Learn how to crawl: the New York City Yarn Crawlย is on through Sunday, September 25.

Squirrel Quilting

Dear Ann,
Here I was, fixin’ to lay down one of those ‘My Trip To Omaha (Director’s Cut)’ posts that I know you SO relish every tedious morsel of, when the postman arrived.
Stop the presses!
Our top story today is “HOLY ACORNS BATMAN!!!! LOOK WHAT CRISTINA SENT ME!!!!!!!!”
Courtesy of Herr Pfaff and, I think, a pair of curtains Cristina scored at IKEA, here is:
…the Log Cabin Needle Roll!
Here’s the inside, with patented Cristina Self-Flapping Flap. I love the stripes, which remind me of those French canvas stripes Martha was so into a couple of summers ago.
Please: observe the workmanship.
I even have a favorite strip (well, of course I do! how could one not have a favorite strip?). Cristina could not have known that I most adored this detail–using the printing on the selvedge–in one of the Japanese patchwork books I recently acquired (for no good reason).
Free Art With Your Gift
Here’s the best part. Can you guess? Oh yes: I scored another Shrinky Dink. (Remember my first Quilt-Themed Shrinky Dink from Cristina?).
Here’s the new addition to my Gallery of Shrinky Dinks:
The card says, “Don’t Quilt On Me!” This is a reference to a remark I made last week at Cristina’s, about the difficulty of quilting ‘squirrels’. Meaning to say swirls of course, but slurring my speech in the excitement of having my foot on the pedal of a Pfaff. If anyone can quilt a squirrel, it’s Cristina.
Oh, and Omaha
Let’s get this out of the way at the outset: I didn’t make it to Personal Threads, so I didn’t pick up that gigantic rope of handpaint yarn you regret not buying last time you were there. Sorry. Just too much Graduation going on.
In my few spare minutes, I did indulge in one of my favorite Omaha pastimes: stealing old pictures. I was basking in the rare experience of all four Gardiner Ex-Kids being together in the same place at the same time, so this was my Must-Swipe Polaroid for this trip:
Judging by my braces and Van (the little one in the bow tie) looking like he is about 4 years old, I’m dating this Christmas 1975. Who knows where we were going all decked out like that; hopefully not outside the house.
Would you care to fast forward 30 years, to this past Sunday? Why the hell not:
(I did not shrink. They grew. And the little one has traded in his bow tie for a Live Strong bracelet. Plus ca change, ya know?)
One of Grandma Mabel’s top ten Motivational Speeches For Children, which she would spiel verbatim at the first sign of bickering, was titled, ‘When You’re Grown Up Your Brothers and Sister Will Be The Dearest People In The World To You’. Sometimes it takes 30 years (20 of them after you’ve popped your clogs) to be proven right, but I’m sure it makes the vindication all the more satisfying. This past weekend I could hear her oh-yesing and mm-hmmming away, although I think she was a bit put out when we were being dear to each other at the Liquid Lounge.
Oh, there’s knitting news all right. For later.
Love, Kay




  1. Oh man, what a great picture! Was your sister in “4H” sewing too? I made the same skirt when I was in 4H. And oh, yes, we *all* went outside the house dressed like that!

  2. Let me get this straight. You were in Omaha, and you did NOT go to Personal Threads. As in, you were right there, in Omaha, which is right where they are. Are they cranky? A member of the “high priestess of knitting” breed of yarn stores? Do they keep unreasonable hours?
    I’m in awe, really I am. I’m now so used to buying yarn while travelling that if I go someplace without a yarn store, I order yarn off the internet to make up for it.
    Of course, that explains the state of my bathtub.

  3. Am I the only one who does not understand the phrase, “popped your clogs?”

  4. i love that picture..;-)
    Of course, I was always about 5-6 years behind the trend (due to hand-me-downs) .. and I left the house feeling way cool (and wondered why all the other children were laughing)

  5. Anything with squirrels is okay in my book. Nice roll!

  6. Are those collars you’re sporting circa Christmas 1975 retrievable? Because they’d make GREAT quilt blocks. You could tell your grandchildren, “See that quilt piece right there? It’s my favorite because it nearly poked out my eyeball as we started another rendition of ‘O Tannenbaum.’ And by the way, kids, all your brothers and sisters will be your best friends when you grow up. Trust me, I know.”
    Yup, that’s what you’d say.
    That post just put me in the Christmas spirit for some reason. See if your friend can make some shrinky-dink Christmas ornaments! they are presh.

  7. Reason # 208 that I love your blog: the fearlessness with which you post vintage photos of yourselves. I’ve got the same goony photos, being of similar vintage here, but not the nerve to show ’em.
    Please don’t ask me to list the other 207. Its been a long day.

  8. I love the sibling photos. I too feel all Christmas-y now. Those needle rolls are so great – I need to make a beach version for watercolor supplies! Annhb

  9. I just LOVE those 1970 photos! Might have to raid my mum’s place next time I am there.
    I love your sister’s gingham shirt – gingham used to be one of my favourite things (OK, I admit it, still is one of my favourite things). In fact I seem to remember having a pair of jeans that I turned into flared jeans by the addition of red gingham triangular inserts… Nice!

  10. Just returned from a family wedding in FL and couldn’t agree with the sentiment more (no clogs on me). Love those old pics!

  11. Cute needleroll! The fabrics are fantastic….and a fab use for scraps.

  12. Great needle roll! Ahh, shrinky dinks ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. love the needle roll, and am a shrinky dink fan too


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