not showing proper deference to white folks

Just a visual log of a cotton and silk project started back in July…









About to start quilting.

Started this one months before this related article by Jelani Cobb.

Have a nice week…

Oh, the week I’ve had…

I dunno, friends. When it rains, it pours. With the good comes the bad. This too shall pass. The best is yet to come. Gimme another cliche!

You know, stuff happens. And then other stuff happens. And in the best of times we rise to the challenges and accept the defeats with grace. So here’s my week in a nutshell.

  • Survived the first week of school, just barely and then hunkered down to rediscover the healing power of sticks and string.


  • Spent a restless and impatient Sunday trying not to hurt anyone. Success was marginal. Missed connections in conversations are misery. Wish I’d have initiated the meta-conversation a couple of times there. I’ll do better.
  • Labored on Labor Day, a day of glorious weather thumbing its nose at those required to work inside. Did I mention it was Labor Day? At least there was cake. CAKE.
  • Umm, I have a few quilts in this Quilts and Human Rights exhibit in Dekalb, IL just outside of Chicago. And, umm, well Jesse Jackson did the keynote for the opening. (Congrats to Laura Hopper for curating the show and arranging for the Jackson experience. Special thanks also to Sara Trail for face-timing me in and texting me photos and commentary all day.)
    • [I also apologize to my colleagues who kindly looked at this photo every time I squealed all day and shoved it in their faces. It is not my practice to be so open about this around RealJob. So if I showed it to you then that means you’re special to me in some way and my gratitude for your support knows no bounds. Thanks!]
    • If you’re in the Chicago area, be sure to catch this show. And if you’re around in early October, we could meet up at my lectures on campus.

Eric G and Jesse

  • Got to connect and reconnect with students, faculty and staff colleagues I’ve just met or missed over the summer break. There are so many more to meet up with and I’m anxious to check in on everyone. But I always remind myself that we have the rest of our lives…we really do. This one is vague because it’s something I’m working on. More later.

MDK Field Guide

  • Navel-gazed about identity in a place where difference isn’t easy; about being one’s true self rather than attempting to be innocuously integrative; about ambition versus safety; about safety and the basics; about safety; about hatred; about elitism; about protection; and about being me despite it all.
  • And found out that there’s a profile of me and my work in the October/November issue of Quilting Arts. I haven’t yet seen the spread but it was a better-than-good interview experience. Thanks, Cate!
  • Tracked TWO menacing storms (or a storm and an aftermath) down south and started remotely coordinating an evacuation effort that started convoying tonight. *fingers crossed*
    • And sorry for bugging all my Houston-area folks. [Glad you’re all okay!] Now hoping all the hopes that my Florida friends and family are and remain safe in the coming days.

Be well, friends!

this is just to say…

…is a 1934 poem by William Carlos Williams, a sweet love note about some quasi-stolen plums (jump to 49:43 for a funny TAL bit spoofing it). It reminds you of the little things we do to each other without apology knowing we may hurt each other in ways big and small.

This Is Just To Say

And it’s the working title of a quickie quilt project made amid the turmoil brewing and spewing across our country.

This Is Just To Say

[No, please don’t assume it’s just in VA or just in the South or just the poor or just the unemployed or less-educated. This is America. This is US. This then; this is now. Always and forever.]

This Is Just To Say

This is a meditation on the things we say that mean very little without action to back them up. To be direct, one should take meaning from even the passive “you are loved” that is meaningless unless there is an actual object doing the loving–acting on it in all the ways we need to be caring for each other day to day.

This Is Just To Say

it’s not a response
it might be a reaction
it’s not as sweet as it seems on the surface
it’s flippant
it’s really so not who I am
it’s also not who I aspire to be
it’s just a quilt to keep you warm
and make you feel warm inside maybe
but it’s lacking
it’s for those who say “this is not us”
it’s for those who say they had no idea this is us.
this is us.
and there’s no turning back.

This Is Just To Say

The Details

Materials: cotton solids and semisolids
Techniques: improvisationally machine pieced, longarm machine quilted, hand quilted, hand bound
Finished size: about 64″ square
Started: June 25, 2017
Finished: August 13, 2017

the one with the podcasts

Hey folks! Just popping in with a few notes. First is that I was interviewed last week by a few colleagues on their local-ish podcast, Various Breads and Butters. At that link you can hear us chat about naughty quilts, math, knitting and stuff.

Luckily they edit out my major stumbles. And one of them was going blank on the names of other podcasts I listen to while quilting. Over the summers I tend to sample widely to get a feel for some new ones and then settle in to go deep with a few. Once school starts back up I get really queasy watching them pile up in my queue, so I start deleting. Can you see the cycle there? Makes for a lack of loyalty and some difficulty recalling names quickly.

Here’s an unrelated photo.

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But there are a few I listen in on regularly…

— Shout out again to Various Breads and Butters. I listened back into the archive and these guys, Ben and Simon, interview locals mainly. It’s just fun to hear your friends and students in a different setting.

— It’s been hard to find a podcast about race that’s broad enough to remember there’s more than two races, but Code Switch really hits all the buttons, with regular conversations about modern issues of just getting through the day in our society while on the brown spectrum. Similarly, I think that W. Kamau Bell and Hari Kondabolu are fairly good at laying out issues for their mostly white audience on Politically Reactive.

— Few comedian’s podcasts tend to stick for me. Some exceptions are Marc Maron’s WTF for his open insecurity [the Obama and Terry Gross episodes are still biggies in my memory]; Pete Holmes’ You Made It Weird for the bits of spirituality chat thrown in; and Jessica Williams and Phoebe Robinson’s 2 Dope Queens for their pearl-clutching honesty about everything and for the stand-ups.

— I’ve definitely gushed about 99% Invisible here on the blog before. Each episode is a fine tuned nugget about design features one might overlook. Just listen to Roman Mars go on and on about flags to see what I mean. And he has a chilling spin-off podcast What Trump Can Teach Us About Con Law that’s equally worthy of your attention.

— For just good interviews? I like any Terry Gross interview on Fresh Air; she’s a national treasure and she’s pocket-sized. Alec Baldwin’s Here’s The Thing can be hit or miss for me, but the recent Audra McDonald conversation is one that slowed me down to stop stitching and just be there for her. And I’m really hoping that The Hilarious World of Depression returns soon. An odd combo when you first hear the title, there turns out to be an interesting connection between comedy and depression and these interviews with comedians are quite honest and inspiring.

Seems like enough for now. What do you listen to whether while making/crafting or not?