Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Log Cabin - what????

Okay....what is this about not binding off the stitches on the log cabin and holding them on another needle?? How do we do this? Is there a diagram? Is there a step by step???

Oh my gosh, I am going into newbie spasms here!!!

Calm down! It's okay! It's just what it sounds like. Try it, and if you don't like it, you don't have to do it.

When the pattern says to bind off a finished strip, just slip those stitches onto a holder or, better yet, a long spare circular needle in the same size you're using, or one slightly smaller.

Now, using the same needles you were originally working with, turn and pick up stitches for the next strip, just as the pattern tells you to do. Ignore the stitches sitting on the spare needle.

When you finish the next strip and the pattern says to bind off, instead slip the stitches onto another holder, or onto that same spare circular needle holding the stitches from the first finished strip.

If you go all the way around this way, you'll eventually have the three sides of the piece not being knitting all hanging on the spare circular needle (or separate holders), while you're knitting the fourth side. When you finish that fourth side, the pattern says to turn, pick up stitches along the garter ridges on the side of the strip you just finished, and then along the bound-off edge of the next strip. But, since you didn't bind them off, you'll find them sitting and waiting for you on the spare circ. Since a circ has a point on each end, they're even facing the right way. Instead of picking up the stitches from a bound-off edge, just knit from from the spare circ. When you get to the end of that strip, drop the spare circ again, to continue holding the live stitches from the other sides not in use.

Just keep going round and round that way. Obviously, the best way to do this is with a single circular needle long enough to hold three or even four sides at once. But you can also use a holder, or a separate circ for each side. Any size is really okay, as long as it's smaller than the size of the working needle.
*Deep breath*...breathe in and out and in and out...long and slow...

Okay..thanks kate...I feel so much better. And, wonder above all wonders, I believe I understand how to do this. Now if I can just remember to breathe....
There's one school of thought (Wendy of Wendyknits.com) that binding off each log and then picking up the stitches as per the MDK book actually is better because it helps the blanket keep its shape and makes it stronger. I was convinced and am now doing mine that way!! I'm weaving in the ends as I go (unless I forget) so that I won't have t h a t many later!! --Sally
Just wanted to add that I like using DPN's and needle-end-thingies (what are those called? they stick on the point of needles) to hold my sides that I'm not currently knitting on.
I think the alternatives are between keeping its shape and being stronger (binding off each strip) or having it be more flexible and give more (not binding off). I prefer the latter for afghans, though for most rugs I think I'd want the former (though I didn't bind off for Absorba and like it that way). I figure, with an afghan, you're pulling it around a lot and wanting it to lie over your body as well as flat on a bed, and since the garter strips themselves are very flexible, I think it would look and feel funny for the blanket to pull in some places and not others. But when it's only purpose it to lie flat on the floor and look rectilinear, the extra stability is probably worth it!
I really like the structure the binding off gives the blanket but have found a way to do it quickly and efortlessly. Use a crochet hook! I use the hook just like it was a knitting needle and just pull the stitch through the stitch instead of having to wrestle with lifting the stitch up and over with the knitting needle. In fact, since I started doing this, it's the only way I bind off anything.

Hope it works for you..

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