Thursday, August 10, 2017

Humor posts are happening!

My new humor column at BadAss Quilter's Society is not quite so new anymore, as my second one just went live today!

It's guild election time. Click here to read all about the candidates!

And just in case you missed last month's column:

This workshop will definitely help get your free motion quilting, um, going. Click here to learn the secret!

If you like these, please leave a comment at BAQS!

Thursday, July 6, 2017

The Bitchy Stitcher Goes BadAss!

YOU GUYS! I am thrilled, pleased, excited, and all around chuffed to announce that starting on July 13, and every second Thursday of the month thereafter, I will be publishing a brand new humor column at BadAss Quilters Society! Head BadAss Maddie Kertay is working to bring lots of new content from some amazing contributors to the free portion of her massively popular website, and when she asked me to be the humor columnist I jumped at the chance.

Now, you know me. I don’t get in bed with just anybody. But I can’t imagine anyone better in this industry for me to partner with. Maddie is a champion of free expression, and y’all know I tend to express myself pretty fucking freely. She’s a southern quilter with a wicked sense of humor so we’re practically sisters (she’s the pretty one). I met Maddie back in 2014 at Spring Quilt Market in Pittsburgh, and after a very, very rough day, I got a text from her inviting me to a nice quiet introvert-soothing dinner in her hotel room. She had no way to know just how bad the day had been or just how much I had fallen apart, but she said she had a feeling I needed a little quiet support and she was exactly right. So, I’m pretty sure she is also psychic as well. And when a psychic southern quilter extraordinaire who makes routine vibrator jokes and encourages everyone to just quilt the way they damn well please says, “Come work with me,” I listen. My mama raised me right.

I am so excited to have the opportunity to bring my twisted sensibilities to a wider audience, and I’m even happier to know that they will all be available to everyone. Be sure to follow me and BadAss Quilters Society on Facebook and Instagram so that you can get notifications each month when a new piece is posted. See you over at BAQS on July 13!

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Life Update

We have a new addition to our family!

Meet Roscoe:

Roscoe is a butt-ugly La-Z-Boy recliner with a freaking motor because this is what my life has become. I have completely destroyed the delicate feng shui of my studio in order to accommodate this beast and have it situated directly in front of the television. But, no, not because I have given up on life, but because I am having surgery. Again.

If you recall, two years ago I had part of my colon removed for diverticular disease, and though it was technically done laparoscopically, there was still a 5-inch incision in my lower abdomen. Unfortunately, the incision site herniated a few months later and in May of 2016 I had hernia repair surgery. Which was awful. Recovery was far more painful than I had ever anticipated and took a whole lot longer, too. Unfortunately, the surgery didn't work and I now have to have it re-done this Friday.

So Mama's new boyfriend is this insanely comfortable chair which for the next 2-4 weeks I will only leave in order to pee and if I can find a way around that I will. I distinctly remember the first day after the last surgery, having my husband help me out of bed so I could get to the bathroom, and I thought the pain might make me pass out, and when I finally got to the bathroom, all of that hurt so much I basically just sat there and cried. SO FUN!

Besides watching a metric shit-ton of TV (I have been saving a whole bunch of good stuff to watch), I hope to get some writing done since I now have an iPad/keyboard writing system that works. Details are still to be worked out, but if all goes well, I may have a new venue for some of that writing! Plus, I have another surprise in store, which I will hint at here:

Remember, if you subscribe to my newsletter, you will be the first to know about it and get special pricing. (And if you are worried about junk mail, if you sign up for my newsletter, I don't do ANYTHING with your email address other than send you my newsletter, and I do not send out tons of them.) And Instagram is where you will see any quilty/stitchy projects in progress, and there should be one that gets finished from my sick bed, so come find me over there: @thebitchystitcher!

Wish me luck and I'll see you in July!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Quilters Unite!

Oh, dear.

Yesterday Facebook was all up in arms because it had been discovered that some people had started a secret Facebook group just for quilters who identify with one end of the political spectrum and wanted to have a place to talk smack about the people on the other.

Except, they didn't just talk smack, apparently. They also in at least two cases, tried to get people fired. And, as though they wanted to offer up a gift to comedy writers everywhere, in one case they tried to write to a particular quilter's boss but because he is self-employed they were actually writing to the quilter himself! You cannot make this shit up.

More than enough attention has been given to these people already, but I just have to say one thing. And I know you all know this already—I mean, you are my readers, so you're pretty much the smartest, savviest internet users out there—but all of this political rage, this need to talk about The Other Side as though it is comprised of mostly pedophiles and serial killers, is being fueled, at least in part, by Facebook itself because it makes you stay on Facebook longer and see more ad stuff! Every time you scroll through your feed and you see some link to some article that's probably not even straight up reporting from a major news outlet, but is some off-brand site, your heart rate goes up just that tiny bit because the headline was written in a very particular way in order to make that happen, in order to make you feel aggrieved and insulted. Because when you feel aggrieved and insulted you start looking to your peers to bolster you, to shore you up in the face of so much travesty, and because they are also aggrieved and insulted, they do! On Facebook! And now you've all been on Facebook far longer than you would have been if you were just looking at pictures of people's chickens and you've been exposed to 20 ads instead of 2.

I also don't have to tell you that treating half the country like they are all pedophiles and serial killers doesn't actually change anything because IT'S HALF THE COUNTRY. If you get all mad and call me and all my friends stupid doo-doo heads, it doesn't make us all go, "Huh! Why yes. We ARE stupid doo-doo heads! Thank you for pointing that out! We will now completely change." No, if you call us stupid doo-doo heads, we are just going to hunker down and become more firmly rooted in whatever it is we are doing that is making you call us doo-doo heads. We can always find oh, roughly 159,000,000 other doo-doo heads to hunker down with.

And also—and again, I know you know all this but I just can't help myself—it's basically common knowledge that the best way to encourage and maintain group cohesion is to have a common enemy. So, the fact that we are all human beings who want to be safe and free and happy and want a better world for our children doesn't mean shit if we can divide up into teams and hate each other over how best to accomplish that instead of, I don't know, debating the finer points like intelligent adults or something. You are more likely to get up off your butt and vote if your vote is not just for something but also against something—or someone—else, like stupid serial killer doo-doo heads.

But I get it. I do. Hating people is fun and there seems to be a deep, primal need for it. So if we do need a common enemy to fight, we need to keep sight of what's truly important here: quilting. Are we really willing to let the entire quilting world go to war against itself and tear apart over politics? I mean, the slime alone could ruin your stash, and then where would you be? Alone and sad, with a slimy stash, that's where.

I say that we are at a crossroads. We are witnessing a threat to the very fiber of our quilty existence, but we can't exactly unite against politics itself. (See above, re: slime) But we can unite, as quilters—whether conservative, liberal, libertarian, green, socialist, Marxist, or serial killer doo-doo headian—against the real enemy: A Different Crafter Group. Which one? Doesn't matter! Let's just pick one and start a campaign to trash talk them into oblivion! It'll be fun and cathartic and we can go back to appreciating each other for our beautiful quilts and stop hating each other for manufactured bullshit that has nothing to do with quilting and everything to do with lining someone else's pockets. Here are some options:

  • Knitters. So, what the hell is the deal with knitters, right? All they're doing is knotting up a bunch of string with pointy sticks like that actually accomplishes something. I mean all that string doesn't even have any animal motifs on it! You can't exactly slap a deer head on a pile of twine, can you? And do you know what they call it when they screw up and have to unknot a whole bunch of knots? Frogging. So, you know, they're probably all French too. Assholes. 
  • Polymer Clay artists. Oh, so you basically fart around with Play-Doh and ruin perfectly good pasta machines, and we're supposed to be impressed? Can your stupid beads keep someone warm? Can you wrap someone in love with your dumb animal figurines? No. No you cannot. Shitheads. 
  • Woodworkers. One word, just one: sawdust. Asshats. 
  • Hand letterers. Goddamn calligraphers with their fancy pens and and their swirly words that nobody can even read. Since when is that loopy monstrosity an "R", for fuck's sake? Look, just because you can write a Gandhi quote that probably was actually said by Mussolini or somebody in pink princess cake lettering with glitter accents doesn't mean you should. Losers. 
  • Cross stitchers. Oooh, look at me, I'm cross stitching: xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx. I would do some more, but I just bored myself into a coma. Dipshits. 

SEE? ISN'T THAT FUN? Just think of the possibilities here. We could start our own not-so-secret Facebook group where we could freely insult our chosen enemy. We could come up with a super cool name, like Several Quilters United Against Bullshit (SQUAB for short) and print up t-shirts and buttons and when we wear them and people ask us about it we can be all, "Oh, it's because I'm against bullying or bake sales or something" but really it's all about hating on the stupid knitters or potters or cake decorators or whatever it is we all finally decide on.

And if we're really lucky, we'll get them to form their own group to hate on US! Because what's the point of coming up with really clever, funny insults if your target isn't going to cleverly insult you back?

I'm telling you, this could usher in a new era of peace and understanding. Among quilters anyway. And isn't that what really matters?

Thursday, April 13, 2017

The Sea of Serpents

WARNING! Stylized and colorful representations of snakes below!

I made a quilt. I call it The Sea of Serpents.

Are you afraid of snakes? A lot of people are. One day, I was coming home from a walk and I saw a neighbor at my door. I called out to her, and she turned around and said, breathless, "Oh, Megan! Thank goodness! Is David home?"

"Yeah, he's working from home today."

"Is he scared of snakes?"

Now, I actually have no idea whether David is scared of snakes, but I knew he didn't have time to deal with one, so I told her, "I have no idea but I'm not!"

She told me her husband was out of town and a snake had gotten into their finished basement and she couldn't get it to leave. It had crawled up and into a corner between the fireplace and a wall and nothing she did would make it come down. So I said, okay, let's see what we can do.

But as we were headed over, my neighbor Sam returned from his run and she saw him. Believing, I suppose, that a man was better equipped to brave the big, bad boa in her den than little old me, she appealed to him for help instead and he, despite being terrified of snakes himself, managed to find some sort of long tong-type things and grab the poor little guy (he was quite small) and toss him out into the backyard. There may have been high-pitched squealing, not by me.

Sigh. I really wanted to touch the snake.

There are approximately 2600 species of snakes (that we know of) in the world, and about 400 of those are venomous, or about 15% In the United States, we have about 130 snake species, and 21 of them are venomous, 16%, and these are mainly in the groups of rattlesnakes, coral snakes, water moccasins (also known as cottonmouths), and copperheads.

It is estimated that roughly 5 people per year in the United States die of snake bite. Five. To work my famous math skills again, that's like a fraction of a fraction of a percent. Now there are somewhere in the range of 1000 to 8000 bites from venomous snakes per year, and that's a slightly bigger percentage of the population, like a bigger fraction of a fraction. (Stop me if all my crazy math is too much.) Even if you get bit, you probably won't die, because anti-venom is readily available.

And some people want to kill every snake they see.

The thing is, you have a much greater chance of being hit by lightning or of dying from a bee sting than from a snake bite. Snakes, for the most part, (I can't speak for that one copperhead on my parents' deck that one time—he was looking shifty) aren't sitting around going, WHO CAN I KILL TODAY? Well, they are, but only in a what's-for-lunch sort of way, not in a murder-murder-kill sort of way. They're not legless psychopaths.

It's very easy to be afraid of every single snake that exists just because a very small number of them will bite you if they think you will do them harm. But we are human. We have consciousness and reason, and we have the capability of ameliorating our own fears through understanding.

But most of all, if they are not all out to get us (and they aren't), and if they are not a vital food source for us (you can eat snake, but not many do), then I say, let them live. Better yet, let's learn to appreciate them. They really are quite beautiful.

Especially in quilty form.

The Sea of Serpents is an appliqué quilt of my own design. The beautiful longarm quilting was done by Amy Helton, whom you can find on Instagram as @longarmyogigal. I am working on a little story that goes along with it and you may not like it. It's not even remotely funny. But when I am done with it I will link to it.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

It will.

The comedy gods smiled upon me today.

One of our toilets started running and the plumber came this morning. He's been here before and is a pretty affable guy. He rooted around in the tank for a while, and seemed to have fixed the problem, but he kept standing there looking at it and shaking his head ruefully.

"Problem?" I asked.

"How long have you had this toilet?"

"Um, we've lived here 8 years—I have no idea how long it was here before that."

He sighed. "Do you have issues with it? Like, you know, stuff not going down?"

"Oh yeah, all the time."

"Well, technically, it's fixed, but I've gotta tell you—you've got an inadequate flapper."

Dear Reader, I lost it. Just cracked up. And if you know me, you know that I'm actually quite shy in real life and I don't joke around with people I don't know. But I couldn't help myself.

"Dude! I can't believe you just called my flapper inadequate. That's a hell of a thing to say to a lady. Didn't your momma raise you better?"

Now he's laughing, but trying to explain why this particular brand and model toilet sucks, and what we should get instead if we ever need to replace it, but all I can do is think about the phrase "inadequate flapper." Finally, he leaves and tells me to have a real nice day.

"I will! Well, you know, as much as I can with an inadequate flapper." I watch him laugh and shake his head at the strange lady as he walks back out to his truck.

I tell you all this just to warn you that this phrase may pop up again here and there.

"Dammit, my machine isn't working right." "Yeah, it's probably an inadequate flapper."

"When you're paper piecing, shorten your stitch length and make sure your flapper is nice and adequate."

"Did you hear about the 20s-era woman who couldn't make it as a party girl? She was just an inadequate flapper."

And, of course:

"Thanks for the unsolicited dick pic, dude, but it looks to me like you've got yourself an inadequate flapper there."

So, now you have been duly warned. And you'll know what the hell I'm talking about if it comes up again.

Which it will.

Oh, yes. It will.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

At least the bunnies are on fire

Note: I wrote this right after spring Quilt Market LAST YEAR then tucked it away in the drafts folder. My drafts folder is strange place where posts disappear for awhile, then pop up again months later, asking, "Why have you never published me?" Well, I'm publishing you now, little bunny post.

Remember back in my April Fool's post when I said the next animal trend in quilt fabric would be bunnies?



House of Hoppington - Violet Craft for Michael Miller

Luna Sol - Felice Regina for Windham

Nightfall - Maureen Cracknell for Art Gallery

Dutch Treat - Betz White for Riley Blake
(okay, it's mostly birds - but the bunnies are in there!)

Thicket — Gingiber for Moda

Wonderland - Melissa Mortenson for Riley Blake

Slow and Steady - Tula Pink for Free Spirit

I've been scouring all the photos coming out of Quilt Market this past week (plus, I pay attention in general so I knew about a few of these already) to document all the bunny fabrics I could find that are debuting there. Obviously, I was not disappointed. And for all I know, there are more that I just haven't found yet.

Now, before everybody starts hippity hopping up my butt about this—I like bunnies just fine. I'm not saying you can't like bunnies. I mean, they're super cute. They're also poop factories with weird pee, but if that's your thing, I ain't judgin'. You can bunny up all your shiz and I will not say ye nay. And all of these fabrics are really quite lovely. I will most likely be getting some of them myself (those first two kinda rock and just the colors on the second one make me swoon). No, this isn't about me rolling my eyes and going, "Ugh, bunnies, amirite?" This is about one thing. I just want to know, I STILL want to know:

Is there a secret mystery society—a shadowy cabal, if you will—that decides these things? Are there confidential, closed-door meetings where cigars are smoked and whiskey is imbibed and money changes hands in locked briefcases? Is the Next Animal Trend in Quilt Fabric decided via some sort of sinister lottery, or maybe even just by the roll of a solid gold die on the naked belly of a high-priced escort? And then how does the decision about The Final Animal make its way down to the designers themselves? Are all fabric designers given a special phone, one not to be used for any other purpose, that only rings when it is time to be told The Sacred Creature? Or does it happen via subliminal messages, with images of The Chosen Beast placed seemingly at random in the designers' everyday worlds until they are each inspired, nay—COMPELLED to recreate it in quilt cotton? 

Or maybe they all have alien implants. Somebody should check that.

Now I understand that trends are trendy for a reason. I don't necessarily know what that reason is, mind you, just that in some psycho-sociological study out there I am sure one has been posited. It probably has something to do with feelings of familiarity combined with wanting to feel like a part of a special group combined with apparent novelty plus not wanting to miss out on stuff. Or something. Plus, if it looks like the quilt fabric-consuming public is eating up the rabbits with a spoon, so to speak, then more manufacturers are going to want to get on that—which is why we'll probably see even MORE fluffy bun-buns next year. It's just that, being the curious and cynical sort, I'm truly fascinated by watching the process unfold. I noted the deer trend only after it had already reached Peak Antler, so I didn't really get to see how and when it started. I didn't know, and couldn't really deduce, if it sprang from one line, one designer, or if, as may be the case here, there was a moment when several people had similar ideas at roughly the same time. Now I have a chance to see if this is truly the beginning of a major cottontail happening—if these rabbits will reproduce like, well, rabbits—and you can rest assured that I will be reporting periodically on this story as it develops.

For Incredibly Unimportant News Network, I'm Megan D. Good night, and good wabbit hunting.

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