Fringe and Friends new-year knitalong: Preview and plans!

Fringe and Friends new-year knitalong: Preview and plans!

Ok, announcement time! If you had a theory about the next Fringe and Friends Knitalong based on my former teasing, you may still be right … eventually. But for this next one, I’ve decided it’s high time to do something I’ve been talking about forever, plus this time I want to base it on a technique rather than a specific pattern (or even a garment type). How many times have I said I want to knit a big stash-busting blanket? Except there’s the minor drawback that I don’t actually want to knit a whole blanket. However, I am endlessly intrigued by Log Cabin construction. So this time around, I’m inviting you to join me for a little log-cabin free-for-all! Keep reading: This is even more exciting than it might sound!


In a nutshell, log cabin is a method of knitting — based on traditional log cabin quilts — where you knit modularly, picking up stitches along one edge of a square and continuing to knit, then proceeding to build off the other edges, so the work expands organically rather than being seamed together, and without any intarsia. (Although there are cases where you might knit large blocks of log cabin and then seam those together.) It’s patchwork for knitters.


My friends Ann Shayne and Kay Gardiner over at Mason-Dixon Knitting — two of the smartest and most entertaining knitters I know — have very strong feelings about log cabin, so I’m teaming up with them for this one, and the starting point will be their fourth Field Guide book, Log Cabin, which contains an overview of how log cabin construction works, with assorted variations and three patterns, from which boundless things could be made. You are welcome to follow any of those,  or any other log cabin patterns, such as, say, the Albers Cowl or the Mitered Crosses Blanket or the Log Cabin Shawl. But what I love about using log cabin as the basis of this is that YOU CAN MAKE ANYTHING you might dream up. In addition to the myriad ways there are to knit log-cabin style, just think of all the things there are in the world that you can construct from squares or rectangles — washcloths, pillow fronts, blankets, wraps, sure. But also cowls, box tops, shrugs, ponchos, ruanas. You could inset a panel in something, or knit a yoke and sleeves and join it to two big log-cabin blocks for the body. Truly, there is no end of ideas, and I can’t wait to see what you all might think up!

On top of that, whatever you make could be monochrome, ombré, tonal or rainbow-colored, in garter or textures. (More about that later.) And in addition to being rife with possibilities, this is a totally beginner-friendly idea, and makes room for those who want to make garments as well as those who do not. You could even be a quilter or crocheter or weaver and still play along! It is 100% up to you! And of course, you’re not required to work from stash, but that is one of the great benefits of this sort of knitting/crafting.

Between now and kickoff, we will be peppering you with ideas and food for thought, but the best starting point is the pocket-sized Log Cabin Field Guide, with its tutorials, and two posts on the Mason-Dixon blog: Start Small and Things Get Interesting.


We’re all headed into the thick of holiday bustle and holiday knitting, and we want to do this during selfish-knitting season, which means you have from now until the end of the year to conceptualize, swatch, paw through your stash for yarn and color palette ideas, and formulate a plan. And we’ll cast on January 1st.

That’s also when I’ll announce the rest of the panel, but you’ve probably already guessed Ann and Kay are on it!


To knit along (or crochet- or quilt-along) simply use the hashtag on Instagram or wherever you post: #fringeandfriendslogalong. You’re welcome and encouraged to share your planning between now and then, but try to refrain from casting on until the official start date if you want to be eligible for prizes and all of that.


Sure, probably! We’ll have details at kickoff time. ;)

. . .

I think this is the most excited I’ve ever been about a FAFKAL, and I’ve been mighty excited about them all. Like I can’t stop thinking up ideas, and have had to forbid myself from opening up my stash bins and starting to gather yarns until I’ve crossed off certain other more urgent matters from my to-do list. But you will see me scheming here soon. How about you — are the wheels already turning in your mind?




56 thoughts on “Fringe and Friends new-year knitalong: Preview and plans!

  1. Ooooh-i love this idea! I already have ideas and color palettes in mind! Plus I’ve never done this technique so I’m looming forward to learning.

  2. I can’t wait to see what people dream up. This may be when I make a cowl to match my MDK mitts.

  3. My wheels are spinning…!!!!! Also thrilled…and relieved…that we will not be beginning until after the holidays. Thanks!!!

  4. I’m in! Something to look forward to after the crazy holidays are over! Thanks for all of the food for thought.

  5. This is, in a good way, already on my needles. Started last spring, loosely based in Kay’s “A Buncha Squares”, I have 10 of 35 squares completed, using up some of the vast Jamieson stash. Its “resting” now while I quickly complete an Icelandic sort of sweater for my granddaughters birthday, but it will be resurrected soon. Buncha Squares was never exactly a pattern, but it can be unearthed from the “Letters “section of their blog, and I discovered a number of Pinterest pictures to stimulate my imagination further. There is, of course, a Ravelry page.

    This is not my first, or even third or fourth log cabin project, but to any of those contemplating a sweater, a word of advice: think carefully about where your squares are centered; two squares, centered perfectly over the butt cheeks, is not a pretty sight, and might even cause laughter…imagine how I know this!

  6. Log cabin has always been my favorite block during patchwork days! Never thought about knitting one. January the 1st is going to be full summer in São Paulo, Brazil but I can still knit with cotton. It is a very exciting idea!!! Looking forward to come up with an idea!!!

  7. Whew! I’m thankful that you put a January 1 start date on that because maybe, just maybe, I can actually knit-along with you! I liked that drawing of what looked like a little capelet. Now I will let ideas percolate in my brain. Cheers!

  8. There must be a Chinese phrase for this, but I have been planning a log cabin blanket (or something) for a couple of days. It started with a class in “fractal spinning” with Melissa Harris at workshop in Chico, CA, this last weekend. I was intrigued with the blanket knitted on the MDK site, out of hand dyed yarn. The yarns that I am spinning seem to be perfect for this technique. I only have one 200 yd skein but am happily spinning more in different colors. What fun. I downloaded the MDK Field guide (e-book) last week and now need to draw it out, or just start knitting. Maybe better to plan it a bit. My yarn has a lot of red in it. Maybe not for a baby, or???

    • It was all I could do not to pack my sketching tools instead of my current knitting project last weekend, and then I got on the plane next to my friend Meg and she pulled out the most beautiful log cabin squares she’d brought to work on! Oh the angst!!

  9. Oooh! How fun. I’ve been eyeballing those Log Cabin projects from the Field Guide book for a while now but also been wanting to make a Mitered Crosses Blanket too (living in a drafty house makes having lots of blankies on hand mandatory!) It’s nice to have lots of lead time to decide. Hooray for FAFKAL!

  10. Even if I don’t participate, this is going to be great fun to watch. So many possibilities!

  11. Yeah! This is perfect, I’ve never knit a log cabin blanket before, and was looking for the perfect stashbusting project. I have so many yarn bits and pieces everywhere, plus some yarn that have not yet found the right project. In terms of free resources, there is also the Purl Bee log cabin pattern. So great that you’re giving us time to plan and prepare. Looking forward to this KAL.

  12. Would the Scarfy Thing by Beata Jezek qualify as Log Cabin knitting? I’ve been lusting over that pattern/recipe since Kristy Glass made one!

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  14. I’m so happy that cast on is January 1; otherwise I wouldn’t be able to participate. I’ve had log cabin fantasies tumbling through my mind since I got my Log Cabin Field Guide, so this is perfect for me. Thank you!

  15. Does anything patchwork/quilt inspired count? I’m pinning inspiration as I come across it but I’m realizing a lot of it isn’t technically “log cabin”. Either way, as the granddaughter of a quilt shop owner, I am thrilled!

    My grandmother gave me a book called “The Quiltmaker’s Gift” one year for Christmas. I recommend it for kids of all ages and especially quilt lovers. The illustrations are gorgeous and the story is wonderful. (

    • Mm, I’m excited about inviting in other disciplines under the Log Cabin unifier, but feel like if it was any kind of quilting/patchwork, it gets a little too broad! (Even though the “log cabin” concept as applied to knitting is a bit loose.) Does that make sense?

  16. I’m super interested in this. I like the idea of the Albers Cowl, but I’m not a huge fan of the large squares and I want something more…log cabin-y so I might take that as a starting point and do something more.

    My only question is – do I need to have a public Instagram account to enter? I really hate all the spam comments and to limit them, I’ve made my IG private…

    • Posts from private accounts don’t show up in hashtag feeds, so only your followers would be able to see them. You might consider making a separate account just for this, if that’s a concern.

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  26. I’d like the double ended colored pencil set shown in the photo. any idea where i can purchase them? Thanks!

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  28. The log cabin generator is EPIC! I want to use my stash. My concern will be different weights of yarn.

  29. How many skeins of the Donegal Tweed would I need for one blanket. I want to stay consistent in the texture and weight! Just need to know how much to order!

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