When I decided to pick up embroidery, I used a couple of all-inclusive (or almost all-inclusive) kits from Maggie Gee Needlework on Etsy. But by early 2017 I was ready to try some more independent projects and I had the perfect gift-occasion coming up: an independent college reunion weekend of sorts.
And here’s where I am already in some messy territory on my first post: faith and politics. If you’re just interested in the crafting process, scroll down for pattern links. Otherwise, hang on to your handkerchiefs.
I’m not going to lay out an entire political philosophy or relitigate the 2016 election because I’m pretty sure we are all tired of that. But I am going to say what the phrases on these embroidery pieces mean to me.
Trump called HRC a “nasty woman” in the second presidential debate. If you need a reminder of the exact moment, here you go. To me it pretty much stands for any time an assertive, competent woman has been called names for speaking up and doing her job. Or, you know, existing in public. And listen, HRC is problematic as hell. I also supported her. But this moment was bigger than that.
As a woman with opinions, I’ve been told my entire life that I need to soften my ideas, my tone, my presentation, myself, if I want to be accepted. If I want my words to be taken seriously. And as many women can relate, in the end it doesn’t matter. If someone doesn’t view you as fundamentally human and worthwhile, it doesn’t matter how nice you are when you explain to people that they are wrong. (It’s worth pointing out that POC also often experience this when objecting to racism).
So whatever. I’m a nasty woman. I’m done modulating myself for the benefit of folks who aren’t interested in listening in the first place.
Nevertheless, she persisted.
This comes from when Senate Majority Leader mitch McConnell silenced Senator Elizabeth Warren on the Senate floor for reading Coretta Scott King’s letter on why Jeff Sessions was too racist to become a federal judge in 1986. PS he’s now the country’s top law enforcement officer.
This quickly became a feminist catchphrase for all the shit women have to go up against in this world to get things done. And I’m down with that sentiment. Naturally in the time since I made these, like all things on the internet, it’s gone through the full meme cycle and can now mean anything or nothing. Oh well!
Smash the patriarchy
It’s bad for everyone. Nuff said.
And now, faith.
I grew up as an Evangelical Christian, literally the child of missionaries. I went to a Christian high school that strictly enforced purity culture and conservative social norms. In college I joined a campus group called the Navigators that upheld a lot of the, ahem, “problematic” aspects of Evangelicalism. But there were some good things there too.
My journey since then has been one of unlearning bad theology (God’s not judging you for those spaghetti straps, to start with) and hanging on to the good stuff (Jesus).
Along the way, I’ve stayed good friends with some of this college crew and lost touch with others.
Long story short, I ended up in a group chat with several women that started off being about one thing, but it ended up being about all the growth we’ve experienced since graduating some 7-9 years ago. Let’s just say there’s nothing like some Facebook drama to bring people back together.
So we planned a reunion and invited a token man in Philadelphia.
And good times were had! It’s super validating to be around people who went through the same things you did, and you can all be like, yeah, that was effed up. Examples: prayer chair. A pro- conversion therapy speaker. Casual sexism.
But it was also good for remembering the bonds and community we formed, not an easy thing at a school like NYU. So I’m grateful.
And now, the safe stuff.
Here are the patterns:
- Jasmine’s nasty woman by BreezebotPunch
- Brenen’s smash the patriarchy by NamasteEmbroidery
- Grace’s nasty woman by KnottyDickens
- Elisabeth’s smash the patriarchy by KnottyDickens
- My nevertheless she persisted by BreezebotPunch
- Stephanie’s nevertheless she persisted by BreezebotPunch
I made Vlad use photoshop to switch out the text the patterns came with for the phrases I wanted, using some free fonts. Then I traced the patterns with a handy-dandy water soluble pen and a light box (thanks to LED technology, not really a box. My tiny apartment thanks you).
And voila! My embroidery debut.