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.Rain in Monte

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.

EPP Webinar by Anna BoenishAfter 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.

Check back next week for the completed project, instructions and free pattern.

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.

My people.

Our people.

People like all of us.

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.

Refresh by Anna Boenish
Refresh by Anna Boenish was shown at QuiltCon 2013

Quilts for PulseUPDATE: 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?

As always, thank you so much for reading, and please don’t forget to join the Concerned Newsletter to stay up to date on all things eco-crafty. 

8 thoughts on “EPP, CSD, AfD and ISIS

  1. I hope that you and your husband have a lovely vacation! I am so grateful to be a part of the quilting community which is going to respond so generously and offer what love we can. I’ll be sending off two finished rainbow quilts that I have made and that were waiting for the perfect home.

  2. This is a beautiful post, Seven. My heart goes out to you and everyone affected by this horrific attack. The LGBTQ community is incredibly strong and so full of love. Thank you for being an inspiration of strength. ❤️ My local guild will be collecting blocks and finished quilts for #PulseOrlando and it’s times like these that I’m so proud to be a part of this community.

    I have yet to attend a webinar, but I did sign up for Anna’s EPP course before I really knew what it was all about. I didn’t realize there would be hand sewing involved, which is just about the ONE thing I don’t do. I abandoned that one immediately.

    Also, I didn’t know you were from Tampa – I grew up in Jacksonville… even smaller world! xo.a

    1. Indeed quite a small world! It’s wonderful to hear about all of the awesome charities coming together. It’s really all we can do. Thank you.


  3. Dear Seven. Your post touched my heard to tears. What happened in Orlando is unbelievable and a cause of fear and the question: will the fear end one day or will it always be a substancial part of our lifes? But mainly my thoughts are with all the families over there who have lost one.
    I’m lookin forward to yyour finished EPP embellishment. I never took a webinar so far (I suppose it is a kind of live… instead of repeatable lessons like Craftsy classes?).
    I hope you guys will heave some sunshine soon to enjoy your holidays!

    1. Thank you Annett. The webinars are actually uploaded to the Modern Quilt Guild website, so you can watch them anytime (I’m not sure they stay up forever). Anna’s is still up there and they are about to sponsor another by Shannon Page called Making Traditional Modern on June 22nd at 9pm ET, 6pm PT (that’s 3am our time here in Germany – and yes, I did stay up for Anna’s because I knew it would be worth it).

  4. I get so upset by the mindless violence and pain we humans inflict on each other. What can bring a person to a point where they hate so passionately that they want to cause such devastation to others? And, in the end, to their own family and friends as well?
    There are not enough tears that can answer those questions sadly.
    We can just keep showing love and caring and understanding to those around us. Maybe we can change the world one smile, one hug and one stitch at a time.
    Have a lovely holiday and make every moment and memory special xx

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