Eat Quilt Joy with Porfiria Gomez

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Porfiria Gomez

Porfiria Gomez is a sewing enthusiast, a designer, and a blogger. Her love of sewing began as a child and is a native New Yorker. In 2014, she began sharing her passion with others – with her Sewing 101 classes. Today, she continues to train and learn as much as she can about the beautiful world of sewing, cooking blogging, and living her best life as a maker.

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 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 on 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. 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.

Insights from this episode:

  • Porfiria’s sewing story
  • Details into her early days of blogging
  • Juggling between being a mom and quilting
  • How she came up with the name ‘Eat. Quilt. Joy’
  • Details about her upcoming book
  • Details about her quilt projects
  • Redefining the misconceptions of quilting

Quotes from the show:

  • “When I got pregnant with my first son, I just remember wanting to create something with my hands and I think I identify that with family” —Porfiria Gomez in “Stitch Please”
  • “I really like how it seems as though three different modes of creation were coming together for you at one time: you were growing a child, a life in your body and you are learning about quilting” —Lisa Woolfork in “Stitch Please”
  • “Family brings so much joy to my life and I think we take life for granted and we don’t enjoy the joyous things” —Porfiria Gomez in “Stitch Please”
  • “Eat Quilt Joy essentially sums up who I am (…) if I am not quilting, I’m cooking, if I’m not cooking, I’m quilting” —Porfiria Gomez in “Stitch Please”
  • “I was trying to do it all. I wanted to create some sort of community for me as I was going on this journey to being a mom” —Porfiria Gomez in “Stitch Please”
  • “For me, I wanted to be the change that I wanted to see (…) I couldn’t understand for the life of me why the boxes didn’t look like me: why in modern quilting, I didn’t find people who looked like me” —Porfiria Gomez in “Stitch Please”

Stay Connected:

Lisa Woolfork

Instagram: Lisa Woolfork

Twitter: Lisa Woolfork

Porfiria Gomez

Website: Porfiria Gomez

Instagram: Eat.Quilt.Joy (@mrsporfiria) 

This episode was produced and managed by Podcast Laundry.

Read Full Transcript

Lisa Woolfork  0:00  

Hey friends. Hey, before we begin, let me introduce you to Kimberly Cartwright, a wonderful African American art quilter with a great project. I already got my tickets and accommodations. I will include links in the show notes. But here's Kimberly to tell you more.

Kimberly Pierce Cartwright  0:15  

Hello, my name is Kimberly Pierce Cartwright, and I'm here to tell you about a unique opportunity coming to Durham, North Carolina. Are you an African American quilter, looking to connect with others who share your passion for this timeless art form? Then mark your calendars for Kindred Spirits, a convergence of African American quilters happening on June 15 through 17th in Durham, North Carolina. Join dynamic instructors Cookie Washington, Keena Dorsey, Aisha Lumumba, and Kianga Janaki to learn new techniques, perfect your skills and share your love for quilting with fellow enthusiasts. But that's not all. We're excited to announce that curators Dr. Marshall Price of the National Museum in Durham and Dr. Renee Anderson from the Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC will also be in attendance to share insight on making museum connections. Don't miss out on this opportunity to connect with like-minded quilters. Learn from top-notch instructors and deepen your appreciation for this beautiful art form. Register today. Go to our I'll repeat, go to our and scroll down to Events to register. It's a convergence of African American quilters in Durham, North Carolina June 15 through 17.

Lisa Woolfork  1:55  

Hello stitchers. Welcome to Stitch Please, the official podcast of Black Women Stitch, the sewing group where Black lives matter. I'm your host, Lisa Woolfork. I'm a fourth generation sewing enthusiast with more than 20 years of sewing experience. I am looking forward to today's conversation. So sit back, relax and get ready to get your stitch together. 

Lisa Woolfork  2:22  

Hello, hello, hello friends! Welcome to the Stitch Please podcast. I am your host, Lisa Woolfork, joining you from Charlottesville, Virginia, and as I say every week this is a very special episode, because this episode is with none other than Porfiria Gomez, also known as @eatquiltjoy on Instagram and elsewhere. She is a consummate creative. I know her primarily as a quilter, but that is not the whole entirety of Porfiria's sewing story. She is an influencer and an ambassador. She does all manner of things well, and I had the great privilege of meeting her in real life at QuiltCon in the Sew Black space, which was such a delight. And I think, you know, have you ever met somebody? Well, you think you meet them because you follow them on Instagram. And it's like you know them for real?  Even in real life, it was just like you are such a beautiful, larger than life presence in real life. It was such a true delight to meet you, and as the folks say, set eyes on you in real life. It was just a treat! So welcome, Porfiria, to this Stitch Please podcast, a recorded version, since you did see a couple of Live episodes back in February. But welcome, welcome, and thank you for being here today. 

Porfiria Gomez  3:43  

Thank you for having me, this is such an honor. Listen, I watch, I love and this was the honor.  And like you said when we met together, it was just joy--full of joy. And you are so amazing. And I'm just so honored to be here right now, I really am. 

Lisa Woolfork  3:55  

Well, I'm thankful for your support. Thank you for your kind words. And thank you for being there at that really special time. I'm still getting vibes and happiness fumes from that time. It was lovely, and it was something that got remade every day. Like every time a new group of people would come in, and some would come in and some would stay for a long time, or a short time. It really was just a beautiful thing. I didn't know what to expect. And I'm so happy with the outcome. And as one part of that meeting you was one of those highlights. So thank you again.

Porfiria Gomez  4:27  

 [Laughs] Thank you! 

Lisa Woolfork  4:29  

Listen, you deserve it--we deserve it! So tell us about your sewing story. How did you get started? How did you come to sewing?

Porfiria Gomez  4:37  

Oh my goodness, so it goes so far back. I'm not gonna tell my age--it's nobody's business, but you know we age beautifully so you can't tell ... 

Lisa Woolfork  4:46  

I mean, you should have seen me and Sandra Chandler up here! Me and Sandra Chandler was like, "We look amazing!"--and it's not very many people that have been sewing longer than I have. I think 25 years is good. Sandra's like, "Oh 40." I was like, "Wait, what?!" 

Porfiria Gomez  5:01  

Yes! Yes, yes, I'm telling my age here, but it goes so far back to my childhood because my mom was like this amazing quilter.  I was born and raised in New York, originally from the Bronx. And growing up, we would go to our local Save-A-Thon. See, I'm telling my age! So once people know what a Save-A-Thon is, they know, and so we'd go to the Save-A-Thon. I'm going as far back--I'm really telling my age--to Woolworth's, [indecipherable] in the Bronx. [indecipherable] So my mom would go there and she would buy her supplies because that's where she would give her knitting supplies, which I actually have in my home now. She had purchased a Singer sewing machine, you know, the old school one that opens to the side. And she would sew everything, like she would sew me and my brothers' clothes, she would sew things for the house. And it was just something that was always in my life. And I remember quilting--and that's one of the things that I specialize in, is quilting. My mom would piece together--we used to call them blankets back then; my brothers and I all "get the blanket, you know, cuddle up in the blanket"--she would piece together these beautiful quilts. And she would talk about, because my mom's from North Carolina, she would talk about when she was growing up on the farm she was, her grandmother would have like these stacks of quilts. And would tell my brothers and I how that was her reading space; she would go in the barn on top of these quilts, these old quilts that were in there, and then she would lay on top of them, and relax, read, or do whatever. But as I became a mom, it kind of came back to me even more. So when I got pregnant with my first son, I just remember wanting to create something with my hands, and I think I identify that with family. So I wanted to create like that for my son, so I started going back to quilting. "Ma, how did you do this?" And she would show me this. And then one thing after another, so you know--this was back in the early 2000s, when I had my first son--I started just making.  And then I said, "You know what, I'm gonna blog about it!" I still have--that's when Blogger was out. And I still have pictures of those early quilts. I mean, I'm like, "Wow, that's so wonderful."

Lisa Woolfork  7:08  

Yeah, I really like how it seems as though three different modes of creation were coming together for you at one time: you are growing a child, you are growing a life in your body; you are learning about quilting and making and what it means to pull and create things with your hands that are going to be for the physical comfort of people you love. Right?  You've learned that through a legacy of love, and we could ask about that. And then, you started writing about it at the same time, and writing about your creativity is quite different than doing the creativity. And so you started blogging and momming and quilting at the same time. What was that like, that pace to keep up? How was that for you?

Porfiria Gomez  7:53  

At that time, it was very comforting. I remember that whole mommy blogger phase back then; everybody was mommy blogging. And I was trying to find a way to create some sort of community for me as I was going on this journey to being a mom and the whole. I remember my website at the time, you can actually find it; it was called Domestic Mommy because I was home full time, domestic wife and be this mom. So I would blog about, you know, "save on this" and "find that you can get reasonable finds for our boys' clothes." I was trying to do it all, but I just remember at that time, I wanted to build some sort of community of women that shared that same love of family and quilts and sewing and creating. I was looking for that, pretty much searching for that sense of community. 

Lisa Woolfork  8:44  

Yes, yes. I think the reason that we even have a phrase, "mommy blogging," is because there were a lot of women with small children who were doing it by themselves. Not necessarily solo, though some solo, but it can be so isolating. You know, I think when you have a small kid, and you're home all the time, or you're the primary child caregiver, that can feel like an isolating thing. And it's like, who else is going to understand how annoying this is? Except somebody else who's going through the same thing, you know? And so you were able to kind of build and pull that together. Do you have any favorite posts that you recall from those early days of your blog? Is there anything that stands out to you now, these years past, from that beginning that sticks with you still? 

Porfiria Gomez  9:33  

Yes, absolutely. I think that's when I created, so continued it onward, and then I end up having two more boys. So I have three boys total. 

Lisa Woolfork  9:41  

[Laughs} Okay, wonderful!

Porfiria Gomez  9:43  

When I had my youngest, I was going through this phase of, like, I loved all these printed fabrics. So there was like this fabric that I had found and I created this quilt for my son, who, he kept that one. All three of them have a connection with all their quilts because they never wanted to give them up! As soon as their threads were falling [indecipherable]. But this one meant so much to me because I couldn't believe how far I had gotten in learning how to quilt a baby quilt and make it look the way it looks. I was so proud of that quilt, and it's actually one of my favorites; I still have it. I hope one day, God will bless me with a little grandson, and I can give that to him. But it meant so much, the transition from my oldest son to my youngest son, and how I had started out quilting for my oldest, there was a lot of hit and misses. But it had come together and I was able to do my binding a little bit better. 

Lisa Woolfork  10:40  

Right, right. 

Porfiria Gomez  10:41  

And I think that's what kind of catapulted me into, "Okay, now, I want to create more, I want to come out with patterns, I want to make it bigger, I want to do a lot more with it." And that's how it started to roll because not shortly after I had posted that it was some years after. But one of the things I think that's what helped Martha Stewart she was so kind enough to post I guess it was like the top 10 quilters to follow right now. And she had included me in that and I was just so honored, was so excited. It really was, it really was, and it was a good moment for me because it kind of coincides and lined up with something that I'm hoping to push forward, which is Eat Quilt Joy.

Lisa Woolfork  11:24  

Yes. Well, this is a perfect segue. So can you tell us about, like what I'm really interested in is, as I said, it sounded like you had three distinct paths of creativity coming together at one time. And then Martha Stewart sees how amazing you are, and says, "Of course, this is someone that everyone should be following because of course. And now here we are at Eat Quilt Joy, which sounds like such a gorgeous invitation. I would love to hear more about where the name came from, and what the project itself is about. 

Porfiria Gomez  11:26  

So Eat Quilt Joy esssentially, it sums up who I am. It just exactly sums it up. So the part of eating is I love food. Of course, my mom being a Southerner, my dad being from Central America, food has always been rooted. For me growing up, I grew up predominantly around so many beautiful and amazing cultural foods. Like I've always said, I have the best of both worlds from my Latin side and from my Black side, it was like everything came to the table. I was macaroni and cheese, and I would also go and [indeciperable] at the same time; it was just of joy. So I want to tap into that more. So there was a point in my life when I was teaching cooking. So I can't walk away from that, I can never; like even now if you watch some of my Instagram Stories, if I'm not quilting, I'm cooking. If I'm not cooking, I'm quilting. And both of those things bring so much joy to my life. Family brings so much joy to my life. And I think we didn't take life for granted, and we don't enjoy, the joy is things, like even just you and I meeting at QuiltCon in the space that was created--oh my God, how much joy did that bring? Oh, my God, so much joy. And we don't take that into consideration. We're always, I think today, so many of us are riddled with anxiety and depression and so many different things that we are constantly giving away our joy, constantly giving away our joy to people who are not deserving of our joy. And I want to shed light on just the joyous things that we need to embrace on a day to day basis. So Eat Quilt Joy, essentially, is a television show I'm trying to pitch. It will be around cooking, quilting, and just joy. So I've made different, small little shows that I'm hoping to cohesively launch on YouTube, that should be happening this summer. And then most of the quilting community knows I'm working--but now everybody should know--that I'm working on my book, which is "Eat Quilt Prayer;" actually, it's called "Eat, Quilt, Pray," which is a book that coincides with my journey of prayer through everything I've went through some months back. I was dealing with a cancer and I can actually say my cancer is in remission, right? 

Lisa Woolfork  14:13  

Praise, praise, hallelujah. Oh, that is--what a blessing. Oh! I celebrate, I celebrate that with you. I celebrate that with you. 

Porfiria Gomez  14:22  

And that's going to be a part of it. So it's not going to be a traditional quilting book of "how to," it's more of a journey as to quilting through my life, through the eyes of this Black Hispanic and, well, Hispanica in New York who has seen a lot. That's been more than a lot and I want to share how food was able to get me through it, how family was able to get me through it and just the joy in this world that we have to find gets me through it. So hopefully that will be completed and done sometime this Fall. But definitely the show will be coming on YouTube, so stay tuned for that, and I'm hoping maybe, you know, it'll get picked up because I would love food to bring a show like that to everybody. I think it's fun to talk about food and quilting. Like when I think of my mom's macaroni and cheese and my quilt, I'm good. I'm in heaven. [Laughs]

Lisa Woolfork  15:13  

I think what I love about these things is that the three things are separate, but they are also interdependent. It seems like if you had three priorities, or the things that animate you, or the two things that lead to the third thing. It's like the Porfirio Joy formula, or the Porfirio formula to help live in your whole fullness. It involves eat, quilt, and joy. I love thinking about joy as a practice, joy as a birthright. Absolutely love it. So you will have to come back for another interview when that book is finished, so that you can include us on your book tour. I've also included already in my mind some places for you to go for your tour that are already based in Manhattan that you could just go to. You should clearly connect with Harlem Needle Arts, you should absolutely connect with Black Girls Sew down in Brooklyn, like Leslie Wear, all of these things. I just keep thinking, I'm like, oh yeah, she could totally [go here] too. And then there's a little quilt shop here over on 32nd Street she could go to. 

Porfiria Gomez  16:21  

Oh my god! That's my shop. You know you guys gotta hook me up, you gotta let me know where to go--

Lisa Woolfork  16:25  

Listen, listen, I will do what I can to help boost that publishing, because I just love your whole sense of style. And I think this is something that enough of us don't do enough, I think, as Black women. And I think it's because the culture doesn't reflect it, you know, the dominant culture makes it so challenging. 

Porfiria Gomez  16:45  


Lisa Woolfork  16:45  

But we absolutely need to, and get to live within our whole fullness. And that's one of the reasons why I'm so passionate about Black Women Stitch, and about the podcast, and about creating affinity spaces, and about this, because I know that it can be an uphill climb to find what we need. And I am convinced that once your book is finished, it is going to be the gift that somebody else needs to get where you are. I am just so excited for the all of it. And because it's not just one thing, it's about in some ways, how to be, and it's not like someone has to follow your particular path. 

Porfiria Gomez  17:28  


Lisa Woolfork  17:28  

It's just about gaining courage for people to take their own path. I see that so beautifully in your work. And I wanted to share this image. This is one of your images. I think it has one of your quilts and one of your signature hats. 

Porfiria Gomez  17:42  


Lisa Woolfork  17:42  

Can you tell me a bit about staging this image, because I feel most folks on Instagram I think are meant to communicate something. But for me, now that I'm thinking about, when I look at the Eat Quilt Joy profile, now that you've said it, I feel like I see it everywhere. Again, that shows that you've made the right decisions. You may have very smart naming decisions, friend, but tell me about this piece. Tell me about this quilt. I love the colors. I love the story in it. What's happening in this piece? 

Porfiria Gomez  18:10  

So that in particular quilt is my dotty pattern. So my dotty pattern is named after my mom, Dottie, and that pattern was inspired by New York's Bronx. So I had did it with the triangles and these lines, because you know, in New York City, especially in the Bronx, there's all these hills, I felt like we were always going up some sort of hill when I was a kid; I was like, "Is this gonna stop?" I brought that together and I thought of my mom. And this picture was like a summer-- like, I love summers in New York. It was just like that nice little breeze, I think it was right before summer officially started. So I want to say right in the beginning, Spring almost summer. And I was trying to figure out some inspiration for what is going to be my next pattern. And of course I love hats. I have a ton of them. I'm actually ambassador for this hat company, which is Guinea Pig, because I love their hats. 

Lisa Woolfork  19:02  

We will absolutely include a link to the show notes. That way, if someone wants to buy a hat, they can use your affiliate, they get a hat, and you get a little coin. 

Porfiria Gomez  19:12  

I would appreciate that because this quilting life is very expensive. 

Lisa Woolfork  19:15  

Who are you telling? 

Porfiria Gomez  19:16  

Yeah, so I just snapped the picture, and I think I wrote, trying to figure out some inspiration for my next pattern. But I saw the curtains blowing and was in my bedroom and my quilts hanging up around my bedroom. I just wanted to share like that moment of joy--the wind blowing. I'm always listening to some sort of jazz music in my home like when I'm home, "Alexa, play my jazz music." And it just had a moment and I wanted to share that. One thing I love is how we put our touch on things and it just becomes art. I was totally just having a moment I wanted to share that. So I love that picture too. It's actually one of my favorite. I think I put some jazz behind it too. I hope I did. 

Lisa Woolfork  19:56  

It's really beautiful. But you know what, like they say, some people, you know, they can't take a bad picture. And you're one of them. 

Porfiria Gomez  20:03  

[Laughs} Thank you!

Lisa Woolfork  20:03  

We don't have to talk about it too much, but you're one of them. I think when the way that you share some of the behind the scenes, like you've mentioned about teaching cooking, but I like looking through your profile. It's like you're getting the salad greens for your son to make him one of his favorite salads. That's kind of an act of love that we do for one another. 

Lisa Woolfork  20:23  

Black Women Stitch and the Stitch Please podcast is grateful for all the support that made Sew Black possible. Special thanks to our underwriters, Spoonflower, thanks also to Moda for generous sponsorship. Thank you Bernina for your wonderful support. Thank you also to Amtrak for partnering with us. Special thanks to those who shared resources to equip the space. This includes Accuquilt, Aurafil, Crimson Tate, So Easy, Ruby Star Society, Free Spirit Fabrics, KY Scissors. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Special thanks to Focus Right for making the lab recording possible through the donation of an audio interface, the Focus Right 18 i8. Thanks to the Bridge PAI for the initial funding. And thanks also to the Modern Quilt Guild for their generous support. Thank you all so much for making this possible.

Lisa Woolfork  21:18  

I think you recently worked on a quilt project that was actually called "What is Love?" Can you tell us a little bit about that? 

Porfiria Gomez  21:29  

That was super fun. So we worked on a quilt project, a few different--I think eight to 10--I can't remember. Forgive me  for not giving the exact amount. But there's a group of these amazing quilters. Some of them are just--when I say amazing, some women in the quilting community are so amazing. And I love to see where it's coming. I do want to believe that I had a part in helping that quilting community start to get a lot more diverse, because there was a point where I was searching. Let me tell you something: far and wide for quilters, but here's the thing that people don't understand. I grew up around quilting. What some people fail to believe especially today is like modern quilting is something that is only for selected group of women.  We're only seeing predominantly white women in modern quilting.

Lisa Woolfork  22:16  


Porfiria Gomez  22:16  

Even when it came to the show that we just attended, which is Quiltcon, white women were doing it, but I grew up seeing Black women doing quilting forever. So quilting was--

Lisa Woolfork  22:24  

Yeah, exactly. 

Porfiria Gomez  22:25  

--in my storybook, it was not something brand new.  

Lisa Woolfork  22:28  


Porfiria Gomez  22:28  

Because even sometimes when I talk to my girlfriends about it, they think automatically, and I have to educate them real quick, "That's a white woman's saying and I'm like, 'Dude, this goes way back.'"

Lisa Woolfork  22:39  

This was ours. 

Porfiria Gomez  22:40  

This has always been, historically, it's only been like many things, it's only showcased when a certain group of people do it.

Lisa Woolfork  22:48  

Of course.

Porfiria Gomez  22:49  

So for me, I wanted to be the change that I wanted to see. I couldn't understand growing up why when I went to these popular craft stores, you know, the Joann's, the Michael's, I couldn't understand for the life of me why the boxes didn't look like me. That's one of the reasons I'm writing my book as well, too. Like when it comes to modern quilting, why I wasn't seeing people that look like me, and I wanted to be that change. You know, my mom kept telling me it's you want to see it, you've just got to do it. 

Lisa Woolfork  23:19  


Porfiria Gomez  23:19  

And I think sometimes we're all pretty much afraid of the work that goes behind it, so we don't showcase it. But after a while I started to see so many different quilters starting to come out. They would even reach out to me, which is amazing, and say, "You know what? I saw you, I'm scared to do it." But I was like, "No, let's use these social media, show who you are. Let me see some curly hair, let me see some copper skin, let me see some braids. I need to see the melanin.

Lisa Woolfork  23:19  


Porfiria Gomez  23:19  

Because it's all of us. This is not something new to me; it's ingrained in me. Like I said, when I had my first kid, the first thing I thought of was what my mom did for me, which was create this warm, beautiful quilt. And I wanted to showcase that, and I wanted to show that and I wanted people to see that. So now I'm a part of this community where I get the opportunity to make these blocks and share like, "What is Love." The last one I did was this beautiful block that I created that represented a corset because, outside of quilting, I love to make my own bras. I love to make my lingerie. I love lingerie, I'm obsessed with it. [Laughs] I wanted to start doing that, so I kind of tried to marry the two, but all in all, now when I'm asked to participate or make something, I think it's amazing because I feel like it's showing -- I want a younger quilter or even an older quilter to see, "OK, there's somebody that looks like me, in this organization or this -- so I'm gonna try it out."

Lisa Woolfork  24:43  

Absolutely. Yes, I am in total agreement with you. I think that it is so important that we be able to see each other and find each other. And I can understand that there's a lot of reasons why it is unfair to, have it be our responsibility, right?

Porfiria Gomez  25:03  


Lisa Woolfork  25:03  

And so I think that sometimes you don't want everything to feel like work. 

Porfiria Gomez  25:07  


Lisa Woolfork  25:08  

You don't want everything to feel like "OK, so now I have to do this, now I have to do that."

Porfiria Gomez  25:12  

Umm hmmm.

Lisa Woolfork  25:12  

 And it's totally fine.

Porfiria Gomez  25:14  


Lisa Woolfork  25:14  

My thing is, for me, when I was ready, after I had had my own experiences, and you know, many of them harmful, and I got to the point where I was fed up entirely. And then that's when the opportunity presented itself for me to create that which I needed. After the heartbreak, after the sadness, after the whatever, came the joy. 

Porfiria Gomez  25:40  


Lisa Woolfork  25:40  

And once you decide, that's when you see that other people have also made the same (unintelligible). And that's when you can find each other. And that's what made the Sew Black space feel like this reunion even though, I didn't know anybody with a few exceptions. In real life, we all kind of pulled together because we all came seeking the same thing. And there were so many of us, it just felt so beautiful. And I think that quilting, just like sewing just like lingerie making, you know the way that it works in our country in the U.S., in America, it remains a white dominated institute-- as a country. So something that Jen Hewett talks about in her book, "This Long Thread," --and I really am glad she did this research-- is that when you look across racial demographics, all groups, all communities, people quilt or craft about 30%. So that's 30% of white folks, 30% of different ethnic groups. 30%. Unfortunately, the companies that make and create products are interested in 30%, of white people's money.  They're leaving so much money on the table, right? And Black folks, at least speaking for myself, and I think you mentioned that something similar, we want to see ourselves and each other.  I do not want to have to buy my children fabric with only white children on it. I won't.

Porfiria Gomez  27:05  


Lisa Woolfork  27:05  

They are missing out. And so folks have done things like I'm wearing right now, a custom fabric created by a Black woman, or like this really amazing image right here. It's the Quilty Life. When I saw your thread collection with Aurifil, I was just flipping through the internet minding my own business. And I looked up and I said, "There's a Black woman with a hat on some thread and I have to buy it!" 

Porfiria Gomez  27:31  


Lisa Woolfork  27:32  

This is so wonderful. And Quilty Life . Can you talk about this collaboration? Can you talk about your Aurifil collaboration? How it came about-- I don't want to go into proprietary details. But I am just loving this is a thing in the world. I'm just loving it. So can you tell us about your Aurifil collaboration.

Porfiria Gomez  27:55  

Straight to the point, you have to be the change you want to see. So I am a huge buyer, a consumer like most Black women. We are the number one consumers in America. 

Lisa Woolfork  28:07  

We consume.

Porfiria Gomez  28:08  

When we see something, a friend tell us about it or whatever, we go crazy. We buy it. And the thing is, I was spending so much money on my quilting products. My all and I was getting to the point where I wanted to see--and I was searching, I was searching and then my husband said, "Well, why not you?" And I'm like, "Well, why not me?" And I wanted a thread line. My first thread line-- and I plan on doing more. My second one will be out this summer. 

Lisa Woolfork  28:35  

That's exciting. 

Porfiria Gomez  28:36  

Yes, this one is going to be-- I'm real excited. I'm not going to speak too much, because you're gonna start seeing like little spots here and there on social media. It was combined with neutral colors. I love neutral color. I love the calmness of it. And I feel like you could get away with a neutral with anything. So that was one of the things I wanted. I didn't want to create a line where you can only use it for one thing. I wanted to create a line that this is going to be something you could have for all your quilts, as long as you're quilting. I'm always inspired by the radiance of black and gold, and it's just so regal to me.  It just captivates me everywhere I go, and those were the choices that I used. Now I love Aurifil thread. It's a great thread to have. I actually think that when you're a beginner quilter or if you're intermediate or advanced level, this thread will just go through those journeys with you, and I just wanted to create that for somebody else, and, you know, I have it behind me in my library, my family and I we actually love it, but it has all my favorite colors.

Lisa Woolfork  29:37  

So beautiful.

Porfiria Gomez  29:38  

I just love how, you see I have all my, imma try and go, yeah there. 

Porfiria Gomez  29:43  

Oh it's gorgeous. 

Porfiria Gomez  29:44  

All the neutral beautiful colors. This is actually my favorite, to me like this regal gold [crosstalk]. 

Porfiria Gomez  29:51  

Is that pink kind of a rose gold. I don't know [crosstalk].

Porfiria Gomez  29:53  

In here there's almost every gold, but these are two different colors, even though they're like, oh, they seem so similar. They actually, one is a darker and one is more of a lighter. But these are threads you can use forever. Once you have them and you're a beginner quilter and you don't want to buy or have a whole buy. It's just perfect for you to have. It definitely was inspired by just wanting to see the change that I wanted to see. On the back, you'll see I even have my photo, and then I have some quilting pieces that I put there. And then it's the Quilting Life for me.  We always got to say it. And for me my saying is, when I'm on the phone with my friends, girl, I got quilting to do. It's a quilting life for me.

Lisa Woolfork  30:35  

I love it. I mean, really, I think that you really did. When I saw basically, it was as simple as this: I saw your photo on the thread. And I thought this thread is for me. 

Porfiria Gomez  30:51  

Yeah. Thank you. 

Lisa Woolfork  30:52  

That is what I thought. I was like, this person created and picked out these threads. I will clearly like them. 

Porfiria Gomez  30:59  

Yes, thank you. 

Lisa Woolfork  31:01  

And How often have I seen a Black woman's image on a box of thread? Not often enough. 

Porfiria Gomez  31:06  


Lisa Woolfork  31:07  

Therefore, I know I will love these.

Porfiria Gomez  31:09  

Yes. And I'm hoping there's going to be more to come. There's always plenty of seats at the table. I love to see it.  You know, I strongly believe when you're up, pull somebody else up. I think we lose sight of that or we feel sometimes that there's not enough for everybody to eat. We could all eat. I want to see it. I love to see how, especially when it comes to sewists and quilters. There's so many amazing-- there's no words-- just so many amazing women of color that I want to see more of. I need them to come out with threads. I need some sewing. I need some scissors. I just want to see it. I want to see 

Lisa Woolfork  31:45  

Yes. For me like one of the things I love about this podcast is that right now we're talking we're recording right now in late March. And as of this moment, I have over 170 episodes. A hundred and seventy.  Yes, all Black women, all talking about sewing quilting, needle arts in some way, either people who are crafters and quilters and curators, students, professors, historians, pattern designers, influencers and mix of all of the above, professional quilters, amateur quilters, brand new quilters, fashion design students. I talked with a student, at the beginning of my podcast, she was starting her first year in design school. And right now she's working on her senior thesis. 

Porfiria Gomez  32:31  

It's so encouraging. It's so encouraging. And I love to see the strides that we're making. 

Lisa Woolfork  32:36  

We are here. Like we talked about something I would like to see, look at this. It's some beautiful big block quilting.  And can you tell us about this piece? Now you were talking earlier about some misunderstood reason, some complete false belief that somehow modern quilting is not for Black women, which is absurd. When you consider Latifah Saafir founded the Modern Quilt Guild. [crosstalk] I don't know where people get these ideas. But this piece is very modern. And it's also very 'you.' Can you talk a bit about the big block and how that appeals to your sense of design. 

Porfiria Gomez  33:12  

So we were actually having a conversation about this when we went up to the studio because some people were like, "How did I not hear about you? How do I not know about you?" And they were like "Quilting, some of them shit, like sometimes they get a little frustrated with quilting, because there's a lot of piecing involved in it depending on what type of quilt you're making. And one thing that I love is creating a quilt quickly. Like I want to be done with that project so I can move on to the other.  Right now I think I have like five on my table just because I have like five commitments. But I like sell all my quilts pretty quickly, and this one was inspired by this block that I had saw which was a big heart. And I fell in love-- I think these were Joann fabrics that they had sent me, and I told them, "I want to do something." They had this beautiful print.  I think that was a Ghana fabric that was printed from Joann and they sent it. And I wanted to show like this big heart wrapped around love. I was like, "I'm gonna make a big heart. I'm a quilt this really quickly and make something," and we actually use that one. That one is in our car, and the boys [crosstalk] cold when we're going, because we drive up to see family Upstate, they'll put that around them and it's just cozy. I just wanted to show like that. And also that picture, I feel like, it depicts the beauty of the South too. 

Lisa Woolfork  34:27  

It's the sunflowers. I think yeah, flowers. It's the flowers.

Porfiria Gomez  34:31  

Yes, the South is just fill in cozy with these quilts and feeling like a sense of warmth. And again, it goes back to a sense of love and just being covered in that. That's what inspired that quilt. I love that one. That one is actually one of my favorites. So yeah, and it's really fast too. It's super fast. That's why I'm always like, my patterns are always inspired by big blocks because I want whoever gets a chance to start, finish it and be on your merry way. You can stitch it by hand or stitch it on the machine. But I want you to put those pieces together and be done with it. 

Lisa Woolfork  35:03  

Porfiria's like, "go get on with your life. Okay?"

Porfiria Gomez  35:05  

Yeah. Go do something.

Lisa Woolfork  35:06  

Yes. Go make something else. Okay. We're not going to work on this quilt for 10,000 years. This is the boy's car quilt. I think that's wonderful. Well you  are gonna have to come back. That's all there is to it. 

Porfiria Gomez  35:19  

I want to!

Lisa Woolfork  35:19  

Well, you already promised to come back after the book was done. I'm pretty sure you promise. So I don't have it in writing, but when I make a transcript of this episode, it'll be in writing.

Porfiria Gomez  35:30  

I'm just so honored to be here. You have no idea. I think you are amazing. I love the work you're doing. It touches me so many different ways. Like I think this is exactly what we need. I'm here for it. I'm here to support the best that I can whatever you need. I gotcha. 

Lisa Woolfork  35:44  

Well, I am grateful and I cannot wait to get some more your thread this summer. So that's one thing Absolutely. Well, let me ask you this question. This is the question we ask everybody on the Stitch Please podcast as we wrap up the slogan of the Stitch Please podcast is that we will help you get your stitch together. I am going to ask you, Porfiria Gomez. quilter, influencer ambassador, mom, blogger, quilter and more.  Bra maker-- we didn't talk about bras or the lingerie. 

Porfiria Gomez  36:12  

Well I'm not super good at it but I be trying.

Lisa Woolfork  36:14  

Listen, I love sewing lingerie, mostly underwear, mostly panties. I have not bought a pair underwear in eight years. I sew for my boys as well. I got a good boxer brief pattern for you if you need it. 

Porfiria Gomez  36:25  

Oh yes, please.

Lisa Woolfork  36:26  

 I'll tell you that after we're done off camera I will tell you all about it. But I want to end with this question. The slogan of the Stitch Please podcast that we will help you get your stitch together. What advice would you give to our listeners today to help us get our stitch together? 

Porfiria Gomez  36:40  

Please don't be too hard on yourself. You got this. Don't be too hard on yourself. You got this. Take a minute and step away. Make some scrambled egg, but you got this. Go eat and then go pray and then come back to your project, you this. 

Lisa Woolfork  36:54  

That is some beautiful and wise wisdom from Porfiria Gomez, Eat Quilt Joy herself. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you for being with us today. This has been just awesome. 

Porfiria Gomez  37:06  

Thank you. 

Porfiria Gomez  37:09  

You've been listening to Stitch Please, the official podcast of Black Women Stitch, the sewing group where Black lives matter. We appreciate you joining us this week and every week for stories that center Black women, girls and femmes in sewing. We invite you to join the Black Women Stitch Patreon community with giving levels beginning at $5 a month. Your contributions help us bring the Stitch Please podcast to you every week. Thank you for listening. Thank you for your support, and come back next week and we'll help you get your stitch together.

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.

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