“Who moves into an R.V. and hits the road

in the middle of a pandemic while our democracy and society crumble? This girl!”

This girl goes by the handle Badass Cross Stitch, but her civilian moniker is Shannon Downey, and she is out to teach us all to embroider.

On her way across the country she is offering on-line tutorials about hoops, fabric, needles and thread, as well as printable sample patterns that your grandmother might not have approved of. One pattern:

The modern-day needlework movement is a feminist one. Another pattern:

Covid hasn’t stopped her. Though it has me on pause, temporarily, hunkered down with a “mild” case in my mother’s Arizona apartment. Ever masked. Watched over by Minerva on the branch outside the balcony.

One thing Ms. Badass likes to say: “Stab it until you feel better.”

Okay. Shannon aims to teach embroidery to one million people.

“I am queer,” she writes on badasscrossstich.com, “anti-racist, anti-capitalist, highly political, and committed to growth, learning, honesty, and doing whatever I can to make this an equitable world. My art generally tackles what I call the ‘big three’ systems of oppression: white supremacy, patriarchy, and capitalism….I’ve lived a million lives so far and all of them have brought me to right now—doing EXACTLY what I’m supposed to be doing in this world. I live for community, equity, art, and adventure.”

“My work is meant to disrupt,” she continues. “I disrupt via the medium, the application of the medium, the projects that I build, and by living and making outside of the rules.”

“I also LOVE embroidery.”

Well, perhaps I do too. I’m willing to try, anyway.

Stabbing some shit is something to do in quarantine. As Shannon would say.

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Filed under Jean Zimmerman

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