If you’re Rhinebeck bound, we would love to see youย at Jill Draper’s studio in Kingston on Saturday night. Details here.

700, or A Whole Lotta Gibble-Gabble

Dear Ann,
Let me be the first to nyah-nyah-nyah-NYAH-nyah atcha. I have carefully plotted and planned, blogged and refrained from blogging, in a strategy to maneuver myself into the position of posting our 700th entry. Yay us and our 10th-grade touch-typing! Let no one say that you and I cannot generate a mighty river of words. Since word-generation has been my goal since birth*, I am pleased and proud. (*A family story has it that when I was 2, my Great Aunt Carrie took me (her first niece ever–girls had skipped a generation in the Gardiner line) to her office at the Omaha Public Power District, where I was passed from lap to lap and commended for my great beauty, intelligence, and exceedingly prim behavior. (Did I mention that Aunt Carrie was a supervisor?) Listening to me hold forth, one of Aunt Carrie’s colleagues famously remarked, “Who put a nickel in her?”)
Obviously somebody did put a nickel in me. I think somebody, at some point, must have put a nickel in you, too, Missy.
Today’s nickel brings us a rather mundane report from the Knitting Front.
This is Ingrid. Remember Ingrid? Since our last correspondence about Ingrid, I have finished the knitting, blocked the pieces, set in the sleeves–SET IN THE SLEEVES, PEOPLE!–sewn the side seams, and woven in all the ends. Ingrid fits. (Let that one sink in.) All that remains is the simple matter of picking up stitches for the button, buttonhole, and neck bands, a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it bit of knitting, and sewing on the buttons.
What does this mean? This means that Ingrid is in grave peril. Ingrid is at the most fragile point, for one of my projects, in the journey from yarn to FO. Please light a candle for Ingrid. In an effort to keep Ingrid on artificial life support, I have decided that I need to wear her to synagogue tonight. (Yes, I’m trying to get the Higher Power to take an interest in whether my knitting gets finished–is there anything wrong with that?) Stay tuned for news of Ingrid’s fate.
Argosy 3: The Blankie
If you ever stop and wonder, ‘What is Kay doing right now?” it is safe to assume that I am knitting on this thing. Referring to my Argosy-inspired baby blanket as ‘this thing’ does not mean that I have tired of this endless parade of ecru squares. To the contrary! I love an endless parade of ecru squares. The Argosy Blankie has reached the halfway mark (a row of 17 squares). From here on out, the rows of squares get shorter.
The realization has dawned that I am going to need to put a border all around the sawtoothy edge of this blanket, to stop it from curling. This has not discouraged me. Anybody who has any good ideas for a picot edging that can be knitted stitch-by-stitch onto an edge (in the manner of crochet, or cro-Kay), please send them in. (There’s no hurry!)
Quiltz for Kidz
I’m excited because this weekend Carrie and I are going to continue piecing the top of the quilt we are making for her room.
Our quilt was inspired by this image in this Japanese patchwork book. ( I do apologize for that very addictive link.) We’ve been collecting fabric for the past six months, searching for all things calligraphic, Japanese, and rich in cute animals. Carrie regularly sidles up to me at the computer, drapes her arms around my neck, and purrs, “Let’s see what’s new at Cia’s, hmmmm?”
Here’s our pieceworker-in-training. Her first time with her foot on the pedal of the Janome. I realized she was old enough to operate the machine on her own when Ann HB sent me this photo from Berkeley:
…of her Emma, operating her own Hello Kitty model Janome.
Coast to coast, girls are quilting. We’d better enjoy it before they start agitating for better wages and working conditions. Ann reports that she got Emma to hem a shower curtain for her. It won’t be long before she’ll realize, “Hey! I could get PAID for this.”
Love, Kay




  1. this pair’s brand of gibble-gabble will always bring me a *smile.* re-visited the archives this week while i was (supposed to be hard at work) (ahem) listening to that Siegenthaler interview, found the Xenobia Bailey post and re-visited Elmira’s AMAZING shirting quilts. and now here’s the next generation of quilters… way to go!

  2. Aren’t you starting her a bit late? Oh, ok…so I’m more nutty than you…but my 8 yr old LOVES sewing on my Featherweight (he’s not allowed near the Bernina ๐Ÿ˜‰ He’s two rows into his polar fleece rag quilt kit. The challenging part for a beginning reader like him is following the quilt color chart, not the sewing. Threading that antique machine, and winding its bobbin are the easy parts.
    Of course, he’s doing this with safety supervision only…I’m pretty much staying away from the sewing parts. And he’s loving it!
    He knits the same way too…he follows the photo instructions of little knitting kits.

  3. Aww…this post warms my heart.

  4. Just wanted to say that I love everything you write. And Ann.
    Best blog ever ! No, really !

  5. You’ll maybe have to pick up stitches and knit little garter-stitch mitered squares in each of those edge bits. In various denim blues, just to add some pizazz. Or triangles, so you get a straight edge, and then you can picot cro-Kay to your heart’s content along a straight line. It’s so much fun figuring out other people’s knitting….
    And congratulations on the 700 posts! That’s a lot of posts.

  6. Does this make you part of the 700 Club?

  7. Oh, no! There’s a Hello Kitty model? Please do not let my 4-yr.-old hear you or I’ll never hear the end of it. Already it’s “Please, mom, can I push the buttons?” on the Pfaff.
    Hmmm…maybe SHE could finish her “baby” quilt and I’d be outta the woods!

  8. Part of the appeal is the zig-zaggy edge though! Though I understand the desire to stop the rolling, will a good blocking not help it? I wouldn’t touch it.

  9. Hello Kitty?! This is wonderful! My daughter has expressed an interest in learning to sew. (I don’t sew, but far be it from me to discourage my child from something just because I stink at it.) I have the distinct feeling that if I get her a Hello Kitty sewing machine, she would be piecing quilts in no time at all. (She’s seven, and has inherited her mother’s “lessons hell, I can figure this out” attitude.) (And since you asked a couple of weeks ago – why yes, I do love a good parenthetical.) Thanks for the heads-up!
    Ingrid and Argosy are lovely. So is Carrie. ๐Ÿ™‚ Happy 700th posting!

  10. I love your Ingrid sweater – beeyuuutiful. I know what you mean about that FO – I have one sleeve to sew together on my bonne marie cardigan, and then pick up the button band and knit the collar. I just keep looking at it, waiting for it to finish itself I guess. Enjoying all your posts – you two are addictive. When’s that book gonna be done?

  11. 1. Ingrid is beautiful. Finish her. Right. Now. She demands to be seen.
    2. Ditto the baby blankie.
    3. See Nicki Epstein’s book on edges if you haven’t already – I think they’re brilliant and lots of fun to fiddle with.
    4. Oh my god, there is a HELLO KITTY SEWING MACHINE. My 8th grader will be hyperventilating. That stuff is like crack to some girls I know, even to one of my college-aged-oh-so-hip nieces. Did you know they make a Hello Kitty toaster? That puts little bitty kitty outlines on the toast? So cute.

  12. The sidling, the draping, the purring…little girls are so good at these things! At our house it still works okay on me; very, very well on Daddy; and heaven defend us from the day she starts using it on boys. I think I’ll go have a little lie-down.
    Happy 700!

  13. Way to go Carry! Can’t wait to see your quilt! AnnHB and EmmaHB

  14. how about an i cord edging for argosy. that way you can keep the cool zig zags. Did you really have to mention that book? the projects look so neat. i think i’m running out of room on my shelves.

  15. Maybe some of us commenters can start a save the Ingrid Foundation. Maybe we’ll have to pay to ensure she gets finished! At least Baby Argosy will get done. Love to see a young one sewing and knitting, and that was such a good photo of the quilt to be, I was relieved to see her room didn’t have a crease in it!

  16. Love the blanket. I just got the yarn for a friend’s soon-to-be child and yours looks a lot less complicated than the lace alphabet blanket I was considering. It may be time for a change in plans! I was about Carrie’s age when mom presented me with my first sewing machine and a comment that she was no longer going to pay for doll clothes or trendy girl clothes. I think she thought she was saving money, but biy was she ever wrong!

  17. You mean you’re not paying her piecework already?!!! I can send more fabric ‘words’ courtesy of Muji, if you wish….. x x x

  18. You’re not going to be on the 700 Club on Sunday television now, are you? Because that would be Too Much. Of course, if you’re trying to finish that sweater for TEMPLE, maybe you’re not such a candidate for THAT 700 Club.
    If you have a moment, could you post for us or drop me a line with the model info on your machine? Might have the chance to go shopping for one this weekend with MY mom, who also let me make early, supervised attempts with her machine. Her machine that I still covet.

  19. Well, I for one am glad that someone shoved nickels in the both of you, because no day is truly grim when Kay or Ann posts.
    I wish I had been taught to knit in the privacy of my own home. I didn’t learn until eighth grade home economics, where I sewed my apron-in-progress to my shirt. I was so mortified that it put me off sewing again until my 30s, when I was bit hard by the quilting bug.

  20. BEST photo of Carrie EVER!!!!!!!!!!

  21. You gals rule. I love reading your blog as your posts always brighten my day. Thank goodness someone had the good sense to put nickels in you.
    A Hello Kitty Janome? Yikes.

  22. Yes, but with you? 700 quality entries.
    I noticed that my entry today was my NINE HUNDREDTH. Need I remind you I’ve been blogging a lot less time than you two have? 900 logorhheic entries.

  23. I’m going to say I LIKE the curly blankie! I wouldn’t do anything to it!

  24. The blanket is gorgeous! I would love to know how you figured out the pattern to make it wide enough to be a blanket rather than the scarf. I’m preggers and due in August and would love to knit something like that for my little bun (in the oven).

  25. I really laughed at the nickel in her story. My gramma used to tell me I was vaccinated with a Victrola needle.

  26. I had to shed a tear at the sight of the next generation of craftsters going at it! Reminds me of my childhood on my grandmother’s 1930 Singer! I churned out a ton of stuff on that thing and never knew there was such a thing as a zig zag stitch. Brava for the bambina’s and their ingenuity…and your right, they will soon figure out that they can paid for sewing. Ooh…can we say “college paid for”!

  27. Geez Louise – now I have to get dear daughter a sewing machine!
    Congratulations on the 700th post and a big kiss to both of you for the inspiration you gave me this year.
    When you figure out that edging be sure to post since I am about to cast on the blanket/scarf as a shawl if I ever finish the darned sweater which is in the EXACT SAME spot – collar and buttonhole band.

  28. I love the Argosy blanket. My preference for an edging on a blanket is the attached I-cord. It gives the edge a nice heft to hang onto. Either a 4 or 5 stitch would work well–in ecru or another colour. Enjoy your blog.

  29. Note to Carrie: I’ve got tons of scraps of fabric (and a huge stash!) and might have something you would be interested in. I’d be happy to send you some if you let me know what you like. I love to spread the fabric love around!

  30. You know what would fit in the blankie corners perfectly? Mitered squares.

  31. 700 blog entries? At least no trees were killed in the making of all that gibblegabble. I’ll cling to that.
    Here’s to 700 more . . . [off to go find something to knit]

  32. Hi ANn and Kay! I LOVED your book and love to read your blog it makes me giggle! But I had to let you know, I really like that Argosy blankie-and I really like the new concepts you bring to the knitting table-no crazy new skills, just new ways to use them! yay! I just started my own blog-feel free to c’mon over for a visit if you’re int he neighborhood!

  33. I’ve loved your blog for some time without posting, but now I just gotta say… I just spent quite a chunk of time over at Cia’s website. Have you turned Carrie onto Reprodepot.com? I once lost a full day daydreaming and imaginary piecing over at that site! I imagine both of you might find some cool stuff over there as well!
    Thanks for all the fun and inspirational posts!

  34. Oh, I love, love, love that quilt! Can’t wait to see what you two create. You can’t have enough color for me.
    Congrats on the 700th post…. they have all been fun to read! Keep on generating that river…!

  35. adore your “in-house” industrious seamstress!

  36. Those pics are so evocative! I love the way you describe DD sidling up to you and PURRING her request. Maybe I can show them to my 4 year old and she will want to sew as well.
    And hey, if they can operate the machine than so can I. I have TOTALLY gotta learn to sew.
    Fingers crossed for INGRID!! That moment of trying on is so fraught with fear and loathing. Thrill of victory–or the pain of defeat. We are rooting for you on the big ski jump of knits!

  37. Who is Ingrid? I think I love her. Also, the Cia’s link? Thanks for nothing. Hello, my name is Sonya. I blog and as a result I find more ways to fritter away my money every day.

  38. 700 posts? Impressive! We are all lucky someone put a nickel in both of you. (That just might be the best 10 cents anyone ever spent.)
    I know you’ve talked about Ingrid before and she is making lovely progress. Where did you find this pattern?

  39. hey! i have that hello kitty sewing machine too. when i first saw it i thought it would glow in the dark. i’m sorry it does not , but over my four day new years holiday i made five baby dresses on mine.

  40. Bit late for this Argosy blankie, but I think an integral garter stitch border would look good.

  41. I was just going to comment on how exciting it is that you’re sewing… but I’m even more exciting that you’ve enticed a young girl to get into it!
    Go Kay!!

  42. 700 posts! Wow, someone really did put nickels in the two of you. You should upgrade to quarters. If you lived in Canada you could upgrade to loonies or twoonies. You could also just say you’re Canadian and go for broke anyway.
    Best wishes to Ingrid!
    I think Cro-Kay is going to be the way to go for the blanket.

  43. Oh…thank you for the link – took me most of an hour to find the book and get it ordered! Can’t wait to get it. And three cheers on Carrie learning to quilt! I learned to sew in 5th grade…and make my living from it now – so yes, you’re very right, don’t let her realize she can get paid for this!
    Congrats on 700 posts, and a wonderful blog…(and book!)

  44. Zoe’s quilting too… and wants her own machine. They should start a club. I posted her photo too.

  45. I must admit that I bought the smallest Hello! Kitty sewing machine to take to quilt classes. I ordered it from Target.com, and it weighs under five pounds and it’s motor makes really neat little sewing machine noises while it sews. (So cute!) I haven’t used it allot, but so far, I’m really impressed with it. My “real” machine is a 22-year-old Viking, and while it’s a workhorse, it’s WAY too heavy to drag around to classes or retreats.

  46. I love that argosy pattern. What a good idea to make it into a blankie!!!

  47. The Machine Made Patchworks book and site, how did you find the patterns? I went the site you listed, but it was only pictures, there is a gorgeous purse on there I’d love to make.

  48. Hi Kay,
    You were so kind to answer my question regarding the Argosy scarf, that I thought I would try again. I have your book (which is such a fun read) and have started “log-cabining” (yes, a verb, even though the computer doesn’t recognize it) When I cast off and I am left with the one stitch and then I turn it right and start picking up, I am left with this loopy thing at the pick up point. How do you handle that, so it is a nice smooth transition. Thanks for your help.
    Rosemary in sunny and warm San Jose, Ca. **Sorry, I know that sounded smug.


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