The Log Cabin Knitting Technique: An Easy Step-by-Step Photo Tutorial

Did you know that today is Log Cabin Day? The holiday, which originated in Michigan, celebrates not only log cabin homes, but also the simple lifestyle they represent. Bring the idea behind this unique holiday to your knitting by making a classic project using the log cabin knit technique.

Log cabin knitting is a traditional pattern that involves creating a main, center square, and then building upon the center by knitting additional strips to each side of the square. If you’ve never knit this timeless and versatile pattern, I’m here to show you how with this Log Cabin afghan square tutorial!

Log Cabin Shawl Pattern on craftsy!

Log Cabin Shawl Pattern via Craftsy member Azalea820

Check out the Craftsy catalog of knitting classes to learn more classic knitting techniques that will build your skill repertoire, like the beautiful brioche stitch in Brioche Knitting Made Easy.

How to knit a Log Cabin afghan square


  • 3 colors of worsted weight yarn.
  • Needles the appropriate size for the yarn weight (I used US 8)


Step 1:

With Color 1, cast on 12 stitches. Work in garter stitch (knitting every row) for 18 rows. Bind off all stitches.

Step 2:

Turn square clockwise. The left side of the square should now be the top. With Color 2, pick up stitches along the top of the square. Knit 10 rows.

Bind off to the last stitch. Do not cut the yarn, and do not pull through. You should have one bound of stitch remaining on the needle. 

Step 3:

Turn work clockwise — left side of work is now the top.

Pickup stitches along the top. Knit 10 rows.

Bind off to the last stitch. Do not cut yarn, and do not pull through. Again, you should have one bound of stitch remaining on the needle.

Repeat Step 3 two more times until each side of the original square has been worked using Color 2.

Step 4:

Turn work so the left side of the square is now the top. Using Color 3, pick up the stitches along top of work.

Knit 10 rows.

Bind of to last stitch. Do not cut yarn, and do not pull through. As previous steps, you should have one bound of stitch remaining on the needle.

Repeat Step 4 until all sides of the square have been worked using Color 3.

At this point, you can continue adding more colors and more sides to your square, or you can cut the yarn and weave in your ends.

Knitter’s tip: While you’re working, it helps to knit your ends into your work. This will cut down of the number of ends to weave in and on the time spent on finishing.

Using your Log Cabin stitch

I’ve done quite a few variations of the Log Cabin, using a variety of yarn weights and colors. This basic square can be turned into bags, pillows, afghans and even shawls! Check out this beautiful Log Cabin Baby Blanket Pattern, which incorporates stripes in stockinette stitch to give the piece added interest. And, knit in a chunky weight yarn, this project is sure to speed along.

Whatever project you choose, the Log Cabin gives you so much room for versatility. Consider personalizing your square it with color, or even try using color changing yarns to keep people guessing about what’s coming next! Beginner and seasoned knitters alike are sure to love using this timeless technique!

If you’ve ever knitted a log cabin square before, what tricks do you have on how to manage the colors and ends?

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