This week, I’m writing from the beautiful French coastal town of Montalivet. My husband and I take an annual holiday here to visit friends and spend some much needed time in the sun. While the weather has been reluctant to give us that time in the sun, we’re determined to enjoy ourselves, wrapping up to take walks in defiance of the wind and in hope of better weather.
Like any avid fiber crafter, my packing wouldn’t have been complete without a few portable projects to help pass the time on trains, on the beach, or, in our case, in the cabin waiting for the rain to stop…
One of the projects I brought uses English paper piecing (EPP), which is a technique that I’ve never tried before.
A little over three weeks ago, I attended a webinar sponsored by the Modern Quilt Guild and hosted by the wonderful Anna Boenish. Anna and I met at QuiltCon 2016 and clicked instantly. She is both an incredible human rights activist and an insanely talented quilter. Her favorite technique is EPP.
After the webinar, armed with this exciting new technique and inspired by Anna’s love of using EPP for apparel embellishment, I decided to make an inverted pink triangle surrounded by hexagons and appliqué the piece to a top that I will wear to CSD in Köln.
In Germany, CSD is what we call Gay Pride in the States. CSD stands for Christopher Street Day and is a reference to the Stonewall riots of June 28, 1969, which took place on Christopher Street in Manhattan, NY. The idea of wearing an inverted pink triangle to a German CSD appeals to me for a number of reasons, not least of which is to make a statement on rhetoric being spouted by a right-wing party called the AfD (Alernativ für Deutschland), which is growing in popularity.
I have not finished my piece yet (so please stay tuned for an update where I’ll post the pattern and describe the process in more detail) but recent events have made me want to talk about the project now.
On Monday morning, I was deeply shocked by the news of the shooting in Orlando, Florida. I grew up in Tampa. It felt like it had happened right outside my front door. An insane tornado of random violence had touched down with no warning or reason, hit my home, torn away people like me.
After making sure that my stepmother, who lives near Orlando, was safe, I wept. The ongoing violence is so extreme and so unceasing. Through my tears I sought answers. When will this all end? When will we feel safe again? What gathering will be the next target: a football game? The CSD parade?
This is not a rail against Islamic extremists, nor is it a plea for stricter gun control. There is no room for those conversations here. Here we feel what has happened. Here we send our love and thoughts to the families and friends who are today left with a terrible loss. Here we imagine a world without this violence. Here we do what we do: we create and we heal and we go on, together.
We don’t know when the killings will stop, but that’s not the end we should be seeking as individuals. We instead need to focus on an end to living in fear. We need to find our defiance of the hate and terror and our hope of better days and be determined to find joy.
I’m more determined than ever to finish this project and go to CSD in Köln and wear the top with the pink triangle appliqué; to be with my people; and to celebrate in defiance and hope.
The rain seems to finally be letting up and the wind, nature’s way of moving systems along, is trying hard to create room for the sunlight. I’m standing outside, arms outstretched, letting the warmer air move over my body. I’m still unnerved and uncertain, but one thing is clear: this too shall pass.
UPDATE: The Modern Quilt Guild is organizing a quilt drive for the families of the victims of the shooting. If you would like to participate, please click here. Anyone can submit either quilts or 10″ square blocks, you don’t have to be a MQG member. Thank you MQG for your phenomenal support of the LGBTQ community!
In what ways have you used your craft to make a statement?
Do you find that your craft helps you to cope with difficult times?
Have you ever attended a Modern Quilt Guild webinar? If so, what did you think?
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