Days for Girls: Near and Far

For the fall issue of Stitch magazine, I wrote a story about Days for Girls, an organization that’s working to break the cycle of poverty for women and girls by distributing reusable feminine hygiene pads and shields sewn by thousands of volunteers. I learned about the story from an Instagram photo that my neighbor Molly posted after she spent a retreat weekend sewing for the org. Once I had the chance to talk with Celeste, the founder of Days for Girls, I was hooked. So many of us take for granted access to feminine hygiene products, and Celeste learned that without those products girls miss up to a week of school a month (and often drop out because they’re so far behind) and women miss work and can’t make money to feed their families.

You can learn more about Days for Girls by visiting their web site, but I wanted to mention two upcoming events. The first is local: we’re having a Days for Girls sew-in at Home Ec Workshop on Sunday, Oct. 6 from noon til 5.


If you’re not local and would like to join in, you can participate in the first-ever Days for Girls Global Sew-a-Thon, to be held on October 11, the International Day of the Girl. During the Sew-a-Thon, Days for Girls chapters throughout the world will be sewing for 24 hours straight. Chapters and individuals will sit down at their sewing machines for one massive, global effort to sew and assemble kits and win back days for girls and women everywhere.

Learn more at http://www.daysforgirls.org/#!global-sew-a-thon/chqi, visit their event page at http://www.crowdrise.com/DaysforGirls. Also, check out the Days for Girls Facebook page. (And if you’re interested in spreading the word on your blog, let me know and I’d be happy to share photos and copy.)


Two Fall Favorites: Quilt Shows and Leaf Peeping

I’ve never been to New Albin, Iowa, but got word of a quilt show in October you might want to add to your calendar. New Albin is on the Mississippi River, just south of the state line between Minnesota and Iowa. Driving along the river in the fall is always lovely. Our first year back in Iowa we took our girls and drove to Effigy Mounds to see the autumn color. At dinner that night, in the tiny town of Harper’s Ferry, we waited our turn in a restaurant and noticed two women giving us the eye. One of them leaned over to the other and said, sotto voce, “Leaf peepers.” The other nodded solemnly. “Leaf peepers” instantly become a McCray family favorite phrase. But I digress.

The photo I got about the New Albin quilt show features cow quilts, based on the book by Mel McFarland and Mary Lou Weideman book: Out of the Box with Easy Blocks. You may remember when Mel brought samples from the book to my parents’ house, or when everyone was stitching them at our Lake Tahoe retreat.  The variety is endless (and often hilarious). Looks like the quilters of New Albin have caught cow-fever, but there will be other quilts, as well: this is the show’s fifth year and in years past they’ve had as many as 200 quilts.

The show will be held int he New Albin Community Center on October 11 to 13 (Friday, 4 to 7pm; Saturday, 10 am. to 5 pm; and Sunday, 12 to 4 pm).

No, Pearl, No!

Pearl feigning nonchalance

When I was visiting my folks in Southern California, my mom and I happened upon a great shop in Laguna Hills: Sewing Party. They had some fantastic samples and their classroom was buzzing with activity. My mom was so inspired that she had my dad take her back the next day and she bought the Harlequin pillow pattern (which also includes this smaller, pin cushion version).

She asked me to clarify the instructions on the pin cushion portion of the pattern and so I ended up making one while we were at our cabin. (Pearl was convinced it was a dog toy and would snatch it whenever I looked away.) I made two using Vanessa Christensen’s Simply Style and when I got home I made another with Carolyn Friedlander’s Architextures fabrics. I’ve also marked the quarter-inch stopping points on two more sets of squares (the most fiddly part of the process) in preparation for sewing them. If you’re in possession of any of those mini-charm packs (2.5″ squares), they work perfectly for this project. Making something three-dimensional was really a revelation.

(If you’d like to try your hand at the Harlequin pin cushion and live in the area, I’ll be teaching a class at Home Ec on Oct. 19. They’d make great holiday gifts, and wouldn’t you feel so smug having a head start on those! )