July 07, 2006
Let the Good Times Roll
Are you ready for my fabulous fantastic idea? Guaranteed to bring you hours and hours of crazy goodness?
Allow me to introduce...
The Chance Log Cabin. Version #1.
I was going to wait until I was a bit farther along, but I tossed and turned all night last night thinking about it so I have to get it out. I've been sitting on it for a couple of weeks now and it's just turning my brain to mush. Thank god for a little project called Spin Out because otherwise I would've gone absolutely batty waiting for my new yarn.
The inspiration for this project comes from two very distinct sources. First of all, the colors are directly inspired by this fanfabgeous (I'm forced to make up my own superlatives these days!) quilt from Gee's Bend. I just love the colors in it - red, pink, white, black and brown. I had orginally planned on trying to copy the quilt but when the other idea sprang to mind - well, I knew these were the colors I would use.
Okay. Deep breath. So the other day I wrote this post about how to build a log cabin. I was kind of being tongue-in-cheek with the whole X=the limits of your imagination and I was also being completely serious. I don't want people to be constrained with patterns in this great log cabin experiment. I want people to think outside the square, so to speak. And then I was thinking, hell, why don't we just take away all of the freedom in it and let some random number generator pick X. And then I thought FUCK! WHY DON'T WE LET SOME RANDOM NUMBER GENERATOR PICK X?!?!?! FREAKING GENIUS!
So that's just what I'm doing. And the best part? You can do it too. AND EVERY SINGLE PROJECT WILL BE DIFFERENT.
Here's how I'm doing mine. I chose five colors of yarn. I then chose the ORDER of the yarn, ie, which color I would use first, second, third, fourth, fifth - I'm sticking with this sequence. Then I went to the RANDOM NUMBER GENERATOR. The link takes you to the one I like to use but there are probably a million others out there. Choose which one you like best. (You could also use dice to get a random number. It's pretty much the same thing.) I asked the RNG to pick ONE number between ONE AND TWENTY. Let's say it picked 10. This is the NUMBER OF STITCHES I cast on for my first log cabin "strip." (I put strip in quotes because who knows what shape it will actually come out to be.)
I cast on ten stitches with the yarn I decide is A in the order. Then I go to the RNG and ask it to choose another number between 1 and 20. Let's say it picks 13. I then proceed to knit 13 GARTER STITCH RIDGES - which is actually 26 rows. I bind off all stitches except for the last, turn the work CLOCKWISE, change yarns to color B and pick up the stitches along the edge of strip 1. Then back to the RNG I go and have it choose another number between 1 and 20. Let's say it picks 5. I then proceed to knit 5 garter stitch ridges. Then I bind off all but the last stitch, turn the work clockwise, change yarns to color C and pick up the stitches along the next ridge. Go back to the RNG and have it pick a number between 1 and 20. Say it picks 5 again (because that can totally happen when things are random) and proceed to knit 5 garter stitch ridges. Keep going, having the RNG pick the number for the next log cabin strip and changing yarns until you've used all five yarns you've selected (or how ever many yarns/colors you've chosen.) Then start the color/yarn sequence all over again. Knit the blanket, picking up for new strips and getting random numbers until you decide it's big enough.
Before I sat down to knit, I chose numbers for two rounds of color - so 10 numbers. I figured that would keep me busy until I needed to pick the next ten numbers. The whole blanket is COMPLETELY RANDOM! I have NO CONTROL over what happens next. When I was telling my dear friend Ann about it she said "You're totally going to hate the numbers that come up." And I said, TRUE, but the whole idea is that the PROJECT IS OUT OF MY HANDS. If I'm going to do this I have to surrender my fate to the number machine and DO WHAT IT TELLS ME! Talk about an exercise in letting go! I have to say, I haven't liked a bunch of the numbers that have come up already, but that isn't stopping me from following the course of THIS PARTICULAR BLANKET. Besides, the next one will be totally DIFFERENT.
My plan is to knit until I run out of yarn. I have one skein of each color - so five skeins, but that's 1750 yds total. Of course, the colors will not be used evenly, but I'm hoping for a decent sized piece. I see these log cabins as pieces of art - not necessarily as functional pieces, so however it comes out - well - that's what the fates decree!
The inevitable question. The yarn. I'm using Socks That Rock in Heavyweight - The pink is Cotton Candy, the red is Lover's Leap, the black is Black Onyx, the white is Rock Salt and the brown is Earth. Call or email Blue Moon Fiber Arts for availability.
Are you as excited as I am about this?! Oh my god it's killing me it's so good! ;-)
In case you're wondering, I haven't given up on the Palette Blanket - I'm actually making good progress on the FIRST square:
I've got the one organgish color started, then another redder orange, then red, then pink to go and the central square is finished. This is a really ambitious piece - and this is only the first element. This one has taken and will take a lot of careful planning, so it's really nice to have the Chance Log Cabin to go along with it - no thought there!
Thanks for indulging my crazy crazy passions! I hope you enjoy them!
I really love those colors--so evocative of neopolitan ice-cream!
Posted by: Jasmin at July 7, 2006 10:22 AM
I await your phone call.
you know, the one where you tell me you have a confession to make and your voice gets all low. and you say, "dude, you were right. I totally fucked with the numbers" and then you will proceed to explain to me, your voice rising with righteous indigination, how the RNG was completely off base and how much better your numbers are.
and I laugh maniacally.
Posted by: ann at July 7, 2006 10:27 AM
Is this the part where I provide "one word that best describes" you?? If not, I am damn well doing it anyway...."inspiring", "off-the-wall", (what? it is SO one word, I made it with the hyphens), "brilliant", "creative", oh hell, I can't find the dictionary and my brain hasn't had enough caffeine. You are just WONDERFUL and I weep when you don't post!!!!
Posted by: Susanne at July 7, 2006 10:38 AM
OMG - that's inspired! You are a genius. No doubt about it.
Posted by: Stephanie at July 7, 2006 10:40 AM
Totally cool! And nothing can be bad if you're knitting with socks that rock!
Posted by: Melanie at July 7, 2006 10:43 AM
This is creatively brilliant! You do my little math major's heart proud.
Posted by: Karen B. at July 7, 2006 10:44 AM
I think that is a brilliant idea, and many many many kudos to you for LETTING GO!!!
I adore the palette blanket; mmm, cool colors.... ;-)
Posted by: Cordelia at July 7, 2006 10:59 AM
Enjoy them? I love them! I find soul solace in the colours you throw together. I love the contrast of control and freedom, order and glorious randomness. I am in love with both projects and the yarn. In. Love.
Posted by: Francesca (Stuntmother) at July 7, 2006 11:03 AM
My yarn for you Crazy Cabin of Cooky Logs is Silky Wool. I'm excited about it too!
Posted by: margene at July 7, 2006 11:15 AM
I love this idea! Our need to Let Go is something we have a tendency to forget. Cheers to you for a brilliant idea!
Posted by: MademoiselleCaroline at July 7, 2006 11:19 AM
Love the chance idea!!! LOVE IT! How many balls of STR do you think you'll need? (Or, how many did you use for the greenie LC?) (Because inquiring minds need yardage estimates when stash diving.)
Posted by: liz at July 7, 2006 11:20 AM
wow, that's a fantastic idea!!! how fun! letting it be out of your hands makes it all that more enjoyable. who knows what it'll look like when you're all done :)
i love your colors for both projects. blue moon fibers must LOVE you ;)
Posted by: gleek at July 7, 2006 11:20 AM
Dude. Dude. Dude. I j'adore it. Simply marvelous!
Posted by: margaux at July 7, 2006 11:28 AM
ok so you may hate the numbers, but you know you'll love the end result. it's amazing how different both versions are and yet they are both striking.
don't cheat! ; )
Posted by: yahaira at July 7, 2006 11:35 AM
Love them. Really.
I still haven't seen the new Nancy Crow book, but I did check out an earlier book (Quilts & Influences) from the library. It is amazing!
Posted by: Melanie at July 7, 2006 11:41 AM
Posted by: ariane at July 7, 2006 12:02 PM
I really like your idea of the random number generator. So, are you going to make one huge square with the random log cabin blanket or is it still going to be squares? I haven't made one of these YET but I know that I am going to be inspired to start one very soon. I still have a hard time visualizing how it all comes together, but I think I really need to sit down with the Mason Dixon book and figure it all out. Thanks for this awesome post- your photos are always so beautiful, and your yarn is always the best!
Posted by: Illanna at July 7, 2006 12:15 PM
Fuckin' genius! Great idea!
Posted by: Skylar at July 7, 2006 12:21 PM
That is an interesting idea....giving up control...I don't know if I can do it! I played around with a teeny tiny square over the weekend with 4 colors but found that 4 colors is not really enough. Then I turned the square/rectangle around and I hated the back of my piece! The back of your green log cabin squares look awesome....mine just looked like a mess with lots of yarn ends to weave in. Yep, my heart just plummeted....hate weaving in ends...patience is not my middle name.
Posted by: Evelyn at July 7, 2006 12:30 PM
That's so fun I think I might have to try it. I mean, you make one decision about the colors and the order and then just blindly follow... So are you basically making one big square? I think it's be kinda fun to make patches and see how they could be pieced together, maybe with a big border of one color or something. Of course that might take a rediculous amount of though, to get them to fit together...
Posted by: Vicki at July 7, 2006 12:35 PM
What fun! I keep referring my mum to your blog as I'm persuading her to start a blanket for me as a present when I return from travelling. Did you ever put together the green squares?
Posted by: abi at July 7, 2006 12:44 PM
That is freakin' genius!And the results are fabulous!
Posted by: Terri at July 7, 2006 12:47 PM
Interesting idea! It would drive me batty, myself, to not have everything equal, but it would be kind of fun, too.
Are you still going to do a KAL? And yes, I'd love to know what yardage you get from the heavy weight STR as well!
Posted by: Katie at July 7, 2006 01:28 PM
You're like some mad scientist in her laboratory, formulating crazy mind-bending brilliant ideas...
Posted by: Liz at July 7, 2006 01:35 PM
I love the colors you chose for your whimsical log cabin. I can't hardly wait to see how it turns out (great I'm sure).
Posted by: Chante at July 7, 2006 01:41 PM
I love your idea, love the start of the blanket, and love the colors! It totally matches the Trekking yarn I just ordered this morning.
Posted by: Leslie at July 7, 2006 01:44 PM
I think both will be beautiful when finished. The idea of the random log cabin style afghan is very intriguing. I'm interested to see how it comes out.
Posted by: sgeddes at July 7, 2006 01:51 PM
Fabulous! The colors of STR are almost as inspiring :)
Posted by: Aija at July 7, 2006 01:56 PM
And I have to say that your blog has gotten me thoroughly obsessed with log cabin knit ideas. I come here every day just to look at all your squares. Repeatedly.
Posted by: earthchick at July 7, 2006 02:02 PM
Is this the official beginning of the Log Cabin KAL? I seem to remember you posting something about that starting up on July, or am I just imagining all this?
Posted by: Samantha at July 7, 2006 02:08 PM
Great Idea! I think I will even let the generator choose the order of the colors in my project, will just give each color a number in advance and then use the generator or maybe even the dice use my order,,,, that one will be a complete surprise.
Posted by: Razzie at July 7, 2006 02:10 PM
You have me dreaming about log cabins too!! But I am resisting until I finish my first pair of socks. LOL, yeah right! I am working at my LYS today and tomorrow. Resistance is futile!
Posted by: Andi at July 7, 2006 02:50 PM
Love it. What I love about my Fibonacci sweater is that it's so very ordered and calculated, but LOOKS totally random. You must have yarn balls coming out of your ears. Looking forward to more, of course.
Posted by: Vicki at July 7, 2006 03:16 PM
Sounds like fun.
Posted by: Dorothy B at July 7, 2006 04:06 PM
you are just full of awesome ideas!
:D how cool is this RNG log cabin? hooray!
Posted by: Stephanie at July 7, 2006 04:49 PM
I've been playing around with Log Cabin squares (ever since you posted the "formula"). I've been using different number combinations (because I've been practicing with a worsted weight yarn). I thought my squares looked, well, not nice and tidy and perfect like yours. But now, you tell me that it's OK to have random "squares"! What freedom! What a relief! The very best thing is that each blanket will be a ONE-OF-A-KIND item!! I'll have to try using the random number generator. Don't cheat - because I REALLY want to see how your "squares" turn out!
Posted by: Angelia at July 7, 2006 05:39 PM
Holy moly. This is indescribably cool.
Posted by: Bakerina at July 7, 2006 06:18 PM
Wow. That's just about all I can say, wow. Love both Log Cabins you are making.
Posted by: lorinda at July 7, 2006 08:53 PM
I am SO on it. I've generated about 40 sets of numbers and an going through the stash as soon as it's daylight so I can really see the colors.
Thanks for the Let It Go afghan patter.
Posted by: Maenwyn at July 7, 2006 09:58 PM
So, have you also figured out a way to get more hours in the day for knitting?! Here I am, trying to finish some projects so I can justify casting on for a log cabin, which, incidentally was in a dream I had last night, and now you blow my mind with yet another variation. You're coming up with ideas faster than I can knit!
Posted by: Kathy in San Jose at July 7, 2006 11:07 PM
Posted by: Wendi at July 7, 2006 11:26 PM
What length needles are you using for this--the chance in particular? Do you need superlong circs to get an adequately sized blanket?
Posted by: Melissa at July 7, 2006 11:50 PM
I really like the dice idea. And I have all the pretty dice from the Dungeons and Dragons games. I have used them for random cables. That was loads of fun, too!
Posted by: Cathy in MN at July 8, 2006 11:17 AM
Oh my god! Where do I start? I am so excited for you and for your project. I feel your enthusiasm! You are truly inspiring, and you have such a keen sense (I would say more than just an eye – it’s so intuitive) for color.
I LOVE log cabin quilts, both fabric and knit. The possibilities really are endless.
Funny story about the Gee’s Bend quilt whose photo you posted, which you may know or not. Either way, I think you will appreciate this. The quilt is by Mary Lee Bendolph, who used corduroy and polyester leisure suits to make it. Apparently one of her relatives who was living in Connecticut sent her all these polyester leisure suits that they weren’t using anymore. Bendolph’s reaction was, “We ain’t that out-of-style down here.” So she made a quilt from the unwanted hand-me-downs rather than just throw them out. I love that!
I saw an exhibition of the Gee’s Bend quilters while I was in Atlanta. It has totally redefined quilt-making for me. And it is so inspiring, infectious, and fun to see how you are picking up and running with the exact philosophy and approach to log cabin quilt/blanket making that these quilters embody.
As for indulging your crazy passions, puh-leeze!!!!! I love that you are so passionate about your interests, and what you have to say is truly inspiring. Again, your enthusiasm is contagious. Keep spreading it!
Posted by: Maritza at July 8, 2006 02:00 PM
you definitely have a BRILLIANT sense for colour and style :)
Posted by: stinkerbell at July 9, 2006 04:29 AM
I think it's an awesome idea! Not being one who has an eye for color such that I know what would look right where in my mind's eye, this process would take that necessity out of my hands! Freeing really! Thanks!!!
Posted by: Jen at July 9, 2006 08:17 AM
I love it, and I hate it. The whole random number generator thing turns my crank so hard it's all I can do to not start right this minute...but I wonder if I would be able to stand it when I got "bad" numbers. Psychological damage notwithstanding, damn it's beautiful.
Posted by: Stephanie at July 9, 2006 09:48 AM
I'm going to enjoy seeing the process. What a creative idea!! I love that it will completely different from anything else. It has me thinking...
Posted by: Deb at July 9, 2006 01:54 PM
Amazing. And I just know the results will be stunning. I haven't done a log cabin (quilted/fabric) quilt in a while . . . now you've got me thinking about that random number generator and looking at my fabric stash. Oh my! Thank you. Your work is consistently gorgeous.
Posted by: Carol Dean at July 10, 2006 09:11 AM
That really IS brilliant. What a great way to create a funky all-your-own log cabin. I love it.
Posted by: Jenny at July 11, 2006 02:02 AM
Your log cabins are marvelous. Love the colors. And thank you, thank you, thank you for the link to the Gee's Bend images. I've seen pictures of them one or two at a time (haven't seen the show; don't own the catalog --YET...), so to see dozens of them pop right up on the screen ... wow.
Posted by: Kelly at July 11, 2006 09:49 PM
God that's fantastic. Anything to do with randomly generated numbers is enough to make me start squidging deliciously at the corners. Are you going to logalong? I could logalong..
Posted by: emmms at July 12, 2006 01:59 AM
Dude. The Gaming Geekery you have unleashed by suggesting dice may never subside. MY. WORD.
The 20-sided dice have come out, and sister, I'm going to TOWN. :)
WOO! Thank you!
Posted by: Liz Cadorette at July 16, 2006 07:38 PM
Wow! What a fantastic idea! The squares are really beautiful. :)
Posted by: Tilkkusisko at July 26, 2006 02:37 AM