Archive for the ‘Themes’ Category

The Making of a Protest

Saturday, January 31st, 2009

Hi Bev.

I’m behind, so this protest quilt has to come together quick. Thankfully, I’m the sort of woman who gets worked up about injustice on a daily basis. I think we can all agree that there are plenty of things to protest in this world from wars and bungled laws like the  Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act to unreasonable bosses and parking spot stealers. From the serious atrocities to minor annoyances, it will be fun to stitch out some of my issues. Come to think of it, I think the world would be a much better place if all world leaders stitched. President Obama, I’m available if you need an International Ambassador of Craft.



A long lost stitcher returns… Well, sort of.

Saturday, January 31st, 2009

Hi Bev.

Your Green Man turned out amazing and your protest quilt looks fantastic. Unfortunately, my protest quilt is still an idea in my head. In an almost ridiculous turn of events I’ve been dealing with the whiplash worries that are becoming quite common for print journalists here in the United States.

Fearing that I would be downsized after Christmas, I took on extra work including a couple unpaid craft-related opportunities to promote CraftSanity and then a paid commission request to make another fart quilt. (Seriously, this is not a joke.) Then, only when I found myself completely overloaded with work, I came to realize that my job will be around longer than I anticipated. Of course, right?!

So, now I’m too busy to craft as much as I want to and feeling a tad cranky about it. Some days, when I’m forced to walk past my stash of embroidery floss, it’s difficult not to growl. I just want to stitch. That’s all.

The good news is that I’m in the perfect frame of mind to work on my protest quilt once I get the binding on that fart quilt. Can you believe my first commissioned quilt would be flatulence-related? Life sure is entertaining and truth is so much more entertaining than fiction.

Things will settle down soon. I refuse to live a life that doesn’t  involve appropriate amounts of time spent stitching with my daughters. I need that creative time with them.

My apologies to your and our readers for lagging behind. I will catch up as soon as I can.



What do I protest about?

Monday, January 19th, 2009

There are so many things to protest about.

- clearing forests, burning rainforest, laying waste to land

- landmines, injustice and totalitarianism

- apathy. About the real environmental cost of what we buy. Apathy about labour conditions for factory workers. About water use and food crises. Apathy is the worst of all.

I was going to make a quilt about apathy. The design was partly worked out, and the core meaning was absolutely clear to me: “Live your life with your brain on. Look and see. Now don’t just lie there, eating and buying stuff — do something!”

However small a contribution, actions and caring blast apathy out of the water.

But something else started to happen, and my quilt became a different thing. As I laid out your package of fabrics on the desk, Jennifer, I was listening to the radio. And there were missiles falling in the middle east again: Israel and Gaza: Gaza and Israel.

Some of my childhood memories are of the half-understood news of these kinds of conflicts. Images on the news at night, Israeli women soldiers, young, bombs in streets, families — and there’s me, living a sheltered and happy life in a quiet part of the world. Not guilt, but horrid fascination. Awareness of how things could have so easily been different: I could have been born in Afghanistan, the middle east, Angola, Cambodia — one of any number of countries ripped by wars I don’t, and won’t understand, in the years since I was born.

So this quilt became a record of anger, dismay and concern. Not understanding. A complete failure to understand why war is what happens. I stitched while the news reports came in, and finished as the land invasion began. My quilt is finished, but it’s not over – not for anyone on the ground in these cities, families and friends of local people, and anyone who is concerned, not apathetic about war in our world.


What do we want? A protest quilt!

Friday, January 2nd, 2009

- When do we want it?


The protest packet

Just last week, a protest was under way in Melbourne, and I heard that age-old rally cry. What do we want? Fair Pay! When do we want it? NOW!

It seems that there’s a lot to protest in our world, and fitting that I should be doing it on New Year’s Day. Sewing up a storm, stitching the world with the protest packet you sent me, this quilt lept through my hands and into the sewing machine, and it’s almost done already, only 48 hours later.


What’s that you say? You want consistency? (A slow quilt, a quick quilt… will she ever get this right?) 

Sorry – quilt a-coming through! I hope your TV craft spot goes well and that you can join me over here where I’m a one-woman, craft-mad protest chick.

What’s it all about?

Tell ya tomorra!


The Myth of the Man Who Didn’t Fart

Sunday, December 7th, 2008

I’m sorry if this quilt challenges your sensibilities, but I created it with the support and encouragement of my husband, the man farting in the quilt above.

I was driving him nuts obsessing about what kind of quilt I would make for the “Myths & Legends” theme. I was wavering between depicting “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow” and stitching Athena, the goddess of craft. But neither of these ideas really excited me.

Then we had this ridiculous conversation that went something like this:

Jeff: What don’t you do a quilt about my gas?

Me: (laughing) What?! That’s ridiculous.

Jeff: You believed I didn’t have a gas issue. That’s a myth.

Me: Yeah, that’s for sure. Are you okay with me making a quilt about that?

Jeff: Sure.

Me: Then consider it done.

Immediately, I knew what I had to do.

More than 12 years ago I fell in love with Jeff and proceeded to date him for two years before making the toxic discovery that he farts.

I know, I know, we all do. But not like this.

Soon after our summer 1998 wedding, my wonderful husband let his guard down and I started getting  gased out by noxious fumes. One day, after the air cleared I asked, “What the heck, dude? What’s going on? Did you just develop a post-nuptial condition? Where is all this gas coming from? You never did this before. Seriously, this is unbelievable.”

Jeff confessed to hiding his gas problem from me and explained that he took advantage of every opportunity to fart without me noticing while we were dating. The most common scenario is the one depicted above. While we were dating Jeff would open the car door for me and, once my door was closed, fart all the way around to the driver’s side of the car. This method worked great. He got to relieve pressure and I was left with the stench-free impression that he was a gentleman. Nothing like a marriage to shake out the truth.

I never imagined I would ever stitch a fart quilt, but I guess that’s part of life’s grand adventure – you never know what’s going to happen next.

And just because I’m feeling a bit vulnerable unveiling a quilt about farts, I want to share a short interview I recorded yesterday with Ryan Greaves, a young artist who is making fart art, too. Apparently this is a trend, people. Check it out…

I’m Going Greek.

Sunday, October 19th, 2008

Hi Bev.

I’ve been researching this month’s Myths & Legends theme and have been pulled back to the Greek mythology that captivated me as young girl. I love the the stories of the gods and their powers. I had forgotten that Athena was the goddess of crafts and domestic arts because it seems she was more widely regarded a guardian of those in battle and the goddess of wisdom. It rocks that there’s a goddess of craft! I think she will be appearing in my next quilt. Now I just have to figure out how.

How did it get to be Oct. 19 already?!



The new theme: Myths and Legends

Sunday, October 12th, 2008

Hi Jennifer,

Bear Gate, Rome

It seems I’m still thinking of ways that I could stitch the last theme, and the next one is upon me.

This month’s theme is Myths and Legends.

It’s such a rich area that I am almost paralysed by a wealth of possibilities.

There are legends, tales and epics: King Arthur, Robin Hood, the Fisher King and Beowulf. The great myths of religion. Symbols and signs: the crafty fox, the regal lion, the mighty bear. Fairy tales and children’s stories, and tales told to teach, to moralise and to express a rough justice.

Stories to explain the stars, to bring back the sun, to heal and help, protect and give power, and promote a rich harvest.

How will I choose from a whirl of ghost ships and fairy godmothers, witches, wild men, talking foxes and dancing shoes?

For the moment, I am reading. King Arthur, kids’ literature, and Touch Magic - three books with rich tales to tell, and somehow an image will emerge that I will start to stitch.


Ladies and gentlemen… it’s a balancing act!

Friday, September 19th, 2008

Balancing act

WATCH two stitchers juggle life, stitching, families and work to create something new.

MARVEL at the derring-do as they snip and stitch, sew and slice, embellish and reveal.

GASP at the astounding dress sense (what’s with that boater hat, above?)

So… as you said, Jennifer, this month it’s all about balance.

Your parcel has been sitting on top of my drawer of ‘in progress’ projects, and every time I open it, I wonder… What will Balance mean for this month’s quilt?

Always looking for inspiration, this morning I did a quick search online for the word ‘Balance’. It was slightly surprising to see the variety of results I got:

- There were gyms, health drinks, running shoes and herbal remedies.

- Web site design, short animated film of that name, and software.

- Work-life balance… now that got a huge number of hits!

- Trade balance, natural resources, nuclear balance (?) and BALANCE – or in full “Baltic Sea Management – Nature Conservation and Sustainable Development of the Ecosystem through Spatial Planning”

Balance is equilibrium and equality. It can be compromise and collaboration. There’s a balance of power and a Balance Sheet, balance of payments, and bank balances (unfortunately). We can swing the balance, tip the scales, strike a balance or throw someone off balance. And we all do our own balancing act sometime!

Off we go! Let’s see what turns up as the balancing act begins.


This September It’s All About ‘Balance’

Friday, September 19th, 2008

Hi Bev

This month’s theme is a something I think about every day. I do a lot, too much sometimes, and I never want to slow down. So my life is all about spinning lots of plates and running fast between them to keep them all spinning.

While this approach to life suits me, it can be exhausting at times. And I often feel a bit off balance when one project demands more of my time that I feel I can spare. But somehow it all comes together in the end and all the tasks get completed and I eventually catch up on sleep.

You sent me some interesting fabrics this month, which will be fun to work with. (Thank you!) I’ll update you as soon as I make the necessary design decisions and get stitching. The stitching is always my favorite part.

Okay, I have to get cracking on my quilt.

I’ll have another update for you soon.



Do you dream in black and white?

Saturday, August 9th, 2008

Some fabrics

I’ve started the August challenge. As usual (!), I’ve spent the last week or two thinking about it, before the sketching begins in earnest and the ideas start to emerge. At first, I wasn’t sure what I would do. The parcel of fabric you sent me was just so wacky, it DEMANDED that I change my idea about what sort of dreams I was going to stitch.

I had been thinking dreams as aspirations – blue sky thinking, that sort of thing.

Instead, what you sent me was bizarre. There’s no two ways about it. And what you wrote in your card was: “Do you dream in black and white or in colour?” (Colour, definitely. And scent).

Actually, what you wrote is:

Do you dream in black and white or in color?

<<Aside: I’m Canadian, so I write colour with a U. Pedantic? – ME?? >

The funny thing was the arrival of your parcel. You said by email that your next parcel should arrive at about the time we got home. Well, I didn’t say at the time, but these little old houses in Melbourne’s north don’t have any front gardens, and so occasionally, just occasionally, parcels left on the doorstep go missing. Too tempting, within reach of the street. I was quietly hoping that parcel would not arrive a few days early so that Posted Stitches would not become Missing Stitches this month…

Well, Tuesday we opened the door and lugged our bags in, home from the airport. The house feels strange. Someone shrunk all the rooms. Man, it’s cold, and damp in here (we don’t do central heating ’round here)Opening the new parcel. Gosh, it’s gloomy. I’ll just open the front door and sit here on MY home step in MY house in the sunshine and bask and NOT be on an airplane…

With my eyes closed, I am listening to the sounds of the neighbourhood, and it’s so good to be home. ‘Brap-pap-pap’ – someone’s coming down the street on a moped bike – it’s the postie. And he’s got…. A parcel for me…

For ME?

“Posted Stitches, Ma’am, right on time.”

I’m sure the postie – all wrapped up in his glo-vis yellow and red jacket – chuckled to himself at my big-eyed jetlagged, excited grab at the parcel.

- Or maybe it’s just a part of his job and this happens every day.

How did you time it so well?

(P.S. The postie didn’t say that. But I wish he had. With a ‘Dragnet‘ accent.)