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Mason-Dixon Rubber Stamping

Dear Ann,
I thought I’d put the fear of rubber stamps into you, and show you what could happen if you continue your lackadaisical blogging-from-the-mountain-whenever-you-feel-like-it-like-a-freakin’-oracle approach. If you leave me to my own devices, know this: the needle-felting? That was just a start. I have other crafts yet to explore. And just so we’re clear, know this: at the Other Crafts? I am Not So Good. Today, we take on (1) rubber stamping and (2) sewing teeny tiny stitches with that awful, fiddly stuff called sewing thread.
This all started when I was flipping through the August issue of Martha Stewart Living, wondering whether I should let my subscription lapse after all these years. I admire what Martha has done for Good Taste in America, but she makes me cranky with all that domestic perfectionism (yes, I’m still scarred from when she told us to avoid unsightly creases in our table cloths by rolling them in archival tissue paper and building an appropriate storage facility for these 5-foot long logs of fabric; I mean, I’m as eager as the next nut to improve my Fine Linens Maintenance Program–that’s why I was reading that article in the first place– but I do not want to feel like a slovenly slattern because I FOLD the dang things).
But all doubts vanished when I saw that this month had two most excellent how-tos: On page 64, ‘Repairing Heirloom Quilts’, with instructions for sewing on a label:
And on page 112, ‘Rubber Stamp Designs’, with vital techniques for stamping on eggs, twigs, shells, leaves and feathers.
You know what’s coming, right? A rubber-stamped label for Taro’s quilt-inspired blanket.
I have a Past. My Past includes this collection of rubber stamps:
I’m pretty much over the Rubber Stamp Thing. (Although if My Paper Crane or
Amy Ruppel or Making Fiends made rubber stamps, I’d fall right off the wagon.) The kids and I get them out on rainy days and stamp all over the place, though, and it’s great fun. I love the rickety look of a stamped word. (And wouldn’t those ink-stained alphabet stamps make a cool intarsia or needlepoint design?)
To make the Taro Tag, I cut up a muslin pillow protector and did some test-stamping with my one and only pad of fabric ink, which was kind of a lighter color than I would have liked. Everything was going great until I got to the part where I wanted to stamp ‘2005’, and I realized that I don’t have any number stamps. This is where a solid elementary school education, and a habit of watching movie credits until the very end, can come in handy. I made the date in Roman numerals. I hope I got it right, ’cause Taro’s dad went to Princeton and I don’t want him to bust my chops about it.
Next came the sewing part. To frame the Roman numerals, I raided my fabric mini-stash for a spritely Kaffe Fassett print, appropriately called Roman Glass.
I threaded a needle with orange sewing thread (elapsed time: 30 minutes), and I sewed the white patch to the Roman Glass and the Roman Glass patch to the back of the blanket (elapsed time: 6 days). Just kidding. It seemed like a long time, is what I ‘m saying. Here’s the result:
I’m not kidding about the stitches being small.
Confident of more frequent postings from Tennessee, I remain,
your loving pal,
P.S. The ‘Buffy Rocks’ and ‘My Little Sis Can Out-Eat Yer Little Sis’ t-shirts will go on sale soon. I’ve got a feeling that a Buffy Fan Club is on the way.




  1. Kay, have you ever been to The Ink Pad in the West Village? It is the best stamp store *ever*. Usually what happens when I go there is that I either spend $250 or nothing. Because I am incapable of picking out only a few items in that amazing store. They also have great classes.

  2. I love the Taro Tag!

  3. Mmmm…stamping. LOVE stamping. Send me your address, and I’ll send you a card or something.

  4. Awesome! That blanket just keeps getting better and better.
    Oh and thanks for the links – I just bought a print from Making Fiends! “Swinging Charlotte,” because my niece Charlotte loves to swing and can be mighty fiendish when she wants.
    Looking forward to tomorrow! ๐Ÿ™‚

  5. Would you be surprised if I told you I have a *big time* stamping history? I thought not. Those photos have me itching to get out the stamp pads now!
    Nice tag, nice thought. Makes the gift so much more personal.

  6. The tag is adorable.
    I tried the picking up stitches and three-needle bind off with my Psych Squares. The results were quick but ugly. ๐Ÿ™ I’m not much of a perfectionist but the mattress stitch looks sooooooooooooooo nice, I think I’ll have to suck it up and spend the rest of my life seaming.

  7. Darlin’ idea for the tag — I love for items to show their history like that. And I had to giggle over the idea of stamping some of those things … eggs? … from your Martha list. I’ve stamped many things, but that wasn’t on the list!
    Applause from another TN knitter —
    – Carolyn B., Collierville, TN

  8. Ooh, the backing for my baby blankie in progress is also going to be in Kaffe’s Roman Glass, and now that you have this stamp-y label idea in my brain… Well, wow!

  9. I, too HAD to have the martha mag…for the very same two articles…your end result is WAY more inspiring, though!
    sign me up for the tee shirts….
    what a HOOT!

  10. Kay, I love the denim quilt – great designs! But I think you got 2005 wrong – yikes – I think it should be “MMV”.
    You’ve inspired me to try demin yarn though – can’t wait to try it for my grandnephew. Great knitting!

  11. … primo stitching…. “by golly, you’ve got it!”

  12. Oh my goodness, I have drawers and drawers of rubber stamps! I too was wondering if I should renew. I guess I’ve going to have too!
    Love your tag.
    Great stuff!

  13. Oh see, now, this is what you get up to when you are deprived of kir sustenance. (We shall not mention my own recently hatched notion of sewing fabric envelopes to deliver my knitted baby goodies in. Craziness, I tell you.)
    But, that being said, the label is marvelous and it puts the stamp thing in a whole new light. Much more entertaining than stamping the paid bills with a picture of the North Wind before filing them…

  14. I love the stamping and the patch, way too cool! Talking about tiny sewing stitches, I recently picked up the sewing needle too and made a wee drawstring bag that took me 3 nights! I bet I could’ve knitted one up in a night!

  15. That will teach me never to comment when I have a blinding sinus headache. Of course you had the MMV on there. MY mistake!!!!! Anyway, like I said yesterday, great knitting. Lovely idea to sign it.
    Kathleen (whose eyes have cleared today)

  16. well you KNEW you’d get me to come out of the woodwork with that adorable label. I just love it and now want to stop knitting and simply label everything. braveau! superfantastic!

  17. What an adorable label! Fantastic idea! I love blending mediums. He’s a lucky boy!

  18. Hi Kay, I love what you’ve done with those rubber stamps.

  19. Kay, the label is gorgeous. You just have an idea a minute, don’t you? Do they sell the Kaffe Fassett fabrics in fabric stores or do you have to order them through a catalog?

  20. Gorgeous label. It reminds me of all the goodness that can be found at my local, fabulous Paper Source store: http://www.paper-source.com/.

  21. Kay, I’m right there with you with the stamping! It looks great – I really love the denim quilt, esp. the square with orange in it – that’s my favorite. How about custom stamping some knitting book plates? or getting tatoo ink pads and making knitting tattoos? you could have a whole side-blog going here – stamping and knitting! Annhb

  22. Kay;
    I’ve been reading Mason-Dixon Knitting for a while and just thought you should know your denim knitting was the influence that got me to break my yarn fast. I just bought 2000 yards of Den M Nit from Elann, mid indigo color. I’ve given up on most cotton yarns, but your projects are just too seductive to resist. I’m off to find a pattern I like for a casual fall jacket!

  23. well you KNEW you’d get me to come out of the woodwork with that adorable label. I just love it and now want to stop knitting and simply label everything. braveau! superfantastic!

  24. I love the bag. I just wanted to let you know that stampin up is also a hobbie of mine. I just love to make my own cards and scrapbook myself. I go on the third friday of the month to just sit with friend and stamp. Have yourself a great day.

  25. Love the stamped label – it looks great!


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