Aw look! One pattern, 364 versions of the MDK New Ancestral Christmas Stocking.

Made in the USA

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Dear Ann,
(Ignore that picture up there for a second.) HEY HAVE YOU SEEN THE NEW ISSUE OF Twist Collective? Best. Issue. Ever. (As always, the Problem Ladies are there, looking over the tops of their half-glasses and trying to give helpful, non-judgmental advice. While sometimes giving unhelpful and/or judgmental advice.)
My knitting of Square Stuff continues apace, and in a not very photogenic way. All manner of squares, imperceptibly getting bigger. I have everything from neat little Subway Squares, in recycled denim (square count: 8.5 out of 9!) to Mega Super Jumbo Miters that actually count as resistance exercise when I turn them after every row of 400-plus stitches. I have also managed to steal a few minutes away from Being A Fun Parent (Beta) to get to the sewing machine. This yielded at least one camera-ready FO:
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Tea Towel Tote Bag. I used the excellent instructions in this wonderful Japanese book. I made French seams, people! This project took me about an hour. Next time I’m going to use webbing straps.
The tea towel is a rare deaccessioning from what I call the Vicky & Al Museum of Contemporary Tea Towels, aka my private collection. What is it about tea towels? I don’t know. I just love them (although they have to be The Kind I Like). This one, I believe a souvenir of the anniversary celebration of the Royal Festival Hall in London, or anyway a souvenir of Britain, was a gift of indulgent pals Belinda & Neil. It is rare to find a couple in which both partners combine an astute eye for tea towel aesthetics and a generous and non-judgmental attitude toward collectors of tea towels. Someday, perhaps around my 80th birthday, my collection will be exhibited to the public, cascading from the ceiling of the Park Avenue Armory. Stranger and more wonderful things have happened.
We live in a golden age of tea towels. I am not letting it pass me by.
Love,
Kay
P.S. While we are talking about Bags, here is the Bag That I Most Want To Copy.
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It’s Orna’s. She got it from a woman in Italy who was selling them in the market in Florence or perhaps Rome. I want to upgrade the straps and hardware (so, it probably wasn’t Florence), but basically this is the recycled linen bag of my dreams.

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27 Comments

27 Comments

  1. Kay,
    If you want your collection displayed in the armory keep the pets and children away from it! And land sakes don’t store it anywhere that can develop a leak.
    From the woman who once aspired to leave her collection of programs to her alma mater until something awful and storm related happened to them.

  2. squares are portable, on top of providing instant gratification! looking forward to your various and sundry inspirational patchwork pics!

  3. I too love tea towels! I once made a vintage set into cafe curtains for a kitchen door in an apartment we lived in long ago. Perhaps I’ll try making some into bags–because, you know, the 800 bags I already have aren’t enough…

  4. Orna’s bag IS perfect. Now I want it, too.

  5. Thankya, thankya, Kay. So often you hit on subjects that remind me that I have craft ambitions (knitting or otherwise) that I’ve put on the back (waaaay back) burner. You stir up my imagination, remind me of who I am, and inspire me to think of ways I can use up my various stashes before I pass onto the next life. Not that I’m exactly a tea towel toteler, but BOY, can I relate! I love these tea towel totes, not only for how great they look, but also for what they have brought to mind and imagination.
    Keep on keepin’ on!
    LoveDiane

  6. we have inherited my FIL’s vast hoard of tea-towels. the man never threw away anything. and then there’s DH’s collection of British pub towels. i will never need to buy a kitchen towel ever again. however, this doesnt stop me from spending vast amounts of money at Cath Kidston on tea towels, fabric yardage, and handkerchiefs. oh, and bags. she does lovely bags. my intent is to use them for patching my jeans, but so far i cant bring myself to cut into them.

  7. Hi Kay,
    Three cheers to the latest issue of Twist Collective and everything in it. It really is the best. The Problem Ladies outdid themselves in identifying and explaining Things I Always Wanted to Ask About. So many questions answered. And even though I don’t knit much lace, loved the lifeline answer. Can you move next-door to me?

  8. Why have I not yet made a red & white quilt (beautiful exhibit)? …going to rifle through the fabric stash now. Oh, and your bag is fabulous.
    Just so you know: my current quilt is all Liberty (thanks to your having introduced it to me through this very blog). I’ve hand pieced it and am now hand quilting when I feel like it…three years in already (with a LOT of knitting in between)!

  9. I purchased two edelweiss kitchen hand towels in Germany (or was it Austria?) many years ago, with the purpose of making them into one hand towel to hang on a towel rod in my kitchen. I took out the original towel hems and French-seamed them together. I’ve used that towel ever since. I love sewing French seams, but then I also love knitting attached i-cord. (I am easily amused.)
    Mary G. in Texas

  10. Recognise that tea towel. Recognise that bag, too! Don’t think I’ve ever seen Orba’s bag before, just heard you enthusing about it, now I know what you’re on about. I’m sure I can get some handles like that made.
    B x x x

  11. I love the Italy bag too – and I was there only last week. I should have tried harder with markets.

  12. Second Chloe’s comment, and i’ll add to your Twist answer about February Lady. I have learned (the hard way) that my February Lady loses stitches constantly because of the SSK followed close on by a YO – my YO’s tend to not stay put because of that. I have knit the first five rows of lace five times over, and finally figured that one out!

  13. Love both bags, good thing I cannot sew because if I have another tote bag in the house my husband will think it is close to my number of shoes and skeins of yarn (more than the shoes these days I think). As for the tea towels, I buy them obsessively when I travel and as I married a chef, they seem to multiply in our kitchen drawers anyway!!

  14. Let me be the first to volunteer semi- professional services to curate your exhibit dear Kay. Mark and I handled the Dogwood Arts Festival Ramsey House woven coverlet exhibit a few years back, and we can do a bang up job of putting those tea towels in a good museum quality exhibit if you want. We still have the display frames, and I’m even better at glue and foam board than I used to be. Shoot I’d pay cash money to see ‘em.

  15. Really, I am waiting for your next book entitled “Reticular Knitting and Sewing Projects by Kay Gardiner” It will be a smash hit, I know it.
    BTW: Orna’s bag looks like an old postal service bag with straps added, very chic up-cycling!

  16. Ever since the epic tea-towel-picnic-blanket post a couple of years back, I have been hoarding all the tea towels, no matter how sad they get!

  17. I too am a tea towel collector. Thank you,Kay for sharing your brilliant thoughts with your like minded friends.
    BiBi

  18. I loved your advice about Scotch tape in the Problem Ladies – although I think that Julia Child’s advice originally pertained to roast chickens that fell on the floor.
    And as for the fabulous Nancy? One can only imagine why a banjo ‘was substituted for the original “soundtrack.

  19. Kay, as usual, your post was chock full o’ interesting images, thoughts, and ideas.
    Also, when you wrote, “Someday…my [tea towel] collection will be exhibited to the public, cascading from the ceiling of the Park Avenue Armory.” Somehow I imagined that cascade of towels as something like a waterfall or Rapunzel’s hair. But the red and white quilt exhibit cascade looked nice too!

  20. Hmm tea towels – turns out it’s not just me! Have you seen the grain sack tea towels here: http://ancientindustries.blogspot.com/
    More for the collection?

  21. I adore French seams! I once sewed an entire shirt with French seams! Fortunately it had moderately dropped sleeves; if it had standard set-in sleeves I’d have given up in frustration. It was hard enough working it over a gentle curve. Of course, I’ve never done it again. I mean, doing it once (and that back when I was in my late 20s) was enough for bragging rights. Sort of like doing intarsia with lots of little bobbins. :)

  22. I rather like the tea towel (I almost said team bag,my my my!) conversion. At first I thought it was tea-stained but I see that’s just the photo image. Still cute. Now just make a Union Jack sweater and you’re all set to become a UK citizen!

  23. i can close my eyes and open up a memory
    of my mother standing behind the ironing board
    ironing the guest tea towels company comeing

  24. I think you’ll love this repurposed feed sack bag. I’m thinking I need some new bags to tote around my things. Thanks for enabling.

  25. love the article about the appeal trains have for kids w autism. a few christmases ago, when visiting my family, a local ass’n of train enthusiasts had set up shop in an empty spot in the (depressing) mall. it was charming to spend time in their hobby; we even filmed the trains going ’round for our own ‘thomas-y’ viewing.