Friday, February 3, 2012

Dear Jo-Ann Fabric,

It was tough being a crafter at a young age in the '80s. While other suburban kids were perfecting a flimsy moonwalk in their driveway or enticing members of the opposite sex with mall coat*, I secretly was learning to cross stitch from my mom. My behavior was decidedly uncool, but I enjoyed it.

Cut to the '90s. The college years. I don't recall much stitching during the earlier years. Actually, I don't remember much of anything from those years. Funny, Jo-Ann, to owe so much money for years I'm not sure even existed.

Sometime around '96-97, I moved into a notorious off-campus apartment: The Farmhouse. Yes. Capital letters, Jo-Ann! Not to worry. There were only a few arrests during my time there.
So perhaps this is Jaya the Cat playing in the living room...

Somewhere between bottles of blush wine (Jo-Ann, it's so embarrassing to admit that; I'm glad to report that I drink boxed red now), the old crafting bug started to itch me. I decided to make a quilt. And I turned to you, Jo-Ann. I came to you for materials and advice. And then I sat in that damn party house, a glass of shite wine by my side, and I stitched the saddest damn around-the-world quilt ever known. Cute boys would stop by, and I would sit in that chair we picked up by the side of the road, look up at them through my Sally Jesse Raphael reading glasses, and have to explain, "I'm making a quilt." Surprisingly, some of them were stoned enough to think it was cool. Hello, I'm Kelly. I compost, read Byron, and quilt.

Let's move on to the new millennium, shall we?

Now, as a fully functioning, totally-have-my-shit-together-most-days adult, I am a proud crafter. Oh, Jo-Ann, I'm still not a very good quilter (seriously, don't look too closely at any of my quilts), but I think I'm a pretty damn good stitcher. But I worry that when people hear about cross stitch, they picture this:


I work hard to break that image. Very hard, Jo-Ann. Because I think crafting has come a long way over the years.

Blackbird Designs


My current work in progress...

And this brings me to my point.

Jo-Ann, I beg you to explain this recent flyer:

Did this sad poncho picture increase sales? Or just seizures?

I have endured a lot of flack over the years for crafting. And I have defended these arts. And there you go, in one fell swoop, shitting all over my hard work. Who the hell wants to craft after seeing this? Across the nation, well-meaning crafters are telling loved ones that they're almost done knitting them something. And this, Jo-Ann, is what those recipients are picturing. How could you? Screw the feminist movement; you have pushed the crafting movement back 30 years! And you had help:
  1. Someone had to knit this ugly fucking thing.
  2. It was then chosen for a photo shoot.
  3. The poor woman in the picture adorned it. Is she trying to stifle a giggle in that picture?
  4. Someone on the set had to dry the tears from the little girl's eyes when forced to stand closer to this hideous monstrosity.
  5. Who the hell took the picture?
  6. Someone picked this photo out of, surely, a collection of knitted goods photos. Did they do it as a joke one Friday night, and then, come Monday, find it had gone to the printer?
The list goes on.
    At any point, did someone raise a hand and meekly ask whether another picture might be better? Anyone? Were they shot down? Is everyone on the design, graphics, layout, and marketing team over the age of 86?

    You owe it to the hip crafting world, Jo-Ann, to explain yourself.

    Yours in needle and thread,

    Mill Girl

    *In the '80s, there was an affliction called "mall coat." Girls in malls across the country would shrug their coats off their shoulders, but not take them completely off. They wore them kind of like Victorian ladies might wear a shawl. I think it was a self esteem thing, trying to keep their bodies bundled up and out of view. Surely, I never took part in this practice.

    1 comment:

    1. I love your pleas to Jo-Ann. That flier really is over the top! Please post the finished project that you're working on now, looks lovely.