Stitching For the Culture: A SEW BLACK LIVE EPISODE

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Stitching FOR THE CULTURE, Produced by Latrice Sampson Richards

Sara Trail, Social Justice Sewing Academy     @sjsacademy

Bianca Springer, Thanks I Made Them  @thanksImadethem

Nikki Griffin @sewingmystyle


  • [0:09] – Dive into a world where stitching, culture, and Black lives interweave. Welcome to our official Sew Black at quiltcon podcast episode!
  • [4:42] – Bianca, the creative genius behind “Represent! Embroidery” book, opens up about her journey. Discover how a period of recovery birthed an Black-centered embroidery book with vibrant designs, and how the essence of it evolves.
  • [10:30] – The panel sheds light on the importance of culture. They tackle the misrepresentations in white spaces and stress the significance of nurturing self-agency and autonomy in children.
  • [12:01] – Meet Nikki Griffin, an Atlanta native with an unstoppable sewing spirit. From bras to jeans, her contributions to the Atlanta sewing style are nothing short of inspiring.
  • [17:27] – Sewing transcends craft. Learn about its power for social justice, its global movement, and its deep resonance within the Black women community of Atlanta.
  • [20:42] – Support stitches community. Applause for the amazing Social Justice Sewing Academy team for their continuous dedication and passion. Together, they’re revolutionizing the art through fabric and giving a fresh, unique experience for kids.
  • [25:13] – Rules, boundaries, and quilting? Sarah delves into how traditional quilting norms can sometimes confine and control, urging listeners to ‘get their stitch together.’
  • [26:49] – Expand your horizons.
Read Full Transcript

Lisa Woolfork  0:09  

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  0:46  

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, Aurifil, Crimson Tate, Sew Easy, Ruby Star Society, Free Spirit Fabrics, Kai Scissors. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Special thanks to Focusrite for making the live recording possible through the donation of an audio interface. The Focusrite 18i8. 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  1:53  

Hey friends Hey, welcome. I'm Lisa Woolfork and this is the Stitch Please podcast and as I say every week this is a very special episode because this episode is being recorded at Sew Black, an Affinity Space at the MQG QuiltCon in Atlanta, Georgia. I am in a space that is so filled with so much beautiful Blackness and joy and I am so glad to be here and I am so grateful to be. So we are here at a panel discussion Sewing for the Culture. And we have some wonderful representative representations of that including, to my left Nikki Griffin of Atlanta Sewing Style. Y'all can clap, it's a studio audience y'all. Come on! Let's get some studio noise up in here. I don't have money for sound effects. So please clap. To my immediate right we have Sarah Trail who is the founder of the Social Justice Sewing Academy. And to her right, we have Bianca Springer. Say it Bianca, please say it Bianca: the Bahamian way. Right. We're gonna stay at Bianca and Bianca is the author of Represent. An embroidery book with 10 colorful projects, hundreds of designs. I took her class last night. Bianca also has been a very beautiful supporter, all of these folks here have been a supporter of Black Women Stitch since Black Women Stitch became an idea. And last night, I went to Bianca's hand stitching class and she had created for me a custom template for myself, for me to stitch for my, you know, work Find Yourself. It had words like 'podcast', 'stitch', 'liberation', 'Black women', it was just like, it was the things that mean something to me. And that is an example of the kind of care I think that we can have in community. So we're going to start with some really, I think, when you think about the phrase 'for the culture', what does that mean to you? Because even that phrase 'for the culture' is something that we say, as a way to kind of call in all of all that is the beauty of Blackness. Audrey Lorde described it as Blackfullness, like imagine mindfulness, but with Blackness: Blackfulness, that's what I feel here right now. And that's kind of what I get when I think about 'for the culture'. Gonna start with you, since your book is Represent! and it does have designs that are very much Black centered, Black forward, designed for and about us. Tell us about how you got started with that and how 'for the culture' shows up in your work?

Bianca Springer  4:42  

Well, this book was born out of an experience where I was incapacitated and needing to continue to be creative while I was recovering from an injury. And the fastest, quickest way for me to create was with embroidery. So I did a little Amazon search just did the best seller, sent them to my house. And they were white authors stitching white themes. And I, because I couldn't get up and move, I stitched them, but I modified them to look like me, look like my kids, to represent my story. And I was dissatisfied. But you know, in that moment, it was just the way life was, it was me just saying this is what it means to be a Black person in a white creative space. And it was very normalized in that moment. And so I didn't buck the system, I just did what I did. I switched it up for me. Couple years later, similar injury, opposite knee. And again, I was like, Okay, I need to do something, ordered the books, again, from the same authors, new releases from them, but the content was the same. And I was frustrated with that. I sent those books back, and then started creating designs on my own. What did I wanna see? What did my kids, what would they get excited about? And so I started tweaking designs for embroidery for myself. And then I had an opportunity to go to Quilt Market, which is an industry event for fabric companies and designers in Houston. And I had won a contest with Moda earlier that year. And it was a bag design contest. And I was carrying that bag when I walked past C&T Publishing. And they stopped in, we started chatting, I had done a little work with them, but I hadn't met any representative in person. So I just sat and started chatting with them. And someone said, your look is artistic, I see your Instagram, you are creative. I think you have a book in you. They set me up with a meeting the next day, I had no plan. I didn't have an idea for a book. But I sat down with the acquisitions editor. And she said, you know, she's like, What do you want to write? What craft books do you enjoy stitching from? and I said, I'm going to be 100% with you right now. And I took the books off their shelves, and I said this book, I will never stitch, this book I would never buy. And I just pulled them all. And I'm like, none of these are me. These are not written for me. They don't center me. I opened a book and I'm like, this little girl does not look like my daughter. And if I bought this home and said, "Honey, let's stitch this", I'm communicating to her the value and worth of that person.-- 

Lisa Woolfork  7:31  

Mmmhm. That's right.--

Bianca Springer  7:32  

And I, that's not what I wanna tell her. I want her to pick up a book from start. She doesn't have to change it. Unless it's a creative decision. You shouldn't have to change the nose. You shouldn't have to struggle to get hair texture, you shouldn't have, all of that stuff. I was like, I'm not going to pay to be disrespected by anyone.-- 

Lisa Woolfork  7:54  

Light it up.-- 

Bianca Springer  7:55  

And I had nothing to lose. No one was, I wasn't you know, they say not all good money. All money--

Lisa Woolfork  8:02  

All money ain't good money.--

Bianca Springer  8:02  

ain't good money, good money. So I wasn't about to pander and try to get a book deal on a concept that would fit the market. I was telling them, the market doesn't work for me.-- 

Lisa Woolfork  8:13  


Bianca Springer  8:14  

And to their credit. She was like, I hear you, help us. We want the book you have in you, we want to tell the story you want to tell. And so from that, creating 'for the culture', for me was about filling a void. But doing it in a way that brings comfort. It wasn't, I'm like, I want fun designs. I want happiness. I want, when someone picks up this book to feel like oh, I am seen. And this is fun. I want to stitch it.-- 

Lisa Woolfork  8:48  


Bianca Springer  8:48  

that's 700 French knots on that portrait. But that's a sister with a fire afro, and I'm gonna do it. And so it's about just stepping into that space, and bringing other people in, telling the stories I think are important to us. Doing it in a way that says, if this is my only shot, I've said something and doing it in a way that says, here's what we have to say. I hope you realize we want it. We are responding to it. So continue, publishers, fabric designers, continue to see us, continue to utilize our talents and let us speak to our community.

Lisa Woolfork  9:34  

Yes, that's beautiful. And what I love is the movement from what might come from an individual, like an idea. Like when I created Black Women Stitch, I built it because I needed it. I needed it. Sarah, I'm going to turn to you now because I'm feeling lectury and I'm gonna stop myself where everybody leaves. How did that go for you when you, kind of you've been in the industry, although you're young, you've been an industry since, you were designing like patterns and books when you were like 12? Right. And you've been going to shows and producing things, when you when you pivoted from like working as a child to as an adult, being on the other end. So you have benefited from the chat from the arts program as a young person. And you took your studies and the work that you're interested in, did in school, and kind of pulled together this beautiful project. Tell me like, in what ways do you think Social Justice Sewing Academy also does sewing 'for the culture'?

Sara Trail  10:30  

You know, I would say, I should say that  sewing 'for the culture', and the ways of we really do it with anyone. And I think people love to talk about like, oh, like kids from concentrated communities of disadvantaged, are always framing kids in this deficit model like disenfranchised kids. And it's like, Yo, like, chill on that rhetoric. Like, I can't stand the disempowering way that often white spaces talk about our Black and Brown kids. And it's like, whether you know, y'all wanna donate or whatever, you still don't need to frame them in that like, I've been in workshops in Baltimore and hearing firsthand from those kids, how dilapidated the city is, and how everyone talks about the city and the kids like, what about us?, like we're here, and we're seen and like we need to be heard. And I think that often rhetoric plays such an important part. And in kids feeling of autonomy, their self-agency, their efficacy, and like, I think when we say do it for the culture, it's more than just the creation of like, making art that we care about, but it's really like, it's uplifting Blackness, it's promoting Blackness, it's, you know, in all forms of Blackness, the Blackness with homeboy who sagging his pants with--

Lisa Woolfork  11:31  


Sara Trail  11:31  

Gucci boxers.-- 

Lisa Woolfork  11:32  


Sara Trail  11:32  

If it's Blackness who's fitting all the modes of respectability politics.-- 

Lisa Woolfork  11:35  


Sara Trail  11:36  

And it's not making, you know, yucking someone's yum. And you know, like, regardless of the Ebonics or regardless of the, if they wanna stitch cuss words in their blocks, we're gonna let them stitch cuss words and they're blocks. And while their teacher might say, you know, that's not okay, if that's their lived experience, they're talking about racism, and this is how they want to promote it, then let them do that. And I think it's really, it's no rules, no limits, all gas, no brakes when it comes to sewing. And that's really I think, how I should say, that it's for the culture

Lisa Woolfork  12:01  

It's beautiful. Thank you so much. I love it. I love it. And I am as you know, I'm here for all of it. Nikki, Nikki Griffin from Atlanta, Sew In Style, and Sewing My Style. 

Nikki Griffin  12:12  

All gas no brakes. 

Lisa Woolfork  12:13  

All gas, no brakes, talk about all gas, no brakes. You know, Nikki Griffin, like, can do it all. She organizes this wonderful sewing community. She makes bras and teaches bra-making online. She just had a Jeanuary session where you made jeans in January, and she provided the kits. And, because she didn't talk to me first, the bags that she made for the Jeanuary, she cut on a dog-on Cricut and pressed herself! And I was like, "Oh girl girl, why don't you call me before you start projects like this? Because that's not the way!" Because I could have made it Yeah, I could have made it easy for you. But that's okay. 

Nikki Griffin  12:52  

We'll do it next year.--

Lisa Woolfork  12:53  

We will do sublimation in a different episode, we'll talk about sublimation printing a different episode cause everyone needs to have some question printer. It'll help you change your life. 

Lisa Woolfork  13:02  

Nikki, we are so glad and welcome. Tell me what do you hear? What do you mean, when you pull together Atlanta Sewing Style? I've seen some beautiful photoshoots that you have done. They'll go to, within a good amount of months, was it the one we did with the cars where you all went out---

Nikki Griffin  13:17  

Oh yeah, yeah.--

Lisa Woolfork  13:17  

in the kind of the 50s or 20s, she does amazing work. Tell us how does sewing, what is 'sewing for the culture' mean for Atlanta Sewing Style.

Nikki Griffin  13:25  

I think it's more DNA and less intention. Because, how it started, when I started teaching, I stopped sewing for 20 years and then when I came back, I said okay, let me teach just to get my my juices going and everything. I started teaching kids, that lasted for about six months. And I was teaching at a white-owned studio where it was, you know, white customers. But every Wednesday, they had a open sewng night. And maybe five of us would show up. So when I was there, you know, we're in mixed company, the energy is just kind of bland. But I noticed when we got together, we were at one table, the energy shifted-- 

Lisa Woolfork  14:10  

to where you were.-- 

Nikki Griffin  14:12  

If all of us were at one table, and everybody else was around, the energy kind of shifted so I started feeling that and everyone was from Atlanta. So it was just this natural happening that came together. And what we did, I said well, let's just do this all the time. Because it is a net, it's a DNA match.--

Lisa Woolfork  14:33  

Umm, that's so interesting.-- 

Nikki Griffin  14:34  

I always say it's our ancestral craft.--

Lisa Woolfork  14:37  


Nikki Griffin  14:37  

Everybody's grandmother, auntie,--

Lisa Woolfork  14:39  


Sara Trail  14:39  

--great grandma, right. It's passed down to you. So when we were together at this white studio, it was just different. So we had to do it. So I think it was very definedly ordered. I'll give you a really quick example of how it really hit me that this was not gonna be my life. I'm teaching about eight people, eight white women, and I'm teaching. I'm the expert in the room. And when I'm having a conversation, just like this with, you know, one of the students that's sittin' next to me, and we're talking about where we lived. And I lived in a community called Avondale Estates, still do. And another woman on the other end of the table, her contribution to that conversation was, "Oh, you live in Avondale estates?" "Yeah, I do." "You know that was the last community that was allowed to sell their houses to colored people?" I did not stutter and make that up. Those were her exact words. And I said, everyone in the class was silent. Like, did she really say that? But my thought was different. Yeah, but she said that. Okay. And yeah, things are gonna be different now. I think the next week,--

Lisa Woolfork  16:00  

Did she come back?

Nikki Griffin  16:01  

I made this shirt. This fabric was flying out the door at that shop. They were coming, "Oh, we need the faces, the crowded faces." And I sat in that shop one night, when I wasn't busy, and made this shirt. And I wore it all the time, with the few days left that I taught. And I told the owner. I said, "I'm one of your instructors. I don't know who's signing up for the classes. But if you see her name on one of my classes, you either remove her or I'm not teaching the class." And I think she took it a little further and told the woman she wasn't welcome at all. Okay, fine. Atlanta Sewing Style kind of took off after that, because I didn't wanna be in that environment, that I had to watch what I said or even be concerned about what I said. So, Atlanta Sewing Style was born, and I think if we want felt the same thing. When we just put the call out, we had about 20 women show up. Our thing was Spring dresses.--

Lisa Woolfork  16:01  


Nikki Griffin  16:13  

And we made Spring dresses and we went out, we just picked a location and we hired a photographer, and had so much fun. And we were at home, Lisa when you talk about the the experience you had sewing with the whites and, when you found your lane. 

Lisa Woolfork  17:23  


Lisa Woolfork  17:24  

Man with the exhale feels like. Right?

Lisa Woolfork  17:27  

Yes, it kinda felt like when I create a, you know, when I look around at you all being here, I'm like, I feel like, I like, I wasted so much time! I wasted so much time! I really feel like I wasted so much time. I spent decades of my life being the lonely only. And when I learned to quilt, I learned to quilt at a local quilt shop, I went to a technical college as well to study sewing as well on the side. All of my like, formal training was with white folks. You know, the person, I apprenticed with a quilter, she was a white woman, all of these different things that I did was all very white. And I realized that between my work-life and then this, was meant to be my hobby, my free time, it was more of the same, like reproducing the same kinda conditions and you know, generate the same outcomes. Then I started looking for Black sewing stuff. I said, you know what, cause I can't do this! I refuse to sew with anybody who doesn't believe my children's lives have value! I would never again, never! I don't do sewing with the whites. And I looked through, and I saw Social Justice Sewing Academy. And I was like, that's a place that I could belong. And I bet I could create something. I could build what I needed. And that's what 'sewing for the culture' means for me.

Bianca Springer  18:50  

I wanna say this, Thank you. This is how this community works. I've had so much success. Thank you Father. I've had so much success in my sewing brand. I would not be a bra maker. If it wasn't for Black Women Stitch. I would not know about Sarah's organization if it wasn't for Black Women Stitch. I was doing my little thing in Atlanta. But God had something different for me and others like me, there was this global movement. Black Women Stitch is not a brand. There was just this global movement that said, "There is a community out there" because it's different. The creativity is different. I was doing my thing with the whites. 

Lisa Woolfork  19:43  

I love that term.  I coined it, 'Sewing with the whites', 'Sewing with the whites', it's what I don't do anymore.-- 

Bianca Springer  19:48  

Right. And we sew in color, y'all.

Lisa Woolfork  19:53  


Bianca Springer  19:53  

We sew in color. I was reading an article the other day, and it said, you know, fashion was created. Africans made it art. I might have murdered it a little bit, but you get the point. So that's what this community does also. So 'sewing for the culture' means that to me, we're sewing into each other. There's so much more. I would probably just be still teaching, you know. But yeah, it's just so much more being introduced to this world. And that's because of Lisa.

Lisa Woolfork  20:34  

Again, this, I built what I needed. I built what I needed, and it turns out, other people needed it too. And that feels really great. 

Lisa Woolfork  20:47  

Sew Black is made possible by some amazing people on the Black Women Stitch team. Christina Gifford, Janelle Velasco, Latrice Sampson Richards, Naomi P. Johnson, Shawna Jefferson, Jill Bates-Moore. Nikki Griffin, Coco Springer, Alicia Turlington, and Adrienne Dent. And in full Snoop Dogg style, I'd like to thank myself for pulling this together and believing in me. Let's give it up for Lisa Woolfork. And if you want to find out what's happening next, follow Black Women Stitch on Tik Tok and Instagram and sign up for our email list. Check out the Stitch Please podcast with new episodes every Wednesday, including episodes from QuiltCon, coming out soon.

Lisa Woolfork  21:39  

I want to talk about the community building. And one of the things that I think is important that we imagined sewing and quilting as a way to build mutual bonding, create opportunities for collaboration, and helps you kind of get a sense of love and exploration. Can you talk about how any ways that you have facilitated community building through your craft?

Sara Trail  21:59  

I would say community really stitches together in the sense of letting the young people, you know, have the microphone. There's a quote that really resonates from Arundhati Roy that says "There's no such thing as the voiceless, only the deliberately silenced or the preferably unheard." And I think often all our Black and Brown kids are deliberately silenced, told to be quiet by the whites, the systems of oppression, power, privilege, intersectionality. Like we can go into the--

Lisa Woolfork  22:26  


Sara Trail  22:26  

framework behind it. But really, they're often deliberately silenced. And more often than not, you know, they're deliberately ignored. And I think that like, you know, being a kid, you know, in a school system, like you go to school systems that you know, don't listen to like things you care about, or things you want and resource and funding. And I think really giving them an opportunity to make art through fabric, it's an opportunity where it's like, whatever you care about is gonna be what you wanna do. And it's like coming from someone who's been indoctrinated in the sewing culture. And I started sewing, you know, in professional classes from the age of six. Seam ripper was my best friend. I did the quarter inch and if it was any bit bigger than a quarter inch, I picked it out, you know, my paper piece seems always matched my foundation pieces always match like, I did it the right way.-- 

Lisa Woolfork  22:26  


Sara Trail  22:26  

I had to do it the white way. And that alone was you know, like it needed to look like the pattern of the class I was going to do,-- 

Lisa Woolfork  23:04  


Sara Trail  23:07  

And I think in creating SJSA, I was like, there's gonna be no right way. There's gonna be no white way. There's gonna be just what we want to do. 

Lisa Woolfork  23:20  


Sara Trail  23:20  

It's like, we're going the opposite. We're gonna have a class with no seam rippers. We're gonna have a class with no rules. We're gonna have a class with no patterns. We're gonna have a class with no expectation of what you here to create. We're just gonna let you just be just, you'll just explore-- 

Lisa Woolfork  23:20  


Sara Trail  23:20  

and feel the fabric and I think in allowing kids to have that is the intersection and really the introduction to sewing. It creates very different experience cause I've taught the kids at Joanne's I've taught the kids at Michaels, I've done the 'we're gonna make PJs', I've taught prom dresses, tote bags, aprons, you name it, but when we're making aprons, there's a 'this is what it's supposed to look like?'. And if yours is jacked up, you're gonna know yours is jacked up, cause you're apron doesn't look right.-- 

Lisa Woolfork  23:56  

Right, exactly.-- 

Sara Trail  23:57  

But when you're doing SJSA classes, there is no like, prototype of what it's supposed to look like. Like you get to be that and if you don't like it, don't glue it down.-- 

Lisa Woolfork  24:06  


Sara Trail  24:06  

Like it's not perfect, applique is forgiving.-- 

Lisa Woolfork  24:08  


Sara Trail  24:08  

Applique it's flexible. And when you start with art quilt techniques, as opposed to the regimented rules of what sewing can often be. You're really unlearning and decolonizing. You know, even the like, we're starting with Gee's Ben style like there is no rule,-- 

Lisa Woolfork  24:24  

No rule-- 

Sara Trail  24:24  

Do it your own way.-- 

Lisa Woolfork  24:25  

That's right.--

Sara Trail  24:26  

It's like we're not starting with how sewing.. like if you Google sewing, it's rules. It's YouTube, it's this is what you do.--

Lisa Woolfork  24:30  


Sara Trail  24:30  

This is what you need. When you're like unlearning, saying it's fabric, you're getting ready to cut and glue. It's a collage, you know, start with what you want. And then if you wanna learn more, you can learn the rules. You can learn the you know, the techniques, no one's saying, no one's discrediting that. But making that point of entry somewhere where there's no judgment, there's no rules. There's no hierarchy of whose is right and whose is not, really makes it a very accepting, it's a different space. It's a different culture. It's a different atmosphere that really can get cultivated. And when kids feel comfortable and welcomed in an art form. It's like the, the tenfold. Like, you can see them just, it's like, you know, you can spark that mind that's gonna go you know, build a neighborhood that, like burn it down.-- 

Lisa Woolfork  25:11  

Yes, yes! Yes, yes, yes.-- 

Sara Trail  25:12  

You can you can see that spark.--

Lisa Woolfork  25:13  

And the thing I love what you said that often the quilting has all these these rules. We talked about the quilt police, because people really do try to police like, 'Oh, this is uneven' or 'this is not right' or 'this is not the right set of colors' or 'it doesn't fit'. It's all the regimentation. And I think that sometimes when  folks learn in an environment that is not flexible, or like Home Ec in school and the constant, the many complaints I hear from folks about Hone Ec. And it becomes important that this is a ruleless space, and that they can just be! The idea of just being able to be! To just exist, that that is enough. That you are enough as you are, as you think, you know. When you say you don't have a seam ripper, I took a class with Sarah Bond yesterday. And it was paper piece in class. And in it she said, "Well, I don't know about you guys, but I think paint, I think perfection is a tool of oppression." And I was like. "It is!" and scaring everybody around me, as I almost jumped out of my seat and going "That's right. And so," Wait, I'm gonna get back to my sewing. I will not get on what other things are tools of oppression. I will continue with my sewing. But I am gonna ask the panel. The question I asked at the end of every episode, the slogan of the Stitch Please podcast is that we will help you get your stitch together. Each one of you, I want you to think about it cause I'm gonna come back to you. Bianca, how are you going to help us get our, what would be your advice to us in this space, to get our stitch together to help us, what would you offer to help us get our stitch together? 

Bianca Springer  26:48  

Particularly at QuiltCon as a garment maker, I know I've seen a lot of garment makers, from the sewing community here. I think, consider a new technique, consider implementing a scale, consider a fabric you haven't thought of in a new way. So, step outside of that garment-making framework and see what quilty elements, you can start to bring into your work, because they are endless, they are wonderful. And, by doing so, as a garment maker, I found in this space, there are quilters who haven't considered garment making and if you expand what you can do, by exploring what quilting has to offer,-- 

Lisa Woolfork  27:37  


Bianca Springer  27:37  

--and bring that into your garment making. You're you're also expanding the possibility for the quilter who's not considered the other side.-- 

Lisa Woolfork  27:47  


Bianca Springer  27:47  

And so just be open. And it's so fun. I you know, I'm not a quilter. I've made three quilts in my life. But I'm a garment maker. And I'm integrating those techniques. I'm teaching a class on them tomorrow. And I love it. I love the exploration and fun and creativity I've found in implementing quilting techniques. And it's been fun to hear quilters venture into garment making because they've seen that. So there's a wonderful, like the wall between garment making and quilting seems to be rigid, but it's not. It's a wavy line. So cross that line. And you know, and you'll see some new possibilities.

Lisa Woolfork  28:31  

Great. Thank you so much. And that reminds me we have the Sew Black sewing show, which is an online project that we're doing. And we have partnered with Free Spirit Ruby Star and Spoonflower. And what we've done is we've connected them with Black sewing influencers, including Aaronica Cole (who was here yesterday), The Corny Rainbow, Julian Collins, Terrance, Nikki. Am I forgetting somebody? I feel like I am. 

Sara Trail  29:02  

I don't know, you might.

Lisa Woolfork  29:02  

I'm so sorry if I've forgotten somebody. Charge it to my head and on my heart. But what we are doing is taking quilting fabrics and wear and wearing them. In order to show quilters how easy it is to make clothes with the fabrics you already know and love. And so we've been emphasizing and highlighting Rashida Coleman Hale and Jen Hewitt. For Ruby Star. We've worked with E Bond's fabrics, and Janine Lecour from Spoonflower. Thank you, Sara, how you gonna help us get our stitch together?

Sara Trail  29:34  

I would just say, we just have to do Sankofa. Reach one teach one. And if y'all don't have a mentor: DM me, cause I've got mad kids who just want, you know, a mentally healthy, with the means grandparent, to just give back. And the amount of young people that just don't have that, is outstanding. And if you know, if you're, it doesn't matter where you are, doesn't matter where you live, like we've got high school kids that are like, "Hey, we did a workshop, you teach me how to sew?"and it's like there's not you know, 50 mes--

Lisa Woolfork  29:58  


Sara Trail  29:58  

and we don't need 50 mes because we've got a community--

Lisa Woolfork  30:00  


Sara Trail  30:01  

But it's like, besides your grandkids, if you can't say someone that you're helping mentor, like, that's a shame. I can I really just challenge and push us all. Like, and if not, you can make an Instagram post, there's any young person and it doesn't have to be about financial, it's just about time, it's about checking in. And it's about, you know, coming them in a space with no judgment to really just give back. Cause beyond you know, our family, and you know, I know my grandparents taught me. It's different if someone else, that's not even your blood, pours into you. That's, I think, often what means a lot with these kids getting their blocks and border by the greater community, Someone who doesn't know me cares about me. And that level of affirmation alone can go a long way. So if anyone doesn't have a young person, I mean young person that can be high school that can be mentored. They can be a guy from Nigeria, never been to America. Like, they can be anyone but there's always someone that needs help. And if you don't know them, then let someone put you in touch with someone who needs the help. So by all means, reach out.

Lisa Woolfork  30:47  

I love it. And thank you so much for bringing him to us today. We spoke with Uzoma Samuel, and, it was so wonderful. He had these canvases that were rolled up, and he unrolled them, and everybody gasped, everybody was just stunned and taken aback. And his first quilt, the first quilt he's ever made is downstairs. You will not believe this is anybody's first quilt. So Nikki, how you gonna help us get on stitch together?

Nikki Griffin  31:18  

I think I wanna continue on Bianca's message, cause I was thinking about how we continue to build this community. I never knew that there was so many Black quilters because I'm not a quilter. I got invited to the Modern Quilt Guild, the local Modern Quilt Guild, somebody found me and said, "Will you come and speak to us?"  I'm like, "About what?" And I went and they wanted to learn how to take measurements and you know, that wall you talk about, I would say that that wall is clear. Because there's so much that we have in common. But if you do have a local Modern Quilt Guild in your area, check it out. There's some Black women there, Black men, there's some Black people in that organization, and continue to build that. You will thank yourself later because it's, you know, just like this, all the Black people that we're celebrating, who are quilters and, and have these classes and everything. So that's what I would say. 

Lisa Woolfork  32:16  

Oh, that's wonderful. Thank you so much for being here, y'all. Thank you so much. We are so grateful to our guests. Can we get a round of applause for Nikki, Bianca, and Sara.

Lisa Woolfork  32:36  

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 in 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 like 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 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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