Is Starshower the new Honey Cowl? Only time will tell (but it looks good).

The Audacity of The Thing With Feathers

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Dear Ann,
What can I say? I’m in the grip of a Janet Bolton fixation. I mean, look at this book:
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It’s amazing what she can evoke with little bits of cloth. I am powerless to resist. Whither Janet goeth, I must go. Her birds shall be my birds.
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Her fish shall be my fish.
I’m wondering, though, how to make this my own instead of working pale imitations of what Janet Bolton has already done so brilliantly. Also, I’m not sure how authentic the “country garden” esthetic is, in these herbicidal hands of mine. (You’ve seen my “flower” beds. Dirt. We call that dirt. I should only applique a flower if I also applique a deer eating it.)
I’m contemplating turning my applique toward urban imagery. Subway stops, skyscrapers, the sidewalks of my stomping grounds, and of course: signs. I love a good sign. Buses are also very applikayable. But I’m not there yet. After I finished the birdy blanket top (which I can’t show right now for fear of spoiling it for the recipient), I had to get one little bit of crazy out of my system. I’ll just lay it on you. Don’t be scared. This won’t last too long.
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I have documented an Historical Moment with an appliqued bird.
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I have committed Rubber Stamping.
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Yes, the O is for the Senator from Illinois. It’s your basic basic Franklin Mint commemorative plate, but in fabric.
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For those curious about where I possibly could have started to end up here, it began with the selvedge on this Japanese fabric, which says “Re: foRm.” I love selvedges. I have kept the printed selvedge from almost every piece of fabric I have ever bought, without knowing why. Blind, unquestioning compulsion.
I can’t guarantee I won’t do one to commemorate Senator McCain. (The Franklin Mint would, of course.) I’ll check my basket of selvedges and get back to you.
I’m changing up Janet Bolton’s method by putting thin cotton batting between the layers (her “pictures” are just front and back, no filler), and I’m going to do a regular double-fold binding instead of Janet’s signature, pieced frame borders.
Anyway, I’m having fun playing around with something new. This too shall pass. Before you judge me, remember that you made a mosaic mirror once. Double dog dare you to blog it!
Please Could We Have Something Normal?
In the knitting department, lookie! It’s a tiny sweater!
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(Shown from the back, because I haven’t put the button bands on yet. But you knew that.)
This is the Leaf Yoke Cardigan from Nashua’s “Bloom” booklet. I haven’t seen such a cute, knittable collection of baby knits in a while. The yarn is Nashua’s Natural Focus Ecologie Cotton, in a shade that is called Indigo but is actually the bluish white of skim milk. (In other words, an awesome color!) This mini-shmattah of love is going to be mailed westward as soon as I get home from our family vacay and can put some buttons on it. I am hoping for lots of babies to knit for so that I can knit everything in this booklet. Ann: there is a tennis sweater! To die!
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“Kay has stept out.” Back in a couple of weeks. Miss you already!
Love,
Kay
P.S. Allow me to (over)share: my new haircut.
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I asked for The Michelle. This trend starts NOW.

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72 Comments

72 Comments

  1. Just don’t ask for the Cindy at your local cosmetic surgeon…

  2. Hey y’all, after reading this post, I think the quilting bird is perching in my soul! And as for your haircut: it’s SMASHING. :)

  3. too cute, the bird and the hair cut!! And the sweather is awesome.

  4. Change you can applique in.

  5. Change is good! You have unvented a new art-form, and AppliKay is a wonderful name for it.
    p.s. love the flippy ‘do

  6. Love your applique adventures; the bird fills me with hope! But I have hair envy (mine is very short). Little sweater is too cute. Your recent frogging is also inspirational. Go, and enjoy!

  7. Hairdo and applikay – brilliant, both.

  8. Sara’s comment cracks me up. Don’t know how the McCain AppliKay will work-haven’t seen diamonds in any of the selvages I’ve gotten.

  9. I don’t know that I’ve ever seen such a beautiful synergy of poetry, inspirational non-fiction titles, politics, and quilting all in one place before! Emily D would be proud.

  10. Great post. I love everything on it including “the Michelle”.

  11. Got any Clintons in your selvedge collection? I wanted the “C” change, but, alas, it was not to be. Guess I’ll just have to go with the “O” change. Cute little birdie, though.
    There’s a new little one in the Shayne family, if you have that urge to knit more baby sweaters. Just sayin’…
    It will be at least a year before I can join The Michelle trend. I sport The Lawnmower Ran Over My Head ‘do all of the time!
    Mary G. in Texas

  12. You know, I haven’t taken a peek in the Obama store for a while. I wonder if they’ve come up with knitter, crocheter, or quilter bumper stickers yet. Perhaps you should try to market your bird to Barack’s publicity folks?

  13. With your massive selvedge collection and your tireless attention to detail, you should make yourself an amazing scarf like this one by the extremely talented Jodie of Ric-Rac.

  14. applikayable!!! love it
    you make me laugh out loud!

  15. Foxy, foxy new haircut! Nice sweater. I have a baby in the house right now who might want one. Jo is here for the weekend, with Ms. Ducati. I will try and get a pic where we manage (any one of us at any moment) not to look gormless…. B x x

  16. applikayable, huh? lov eit.
    Also love the Yes We Can Applikay tea towel (need I remind you my birthday is in, like, 3 weeks?)
    Have a good trip, your hair looks tres chic

  17. Love the hair! I think it was originally a Veronica, tho’
    And the quilting? Very much KAY-esque!
    Have a great vacation!
    (((hugs)))

  18. My daughter used to know Janet Bolton, she has two original applique pictures of hers, and later on did some classes with her. They are absolutely lovely…..as I am sure yours will be, just different!

  19. Oh, such a trend setter (not follower!). Soon we will all be asking for the Kay at our hairdressers’.
    Sara’s comment was LOL funny.
    I love the commemorative applikay. I just sent you a TY email (quel horror) this morning BTW, and I hope you have a great blog break! You will be missed.

  20. I’m officially enchanted with the idea of capturing the historical moment in fabric. I think you may be the only reporter documenting the 2008 political race in appliqué, but it sure feels right to me! You may just have spawned a whole Obama quilting cottage industry that will be very valuable on the Antiques Roadshow of the 22nd century. Just think how they’ll swoon over the authentic baby spit-up marks and other distinctive wear patterns.

  21. If Mrs. Pamela was really a psychic, wouldn’t she know that you were at her house??

  22. Hey,
    Do politics really REALLY belong in the knitting world?
    I happen to think that Karl Marx was also very charming, but “change” for the sake of change should be approached with caution.
    If conservative views are not welcomed by the knitting commumity, I promise to go on my way and not upset the apple cart.
    Be careful what you vote for …
    Thanks,
    m

  23. Kay, you know those fabulously elegant sheath dresses that MO wears? The purple one for example? The ones designed by Maria Pinto? Of Chicago? Who is opening a showroom? NEXT DOOR TO ME?
    Yeah, those dresses!
    I have no need for such a dress in my life. But I plan to press my nose against the glass as I walk by it every day.
    [m, please don't leave; we don't need to agree on everything to have fun, right?]

  24. I think that equal time should be given to The MCCAIN FOR PRESIDENT CAMPAIGN!!!!! Especially Mrs. McCain!! Senator and Mrs. McCain are so much classier and graceful than Michelle O and whatever his name will ever be!!!!!

  25. I think that equal time should be given to The MCCAIN FOR PRESIDENT CAMPAIGN!!!!! Especially Mrs. McCain!! Senator and Mrs. McCain are so much classier and graceful than Michelle O and whatever his name will ever be!!!!!

  26. Adorable from top to bottom.

  27. That’s the sweater!!! A teeny person at my daughter’s daycare was wearing that very sweater two weeks ago. I asked her mother about the pattern, but as it was a gift, she didn’t know. I begged her to contact her friend’s mother and ask for details … but that’s it!!! Okay, I am scampering to Ravelry RIGHT NOW to queue that for my own very teeny person. Thankyouthankyouthankyou!!

  28. Is it the mixed-media with stamping that makes it appliKay instead of applique?
    I posted to Knitters for Obama and told them to check out this groovy project! The Michelle looks great on you!

  29. FINALLY, an AppliKay that ‘Mrs.’O. can be proud of for the first time in her adult life…
    Kay, “step out” for a couple of weeks???? OOOKAAAY!… (don’t like it –don’t have a choice) Have fun on vacation. I’ll be here working. Don’t feel guilty… :(:( :(
    LoveDiane

  30. I agree with Maggie. If this knitting blog becomes a political forum this year, I will go on my way, too. Of course we don’t have to agree on everything, but the petty negative remarks (see first post by Sara) have already begun.

  31. I am in the middle of a mini-sewing diversion (with a pair of knitted socks to keep me sane) and I love your hand sewing.
    And the sweater!! Some day I will actually have a baby in mind when I knit a bit of tininess.

  32. Craftwork can and perhaps should be political, some of the time. It expresses our essence, and our political positions and our reasons for being in those positions are also expressions of our essence. There is awesome artistic work being done in fiber, and art isn’t always about the pretty.
    I’ll suggest that as it is Kay and Ann’s blog, perhaps they get to decide the content? I hope it is respectful of all so that even when opinions expressed aren’t in agreement with all readers, we can all stay and discuss. Different isn’t bad, and if approached in a healthy manner can make us all better.

  33. Dear Renee,
    I’d like to point out that my petty remark wasn’t very political- just petty. I actually plan to vote for McCain (preternaturally preserved wife and all- I have my reasons, and have done my research), but I think Any public figure (political or otherwise) is game for petty remarks as long as they’re sort of funny (I’m convinced that humor sucks out just enough of the petty). Politics are serious and with any serious subject, humor helps those involved to keep perspective. Any woman who has so obviously chosen to purchase a new face instead of the better part of a yarn shop so obviously has her priorities wrong that I couldn’t help but point it out (now, if one can afford both…). Anyway, I kind of like reading different political opinions- gives me more to think about and sometimes further cements my previous conclusions. Additionally, it’s sort of difficult to ensure that a blog (as well as all the comments that follow a post) remain politially free or neutral at all times. I think it’s much more important to focus on what knitters have in common than what we don’t- not to sound like an out of touch hippie. Point is, if I offended you, I apologize. It was never my intent to negatively affect you (is that the e or the a -ffect there? gets me every time). Anyhow, I just like laughing whenever possible (even at myself) which is why this is one of my favorite blogs- the never ending wit.

  34. A “mini schmatta of love!” How fabulous is that???
    And the Michelle! I NEED a new haircut. Such the style maven you are!

  35. You gotta read Gwen Marston’s books- especially the one on four block quilts, but they are all good.Much free form appliqué happiness, there.

  36. Yah applikay! (I’m much better at this technique that the CroKay!!)
    Love your quilt project — and your digression here is giving me a chance to catch up on the “Wall of Linen” project I’m doing —-
    Love the politcal sentiment too — we really need a CHANGE (and McSame won’t get it!)

  37. I absolutely love your Janet Bolton inspired work. The bird is fabulous. I’ve also fallen under her spell and did a little piece a couple of months ago because I just couldn’t help myself. Great use of the selvedges too. I save them also and have used a few.

  38. the knitters need to think
    about ways to help our knitters
    in the flood areas and tornado area
    perhaps we could be of service
    have a safe vacation kay
    hope your family is safe

  39. Love the new “do” and the blanket and the leaf sweater. I have a new little cousin and no will for a blanket right now, so that might be just the ticket.

  40. i am searching for something like that newsprint fabric …. could you share where you got it?

  41. So inspiring! I wish I could go grab some fabric right now. Trapped, unfortunately. The fabric stores are cut off from me or under water.

  42. While I certainly respect your right to include whatever political content you both wish to include on your blog I think you should know that not only have you lost a loyal reader, you’ve lost a customer as well (who bought 5 of your first books at full price for gifts) with this post. FWIW, a lot of Hillary supporters (who are also knitters) feel the same way.

  43. I agree with Heather. You’re certainly free to support whomever you like in whatever manner you want. However, I am not of your opinion, nor do I look at knitting blogs for political discussions. I don’t go out of my way to support this type of politicalization of non-political activities; I believe it is very divisive of community. Because of this, I won’t be back and I will not purchase your books in the future.

  44. I also wish you could market your ‘applikay’bird-it’s beautiful! and I am overdue for a haircut, after seeing your picture I am definetly asking for a Michelle. It looks great on you.
    Can’t wait till your new book comes out!

  45. I’ll read whatever Kay and Ann choose to write.

  46. Wellll, I have reread the original post and I, for one, hope to see a quilt commemorating McCain and anything else about this uber-interesting election.
    And, I’ll go a little further–I love knitting or quilting commemorating any historic event.
    I put dibs on the Mars’ landing quilt. Or perhaps a doll quilt inspired by the demise of Pluto.
    Off to find that fabulous baby sweater.
    Thanks for the great blog. As always, it inspires me.

  47. i concur, mary de B!!!

  48. Ciao, Bellas!
    I totally and completely agree with Twinsetellen who stated that it is your absolute right to support and express your support for anyone/anything you wish. I think we are all lucky to have that priviledge. Therefore, I’ll be “defavoritising” you with some sadness and staying out of the your political knitting world. Sorry that I’m coming out of lurkdom for this but I thought it was important for me to express my opinion about this. Like Heather and HRC supporter, there won’t be any new Mason Dixon Knitting books in my future.

  49. I’m waiting for the ‘useless-PM-finally-got-rid-of-by-annoyed-UK-populace-of-all-political-persuasions-because-we’re-just-sick-to-death-of-him’ quilt. But then I couldn’t blame you for not being inspired by that one!
    Honestly, it’s lovely. All the Great Artists worked with whatever inspired them, regardless of what other people thought of that inspiration. It’s what makes art Art and culture Culture. Ask Damien and Tracy, or Vincent or Pablo or Jackson if you feel like channelling the Other Side :)

  50. Knitters, whoa! Isn’t it a sad thing when we won’t buy a knitting book because the author is voting for somebody different? That’s crazy! Heck, I bought Lynne Cheney’s children’s book… talk about crossing party lines.
    I very much dig the creativity. Awesome, Kay!

  51. Ok, I’ve read this three times now and I can’t see how you’ve made any sort of concrete political statement. Seriously. That people are choosing to read political statements in to your post is obvious, and disheartening, but what can you do. Whether you support the senator who’s name starts with O or not, his accomplishment is a Very Big Deal. I’m betting your quilt would have an H and a word associated with that campaign had she managed to secure the nomination. And heck, you said right in there that you’ll probably do a McCain square.
    I absolutely adore your creativity and talent in using the quilting medium to record this moment in history. Textile arts are such an important thing, which we all know as knitters, and here you are updating a trend to keep it alive. I am in awe.
    And your hair looks lovely. My hair wouldn’t do that for me for love or money, but I will admit to being part of the wave of young women asking for ‘The Anniston’ back in the early seasons of Friends when that haircut was all the rage.

  52. How fab is that — crafting a remarkable event? I was so excited when Bill was elected president that I actually SENT AN EMAIL! How much better it is to express it craftually!
    Really, Ann and Kay are so very tactful. It’s we commenters who supply the snarky commentroversy. So I’m with mary de b!

  53. Honestly, as McCain supporter, I’m not offended in the least. I hardly think that this quilting project was a sign that this blog will turn political from now on. On even if it did that would only prevent me from reading those posts (actually, it would probably save me time, as I’d just read the knitting content). I think that it’s kinda silly for people to boycott based on a someone sharing a politically oriented project.
    Frankly, if all the knitting blogs I read only shared knitting content, that would bore me. I want to know something about the people who knit, not just, “Look, here’s another sock!” Even if I don’t agree with what they are saying, it’s still nicer to know the range of people who enjoy this craft/art/yarn addiction, than to just imagine that only little old ladies do it. (and to think that I’m weird for collecting yarn and wanting to make stuff)
    That’s my thoughts on the matter. I’ll go back to lurking now. (I’d comment more, but everytime I’m on the computer the kids tear up the house.)

  54. Kay and Anne’s blog is one of my absolute favorites and has made me laugh out loud too many times to count. I’ve even gone so far as to try to explain the humor to my husband (now that’s SERIOUS!)
    I’m sorry that some readers were offended enough to feel the need to stop patronizing the MD world (their right) but I’m coming out of lurkdom to express my support and say I can’t wait for the new book this fall!
    p.s. Foxy haircut – I couldn’t help thinking about the “Rachel” also…

  55. I think it’s a lovely piece that reflects an exciting milestone for our country. Please don’t hesitate to share anything similar you make in the future!
    I don’t understand why some readers would get all huffy over it. Trying to seal yourself away from the slightest reference to a person or opinion that you disagree with sounds like a frustrating (and ultimately futile) way to live.
    Contrast is as beautiful in life as it is in crafting, folks. I know tensions are running a bit high in some circles, but please don’t guilt-trip Kay about sharing her life with us. Sheesh.

  56. Love the hair! Love the birds! Love the appliKay!
    I also love that before I disappeared for 3 weeks, I was DYING for more posts, now that I’m back, there’s so much to ketchup on. The Amber has Stept back in. Sort of. As much as one can with a (no long quite so) tiny babe in the house.

  57. Don’t we all cross-craft? Let’s celebrate all of them.

  58. I, too, like Mary de B., would happily pay money for anything written by Ann and Kay, on any subject.

  59. Hey Everyone,
    I live in Portland, Oregon. I consider myself as well-educated, open-minded, considerate, good citizen, etc. I crossed over from liberal Democrat to the evil dark side of conservative (gulp-dare I say) Republican. As a result, I have lost numerous long-term friendships (>15 years) and a very significant boyfriend. I have also been shunned by immediate family members who took it upon themselves to “out” me at parties and professional functions.
    Michelle O is right: Life is hard! You have to be tough and thick-skinned. I think life is especially tough right now for our flooded midwest families and our military families.
    I knit to realize that I really don’t suck, even though a lot of people tell me otherwise. I read knitting blogs to learn from the best of the best – including all of you.
    We are all God’s children…even those of us who like to keep our stash of political views separate from our stash of yarn. It might avoid hurt feelings and additional isolation.
    See ya’
    m

  60. I love y’all.
    I really do.
    Thank you. That is all.
    Stephanie

  61. I love y’all.
    I really do.
    Thank you. That is all.
    Stephanie

  62. Does no one else get the significance of this blog name: Mason-Dixon, that line that was originally drawn to settle property lines, then later became known as the division between the northern (free) states and the southern (slave) states? This whole blog is about differences:
    One woman lives in a high-rise building in Manhattan, she looks out her window and sees another high-rise building, she usually walks or rides a subway to wherever she is going, she makes side excursions into the quilting world, her kids go to P.S. (insert a number here) and trick-or-treat by riding an elevator from floor-to-floor in their building, they go to Central Park to play, etc., etc. etc.
    The other woman lives in a Tennessee subdivision, she usually drives or walks wherever she goes, she’s married to the famous Merle Hazzard!, her kids go to Country & Western (insert correct name here) School and trick-or-treat by going door-to-door in their subdivision, they go out in their backyard to play, etc., etc., etc.
    What do these two educated, talented women have in common? A love of knitting (hey, just like the rest of us, or we wouldn’t be reading this blog and buying their books!), they’re both Rowanettes (count me in!), (Note: Kay does lean toward Denim, while Ann leans toward Donegal Lambswool), and their wacky, wonderful senses of humor.
    It saddens me to think that by sharing a personal recording of an historical event via a quilted piece could change the perception of these two women, their blog, and their books by anyone who had previously enjoyed their blog and their books enough to buy multiple copies for friends or family.
    Sign me up for 5 copies of the new book upon its release!
    Mary G. in Texas

  63. Mary G. – you are brilliant!! You put into words just what I was thinking.
    I am sure that Kay meant no disrepect to Hillary or McCain supporters. And they should not disrespect her. Imagine, not getting the new book over this issue. bummer…

  64. A Mason-Dixon Ticket!!!
    We’ll have to work out the details on a porch somewhere – sipping sweet tea and eating deep dish. (this embodies the Mason/Dixon deal don’t you think? We could also eat Okra and drink Manhattans….Sip Cosmos and have a cobbler?)
    Kay or Ann – who wants to be president?
    I volunteer to be campaign manager. (this should entitle me to a personally autographed book – the second one – just sayin’)
    Platform: Unity through Craftiness
    Our slogan? Need help here….
    (I just knew my political juices would get flowing again after some appropriate grieving time!)

  65. How’s this sound for a unifying idea:
    We vote based upon the candidate’s knowledge of crafts because, let’s get real, they don’t seem to know much about the Constitution, History, or Economics. We know our elected officials are crafty, but not the good kind of crafty we need and want. CAN I GET AN AMEN!
    Have any of ‘em ever been asked a challenging debate question about knitting vs. crochet? Does Michelle O scrapbook her children’s dance recitals, etc? Does Cindy McCain collage the beer distributor company summer picnics?
    Let’s have those town hall meetings at our LYSs. Let’s skip the rhetoric and get down to the sticks and string action.
    I buy knitting books based upon their content, not based upon their politics.
    See ya’
    m

  66. Amen Amen!
    I’m feelin’ ya sistah “m”!

  67. I LOVE the political quilt. So refreshing after some misspent time looking at Jesus dishcloths, praying hands dishcloths, butterfly dishcloths, puppy dog dishcloths, kitty cat dishcloths, and Republicans.

  68. I think the Obama quilt is fantastic! A momentous event in the history of the United Stats that is definitely worthy and deserving of commemoration in such an art form. And also just plain cool, as is Obama.

  69. I agree with Mary G. It is a great to see what else the ladies are into. Love the quilt.
    Amanda T.

  70. Kay –
    Totally off topic, but have you heard about the new book, Perfect Pitch? It’s about the rough and tumble world of collegiate a cappella groups. http://www.amazon.com/Pitch-Perfect-Quest-Collegiate-Cappella/dp/159240376X/ref=pd_bbs_sr_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1213976053&sr=8-1
    Seemed like it might be up your alley. Here’s the NPR story that turned me onto the book: http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=91028150
    Hope you are having a good vaca. I heart your new haircut.
    Kate.

  71. LOVE LOVE LOVE the bird!!!!! Want to sell it to me?

  72. We were walking through the West Village this past weekend and got tired. We decided to try and find a place to get a pedicure. We could only find Psychic Reader’s… Perhaps we should have changed course?