Stitching Holiday Traditions with Kamali Obiagu

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Lisa Woolfork

Lisa Woolfork is an associate professor of English, specializing in African American literature and culture. Her teaching and research explore Black women writers, Black identity, trauma theory and American slavery. She is the convener and founder of Black Women Stitch, the sewing group where Black lives matter. She is also the host/producer of Stitch Please, a weekly audio podcast that centers Black women, girls, and femmes in sewing. In the summer of 2017, she actively resisted the white supremacist marches in her community, Charlottesville Virginia. The city became a symbol of lethal resurging white supremacist violence. #Charlottesville. She remains active in a variety of university and community initiatives, including the Community Engaged Scholars program. She believes in the power of creative liberation.


Kamali Obiagu

Her first craft was crocheting, which she began in 2014. A few years later she decided she wanted to learn how to sew. Once she learned about PDF patterns and all the things she could make with a sewing machine, she knew she had found her passion. That was late 2018 and since then she has been sewing nonstop and has improved her sewing skills and taken over most of her wardrobe with her makes.


Insights from this episode:

  • How does Kamali incorporate her crafts into the gift-giving and decorating aspect of the holidays
  • The significance of celebrating Kwanzaa
  • Important lessons that Kamali gives to her children
  • Kamali’s desire to design pajamas based on African prints this year
  • Kamali’s plans for her crafts during the Kwanzaa season
  • What is the message behind Kwanzaa
  • The importance of hand-made things for Kamali
  • The joy that brings to Kamali doing handmade gifts 


Quotes from the show: 

  • “As for decorations, our family has a different flayer on this Kwanzaa season…we still have a tree, a holiday tree but we call it the black tree, the pan African tree so its a black tree with red and green decorations to mimic the pan African colors” —Kamali Obiagu in “Stitch Please”
  • “Kwanzaa is our time to remind ourselves how powerful we are as black people, the potential we already have and what we have for the future and to remind ourselves that we are the greatest as we are” —Kamali Obiagu in “Stitch Please”
  • “The principles in Kwanzaa remind us what we need to do to be better within ourselves and within our community” —Kamali Obiagu in “Stitch Please”
  • “ [About handmade gifts] I take pride in knowing that I contributed to something other than spending a whole bunch of money on a gift, it seems the roundest time it's the most expensive time of the year, and knowing that I can make something that comes from my hands…it's amazing” —Kamali Obiagu in “Stitch Please”


Stay Connected:

Lisa Woolfork

Instagram: Lisa Woolfork

Twitter: Lisa Woolfork


Kamali Obiagu

Instagram: Kamali Obiagu

Twitter: Kamali Obiagu

TikTok: Kamali Obiagu

Blog: Kamali Obiagu


This episode was produced and managed by Podcast Laundry.

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Hosted by Lisa Woolfork

Lisa is a fourth-generation sewing enthusiast who learned to sew while earning a PhD in African American literature and culture. She has been sewing for more than twenty years while also teaching, researching, and publishing in Black American literature and culture.