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Book Tour, Books, Events

Strange Material has a cover!

A month ago, I debuted a cover design for my forthcoming book Strange Material: Storytelling Through Textiles on my Facebook page. Here’s what it looked like:


The rejected cover…so close, but it didn’t stick.

My publisher, the book designer, and I thought we were ready to go (they even put up an Amazon sales page with cover #1) but then feedback came in from the books sales representatives that they thought the cover was “too academic” and we abruptly changed course.

While I really liked the old cover, which featured the work of a number of artists who are featured in the book, the new cover is stunning. It features “I wish I were with you” a piece by the UK based artist Rosalind Wyatt, which is stitched with a letter that Winston Churchill wrote to his mother when he was a teenager. Rosalind replicates the young Churchill’s handwriting with her stitching, and the bodice is stained with ink blots and mis-starts, much like the original letter.

What do you think? Which cover would make you inclined to pick this book off of the shelf?

There have been a lot of exciting developments in planning the book tour for Strange Material. This October, I’ll be on the road with authors Betsy Greer and Kim Werker on a EIGHT city tour across the US and Canada. Look for us in Oakland, San Francisco, Portland, Seattle, Vancouver, Toronto, Philly, Boston, and DC! I’ll be publishing the full schedule of events in the next few weeks as all venues are confirmed.

Book Tour, Books, Publishing, Writing Life

Anthologized: Betsy Greer’s Craftivism

Last Spring, amid working of drafts of my upcoming book  Strange Material: Storytelling Through Textiles, I managed to squeeze in a few other writing projects, including a personal essay on embroidery and community called Stitching It Together for Betsy Greer‘s new anthology Craftivism: The Art of Craft and Activism.

Without giving away too much, the essay discusses my experience of teaching craft, the value that I see in it, and how communities can come together around making.

I feel honoured to be included in a book that really is a whose-who of the current craftivism movement – among my favourite parts of the book are an essay called Don’t Get Angry, Get Cross-Stitch by Jamie Chalmers, the beloved Mr. X Stitch; and an interview with Maria Molteni of NCAA New Works, a fibre artist that makes nets for forlorn basketball hoops;  and an essay by filmmaker Faythe Levine (the brains behind Handmade Nation and more recently, the Sign Painters movie) on craft as a method of empowerment. This is truly a wonderful collection, and I’d recommend it even if I wasn’t involved in the project. The more time I spend with this book, the more I find to re-read and savour.

The past two weeks have also been busy ones for me as I’ve finished book edits on Strange Material (cover art debuting very soon!) and I’m planning a highly-creative, East Coast/West Coast book tour for the fall with Betsy Greer and the fabulous Kim Werker of Make it Mighty Ugly.  If you know of a tour venue that we must visit in Vancouver, Seattle, Portland, DC, Toronto, or New York; please drop me a line in the comments below.


Books, DIY, Events, Speaking Engagements, Workshop

Upcoming Event: A Day of Knitting


This weekend I’ll be in West Vancouver  at the West Vancouver Memorial Library to talk about the origins of yarn bombing and teach eager yarn bombing newbies how to make ‘pom pom bombs’. It will be a fun couple hours of looking at different knit graffiti projects from around the world and sharing stories.

Here is the library’s official release – don’t miss events with Holli Yeoh or Knit Social! AND, the librarians have their own special literary ‘yarn storm’ planned for the building that day too.

West Vancouver Memorial Library to weave together an exciting celebration of fibre arts

Thursday, February 13, 2014, West Vancouver, B.C. – The walls and halls of West Vancouver Memorial Library are covered in fibre arts this month, inspired by the exhibition TEXTILES at the Library. The exhibition features the work of more than 20 Vancouver fibre artists, working in a variety of media and techniques, and showcases both the quality of work being done in the Lower Mainland and the infinite variety found in the fibre arts.

February 22 will be a day devoted to needles, yarn, backstitches and crotchets at West Vancouver Memorial Library’s Day of Knitting festivities. The celebration includes knitting workshops, authors, presentations, instruction, a knit-in, a Yarn Storm exhibition and much more.

The festivities kick-off at 10 a.m. with two exciting workshops. At Around and Around, attendees will learn how to create a one-of-a-kind coffee cozy from published Vancouver-based knitwear and designer Holli Yeoh. Those interested in learning more about the growing trend in creating knit graffiti will love theYarn Bomb Primer and Pom-Pom Making Workshop hosted by author Leanne Prain, including a slideshow presentation exploring the global rise in knitting art for the public to enjoy.

From 1 – 2 p.m., knitters of all ages will gather in Welsh Hall for a Knit-In where they’ll work on their own projects or help produce “yarns bombs” to be placed in the Library.

Knit Social’s Cascadia includes a presentation from a new book devoted to knit-works inspired by our local landscape, and runs from 2:30 – 4 p.m. The authors have gathered from the region’s abundant design talent patterns for gorgeous sweaters, shawls, hats, socks and other fun-to-knit, beautiful-to-wear garments.

The fun continues the following week with Yarn Storm at the Library, an exhibition featuring knitted literary themed graffiti created by local crafters and Library staff, placed throughout the Library’s halls and stacks.

The TEXTILES exhibition is on display through March 11 with work from artists of the Greater Vancouver Weavers’ and Spinners’ Guild, The Vancouver Guild of Fibre Arts, The North Shore Needle Arts Guild, The Surface Design Association, The Coast Character Doll Group and FibreEssence.

For more details, including registration and additional information on the presenters, visit

Books, Events, Speaking Engagements

Fictionknitstas Tour – Vancouver Tomorrow Night

Tomorrow night, join me and a fabulous group of female authors at Vancouver’s People’s Co-Op Bookstore for a night of reading and knitting.

Authors Cathy Ace, Stella Harvey, Gillian Campbell and Nicole Dixon will read from their work:

Cathy Ace is the author of the Cait Morgan mystery series, which includes The Corpse with the Silver Tongue and The Corpse with the Golden Nose.

Stella Leventoyannis Harvey founded the Whistler Writers Group, also known as the Vicious Circle, which each year produces the Whistler Writers Festival under her direction. She will be reading from Nicolai’s Daughters which is  her first published novel.

Nicole Dixon has lived in Toronto, Sarnia, Windsor, North Bay and Halifax. Her work has been nominated for the Journey Prize and a CBC Literary Award and appeared in The New Quarterly, Grain, The Fiddlehead, and Canadian Notes and Queries. In 2005 she won the Writers’ Trust of Canada RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for short fiction. She will be reading from her novel High Watermark.

Gillian Campbell‘s short fiction has been published in Grain Magazine, Creekstones: Words & Images, The New Quarterly, and The Antigonish Review. She will be reading from The Apple House, her first novel.

There will also be some knitters in the audience who have crafted garments inspired by the books. I’ll be sure to call on them for a show and tell!

Tuesday March 28th at 7:30 PM at People’s Co-op Bookstore, 1391 Commercial Drive, Vancouver. To learn more, see the Fictionknitstas website.

DIY, DIY Ideas, Events, Hoopla, Workshop

How to embroider on paper

Rob and Andrea, the masterminds behind Got Craft?, invited me to participate in this year’s Got Craft? Holiday fair which took place at the Croatian Cultural Centre in East Vancouver this past weekend. Since the workshop was a drop-in affair, I created a simple and fun craft project inspired by the Photo Feelism project in Hoopla: The Art of Unexpected Embroidery, which instructs readers how to stitch on photographic paper.

I used my Print Gocco to silkscreen 100 die-cut cards that I bought from an art store. I chose simple fonts in a medium weight, and gave one card a simple snowflake and the other a few little stars. Workshops participants were asked to embellish the simple designs however they wanted – they could trace the silk-screened artwork or draw around the design. My good friend Mary Alice Elcock (of the preserving blog Plan to Can) was there to help me by taking photos and showing participants how to make french knots, her favourite stitch.

Here are some blurry iphone photos of the weekend:

Emily Smith, one of the main organizers of MakerFaire Vancouver, made a card even though she’d been up all night felting an LED sign for the MakerFaire booth. Yes, you read that right, FELTING an LED sign. Emily is amazing.

Artist Rachael Ashe‘s freeform interpretation.

If you’d like to try this project on your own, any piece of card will do. Recycle a Christmas card or use an old photograph.

A few tips for stitching on paper, photographs, or cardstock:

1. Pre-punch your stitch pattern on the card with your needle before threading it. This makes pulling your thread and needle through the card much easier.

2. Use a thimble to protect your fingers. Cardstock is more rigid than fabric, therefore your needle will require a stronger push, which a thimble can provide

3. If you try and make your stitches appear close together (as in a backstitch), make use of the holes already made from the other stitches. Too many holes close together in your card will cause the paper to tear

4. Always knot your floss when you start so you don’t pull the thread out of the paper.

5. Divide your floss in half so that it consists of three threads (commercial floss comes in six strands to make up the larger thread). This will make it easier to work with.

6. Choose a sturdy needle. I like crewel needles for this kind of project.

7. Don’t forget to have fun!


One of a Kind Vancouver, Dec 8-11
Events, Speaking Engagements

One of a Kind Vancouver, Dec 8 – 11

One of a Kind Vancouver, Dec 8-11

I’ll be at One of a Kind Vancouver tomorrow giving a short talk on Subversive Craft. Find me on the main fashion stage between 2-2:30. Afterwards, I’ll be teaching Siobhan Long’s ‘Photo Feelism’ an embroidery craft from Hoopla: The Art of Unexpected Embroidery which will have participants learning to stitch on photographs. Books, as always, will be available for sale and signing.

Can’t make it? Then make sure that you check out one of Kim Werker’s Mighty Ugly Workshops happening during the fair. They are a lot of fun.

The One of a Kind Show and Sale 2011

Returning for year four, shoppers at the Vancouver Convention Centre on December 8, 2011 will be inspired by exceptional gifts from 300 of North America’s finest creators, artists & designers.

December 8 to SUNDAY December 11, 2011
THURSDAY to SATURDAY 10:00 am to 9:00 pm / SUNDAY 10:00 am to 5:00 pm
The New Vancouver Convention Centre
1055 Canada Place, Vancouver, BC, V6C 0C3


Adults $12.00
Seniors (65+) $6.50
Students (13-17) $6.50
Children (12 and under) Free

Next up? I’m in picturesque Gibsons on December 17th. Free event at the public library! Check my events section for details.