Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Monkey house, a log cabin square

Monkey House Squares made on the KB Sock Loom 2
To me, "Monkey house" is the perfect name for a log cabin square make in sock monkey colors. While the squares above were made about a month ago, my adventure into creating log cabin squares actually started back last winter when someone on one of the loom knitting lists asked if log cabin squares could be made on the knitting looms. After studying up on the history of the log cabin motif and how needle knitters constructed these squares (see link list at the end of this post), I was ready to give it a try.

While gauge is not that important to creating the overall square, it is imperative that the gauge remain constant in order to effectively match the adjoining strips. This means you need to use the same gauge loom throughout the project. Since I wanted a large square with the smallest possible gauge using the Knifty Knitters (KK), my first attempt was on the 48 peg KK Adult Hat Loom.

Made on the 48-peg Knifty Knitter Adult Hat Loom
After discovering that the larger the square gets, the more difficult it is to pick up and add stitches back to the loom, I decided to experiment further. Here are some other "cabin" experiments with either changes in the looms or type of yarn:

Cotton yarn on the 24-peg KK (left) and 31-peg KK (right)
Bulky self-striping yarn using the 31-peg KK loom
The biggest challenge for me was deciding on which colors to use. Finally, I asked myself what color scheme make me smile and the first thing that came to mind was sock monkeys (how shallow and childish is that??). Of course, since it is a log cabin square, it immediately became "Monkey House Square". I did the first one on the 31-peg KK, but decided to give my new favorite, the KB Sock Loom 2, a try. The KB Sock Loom 2 square was a definite winner!

Monkey House square on the KB Sock Loom 2 (left) and 31-peg KK Loom (right)

While both looms created 11 inch squares, a different number of stitches and rows were used based on the gauge of the looms. Please note that this square can also be made on the KB All-n-One Loom since the gauge is identical to the Sock Loom 2, but I'm really loving the portability of the smaller loom. I have two squares completed and 28 to go and most of the knitting was done on the go.

I had planned on doing an online tutorial for the log cabin square, but I recently noticed on her blog that Denise Layman had included log cabin motif projects in her new book, Afghans & Bed Runners for Knitting Looms and thought I would just point everyone in her direction. Denise's stitch/row formula and minor techniques will probably vary from mine, but I'm fairly sure the basic methods are about the same. Also, if you decide to build your own "cabin on the loom" without a book, here are some links that should prove helpful: