It’s Marcy Harriell!

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****************Get to know MARCY HARRIELL******************

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Read Full Transcript

Lisa Woolfork 0:15

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.

Hello, everybody and welcome to a very special episode of the Stitch Please Podcast. I say all the episodes are special because I'm special and you all, my wonderful listeners, are special and our guests are always special! And today, we have Marcy Harriell today. I am so excited about this! I'm so excited to have her! We all know we have sewing celebrities and then we have real life celebrities. And now we have a Venn diagram with Marcy right in the middle, because she's a real celebrity and she's a sewing celebrity. I'm still like - can't get over the fact that I know somebody who knows Lin Manuel Miranda in actual life! Like, not only that knows him but like, sang with him on actual frickin Broadway! So, I feel like I'm just gonna, we could end right now and then like, go look at some of her clips and read the stuff from Thread Magazine and look at all the stuff she has on her YouTube channel, as well as being an early pioneer in sewing blogging. I think you had the Oonaballoona blog you started in 2006.

Marcy Harriell 1:57

Eight, six, something like that. Yeah! It's been over a dozen years, I think.

Lisa Woolfork 2:01

Let me check my notes. Actually, you started on December 25th, 2008.

Marcy Harriell 2:07

I started on Christmas? That's fascinating!

Lisa Woolfork 2:10

That's the oldest post online today.

Marcy Harriell 2:14

Oh, I'm gonna have to, wow! I guess I should celebrate extra this holiday season.

Lisa Woolfork 2:20

Obviously should. So welcome Marcy to the program. Thank you so much for being with us today. This is fantastic!

Marcy Harriell 2:27

Thank you for that intro! I feel my head has grown six sizes at least.

Lisa Woolfork 2:30

Well, there we go. So, as you should! I usually start the conversations asking you about your sewing story, but what I'm going to start instead with your, the power of your art to transform. Because you have transformed me from being someone who absolutely hates sewing masks, to someone who just strongly dislikes it. And I consider that radical progress.

Marcy Harriell 2:58

Listen, that's leaps and bounds when we're talking about mask sewing.

Lisa Woolfork 3:03

And it's also true that I am hanging my hopes on you having the mask that will save my marriage. So, let me tell you what had happened was - what had happened was - my husband is very aware of my attitude toward masks. I even did a podcast episode on this back in last year, earlier this year, we're talking about making masks and I was like, "I don't want to make a mask! This is a failure of federal government responsibility! And if we had some true leadership in this country, we would, everyone would get masks! They would make N95s for every single person!"

Marcy Harriell 3:33

Well you know that, that's true!

Lisa Woolfork 3:35

Yeah! "And they would pay us to stay home! There are other ways! Why should we be using our individual sewing machines and fabrics to make life saving PPE for people? This is nonsense!" So, my husband being a wonderful person, he came home a few weeks ago from a trip to Old Navy.

Marcy Harriell 3:55

Oh, yeah. I know where you're going with this.

Lisa Woolfork 3:57

And he said, "Look, Lisa, I bought these masks just so we could have more in our collection." And when I tell you, I was incensed! I was incensed!

Marcy Harriell 4:12

The tables have turned!

Lisa Woolfork 4:19

How dare you?! How dare you, sir?! How dare you bring an Old Navy mask into this house?! "Lisa, you don't like sewing masks." I know. "But you have even said so, you've told me and many people, even people who don't ask. You tell them how you feel about this!"

Marcy Harriell 4:38

Just random people on the street from six feet away, "I don't like making masks!" Just yelling it.

Lisa Woolfork 4:42

"Hello sir! I'm not making a mask!" I'm telling you Marcy, he bought those masks home and I was so upset. I was just like, "I just feel so, I feel like I feel betrayed!" Like...

Marcy Harriell 4:56

Can I say? Can I say? He knew what he was doing. He knew what he was doing! That was clever! That was clever, husband!

Lisa Woolfork 5:04

I had, y'all this mask. The mask that Marcy does not take credit for designing the mask, but I give her great credit for making a tutorial that showed how fun and easy it was and that you could also have a husband that's standing behind you pranking you. And like popping up out of nowhere to ask for ingredients, for which turns out to be a very special treat, but it was quite entertaining. So this morning in between all the other stuff I had this morning, I was grading, I graded two graduate projects and left them feedback. I had a meeting just before this call, and I made a mask and cut out three more.

Marcy Harriell 5:42

You can almost do them in your sleep. Just go on autopilot.

Lisa Woolfork 5:45

It is so easy.

Marcy Harriell 5:45

It's so easy!

Lisa Woolfork 5:47

This is the one that I did.

Marcy Harriell 5:49

I love that material! Oh, I know where you got that!

Lisa Woolfork 5:52

But then like, when you get closer...

Marcy Harriell 5:54


Lisa Woolfork 5:54

The black matching leopard fabrics, and

Marcy Harriell 5:57

I love that!

Lisa Woolfork 5:58

I am totally loving it! I am totally loving it!

Marcy Harriell 6:02

I love that. And, it just fits so nice across the face. If I'd known about this mask back in March!

Lisa Woolfork 6:08

In March!

Marcy Harriell 6:09

My life would have been so much easier back in March.

Lisa Woolfork 6:12

You could have made 2000!

Marcy Harriell 6:14

I could've made 2000!

Lisa Woolfork 6:16

You could've made 2000.

Marcy Harriell 6:17

Maybe it's good that I didn't know about this mask back in March, because I probably would have been...

Lisa Woolfork 6:22

You would still probably be making them right now.

Marcy Harriell 6:24

I would still be making them!

Lisa Woolfork 6:25

Actually you would be making them in your sleep! You would be like, sleep sewing.

Marcy Harriell 6:29

Yeah. It's a great pattern. It was made by, there's another YouTuber - I'm gonna say her name wrong. I think it's Romo Bad PS, but because our minds take names and break them up in weird places, I'm not sure of the actual how you actually say her name. And there's another guy, Gentlemen Doll who made a similar mask. I think like several people came up with this idea at the same time, which is why I don't know who to credit in the first place for it.

Lisa Woolfork 6:54

Yeah, that's right.

Marcy Harriell 6:55

I just knew that there were like, there was a Portuguese version out there. And a lot of versions that centimeters and I thought why don't I do one in English? With my mods that make it a little easier. Get that casing out of there. Who wants extra..., although much props to the design. And also it was a big opportunity for Rob and I to be completely stupid, which is how we are just about 24/7 with each other.

Lisa Woolfork 7:22

I love that you have an archive of what you were doing at this moment. I think that sometimes people forget that what we're living through is actual history.

Marcy Harriell 7:30

Yeah, yeah, that's a good point. Yeah!

Lisa Woolfork 7:32

In five years, you can look back. You won't, you probably will never forget the thousand masks you made. In five years, it might recede a little bit, maybe.

Marcy Harriell 7:43

That's a really good point! That's a really good point. Because we've been wanting to start this YouTube channel for a while. We weren't seeing how to do it in New York, because our apartment - it's, I love our apartment, but it's teeny. And we both work right next to each other. Now we've got this break, where we're in a house, we're still actually right next to each other. We're still, we have like 5 rooms in this house!

Lisa Woolfork 8:06

Thanks a lot!

Marcy Harriell 8:08

It's ridiculous! I looked at Rob one day, I was like, "We had five rooms in this house and we're still standing right next to each other working on the - here's your computer, here's my sewing machine." And we both have to be quiet when something's happening with the other one. And it's, we just like being that close to each other. So it, it you know, afforded us the ability to start that here. But what you say about journaling having a document of this history that we're going through, we have, there's some holes in our year in New York, because we just couldn't even figure out how to document what was going on! It was just...yeah, yeah.

Lisa Woolfork 8:41

You know it's so funny that you say that. I think that the relationship that you have, the fact that even though you have space to be apart, you tend to gravitate toward each other.

Marcy Harriell 8:41


Lisa Woolfork 8:43

That seems to me, a beautiful reflection of your relationship and how your videos come off, not come off because that seems like a performance, but your videos are an organic reflection it seems to me of your relationship. That is that it never feels like performative in the sense of being artificial. It feels like you are sharing something. Now my son's not, we have been in this house. My college student just came home last week and my high school student who's a senior, has said to me on multiple, on one very memorable occasion, "Mom, I think we are oversaturated with each other."

Marcy Harriell 9:27

Oh, oh, that's! Oh! That's so hurtful but so eloquently said.

Lisa Woolfork 9:35

Yes. Hurtful.

Marcy Harriell 9:36

It's so well said!

Lisa Woolfork 9:37

Hurtful and articulately spoken. He has a nice silver dollar vocabulary. He is, like when I knock on his door, "Knock! Knock! Knock!" I hear, (Sigh).

Marcy Harriell 9:52

When that sigh is so loud it's audible, that's hard. That's hard, yeah.

Lisa Woolfork 9:55

Yes! Yes! I can feel it in my chest! I can feel it in my chest when he's, I'm like, "Ryan, I've got to say, 'Oh God! This woman again. '" He's even told me once, "Mom, it feels like you have a sixth sense for what I'm about to relax and enjoy my life! And then you knock on the door." And I'm like, "Well you know what's funny? That's, that was you, like 15 years ago?"

Marcy Harriell 10:18


Lisa Woolfork 10:19

When you were two years old and...

Marcy Harriell 10:21

You can, you can um, flip the tables and say, "I learned it from you." You can use that now!

Lisa Woolfork 10:25

I learned from the best! Yes.

Marcy Harriell 10:27

On the child.

Lisa Woolfork 10:28

Exactly. I learned from the best, honey! About your YouTube channel, one of the things I'm excited about it is, you've only had it for three months I believe.

Marcy Harriell 10:36

We started it, I, I threw out this big thing and I think it was - I think it was end of 2018, maybe middle 2019. I was ike, "Guess who's starting a YouTube channel?!" And I put one video up in a year. So...

Lisa Woolfork 10:51


Marcy Harriell 10:51

It's been up for a year, but we haven't actually started it in earnest. We really started it at the mid to end of August, where we started saying, "Okay, we're doing like a video a week, maybe every 10 days." And we really started it. So we started with 1600 people, I think in August that had just like gone, "Oh, maybe she will do something one day."

Lisa Woolfork 11:12

We're the true believers! True believers!

Marcy Harriell 11:14

Maybe it'll happen! Since August, since we really started I think we're up to 22,000 people now, which blows my mind. I think a lot of it has to do with a lot of people wanting to learn how to make a mask. But then they came and found out that, "Oh, wait, they're gonna make us laugh while I make a mask!" You know.

Lisa Woolfork 11:30

Yeah and teach us other things and give us resources. So like, the Dollar Tree haul video, for example, which, would be I think you mentioned this is one of the like, popular spikes from your channel, um, is a nice way of resourcing as well. You know.

Marcy Harriell 11:45

Yeah, I love a Dollar Tree.

Lisa Woolfork 11:46

I do too. I think I have three in town. And look, we can go to different ones. Okay, so the one out near the Kroger we know has this, and this one up at Pan Tops has all the good stationery and this one...

Marcy Harriell 11:55

The one near the mall, for me, I don't go into because people in there don't behave properly. But there's two more that are wonderful!

Lisa Woolfork 12:08

There you go!

Marcy Harriell 12:09

And I love them. I love them.

Lisa Woolfork 12:09

You've got to scout it out. You scout it out and see what works.

Marcy Harriell 12:12

Yeah, scout em out!

Lisa Woolfork 12:13

One of the things I wanted to ask you about in creating the channel was, you've done so much work in the sewing community, like for Threads Magazine and for Blueprint/Craftsy. Now you have your own channel. And I guess I wanted to hear more about what are your thoughts on owning the means of production? What does it mean that you get to be the person that calls the shots? You set the production schedule, you set the standards, and you own everything. Like that's the thing that I find so exciting. And so for me, to think about you as an artist who is constantly sharing your creativity with other entities and bringing it out to the larger public, now you're doing that on your own terms. What is that like?

Marcy Harriell 12:57

So Rob and I are both union actors within quote, unquote, the business. And most of our work is for somebody else if you get paid their union rules, but it's for somebody else, to be able to take the reins on our own production. First of all, I'm a control freak so, there's that. That's wonderful for me that I can just say, "No, no, no! This is, this is the angle that I want. This is what I'm going to wear the video" is a wonderful thing. It's also really special to both of us on a personal level, that we're able to showcase ourselves as a couple, because and things are changing now, which is great. Things are changing in the industry, slowly but surely. But an interracial couple was not accepted for so long and still in many circles in many parts, but to be able to showcase ourselves as who we are, and how much we love each other. And that, yes, this dude with bald head and this girl with massive curly hair, obviously from different races, obviously very much in love. That's huge for us to be able to do that. Blueprint Craftsy was actually great because they wanted us to be ourselves.

Lisa Woolfork 14:11

Yes. Okay.

Marcy Harriell 14:11

They never said, "I don't know if people will buy you guys as a couple," which has been said to us in many rooms.

Lisa Woolfork 14:18

"Buy you guys!" Buy!

Marcy Harriell 14:20

Yeah, yeah, we would go on for commercial auditions. A lot of times actors will be called into commercial auditions. If you have actual husband and wife or partner and partner, wife and wife, husband husband, they love that. Because...

Lisa Woolfork 14:33

You already have the chemistry built in.

Marcy Harriell 14:34

Yeah! We already got the chemistry, yeah! We'd walk into the room before they could even see if we had any chemistry, they would just split us up. He'd just walk into the other room. He's smiling at me, "Hi babe!" So, he would break us up before we even sat down to do the audition. So, it's really nice to have that. Now, the other thing I want to say about taking control creatively is that; and I want to say this for all my creators out there, all my people who are making the art.

Lisa Woolfork 15:01


Marcy Harriell 15:02

That it's really nice to be able to use the machine of social media that is out there. When you're on Instagram, when you're on Twitter, Pinterest, those social media sites are using what you put out there to make money. They're using it to put every fourth picture on Instagram is an ad, which is cool. Everybody wants to make money, more power to you. But if you're doing something like YouTube, there's an opportunity for you to create something wonderful, and hopefully see something, see a reward for what you're putting out there. And it's not that money should drive our creativity, but it's nice to be rewarded. Not just with the community, but be rewarded financially for what you do because this... I'll tell you what, the YouTube videos take a lot of work, a lot of work! And Instagram post takes a lot of work, a lot of work and they are they are profiting off of it.

Lisa Woolfork 16:06

Yes, absolutely! And I think, when we think about intellectual property, that some folks think about attorneys and getting involved in like trademarks and copyrights. But what it really comes down to is, your creativity that you are producing and putting out into the world will be seen as content or a product for someone.

Marcy Harriell 16:28

Absolutely, yes!

Lisa Woolfork 16:29

So why not turn that back to your, why not have it be yourself? Marcy, I am just learning this lesson myself, like just now! Like Black Women Stitch has been out for, we, I started the organization in 2018. I started the podcast last year. We've been out for 15 months. We got 75 episodes and it doesn't live anywhere! All of the pictures that we have are all on Instagram. All of the podcast episodes live with the site host. And none of it belongs to Black Women Stitch. And when I thought about it that way, I was like, "Wait a minute. So if Instagram disappears, and if this thing goes flat, where will all these hundreds and thousands of hours of stuff, where will it go?" If I need a home for my things, which is why we're gonna have a website coming up. I didn't even mention it because all I want to do is just talk with Black women, girls, and femmes about sewing. And that was all I was thinking about. I was all about the mission. I wasn't thinking about what would happen later. But you're absolutely right! And I just wonder, do you think that this is a gendered idea that we're somehow like, women, because it's sewing related that women tend not to think about ownership and property in this way? Or is it, it could that be part of that socialization or is it something else?

Marcy Harriell 17:42

That's an interesting question. I'll say in the acting side of the business, that we often come across actors who weren't reading their contracts. Both women, men, people who don't identify as either, I mean we often come across that. So I don't know if it's a gender issue. I do feel like there are issues with people who create people who sew like, earlier in the year, we were talking about masks when suddenly it was that, "We're calling on the people who sew now, do this for us!" And not realizing that the amount of time it takes to do this, and the resources, and the and the tools. I have a, I have a dear friend whose machine just totally just busted from all of the PPE sewing that she was doing. And that's, you know that's hard.

Lisa Woolfork 18:30

It's smoking, you know! And she's cranking out the masks.

Marcy Harriell 18:32

Just cranking out the, just smoking because I think people who create have huge hearts! Because I think you have to have a huge heart to to create something out of nothing and to be a part of this community and, and, and you understand how much work it takes. And so when you see someone else who's made something, you're like, "You made that! That took so much work! I understand it." And that opens up your heart to that other person and just grows the community. It's wonderful. But yeah, it's the concept of intellectual property, a lot of people don't think about it. And I love Instagram! I love it! I love seeing other people's creativity and I love putting stuff up there myself, but, it's, it's, it's hard when Instagram is getting more and more monetized every day. I feel like I go there now and almost everything I see is an ad.

Lisa Woolfork 18:32

Yeah, yeah.

Marcy Harriell 18:44

And even with, with people that I love for their creativity, suddenly I'm seeing, "I love Brillo pads!" And I'm like, "I'm not sure how that but ad is the changes going, but, but okay. I'm glad you love Brillo pads. That's cool." And I can't knock it because I'm on a commercial right now for Subway sandwiches. That's just because I'm an actress getting paid to do that.

Lisa Woolfork 19:39

Yeah, getting paid for it!

Marcy Harriell 19:40

Yeah. And I worry about my fellow creatives who might not be considering what that means. In kind collaboration, where you get a product. "Oh, I love this product and I put this picture up and I did this video." How long does that stay up? And how much is it worth to that company that is now out there for that one time, in perpetuity.

Lisa Woolfork 20:02

In perpetuity!

Marcy Harriell 20:03

And, yeah. And I think it's, I also have a, a flip side to that! It's wonderful to support small businesses.

Lisa Woolfork 20:09

Of course, of course.

Marcy Harriell 20:10

I cannot, I am all about that! But there's got to be a balance. There's got to be a balance where these bigger businesses can support you supporting them.

Lisa Woolfork 20:17

Exactly. I think, I understand a small company that has very, very narrow margins are not these publicly traded companies.

Marcy Harriell 20:26

Yeah. Yeah.

Lisa Woolfork 20:27

That have of money! You don't need to do an in kind trade with Amazon.

Marcy Harriell 20:31

No, no, no!

Lisa Woolfork 20:32

Amazon can afford to pay you.

Marcy Harriell 20:34

They're alright. They're doing okay.

Lisa Woolfork 20:36

They are, they are doing okay. Yes. All that money they're not paying their drivers, they can give it to you.

Marcy Harriell 20:42

They can! Oh, there's so many things that people in this world could do. Could be a whole nother podcast.

Lisa Woolfork 20:51

I know. A whole nother podcast. They should let us be in charge just for week. We would do so much.

Marcy Harriell 20:57

Just see what we do for a week. Just give it a whirl.

Lisa Woolfork 21:00

Give it a whirl! We've learned in the last four years anybody can be president, you don't need qualification. All you need to do is you know, we won't have to jump up any kind of racist analyst. But if they give him four, they can at least give us seven days.

Marcy Harriell 21:14

What's the ratio there, four years to seven days? A drop in the bucket.

Lisa Woolfork 21:17

Super large impact! Super large impact. I like your idea about making something out of nothing because I also do believe in the transformative properties of sewing. I just love the transformation process. And I think I was reading that you started sewing as a stress reliever or as something to keep you occupied. When you were waiting between between jobs, or when you were on set and there's a lot of waiting. Can you tell us a little bit about that and how that kind of affected your sewing life? I could imagine that that can be pretty exciting that you're doing something really fun and you get to do something else really fun. Like, how do you balance those two things?

Marcy Harriell 21:54

I always have to be doing something. I really can't, it's really hard for me to just sit and maybe watch a TV show. Although right now we're watching New Girl. I love it! I could sit and watch five episodes of that a night! Props to all those actors. So I did, I started it as a stress reliever but also as a way to pull myself out of the box that the business often puts me in - the racial box. Because I'm not white, I'm not black, I'm not Italian, I'm not Hispanic. I am all those things. But I'm also not all those things. And so it's it, yeah! And so sewing...

Lisa Woolfork 22:30

They want to compartamentalize you and they want to make her a TV Italian. We can make her a this. We can make her a that. And this is a way for you to make yourself what you want.

Marcy Harriell 22:39

Yes, because you can, if you're creating your own costume, for whatever day, you are truly now creating yourself. I was always I was taught by my parents, my brother and I were both taught that we were different and that's wonderful. And we should, we should celebrate that. But clothing really helped me fully cement that. Because I was always shy growing up, very shy. I was super shy growing up. I would put on wild outfits and stuff but I was super shy. And when I started sewing, when I started making my own clothing on stage, I was always fine. I was always out there, do whatever you want. But in real life walking around the streets like, putting on the clothing that was me and not just off the rack. But wearing my own armor really made me feel like myself.

Lisa Woolfork 23:25


Marcy Harriell 23:26

And it helped me start talking to people outside of you know, theater and TV like just in real life as Marcy. Because I started meeting people who, who created as well to blog.

Yes, that's right.

And scheduled a meetup of 40 women. I was like, "Who am I? I'm about to walk out the door and meet 40 strangers!" And I was like, "Just go! Just go! You're okay!"

Lisa Woolfork 23:46

It'll be fine. They'll be nice to you. There will be nice kids there. Don't worry.

Marcy Harriell 23:51

Yes, exactly.

Lisa Woolfork 23:52

Call me at anytime and I'll come right to get you!

Marcy Harriell 23:55

Yeah, yeah, that's pretty much was it.

Lisa Woolfork 24:00

No, that's fantastic. Because I think the perception is, if you can perform on stage that you can perform anywhere. But there are actors and people of all professions who are introverts, who are socially uneasy with strangers. So that's really wonderful that you were able to think about sewing as a way to, to build community and to build community outside of your profession, outside of your job. Because...

Marcy Harriell 24:26


Lisa Woolfork 24:26

Nobody just wants to have work friends.

Marcy Harriell 24:28

No, especially I love a lot of actors, but a lot of actors can be a little dramatic. I'm sure I can include myself in that box. Sometimes, that's a little bit, sometimes you just need a break from the drama. You need some people who aren't jazz hands all the time. Yeah.

Lisa Woolfork 24:45

On and off switch, you know.

Marcy Harriell 24:48

On and off switch. Okay, Carolyn from Diary of a Sewing Fanatic!

Lisa Woolfork 24:53

Yes, yes.

Marcy Harriell 24:55

She once said to me, "Marcy, Do you have an off switch?"

Lisa Woolfork 24:59

That sounds like something she would say too!

Marcy Harriell 25:01

Doesn't it?

Lisa Woolfork 25:02

Yes, it does! Yes, it does.

Marcy Harriell 25:05

I think I said no. I think I said no.

Lisa Woolfork 25:09

Oh my gosh. Oh, that's fantastic. So I know that you love brights. I know that you love bright colors. I know that you love ankara and wax prints. I know that you like things that are super colorful, I do too. I was thinking about some of your favorite looks. What are some favorite looks that you've created, in the last, let's say eight months? So what we know you've made a ton of masks and so outside of the 1000, 1000 and 50 million masks you made; have you made anything during the pandemic time that you are really excited about? I'll tell you one of my favorite looks that you've done, so.

Marcy Harriell 25:43

Okay, well first of all, this is sad because during this year, my sewing output has tanked because, because of: first of all the, the sewing for the for the mask for the pandemic, PPE, for hospitals, for friends, for family. And then, shooting the YouTube channel takes up so much time that I'm realizing that, "Oh, I'm gonna have to carve out an actual day where all I do is sew for myself and that's it." It's not for videos, not for anything, but to just show something. So my output has really tanked. But I think my favorite thing that I've sewn this year of 2020 would be the blue and purple, wax print, T-length, ruffle strap dress.

Lisa Woolfork 26:27


Marcy Harriell 26:28

It's a birthday fabric that my parents gave me from House of Mami Wata.

Lisa Woolfork 26:31

Yes! Yes! Yes! Yes!

Marcy Harriell 26:33

Yes. That's, that's my favorite thing that I've sewn this year. Oh, I have so many ideas that I want to sew this year before the year is out. And hopefully I'll get to them now that I've got the editing under my belt and I can figure out a rhythm, but that's my favorite this year.

Lisa Woolfork 26:49

Yes. Oh, that's wonderful! So I don't think you made this this year. One of my favorite looks when I look back at, through your channel, there's a lot of them. I love that you have a great little swimsuit. That's very...

Marcy Harriell 26:59

Oh, yeah, that's the Classic Case, uh, Classic Core pattern it's now called.

Lisa Woolfork 27:04

The Sophia? What is it called?

Marcy Harriell 27:05

Bombshells. Bombshells. That was her very first pattern that she released. That pattern is so good.

Lisa Woolfork 27:10

It's adorable! It's super cute. I love not rushing. But the thing that really was the Wonder Woman. That's the one, the Wonder Woman.

Marcy Harriell 27:17

Oh, Wonder Woman! Oh wow!

Lisa Woolfork 27:20

That's the one for me. I was just like, "Oh, this is amazing! This is just...!" I can imagine you as one of the Amazons that they have in the films , like in the Wonder Woman movies. I'm like, I could totally see you there among the others out there kicking ass and I was like, "This is really great!" I love that.

Marcy Harriell 27:36

I love, that was I don't know, I don't know if you... I did a, I did a post on Instagram about that earlier this summer. But I wrote about how I had my hair completely filled out for that for that shoot for that episode that we did with Blueprint/Craftsy now. And we did that with DC Comics and Warner Brothers collaborated with Blueprint/Craftsy. And Rob was helping me get ready and we had this little dressing room off to the side, and we're gonna do the shoot. The outfit and everything and I had my hair all picked out and I was like, "Oh, god, they're gonna hate it!" And I said, "What are you talking about?" Of course, they didn't hate it. They were all wonderful people. It was just my normal fear about me walking out with my hair in a quote, unquote, not tamed version of business usually doesn't go well. But this was just a walk out of the dressing room with whatever happened. They were just thrilled.

Lisa Woolfork 28:28

Of course.

Marcy Harriell 28:29


Lisa Woolfork 28:30

What I love about it is that I think that a lot of at least speaking for myself, I can't speak for everyone. But for myself, I feel like a lot of Black women need to write their own permission slips.

Marcy Harriell 28:42

That's very well said.

Lisa Woolfork 28:44

When I saw you with that, I, it made me so excited because I was imagining all these other little black and brown girls who might be told by somebody, "No, no, no! You can't cosplay as this and you can't do that," and it's a lie! That these characters have been created because they're meant to appeal broadly and so there was, there's space and room for us to imagine ourselves into this. That's what it looked like to me. It looked like write your own damn permission slip y'all!

Marcy Harriell 29:15

That is, that's exactly what I wanted to put out there. Because they, the people on the other side of the table the business side, Blueprint Craftsy, DC Warner Brothers; they chose an interracial couple to do these episodes. They chose a woman of color to portray Batman and Wonder Woman. Because I had to pick two for myself and two for the boys and I was like Rob black woman that's it because like she's gonna be, he's gonna be Motley Crue awkward man. But they, I felt that by and I'm a comic book geek. I thought by them embracing a woman of color, a comic book to do this. I was like this gives me, this gives me the in to just - these little girls and boys who, who think they don't, who don't see themselves in the superheroes.

Lisa Woolfork 30:02


Marcy Harriell 30:02

And DC 's really great about Jason Momoa as Aquaman.

Lisa Woolfork 30:06

Thank you j.

Marcy Harriell 30:08

I just, I jumped up and down! I bought it, I almost threw a ticker tape parade in our living room that that happened. I love that! That's as it should be. If Hamilton has taught us anything, we do not need to see color as a barrier in a role.

Lisa Woolfork 30:23

It is not a barrier. And I just find it so sad that you, not sad, I think that you are on the cusp because you've been in the industry for so long, that you've been able to see and map important changes and you've been part of these important changes. And I really love both your work for DC as well as for me, I combine it with the way that cosplay works for black and brown folks. And I've had a couple of black cosplayers on the show and they talk about going to convention, they talk about like, how they had to deal with so much grief and sometimes some bullshit about, "No, you can't be this Japanese character. That Japanese character's not Black." And she'll say, "Guess what? That Japanese character's not white either, but I don't see not being , do you?" So...

Marcy Harriell 31:10

Yup, yup, yup!

You can't tell me that I can't be something. Guess what? Avatar has no white people in it y'all! So, how about we stop telling me what I can and cannot do. So, I love that like breaking through the gates.

It's what, that's the wonderful thing about heroes in these fictional characters, they're works of fiction! We can bring them into our lives in whatever way that we want. That's the point.

Lisa Woolfork 31:33

That is the point. That is the point. I love that so much. Because if you think about fun and creativity and making, even though we might use patterns to sew something, we're not trying to have it look exactly like the cover of the pattern.

Marcy Harriell 31:48

No one's making the, that's a great point! No one is making the pattern envelope as it is.

Lisa Woolfork 31:53


Marcy Harriell 31:55

That's not the point.

Lisa Woolfork 31:56

That is not the point.

Marcy Harriell 31:57

To make it your own, is the point.

Lisa Woolfork 31:59

Exactly! Even if, like you, you and I bought the exact same pattern and made it, it's still gonna look very different. Even if we don't have fabric choices that we love things that are bright or colorful or whatever, it's still going to be different. And different, as they say is good. So...

Marcy Harriell 32:18

It's very good. That's what I've been told since I was two.

Lisa Woolfork 32:23

So, what do you have around the corner? What are you working on next? What are some of the fun things you have going on? I know you have a lot of projects. You have an ever growing to do list. Your to, your to do list is like a Hydra, cut out in its place.

We will return to our conversation with Marcy Harriell and her ever growing To Do List after this break, stay tuned.

The stitch please podcast is really growing. I want to thank you for listening to the podcast and ask a favor; if you are listening to this podcast on a medium that allows you to rate it or review it, for example Apple podcasts or iTunes, please do so if you're enjoying the podcast, if you could drop me a five star rating. If you have something to say about the podcast, and you wanted to include that, a couple sentences in the review box of Apple makes a really big difference in how the podcast is evaluated by Apple, how it becomes more visible. It really is a way to glean into the algorithm that helps to rank podcasts. So if you had time to do that, to drop a little line in the review feature of the podcast, that would be really appreciated and it would help us to grow even further and faster.

Welcome back everybody to the Stitch Please Podcast. I'm your host Lisa Woolfork and my guest today is Marcy Harriell. And I forgot to mention that, if you are a Patreon subscriber, you have already received video footage of this interview. And so, if you're a Patreon subscriber at any level of support, you get the video of today's interview. So we are going to return to our conversation with Marcy and she talks about her ever growing to do list.

So what do you have around the corner? What are you working on next? What are some of the fun things you have going on? I know you have a lot of projects. You have an ever growing to do list. Your to, your to do list is like a Hydra, you cut off one head and two heads sprout out in its place. So...

Marcy Harriell 34:59

It just keeps, it just keeps going. I feel like 2020 is the year that most of us started working from home and in doing so, started working harder than ever. But it just, it never stops. Because now that home is work, well you're always on call. You're always ready to go because you're at the office, when you're not at the office. So, yeah. But I'm not, I'm not an upset about it. I'm actually really thankful for a lot of the things that 2020 has brought.

Lisa Woolfork 35:30

Uh huh.

Marcy Harriell 35:31

In a weird way. And of course, there's there's been a lot in 2020 that's been extremely difficult to...

Lisa Woolfork 35:37


Marcy Harriell 35:38

And we all, we all know this, we know this sentence already. We've said it forever and ever. Amen. But there have been some opportunities that have come up that, that just like making the YouTube channel, just just being able to have the space and decide we're going to do this. I've had people calling because of the creative work that we're putting out on YouTube and on Instagram for opportunities. Some of which I still can't talk about, unfortunately, but some of which I can. I'm currently a Threads Digital Ambassador, they decided to add another ambassador to the, to the ranks. And my role, as I envision it there, is to insert some wildness.

Lisa Woolfork 36:21

Maybe a little levity. Can you add some levity as well?

Marcy Harriell 36:23

I wanted to say levity. I, I mean I can't do anything without humor. I just can't! And I, I, I know how to, I know how to do a tutorial that's very cut and dry and by the A to Z. But I say I know how to do that, but I have yet to do it. So maybe I don't know how to do that. Maybe I actually only know how to do it with humor because I, I enjoy it. I enjoy doing it. But...

Lisa Woolfork 36:25

I can tell you how to do it. Just do your regular videos, but take all the passion and fun out of it.

Marcy Harriell 36:53

Okay, I could try that.

Lisa Woolfork 36:54

Try that.

Marcy Harriell 36:55

I'll try that. I'll run it up the flagpole, see if it sticks.

Lisa Woolfork 37:00

No smiling, no humor. No fun. No levity. Just...

Marcy Harriell 37:05

I did have a commenter on YouTube that said, "Great tutorial, too, too, too much fun and too many distractions. Please take those out." I was like, "You might want to find another channel, because I don't know how to do it another way."

Lisa Woolfork 37:19

I get so irritated by this. There's another podcast that I enjoy. It's Sewing Out Loud with the Donahue girls. It's Mallory and her mother Zede. And when we, we connected and she was like, "Oh, I could connect you to some of our..." and I was like, "I think some of your fans are a little mean." Because they'll leave comments on their podcast like, "You two bicker too much and it's too much distraction and just deliver the information." And I'm like, "Bitch, what? Bitch number one, number one, bitch it's free 99! Okay!" If you, if you, how are you going to set your mouth to complain about some free entertainment! Two, there are books that you could read and get the information, delivered to you in a way that is to your liking. And three, you can also start your own channel and do the tutorials in the morning. But, how dare you? I just find that, I find that arrogance to be preposterous.

Marcy Harriell 38:18

We're definitely used to snarky comments from being in the business. It's just how it goes. And we actually have a lot of fun answering them. Thank you for watching Cup Of Sew-Joe. We ran, we ran into some of those. That's our second most popular videos, just us sitting around with some coffee, talking about the comments! We had a great time doing that actually. It was nice just to sit and let the camera go.

Lisa Woolfork 38:41

Didn't someone say that you guys were sheeple because you made masks?

Marcy Harriell 38:45

Yes, yes that was fun. It's nice to be able to address those comments with humor, because listen, everybody's got an opinion and in this day and age, it's very easy to share your opinion.

Lisa Woolfork 38:54

Very true!

Marcy Harriell 38:54

And that's, and that's just fine. That's just fine. Everybody can like what they like and don't like what you don't like.

Lisa Woolfork 39:01

It's fine, but you don't have to tell me! That's my part. I think that you don't have to tell me what you don't like about what I'm doing. Like, I would rather, I don't understand what you hope to gain from that. Am I gonna say, "Oh my gosh! A stranger on the internet doesn't like what I've said." My entire life.

Marcy Harriell 39:19

That's a double edged sword because if you're putting yourself out there you're putting yourself out there for people see you then, you got to be ready for people to criticize it if you're going to.

Lisa Woolfork 39:28

Not be so sensitive. Yes.

Marcy Harriell 39:29

Yes. But by the same token, do you do you know Mr. Domestic?

Lisa Woolfork 39:34

I have heard of him but I've never met him in person. I know his account.

Marcy Harriell 39:37

Well you got it. Yeah, get into his account. He, he is fond of putting up posts that say, "Hey, yeah, so if you don't like my free content, if you don't like the fact that I'm actually sharing my opinion on my free content, that you're enjoying my free content, my free content, yeah, you can just go follow somebody else." He cracks me up because it's true that especially on Instagram, a lot of the content is put out there for free. Your podcast is put out there for free unless people so kindly want to make a donation to support it. Unless people watch the commercials on our YouTube channel, they're watching it for free. And these are the things that help us create more content.

Lisa Woolfork 40:15

Exactly! Exactly.

Marcy Harriell 40:16

You know what? If the people who want to throw some snark down, watch the commercials so that we could get a couple pennies to make more content that they can put some snark on, that's just fine with me.

Lisa Woolfork 40:27

That's fine. We'll take the snark.

Marcy Harriell 40:28

Because there, there are people out there who are enjoying it, and it's bringing them a smile. And we'd like to doing that.

Lisa Woolfork 40:34

I think you're absolutely right. And I think that there is a nice balance that you have to strike between understanding an audience, knowing an audience, being grateful for an audience, but not feeling like you have to pander.

Marcy Harriell 40:46

No and, and not that you have to change yourself because, because listen, not everybody's gonna like you. There are plenty people who don't like me. Sometimes I don't like me, but they just don't, they just don't all have to like me. It's okay! You have to, you have to have a thick skin to put stuff out there.

Lisa Woolfork 41:02

Very true.

Marcy Harriell 41:03

You have to accept that you're not for everybody.

Lisa Woolfork 41:05

That's very, that's very true. And that's an important boundary in life as well. You have to find the ways and do things to navigate this very challenging world we're living in

Marcy Harriell 41:14

Yeah. Uh, huh.

Lisa Woolfork 41:15

So you know who you are, you know what I mean? You know what you'll accept, what you'll won't. And I think that that's also super helpful.

Marcy Harriell 41:23

And you know that's, that's something about Threads too. They know who they are. Threads Magazine is what Threads is when you come to it. And I've loved Threads for, since I started sewing a dozen years ago, and I know too many people a dozen years ago does not tell. But let's just say I sew a lot, so I think it got 10,000 hours in at this point. There's a lot of downtime as an actress. They, they have a very clear vision and I love that. And I hope that, I hope that I can fit in there in a way that's organic, or maybe that's a little bit quirky and different because, because I think it's important to, to bring a new generation into Threads Magazine. It's such a wonderful publication! It's so important and you can learn so much from it and the people that work there are fantastic! I love them all.

Lisa Woolfork 42:13

I'm so excited for you joining the Threads family. It's so funny because I had my renewal notice came in the mail the other day. I took it out and I'm like, Okay, I got my I got the envelope and the little stuff, write the check, but I'm gonna re subscribe now I'm definitely going to resubscribe. Since...

Marcy Harriell 42:29

I will be digital. There, there might be some that make it into the magazine like the wax panel. But yeah.

Lisa Woolfork 42:34

But still, the whole umbrella. I think if they are making a decision to support you and to and to put you in their roster, I think you're moving in the right direction. I think that Threads is known for it's really beautiful, clean sewing. They want more people to sew. They want people to sew well. They want people to develop competence or skills. Um and, I feel like the Threads audience is aging. A lot of folks in the industry are aging and if they can't reach people where they are, if you can't tap into having young folks and people that are younger than the median age of sewists, then how do you have a future for your industry. And I feel like what, by having digital ambassadors in the first place but also having you in particular, as a digital ambassador, what that opens for them is a door into whole new communities. And its communities that they need. The fact that your channel has blossomed so quickly, in just the last four months that you've been really putting in and cranking out the videos every week, that's a sign of some of that kind of energy that they can bring to their platform that you were doing for them. I think it's very generous of you and I think that this is a really great alliance that the two of you are going to have. I think that they're going to benefit from this a great deal.

Marcy Harriell 43:49

I hope so. I think I think it'll be good for both of us. Really. Yeah. I love supporting, yeah, this publication. Yeah.

Lisa Woolfork 43:56

I really do hope that it's a wonderful mutual aid thing for you because I just feel like Threads Magazine, it's wonderful, but a little fuddy duddy is the wrong word. Maybe more conservative perhaps, um...

Marcy Harriell 44:08

It's a different sense of style. It's a certain sense of style but like you said it's very clean. But it's also very out there like some of the, the applique work and some of the techniques are just like wow! The things that that King does.

Lisa Woolfork 44:22

Oh, yes! He's awesome.

Marcy Harriell 44:25

He's great. I did a very short leather course with him at Mood once, where he just talked about leather. I just listened to him talk for 45 minutes. And pulled out his animal hair coat.

Lisa Woolfork 44:35

Years ago, Mood used to have all these free classes. Remember, you could just go there and...

Marcy Harriell 44:40

Yes, yes. That's, that that was happening when when I was a Mood Sewing Network blogger

Lisa Woolfork 44:45

Yes, yes.

Marcy Harriell 44:46

Which, which I eventually left because I needed to make some decisions about companies that support the creator while they're supporting them as well. I learned a lot during Mood Sewing Network. A lot! Because I got to play with a lot of very fancy fabric I would not have played with otherwise. But eventually, you look at it, you think, "Oh, it took me 25 hours to make this garment." 25 hours is a lot for three yards of fabric. You know, it's a lot and I, I applaud people who who want to get into that kind of relationship to learn and to, to grow their audience and to meet new people. But you have to really weigh when is this benefiting me?

Lisa Woolfork 45:30


Marcy Harriell 45:31

As much as it's benefiting the other person.

Lisa Woolfork 45:34

No, I think that's a beautiful point. And when can you think about something I've been trying to work on Marcy, is managing my time.

Marcy Harriell 45:42

Mm hmm.

Lisa Woolfork 45:43

And I think it's, for example, that the podcast, I love this podcast! I love Black Women Stitch. It's a huge passion project for me. I'll spend hours and hours editing, and I'm not even that great at it. It just takes me a long time because I'm not good. But I'll spend hours editing and then doing promotions, and then writing letters and all that. And I never keep track of how long it takes me. And one of my friends said,

Marcy Harriell 46:03

Oh, yeah.

Lisa Woolfork 46:04

"You should set a timer and see how long it takes you to do an episode." And I was like, "Oh, I don't know." But, the reason that it's so useful to do is because, like you know I love Maxine Waters and "reclaiming my time." I love that. But how do you reclaim your time, if you're not being honest with yourself?

Marcy Harriell 46:23


Lisa Woolfork 46:24

I think that the decision that you're talking about, 25 hours of work for three or even six yards of fabric, that's wonderful - who are trying to get started for folks who have more time than they have other resources. That's fine. I'm happy to do that. But at the same time, it's like what they're getting out of it is like a permanent resource of you. Like your image is permanent, your writing is permanent. Finding time that again and again and again, and you do it once and where's your benefit? So, I think that some difficult conversations about the ethics of labor in the sewing community, in the blogosphere. And I think that you, because you create such beautiful things, you obviously have that because you do that. But you also have the insight and the areas to say, "Hey, what I am doing is labor."

Marcy Harriell 47:17

Yeah, because this is what I do for a living. It's actually my job to create. It might be a character that's not myself, but I, but I know what it is to create. I think that we don't like to talk about the monetary side of things, the business side of things, because we feel if we do that, it belittles or it weakens our creative juices. Like that, my dress I made if I put a price on it, then that it becomes a, becomes a commodity rather rather than something that I that I was born out of my head and my heart. So it's hard for us to talk about that.

Lisa Woolfork 47:56

It's so true. And I think maybe that's one of the reasons that I was going back to thinking about it as a gendered question, which I think you're right, it doesn't necessarily have to be. But I keep thinking about people who have vocations like a teacher, for example. When you think about everyone loves teachers and teachers are so great, and yet we don't pay them.

Marcy Harriell 48:12


Lisa Woolfork 48:13

And we expect teachers to do all sorts of work for free.

Marcy Harriell 48:18

Out of the goodness in their hearts, because you're if you're a teacher, you're probably a good person.

Lisa Woolfork 48:22


Marcy Harriell 48:23

You know. Yes.

Lisa Woolfork 48:24

You are! Like my mother taught public school for 40 years. My mother in law taught public school for decades and decades. I teach at a public university right now, I get it. But this idea that somehow the love of the student is enough. I'm like, the love of students, is not going to pay my mortgage. And yet, if you're if you're supposed to, if you're a teacher, you're supposed to buy all the supplies for your class. And if you ask for extra numeration and goodness forbid, if you want to go on strike, you become like a monster under a bridge.

Marcy Harriell 48:54

A pariah. Yeah!

Lisa Woolfork 48:55

That eats babies. That's what you are. "You baby eating troll monster, you. Come into these classrooms. How dare you go on strike?" And it's yeah, because people go on strike because they need better working conditions.

Marcy Harriell 49:06

And sometimes it's the only way to get something done. Yeah.

Lisa Woolfork 49:08

Exactly. Exactly. So 2020 was a very hard, a very difficult year in all types of ways. It felt like it was the year where days became months.

Marcy Harriell 49:20

But months became minutes, as well. Weirdly.

Lisa Woolfork 49:23

I feel like time for my, in my life actually broke. I remember this vividly. I looked at my laptop computer and it said 2:10 and I was convinced that it was 2:10 in the morning, 2:10am. And I looked up out the window and it was bright daylight and I was like, "Okay!"

Marcy Harriell 49:42

And your mind just went

Lisa Woolfork 49:46

I have lost the ability to tell night from day because I'm a baby. Like, I sleep at 3am. I sleep it at 2pm. Like, I'm up at 5am. I'm up at 6am, it's just nonsense! I'm hoping for some more order. But what, what are some of the things about 2020 that you would like to keep? Anything about 2020 that you would like to keep? And I will tell you mine, well I'll answer yours first, then I'll tell you mine.

Marcy Harriell 50:14

I would like to keep and I won't say, I won't say the wokeness. Because I'm actually not a fan of the term "woke." I think a lot of people now use it as a catch all. Yeah, I would like to keep the awakening. Yes, the vibe that people are starting to get where they're starting to look at other people in their lives and in their circles, that they never understood the problems that other people were going through. I'd like to keep that. I would like it to keep going in the correct direction, which I-I-I don't know. Sometimes I think it has to get a lot worse before it gets better. And unfortunately, I think it's, it's headed to worse before it gets better. It's headed into even more compartmentalizing races before we can open up and see the vastness of race. Oh, I heard this great speech from from a motivational speaker. I'm calling him a motivational speaker. I'm not sure that's actually what he was, but it was on a panel of about biracial actors in the business.

Lisa Woolfork 51:25


Marcy Harriell 51:26

And most of us were like...

Lisa Woolfork 51:28

Blog post on this from a few weeks ago. I think it's on your blog.

Marcy Harriell 51:31

Yeah, I spoke about it for a second. And actually biracial, most of us are way more than biracial, multiracial actors in the business. And he talked about I think he said race was is a construct. It's actually ethnicity. Yes, is a thing. It's just, there's a lot, there's a lot to be talked about. And I don't know, I don't know, I think it's gonna get smaller before it gets bigger. Unfortunately.

Lisa Woolfork 51:55

I think so too. And I think for me, that I think that these different kind of fragmentations, because my field is African American literature and African American culture, that's what I specialize. I'm in a department where things are fragmented but, we are still one department. And so that this notion that separation isn't about diminishing, it's not about diminishing. It's about trying to find healing spaces for people to, that's how I imagined what I am doing is thinking about these healing spaces. Because I think folks do need spaces where they can find themselves and feel comfortable and not have to blame. When you spend so much of your life feeling like you have to be some kind of translator of your life. It's nice to not have that. And so that's the kind of haven that I like to think of my organization as.

Marcy Harriell 52:45

And then maybe you need a box in order to do that in with with no outside.

Lisa Woolfork 52:51

And of course, it does mean that there's certain things that I will do or not do as part of this organization. But I definitely am trying to maintain that vision of the of this kind of healing and restorative space. I've been really like enjoying the growth of the organization. It's just, it was like a salvific kind of experience for me, after so much other trauma and other things as an organizer and all that. And so, I offer no apologies about that. But other things, speaking of 2020 that I wanted to keep - you have a great answer about awakenings. I want to keep curbside pickup and I want to keep Zoom church.

Marcy Harriell 53:39


Lisa Woolfork 53:41

Yes. Those are the things I want to keep.

Marcy Harriell 53:45

Those are I did not expect those answers. I have to tell you that I like I like that. Yeah, I'll say I might want to, I might want to keep masks. How weird is that? Here's the, here's what I want to keep about it. I like the idea that if you're feeling ill or under the weather, you put a mask on to do your business that you got to do during the day because you care about the other person. This is something that has been around in other cultures for decades. This is just, this is just common courtesy; holding the door open for a person, saying please and thank you, put your mask on because you're sneezing all over everybody. I mean that's, that would be a nice thing I think to take away from 2020. Everybody knows how to make one now.

Lisa Woolfork 54:34

Apparently, or they know somebody who will make one for them.

Marcy Harriell 54:38

Or they can even watch a video.

Lisa Woolfork 54:39

Or they could watch a video, or they could watch a video to do a very easy, essentially four seams, essentially.

Marcy Harriell 54:45

Four seams that's it. That's all it is.

Lisa Woolfork 54:46

Four seams, four seam masks. That's definitely doable.

Marcy Harriell 54:51

We have the power to be nice to other people.

Lisa Woolfork 54:54

And that goes back in some ways to the awakening that you want to keep, that that people are learning to be aware of of people. I saw this really hilarious, this really hilarious meme. Someone said, "I'm gonna keep this mash thing after the pandemic, because I cannot believe I've been letting y'all breathe on me all this time."

Marcy Harriell 55:10

Yeah. Takes it back and throws it on yourself, "How do I live in this world with all of you people?" Like, that's what it is about. But it's a good point. It's a good point. I think we're all gonna be a lot more hygenic after this year.

Lisa Woolfork 55:26

I am actually, can I just say, I have always been hygenic! I have always.

Marcy Harriell 55:31

I couldn't believe the numbers on how people do not wash their hands! I was in an airport bathroom once, this just jogged my memory for this, cuz we walk around and our hair is different and other and so people want to touch it. And so I'm in an airport bathroom...

Lisa Woolfork 55:45

No, no, no! No, don't tell me! Don't tell me! Don't tell me! Don't tell me!

Marcy Harriell 55:48

Well now, it's not to gross. The thought.

Lisa Woolfork 55:51

I know exactly, keep going! Keep going!

Marcy Harriell 55:54

This woman, we were washing our hands. No, sorry, I was washing my hands at the sink and she came out of the stall. She said, "Your hair is so beautiful!" I said, "Thank you." She said, "Can I touch it?" And just came up to me with arms outstretched. I was like, "I, um, no! No, you can't. I'm leaving. You might want to wash your hands. You know, you just came out of a stall. I don't care what you did in there. You still have to wash your hands. We're in a bathroom."

Lisa Woolfork 56:21

I don't care if it's just a phone call. Like you...

Marcy Harriell 56:23

Just nothing. I don't care what you did in there. I don't care if you walked in there just so you could adjust your shirt. You're still in a bathroom. You have to wash your hands. Before putting them on my hair.

Lisa Woolfork 56:35

I knew exactly where you were going. I knew exactly where you were going. I was like, somebody walked out of the toilet and wanted to fondle your hair!

Marcy Harriell 56:42

Just straight to it! Just straight to it. It was almost like she was mesmerized by my hair and just couldn't help herself. Which thank you for the compliment, but also, no.

Lisa Woolfork 56:55

Yeah, I woke up this morning thinking, "I would like a stranger's genital germs in my hair by the end of the day."

Marcy Harriell 57:00

That is exactly what I want. That is the, that is the treatment my hair needs.

Lisa Woolfork 57:04

Who, who wouldn't want such a thing?

Marcy Harriell 57:05

Who wouldn't want such a thing?

Lisa Woolfork 57:07

So your next big projects are for the Thread Digital Ambassador. I'm super, super excited! Do you have any videos that you all are planning for 2021?

Marcy Harriell 57:16

We have a lot of videos. I've actually had a lot of emails and comments again, about my hair about taking care of it, and how I do it. And this is for a lot of younger people who are coming into the realization that our hair is acceptable now.

Lisa Woolfork 57:35


Marcy Harriell 57:35

And we don't have to, we can do whatever we want to it! We can straighten it, we can relax it, we can put it in braids, we can pick it out, we can do all of those things. But they want to learn how to do all of those things and I'm no hair guru. I pretty much do one thing with my hair and that's it. And I'm done with making it small for for TV, which I'm embracing. So I'm going to, we're, there's going to be some hair videos.

Lisa Woolfork 57:59

Oh, nice!

Marcy Harriell 58:01

There's and of course, it's not just going to be about hair because - back from when I started my blog, I just can't seem to talk about the thing that I'm supposed to talk about. My sewing poster always, "Here's a dress, but here's a story that has nothing to do with it." So the hair videos will show you how to do it. But...

Lisa Woolfork 58:18

You're a holistic person. You have a total, whole life and you want to occupy all parts of your life at the same time. And this is another example of owning the means of production. Your blog can be the way you want it. Your YouTube channel can be the way you want it. Your hair, it can be the way you want it. And being able to empower people and empower other folks to do something similar, I think is a really generous gift. So I think that's fantastic.

Marcy Harriell 58:48

That is the main thing we want out of this. We want to make people smile. We want to give them a smile. We want to give them a laugh. Maybe along the way they're enticed into something else. It's like a Jedi mind trick, a subliminal message. "Oh, suddenly they're sewing something" or, or just going about their day with a little more levity than they might normally, because there's a lot of...what's the opposite of levity? There's a lot of the opposite of levity. There you go. That's the word. There's a lot of despair.

Lisa Woolfork 59:20

There's a lot of despair. And so I, and I think for me, one thing I love about your sewing videos is that you remind people, that sewing is supposed to be fun.

Marcy Harriell 59:28

It's supposed to be fun! Even when you have to seam rip it, it's supposed to be fun.

Lisa Woolfork 59:31

Even when you have to seam rip it, it's supposed to be fun.

Marcy Harriell 59:34

I think seam ripping is wonderful. It's like a, it's like a, a time machine.

Lisa Woolfork 59:39

A time machine. Some people, I have some friends who are like, "Oh I think about, I think unpicking seams is very Zen cuz I can focus and pick the stitch." And I was like, "Too bad you don't live closer to me, so you can, I can give you lots of Zen experiences."

Marcy Harriell 59:55

Lots of meditation and charge for it.

Lisa Woolfork 59:58

That's just the kind of friend I am! I'm the kind of friend who wants my friends to be happy. And if you are made happy by unpicking seams, I will certainly give you some seams. You're welcome. Oh my gosh, this has been such a delight, Marcy! Oh my gosh, we're gonna have to have you come back on the program sometime when you can speak about the things you cannot speak about right now.

Marcy Harriell 1:00:19

There's so many things I want to tell you about.

Lisa Woolfork 1:00:23

Just, let's just say let's put a pin in it and we can come back to it later on this year. But for now, where can people find you on the socials? I know we, of course the YouTube channel. But where else can we find you?

Marcy Harriell 1:00:34

On socials, I'm @MarcyHarriell on everything after, after Rob was like, "Hey, babe, why don't you let people know your real name rather than just Oonaballoona?" I was like, "Hey, that's an interesting idea. I might try that." So, on all this socials I'm @MarcyHarriell on Instagram. On Twitter, although words, words in a box aren't as delightful to me as a picture to go along with them, so I'm definitely more active on Instagram, and the YouTube channel of course, and Facebook, which is really just tied to Instagram.

Lisa Woolfork 1:01:01


Marcy Harriell 1:01:01

They're the same thing.

Lisa Woolfork 1:01:02

They are.

Marcy Harriell 1:01:03

But I have a whole nother, you know, group of people there that don't want to comment on Instagram so we get to engage there. And of course, the blog is still Oonaballoona. I can't change that cuz that's the grand daddy. That's the grandma.

Lisa Woolfork 1:01:14

You've had that for, I guess that's a dozen years. You've had that for a dozen years.

Marcy Harriell 1:01:17

A dozen years. Yeah. Wow! That's weird.

Lisa Woolfork 1:01:21

You've got to hold onto, your not meant to be changing those names up like that.

Marcy Harriell 1:01:24

Yeah, not that one.

Lisa Woolfork 1:01:26

I think internet history a dozen years is...

Marcy Harriell 1:01:28

It's like, it's like the Millennium or something. For sure.

Lisa Woolfork 1:01:34

You got to really keep a archive there. Thank you, Marcy. This has been so much fun! I am so delighted. I'm, I'm so grateful. And you, we'll have to get you to come back because we didn't talk about vintage sewing machines. We didn't talk about cocktails.

Marcy Harriell 1:01:48

We didn't have .

Lisa Woolfork 1:01:49

We didn't talk about your love of profanity, which I share.

Marcy Harriell 1:01:54

Ha! Maybe it's better we didn't talk about that.

Lisa Woolfork 1:01:55

Yes, we had lots of other categories that we did not discuss. So we will have to revisit these, in addition to the new projects that will be unfolding this year in 2021. So thank you so much!

Marcy Harriell 1:02:08

You're welcome! Thank you, I had so much fun!

Lisa Woolfork 1:02:24

You've been listening to the Stitch Please Podcast, the official podcast of Black Women Stitch, the sewing group where Black lives matter. We appreciate you supporting us by listening to the podcast. If you'd like to reach out to us with questions, you can contact us at If you'd like to support us financially, you can do that by supporting us on Patreon, p-a-t-r-e-o-n. And you can find Black Women Stitch there and the Patreon directory and for as little as $2 a month you can help support the project with things like editing, transcripts, and other things to strengthen the podcast. And finally, if financial support is not something you can do right now, you can really, really help the podcast by rating it and reviewing it anywhere you listen to podcasts that allows you to review them. So I know that not all podcast directories or services allow for reviews. But for those who do for those that have a star rating or just ask for a few comments, if you could share those comments and say nice things about us and the Stitch Please Podcast, that is incredibly helpful. Thank you so much. Come back next week and we'll help you get just stitch together.

Transcribed by

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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