quilts. And I'm lucky enough to have an amazing color artist in Tina Newton, from Blue Moon Fiber Arts, as inspiration for my "fabrics." So I've got my canvas and I've got my paints and I am raring to go.
I so feel my limitations - I'm not a very adventurous knitter skill wise. I don't feel like I have the chops to just throw a short row in here or bind off there and pick up here or decrease or increase. Right now the most important thing for me is color and execution. Hopefully I will be able to branch out in my forms. I need to take more chances with my work. What's the worst thing that can happen? It doesn't work out? So I rip it. The real problem is that I'm so so impatient. I want it done NOW. I don't sit and tinker ever. I need a goal to work toward. I need to start tinkering.
I will be starting the Log Cabin Knits blog sometime soon - it'll probably be after July 1st though because I'm trying to learn to be kinder to myself and not expect myself to be able to do everything at once and I'm also learning to say no. So I'll have the site up when it's ready, whenever that will be. Soon though. I envision something akin to Whip Up, which I really like. A beautiful place to share ideas and inspirations and techniques - a working collective of sorts. I would encourage all who would like to join to start up their log cabins. Don't wait on me. There will be no rules or patterns or anything - just creativity! I'm envisioning Show and Tell Fridays where we all show our squares or blankets or progress or inspirations, but that's the only special thing I've come up with so far. This isn't a typical knit along at all. I aspire it to be something that grows and expands with our knowledge and skills and really the only limits I see are our ideas. There will be no deadlines. No real goals except what we ourselves can accomplish.
I'm very, very excited about all of it. Thank you.
The yarn I'm using for my project is Socks That Rock in Heavyweight from Blue Moon Fiber Arts. Please see the extended entry for yarn colors and purchase information.
I'm constantly being asked about the yarn for my Log Cabin squares. I'm using Socks That Rock in Heavyweight from Blue Moon Fiber Arts. The colorways I'm using in the new blanket are identified in the picture below:
Most of the colors are NOT listed on Blue Moon's website. BUT THEY ARE AVAILABLE. To order, please call or email Blue Moon. Tell them you saw it here. ;-)
That looks really exciting. Trust your instincts and creativity.
Posted by: Abi at June 28, 2006 05:11 AM
I love the idea of a log cabin blog (but no pressure)!! I too feel like I'm not the riskiest of knitters, but for me it's both skill and I think, just a general lack of confidence. I can imagine this blog as a place for all of us to support, urge and cheer each other on to create. I love it!
Posted by: Melissa at June 28, 2006 06:55 AM
So so very pretty. I love the idea of those Gee's Bend quilts. I see it too. Very cool.
Posted by: Kathleen at June 28, 2006 07:03 AM
So cool! I want to make a log cabin blanket too! I requested MDK at the library, and didn't have time to get it before the hold time ran out! Ack! So I requested it again, and am waiting impatiently.
Posted by: Maryann at June 28, 2006 07:13 AM
Makes me want to MOVE INTO a log cabin. ; ) Looking forward to the blog and all that creativity.
Posted by: Vicki at June 28, 2006 08:06 AM
I may have to check out the Nancy Crow book. For me, crafting (first cross-stitching and now knitting, but quilting is always yammering at me in the background), is largely about color. That's why I found the log cabin section of "Mason-Dixon Knitting" so inspiring--it was all about the interplay of color and pattern, and how one affects the other.
My log cabin yarn arrived yesterday. Once I finish a pair of socks for my son's birthday, I'm diving in.
Posted by: Kirsten at June 28, 2006 08:23 AM
What beautiful palette you have to work with. You've seriously got me thinking of making a log cabin blanket of my own!
Posted by: Kelly at June 28, 2006 08:23 AM
so awesome! I can't wait to see how this one progresses.
I started a simple log cabin on Sunday (leaving all of the other WiPs behind) and I am LOVING it. I'm not following any plan or pattern, I am just knitting as long as I feel like knitting, then binding off and picking up when I feel like it. That makes me feel empowered. And I can't put it down!
Posted by: jess at June 28, 2006 08:58 AM
yes!! It's so great to see you get started on this after hearing your excitement on Saturday. I've been looking up Nancy Crow since then.
I know exactly how you feel though, I'm not a tinkerer either or a let me just throw something in here and let's see what happens knitter. I need to follow some sort of "path", be it one that I or someone else created. I have a feeling though this project will take you to unexpected places!
Posted by: yahaira at June 28, 2006 09:04 AM
Physical creativity: YES.
I love the Debbie New book, and will have to check out the Nancy Crow.
The challenge for me? Those days when I am feeling obsessed and yet, I have to go to my day job, or get the groceries, or spend time with my children. (Don't get me wrong, I love to spend time with my children, but in my obsessive-creative phases it can feel very hard to channel my energy into other endeavors).
Posted by: Katy at June 28, 2006 09:08 AM
Yes! I am so excited to see how beautiful this turns out! This is what I thought you were going to do when you showed us your palette. I was a wee bit disappointed when you only used the greens. That quickly disappeared when I saw your squares. ;)
Posted by: JalynR at June 28, 2006 09:15 AM
Wow! I have always been intrigued by quilting, so much so that I have all sorts of fabric that I've picked up over the years, all unused. Now I'm inspired to pick up some of that stash yarn and start some log cabin squares! Good luck with your new project(s)!
Posted by: Liz D at June 28, 2006 09:27 AM
I'm trying to figure out if you're a great inspiration or a bad influence. i'm weak in the face of beauty, i admit this. I just ordered the Nancy Crow book. Sigh. Thank you, I think. BTW, I'm very VERY excited about your idea for your new blog. And if i haven't mentioned how very glad I am to have met you, I'm mentioning it now.
Posted by: regina at June 28, 2006 09:32 AM
I think you have a wonderful color palette and a lot of creativity in your corner. Best of luck!
Posted by: amanda at June 28, 2006 09:43 AM
It really is frustrating that Blue Moon doesn't list ALL their colors on the website. How do I know what to order if not for you?
But then, maybe it's a good thing they don't. Otherwise, I'd be a bag lady, pushing my STR stash in a stolen shopping cart. ;)
Posted by: Laura at June 28, 2006 09:45 AM
I love your blog - your writing - your enthusiasm - your energy. I live on the other side of the world - I want people like you around me - and I want to be around people like you - exciting, inspiring, passionate, motivating!
I don't know what I'll do with a log cabin blanket, but I have to make one!!!
I'm exhausted. It's 12.30am and I'm going to bed!
Posted by: Janette at June 28, 2006 10:28 AM
beautiful colors cara!! it's so inspiring to hear about what inspires other people. i think that your log cabin blog is a great idea. i can't even begin to tell you how many posts or comments on whipup have inspired me!
Posted by: gleek at June 28, 2006 10:45 AM
I could feel your excitement and enthusiasm coming right off the screen at me. And it made me smile. Thanks for that, and enjoy!
Posted by: Rachel H at June 28, 2006 10:48 AM
The yarns are gorgeous. But I think I'll stick to Log Cabin quilts made from fabric. It's a lot quicker. ;-)
Posted by: Carole at June 28, 2006 11:07 AM
Once again you inspire with your love of the project. You do go full speed ahead with your ideas and become immerced deeply in it, personally involved. Down the road, after you've had enough fun with square knitting you'll feel ready to branch out and try something new and different in shaping. Creation is an evolution even if some don't agree;-)
Posted by: margene at June 28, 2006 11:08 AM
Your Palette is gorgeous, love the balance of light and dark, and warm and cool colours. OOO I love that feeling if being inspired and kind of pushed down the road to some destination that you're not exactly sure what land it will end you up in.
Posted by: Liz at June 28, 2006 11:32 AM
You're very inspiring. Thanks for always being willing to share your ideas.
Posted by: Stephanie at June 28, 2006 11:38 AM
My older sister is a quilter and I'm inspired to make a log cabin blanket as a gift for her since she made me a quilt when Sweetie and I married. Loooking forward to your new blog JUST to see the look of it - everything you do is so full of color and texture - can't wait.
Posted by: Robin at June 28, 2006 11:46 AM
I love the log cabin idea for knitting. For another resource, see what you can find on Valentina Devine - she is a designer who's been teaching too for a number of years - I took a class from her and she discussed using log cabin squares for sweaters and jackets - she's had patterns in Vogue Knitting and Knit'n'Style, and designs for La Lana Wools in New Mexico. Google her name for some hits.....
I'm currently working on 8" log cabin squares that I intend to be a kimono-style winter jacket!
Posted by: beverly at June 28, 2006 11:51 AM
it's all Jazz to me .....
Posted by: ann at June 28, 2006 11:52 AM
Where can I find the pattern for the log cabin squares? I am not a beginner knitter but not that advanced either so I'm pretty dependent on patterns. I'd love to get my yarns in order before the blog is launched, so I don't waste any time. How many different colors did you use?
Posted by: Samantha at June 28, 2006 11:55 AM
Hey your site is back! It was done for me for a while, including on Spin Off Day so I couldn't access the new location info :( :( :(
Psst, I think Plugaid is a-workin' again.
Posted by: Jasmin at June 28, 2006 12:03 PM
It's great to hear you thinking this way...I've kind of been in that place lately, too. I'm excited about the log-cabin-along and about thinking things through in a different way, seeing them in a different light. Can't wait to see what you create!
Posted by: sarah b. at June 28, 2006 12:18 PM
It always amazes me how you can post the perfect thing for the mood I seem to be in. Sometimes I feel so creative and have so much bouncing around my head and trying to get out but it feels like I can't find the door to let it out...sometimes i don't know what to do with the creation once it is out! maybe i should get that there nancy crow book......
Posted by: victoria at June 28, 2006 12:58 PM
This is going to be beautiful, Cara! You've inspired me to finish the project I'm on (the shawl that wouldn't end) so that I can start log cabining along with you. :)
Posted by: Julie H. at June 28, 2006 01:01 PM
Just out of curiosity, can you point me to where I can get the pattern and an estimate of how much yardage is used with the heavyweight STR? I just started using it for socks and love it, but might have to use a different yarn for an afghan. Also, about how long does it take you to do a square?
Posted by: Katie at June 28, 2006 01:06 PM
I'll confess that I was wondering what the heck was the big deal with the log cabin thing when I first started seeing it going around the blogs. "Neat, but not fascinating", I thought. Well, since I bought the Mason Dixon book last week (while I was at B&N, supposedly to be doing curriculum planning) I now now understand what all the hype is about. I never even considered knitting for my home, but dang if there isn't about 20 things in that book that I feel like I need to start RIGHT NOW. I'm already talking my 10 year old dd, into starting some discloths to make a floor mat.
Anyway, you go girl! (And I'm sure I'll be right behind you.)
Posted by: Wendi at June 28, 2006 01:23 PM
That's a LOT of STR.
That's a Beautiful Palette of colors.
That's making me jealous, and oh my -- I'm slipping into the abyss.. I think i must cast on!
Posted by: tracey in mi at June 28, 2006 01:55 PM
I took a freeform knitting class from Debbie New a couple of years ago. Her instructions were, pick up some yarn and some needles, cast on some stitches, and make a shape. Then pick up another yarn, pick up some stitches, and make another shape. It really freaked out some of the people in the class, but I loved it! You really can't do anything wrong, and if you don't like it, you can always rip. Sounds like you are on the road to being really free with your knitting, and that's great!
Posted by: Julia at June 28, 2006 02:22 PM
I love what you are doing. Check out Nancy's old book: Quilts and Influences. It will blow your mind too. She is the reason I started quilting 15 years ago.
Posted by: Emily at June 28, 2006 03:04 PM
Can't wait to see & to join!
Posted by: Carol at June 28, 2006 04:42 PM
love, love, love the start of your new masterpiece! I am a big fan of mixing lots of shades of the same color and then piecing them together gracefully :) I need to check out the book!
Posted by: Dani at June 28, 2006 05:05 PM
I'm only a risky knitter because I always mess up other people's patterns. I can't seem to follow them properly. So I do what's in my head and hope it comes out the same as I think it looks.
Posted by: Dorothy B at June 28, 2006 06:21 PM
I feel my Log Cabin obsession starting. I've been keeping it in check (still need to buy the Mason Dixon book) but it's there, just under the surface. A few days ago (before the Pennsylvania almost became a lake or some big body of water), when it was hellishly hot, I was thinking that Log Cabin squares would be the perfect thing to knit. I'm sure if I had the book & yarn I wanted to use, I'd be doing them. Perhaps I can hold that obsession off til you get the Log Cabin blog started? :-)
Posted by: Angelia at June 28, 2006 07:04 PM
Do you know about Zazzle.com? I fell in love with the palette picture when you posted it way back when, and seeing it again today I was struck with the urge to wear it on a t-shirt.
Posted by: Meira at June 28, 2006 07:13 PM
Posted by: Peeve at June 28, 2006 08:38 PM
That sure is an impressive pile of yarn! I know it will look amazing when it's all done.
Posted by: Barb at June 28, 2006 10:29 PM
Ya know, I wasn't feeling the log cabin love until I started reading your blog recently. Now I'm obsessed. I love your work and can't wait to see the Palette Log Cabin take shape!
Posted by: earthchick at June 29, 2006 07:30 AM
Kay's quilting posts have been making me very happy--if you both love the new Nancy Crow book, I'm going to HAVE to look at it.
Pretty, pretty square!
Posted by: Melanie at June 29, 2006 12:40 PM
Bad influence, definitely.
And what limitations would those be? the sweater-impaired one would like to know.
Posted by: Lucia at June 29, 2006 04:25 PM
The colors are gorgeous for the log cabin. I have that at the top of my list of to do's and now that I see all of the beautiful colors you are using, maybe I can get on with it and not obsess about what color where - that usually slows me down, if not stopping me in my tracks!
Posted by: Cathy at July 2, 2006 12:38 PM
*signing* You inspire me (ala Jerry Maguire).
Posted by: lorinda at July 3, 2006 07:21 AM