June 1, 2005
I had today's entry all ready to go when I noticed that Carrie had made a comment on yesterday's entry that needed addressing.
There's no point in pretending that this won't cause some reaction, so I'm just going to meet it head on. We are all just going to deal with this like adults with respect for each other. (This will likely be hardest for me, since I'm not very adult on a good day, but let's give it a try.)
Yesterday I wrote about the quilt code. Several people wrote to tell me that they felt it was folklore/legend/inaccurate.
Emmajane felt badly that this was being discounted and replied to those people.
Now, whatever happened after this, it is important to know that what Emma meant was that she has the perspective of someone who has visited the cairn and spoken to it's creator...she did not mean to imply any race based perspective, and I don't believe that she did.
She said she had a different perspective, and she does. We all do.
In response to this, Carrie clearly got her buttons pushed and wrote a strong reply. Firstly, I'm not going to ban her. I've had a few rules on this blog, and though I've never had to use them, since I really enjoy healthy debate, maybe now is a good time to let you all know what they are, right quick before this gets any bigger.
1. This blog is my virtual living room. Welcome. Please act as you would in my home.
2. The internet is made up of real people with real feelings that need respecting.
3. Everyone has a right to an opinion, even if it differs from mine. As long as you state your opinion without impinging on the right of another person to hold an opposite view and are respectful of them as people, you are fine.
This concept needs to be really clear, so I'll give you an example.
Fine: I believe that my politics/ cats/ my straight needles are better than other politics/ hamsters/ circular needles and they are all I will ever, ever use or believe in.
Not Fine: I believe that my politics/ my cat /my straight needles are better than your politics/ your hamster/ your circular needles and if you don't think so too, then you are stupid.
Back to the problem at hand. Carrie and Emmajane are illustrating for us a main drawback of the internet. The lack of interruption. If Carrie and Emmajane had begun this conversation on the phone or in my real living room, Carrie would have only got the first sentence out before Emmajane would have had a chance to say
"Holy crap, that's *SO* not what I meant to imply!" and Carrie would have said,
"Oh, oh really? *That's* what you meant? Oh, my....nevermind."
Since they are both reasonable, intelligent people who seem to be able to communicate well enough to get through something like this, then they would have had a talk, possibly a debate about the quilt code and the evidence in both directions and agreed to disagree. Instead, well. We could be keeping score here.
Emmajane would have lost a point for not being perfectly clear (although really....I don't know how I would feel about my score most days) and Carrie would have lost a point for reacting strongly without more information and clarification about Emmajane and her views.
That said, I do think that if Carrie re-reads Emmajane's comment that she'll realize that she may have picked up a little more steam than she intended and gotten off on a really good rip that might have been over the line. (We all know that I am exactly the sort of person this happens to, so I am sympathetic). Since these sorts of misunderstandings are common on the internet, and all it really takes to reel them back in is fresh perspective, I will hope that it ends here.
Finally, about the Quilt Code (who knew it was such a loaded topic?) all I will say is the following.
There are those who believe that the quilt code was not real. There are those who believe that it was. Since the continuation of humanity does not actually hinge on discovering the truth about this, I have made a simple choice. I chose, during my visit to the Black History Cairn in Owen Sound to respect the right of the Black Community there to tell their story the way that they believe it to be true. You may tell your history the way you believe it to be true as well.
I have a flight to New York tomorrow to begin the next leg of the bookbookbooktour and today will be spent getting ready, if by "getting ready" you understand that I mean "buying groceries that I will not eat" "cleaning a bathroom that I will not use" and "doing laundry I will not wear". I have this idea that if I leave Team Harlot in good shape, when I come back the damage won't be so astonishingly complete bad. At the best of times the house looks like it's been ransacked by an army of drunken Roman Warriors, (after the pillaging, but before the burning) but when I come back it looks like I should contemplate an insurance claim.
Tomorrow's flight takes me to New York for BEA, then Rosie's Yarn Cellar in Philadelphia on Sunday from 2-4 and Knit-Wits Inc. in Greensburg PA on Monday from 5-7.
(Details...as always, are on the tour page, and also as always I am excited and flipped out. Is anybody free Saturday evening in Philadelphia? I am.... )
More about wool tomorrow, Play nice.
Posted by Stephanie at June 1, 2005 2:00 PM
That's the thing about communicating solely in writing without the help of facial expressions, tone and body language: it's real easy to misunderstand each other.
Are you stalking me or am I stalking you? I am going to be at BEA on Saturday. What day are you there?
Good way to diffuse the comment situation. It's very hard to understand the context of someone's ideas in the written format.
I enjoyed the pod cast. It was nice to hear you for a change.
Have a good time in NY and PA, Stephanie. Be sure to pack an empty suitcase. ;)
I am so bummed you aren't coming out to Arizona this summer. Sure you don't want to see what 100+ temperatures are like?
Now, Steph, I thought you said the place was amazingly clean when you returned home last time. We have faith that the Harlettes will surpass themselves this time.
100+ temperature? Pish -- I can show you 90+ degrees F, 90% humidity and maybe throw in a hurricane if you come to Mobile, Alabama. How can you resist?
Nicely said, nicely said.
Glad to see I'm not the only one with drama on my blog. As a communication major in college we studied the impacts of communicating via the internet and how much is lost by way of facial expressions, changes in ones voice and what not. So much can be implied by a simple comment. Good for you to straighten things out before they got out of hand (yes they got out of hand at my home!)
Oh how I wish I were in Philadelphia. Greensburg, PA (while on the other side of a very large state) is close enough to my parents' house that I'd insist we pop in for snacks. Have fun.
Thanks for addressing the situation, as it were. I feel very strongly about many things as well, and being a history major found that so much of history is opinion and interpretation. It is amazing how two people can read the same passage in a history book, yet each one can draw from it a unique and different perspective. You handled the situation so well...I commend you for your sensitivity to everyone. Having said that, I do wish you well in New York and the cities to follow. I am contemplating driving over to Phildelphia just to keep you company. Hey, I don't have anything else to do ;-)
I am coming down from NY to see you in Philadelphia this weekend :) I'm taking the wacky chinatown bus just for you, and that says a lot. What's BEA? Can I come too?
Greensburg, aaaaa -- of course, on a day that I'll be in court at 3:30. Gonna try to make it anyway...
My niece's 2nd birthday part starts at 4:30 PM on Saturday - in Merion, PA - about 15 minutes from downtown Philadelphia. You are MORE than welcome to attend. There will be maniacal children, stifling family tension and lots and lots of Dora the Explorer. The more the merrier!
I guess The Quilt Code goes up there with natural fiber vs. acrylic and righties vs. lefties. History is all based on the people who wrote it and their own personal opinion as well as the opinions of those they reference. It's very hard to find true fact in history.
Please enjoy New York! I'm sure the house will be more or less in one piece. I worry about my own two week sabbatical in Kansas and I don't even own the house, I'm just a brief guest as I get my nursing degree. I'll move out when I get a full-time job and heaven help this place when it happens. *laugh*
I held my breath as I read your post, hoping I hadn't offended anyone with my opinion that the quilt code is a legend. Thank goodness, it appears that my remark was not in question and I certainly agree that the quilt code could be real, I'm just not sure. You handled this situation so well - no wonder your kids are so well-adjusted.
Loved the podcast interview, so did Dale. Remember him? The long-haired guy that was with me in NH? He thought you were great!
Have fun on tour, missy.
WOW. That is such a well-written (like I'm surprised) response to a tense situation. May I link to that on my blog?
[bows to the wisdom of the Yarn Harlot....]
Hear Hear. Well said. Let's all try to play nice - we don't want to be tossing people out of the sandbox.
Good luck with the house on your return. Maybe you can throw in a mention of how "blog-worthy" it will be to come back to a spotless house!
Very well written, Stephanie!
Wonderfully stated, Stephanie. I have certainly had some misunderstandings that were prompted by e-mail exchanges (neither sarcasm nor irony can be communicated via e-mail, so trying to inject them into a written communique can be rather disastrous). The internet is a double-edged sword: it can bring people together (like all of us knitters from all over the globe), but it can also foster serious disharmony. I've seen people use the anonymity of cyberspace in really cruel fashion, but i've also made some wonderful, real-life friends thanks to the 'net and blogs like this one. Thank you for being the voice of reason (as usual). Whether the quilt code is apocryphal or not, it's a great bit of folklore.
BTW, enjoy BEA. I'm so jealous that my ex will be there and I won't!
Can't wait to see you in Greensburg, PA!!!!
If you are there long enough, see if you can talk someone into taking you to Giannia's Grill; they have excellent vegan and vegetarian cheesesteaks. It's on 6th Street, between South and Lombard.
I believe that my politics/ cats/ my straight needles are better than other politics/ hamsters/ circular needles and they are all I will ever, ever use or believe in.
I'm free on Saturday, and I live in Philly...
YH, where are you staying in NY? and what is BEA? Never heard of it.
Hubby's in Philly on business this week. Perhaps I will send him on over your way. If you see a medium-tall, clean-cut, way-cute guy named Bob hanging around looking slightly uncomfortable, say hi!
I'm free in Philly on Saturday. I'm sending you an email.
Unfortunately the written word (in terms of conversation) can always be misunderstood. Our Stitch n bitch group lost a few members last election, because a tongue in cheek email had been take the wrong way. Unfortunate, but probable.
I have no opinion on the Quilt Code, and did not see the comments in question. Your post today does, however, leave me with one burning question:
Does insurance really cover damage done by Roman hordes?
The quilt code exchange reminds me of the Thomas Jefferson - Sally Hemings controversy. DNA testing eventually resolved that one. Unfortunately textiles aren't as enduring as DNA. Perhaps both views are correct given how isolated communities were back then. Perhaps it's the idea of a national, in this case, international code that's hard to imagine. What a beautiful thing though to leave a piece of yourself in fabric. See Harriet Powers quilts. Also Janet Catherine Berlo's work - Art Historian.
Hey Steph, do you want some more pictures of laundry?
Yay! Welcome back to NYC, even if you're not making any public appearances... It's sort of OK, though, because I snagged a copy of bbb last week at Knit Happens!
We had a controversy regarding the origins of the word 'picnic' and the relationship to lynchings in a class I was teaching. A very tense, charged situation. Who knew a comment about crafting could be just as hot? Very well handled Stephanie! Though the internet is a wonderful tool most of the time, I find that doing accurate historical research is difficult b/c lots of folklore gets passed as 'fact' on the internet. I think the key is an open mind and flexibility... allowing that while you may have made up your own mind, there might be information out there that you have yet to be exposed to...which might change your mind.
Does Chicago have a chance? Is there some publishing contact we can harrass? There are so shops and guilds in Illinois. I'm sure you'll draw a huge crowd.
Jacquie. I've been bedeviling poor Harlot about the Chicago gig for months now. I'm keeping my fingers crossed, but I'm not holding my breath. I mean, rams had her in Kalamazoo and that's probably as close to the Midwest as she'll get... (damn that lucky rams, damn I say!)
Insightful comments, Stephanie. You wear that referee shirt & whistle well. Almost too well - I'm overcome with an urge to hold hands & sing Kumbaya!
I caught your Podcast interview yesterday & chuckled all the way through it. I'm eagerly awaiting the second bookbookbook, now.
"Broken Shackles; Old Man Henson From Slavery to Freedom, edited Peter Meyler" ISBN 1-896219-57-8 printed in 1889 and reprinted in 2001 is the account of one of the Underground Railroad travellers who ended up in Owen Sound,Ontario. In the late 1980's the members of the Old Durham Road Pioneer Cemetery Committee; a group dedicated to recognition of the contribution of the Black Community in the Owen Sound area worked with the editor to have this book republished. I would recommend this book highly.
You don't have your favorite blogs posted anymore and they were my favorite too. How do I find them? I only found yours through a magazine article last year and am fairly computer illiterate. So I need lots of help. Very simple words would help too.(Hee, hee).
Well handled, Stephanie. It stinks to have to "moderate" sometimes, doesn't it? Thanks for putting all of the time and effort in to this blog that you do, I always enjoy it here :-)
I live outside Philadelphia, and now know what I'm doing Sunday afternoon! I might be free on Saturday night , so email if you don't have anything to do!
Stephanie, you handled this situation with grace and aplomb. No doubt very few squabbles last long in your LR.
So, how long do we have to wait for the tabled blog entry?? *drools*
The worst e-mail misunderstanding I ever had went something like this:
Me: Hi C., I need to do XYZ and I want to be sure I do it right. Since you did it last time, can you let me know what you did?
C: Don't worry about it. I just ABC'd XYZ; it was simple.
I took this to mean I didn't need to do XYZ, because she had just done it for me. She meant that I didn't need to worry about getting it right, because all I would have to do was ABC, it was just that simple. Needless to say it didn't get done...
Hey Stephanie, when are you 'touring' some of the LYSs in Toronto or the GTA!?
It stinks being a grown-up, but you dealt with the quilt code issue very maturely and appropriately.
Stephanie, if you're flying from Philly to Greensburg, wave as you pass over my house at the "big bend" of the Juniata River. If you're driving, will you sign my book at mile marker 190 of the Pennsylvania turnpike?
As a former Philadelphian, I second the motion that you have someone get you to a real cheesesteak and a pretzel with mustard. Wash it down with Rita's Water Ice.
Hey, Stephanie! I just wanted to drop by and compliment you on your enjoyable Knitcast interview. It was very fun and entertaining. You sound exactly how I had imagined your voice while reading your book! ^_^ Very cool.
The romans also used to salt the earth so that nothing would ever grow there again - but I think this may have taken place after the burning. :)
you are doing great things!
If you come to Chattanooga, I'll put you up for free, cook all of your favorite foods, and let you pet the Chickie!
I could sing "Please come to Boston" but that wouldn't do me any good, as I don't live there. ;)
I thought that raping formed part of pillaging/looting, burning and salting the earth....thank heavens for civilised Roman hordes!
Interesting, isn't it, how one person's truth is another's myth. I thought it was a fascinating story. I also think burying our heads in the sand doesn't make things go away or better.
To be a "Wiccan" is to be a Witch is it not? Just want to get it straight.
Legend or not, the Quilt Code is an aspect of history i had never heard about, and i'm very thankful to you for having introduced me to it. Whether it's legend or not, i don't really care, but i loved reading the links you provided on the Underground Railroad and the interpretations of the Code; i even sent the links to my boyfriend for him to read. Thanks very much for a very educational (and fun!) post.
You get to go to Rosie's yarn Cellar? Now I'm jealous.
mary e i am about 98 percent sure what i'm about to say is true: wicca is a u.s.-government-recognized religion. it is a form of paganism, just as there are many forms of christianity (such as baptists, catholics, episcoplalians and on and on). wicca believes in a mother-earth goddess, and many of its practices are about being in balance with nature. there are 7 sabbats (kinda like high religious days of observation) that center on the turning of the seasons and havests and things like that. i think that it is also refered to as witchcraft, but i'm not sure if the people who follow the religion approve of that term themselves or not.
I know I'm echoing a bazillion comments, but well said. I, too, am a History major (can we get a study going about the relationship between knitters and those who desire to hold lots of knowledge that's otherwise useless betwixt their ears?), and was not aware of the Quilt Code. Fascinating stuff!
Also, I know the land of big ol' hair and Cadillacs with steer horns on the front is scary (I'm a transplant myself), but what can we bribe you with to get you to Dallas? I have yarn... Hand dyed silk/merino, and affordable... And quite possibly won't pool or blotch... Loooook into the skeeeeeinnnn... You are feeling veeeeery sleeeeepy.
Why? Why are the yarn gods not smiling upon me? Yesterday I miss my crochet group and now I find out that I'll be missing you at Rosie's! *sob* Oh well, enjoy your time here. Make sure you have a hoagie and if you buy a soft pretzel, dip it in cherry water ice. It's the bestest on a hot day.
Couldn't we split the difference between Kalamazoo and chicago? Who wants to drive in all of that nasty traffic anyway?
I've discovered LYS in both Valparaiso, IN and Highland, IN...the Valpairaiso location has the added bonus of being close to The Chocolate Café, where there is nice, comfy seating in addition to the obvious....CHOCOLATE!!!
Valparaiso, IN 46383
Chocolate Café - Valparaiso
Franchise Owner: Greg Nemeth
57 Franklin St.
Stitch by Stitch
2010 45th Street
Highland, IN 46322
Would that tempt a Harlot enough? ;)
Yes, those of us who are Wiccan consider ourselves to be witches...some in more ways than others. ;)
I'm more of a "Kitchen Witch" myself, working with herbal recipes and focusing on Hearth & Home traditions...cleansing rituals for new home, spring time, luck, health, wealth, harmony of home for New Year....that kind of stuff.
We also do attend Sabbat Rituals of our local CUUPs Chapter (Covenant of Unitarian Universalist Pagans), which is held in the local UU Church.
And looking very forward to the Annual Pagan Campout at the Indian Dunes State Park in July - where a crazy amount of knitting and crocheting will be done in one weekend!!
I simply can not believe my bad luck. I am playing (fiddle in a Celtic band) in Philly...NEXT Saturday night! WAAAAahahahaaaa...
(Another kitchen/hedge witch, raising her dpns in salute)
Add me to the list of those who miss the sidebar list of other knitting bloggers. I can find Now Norma Knits (and keep up with the mis-adventures of Vinnie, the dog who thinks he can fly) and Queer Joe, but darned if I can recall some of the other fun folks you had linked to on your list.
Looking forward to your presence at Rosie's Yarn Cellar (sweet heaven, the *selection* they have!), and hoping to be among your vast entourage of Philly fans for a night out Saturday.
Will you be my Mum? I know I have a good one already, but really, 35 years ago, I think my brother and I could have been friends if you had been there to mediate. I love this post, and I am on both sides of the fence: folklore contains kernels (at least) of truth; what I remember is not what you remember, even if we were both there at the same moment; documentation is important; don't rain on someone else's parade; pain is what the patient says it is, not what the nurse thinks it ought to be. Etcetera.
Actually, you are my third choice for Mum. First is the one I have, warts and all; second is my daughter who you spoke with at Circles and told her that scarves are gateway drugs. She is superior. But still . . .
Some Wiccans celebrate 8 sabbats, the solstices and equinoxes and the points (roughly) in between. Some use the term Witch, some don't. A friend of mine uses "witch" (especially in earshot of her kids, to avoid using another word) to describe women she doesn't like; I say "watch it" and she says "sorry" and we continue the conversation :).
Believe it or not the U.S. Army chaplain's manual has good basic info on Wicca.
Well done, Steph.
I can't wait till Sunday at Rosie's!
What are you going to do on Saturday? I have this feeling you are going to have a big group of stalkers that night lol
Well written response...very insightful.
See you in Greensburg.
One of the most vicious online debates I ever saw concerned loss-leader sugar. You just never know what topics will set people off. Kudos for handling it so very well, Stephanie.
What are the chances for a St. Louis or Kansas City visit? Just wondering...
Arrggghh! I checked my handy Atlas and none of those tour stops are near That Southern State Your Blog Won't Allow Due to Spam That Starts with a "T" again.I shall stand here and cross my arms and tap my foot at you madam. Do you understand how difficult it is for a stalker to have all of her stalkees up North? Yes, I can see that foot tapping thing is getting to you.
Good job on diffusing the "controversy" even if you are a tree-hugging, exercising non-smoker. :P
Hugs to you from your polar opposite stalker!
I would like you to come live in my spare bedroom and be the voice of reason (or unreason) in my daily adventures. There will be coffee, screetch, and lots of yarn. Is that too much to ask?
Add history to politics and religion as inappropriate conversations in polite society? Wow, I thought the US presidential election was heated, and the y'all thang was hot. Who knew? Thanks for defusing the heat. I come here for sisterhood with you and others - a little escape from the general ugliness of the rest of the world (and my messy house). BTW, what and where is BEA? I don't see it on the tour. Oh yeah, and I believe that my lefty politics/ squirmy gerbil/ Addi circular needles are all I will use or believe in.
Blessed are the peacemakers *grin*
With regards to whether the term 'witch' is used or not, I suppose, depends on your geographic location and whether or not one is out of the broom-closet. To my immediate family, some co-workers and friends, I am a witch. To some of my husband's family, I am a 'feminine- spiritualist'(that one gives me a chuckle...it's like calling a dishwasher a 'hydro-ceramic technician). But nowadays, even my husband inwardly bristles when someone uses the word witch in a negative way.
BEA is the big book expo in New York this weekend. It's not open to the public, nor is it free. :(
A couple blogs that Steph had in her sidebar:
Tricky Tricot (Washington DC) Finally! a new post from him!
She had a lovely post the other day about smells triggering memories.
Steph's friend in TO.
And there was mossy cottage:
Beautiful Stephanie. I will have to permanent link to this in my living room. Thank you.
My son has Asperger's syndrome, a form of autism that affects your ability to pick up visual or emotional cues from other people and your description of reading internet conversations gave me a clearer view of what it must be like for him. He doesn't read people's expressions. He interprets what you mean by what you say and not by how it is said. Poor kid it must be so difficult for him to be in a family that relies so heavily on hperbole and sarcasm as their best weapons of defense. We won't even discuss metaphor.
Well said, Stephanie, I think it was just a misunderstanding. These things happen from time to time. Welcome to my world.
You have the perfect grasp of the BIG PICTURE. For each point of view, there is an opinion on any topic. It is helpful for all of us to remember that history is written (mostly) by the winners, and within every legend lies at least some grain of truth.
You would enjoy White Dog Cafe in Philadelphia, although they are having a movie thing there Sunday night. Check out www.whitedog.com Any other suggestions?
I only recently started reading blogs and so hope I am not out of line. I watched with interest the saga of the "quilt code". First let me explain where this code originated. I have been a vendor at quilt shows for many years and remember when this started and the controversy surrounding it at the time. An author published a book detailing this "quilt code" and listed as her sole source an elderly black person who had died prior to the publication so could not corroberate (?) the account. She had no tapes of the interview for verification either. That, combined with the inclusion of quilt patterns that were not known to exist during the civil war and the general nature of the meaning ascribed to each pattern, has convinced many in the quilting world to dismiss the validity of this "quilt code". This includes many people and organizations who are involved with quilt research. You may choose to believe or not, what I give you are facts. It has not been a long held legend passed down through numerous families, but originated with one person who can no longer clarify or confirm.
Your calm, reasoned response to the Quilt Code communication gaps was well handled. More good reason to believe that "Good mamas make good bloggers." I have to believe that your kids must be wonderfully well balanced.
After all, who but a parent has had to wade through carfights like this from my family's memory: "You were TOO touching my car seat, and stop it, it's mine!" and "Nuh-uh -- it was just my cap, not my head touching it, so there, you liar! Mom, she lied! LIAR! And you're supposed to SHARE!" "You're spitting when you yell! Mom, her cooty cap touched my car seat and she spit on me!" "No, THIS is spitting! Look, I'm sharing!")
This is DEFINITELY not to imply that opinionated comments online are childish -- simply that the passions shared by the injured parties are evident to the onlookers but not necessarily shared 100% by all who are in the audience. Opinions are passionately held. Both sides are partially right. Both are genuinely wounded and angry, and it appears to be escalating. Both are good people. Someone who cares about them both needs to step in at some point to keep them from hurting each other worse and to suggest different ways of dealing with hurts in the future.
Especially on (*sigh*) long car rides when we need to keep the flying spit to a bare minimum.
Kudos to you and your fine pack of knitting fans, as always. I was fascinated by the idea of a Quilt Code and think it would be a cool device to use in a sf/f novel (hmm) whether it's factual or simply cool folklore.
Best ~ Carolyn B., Collierville, TN
I have never posted here before, but I wanted to say that you handled that situation very well.
I also wanted to add my two cents. I am a graduate student working in the area of textiles and story-telling. I have done a fair bit of research into African-American textiles, and I can tell you several things. The first is that in most African cultures, woven and decorated textiles were, and still are, used to record important events, geneaological ties, and family histories. When African slaves were brought to the Americas, they brought these traditions with them, and adapted European textile traditions to fit with their own. Although very few slave-made quilts survive today, the few that have tell us a lot about the history of African-American women, about their dreams and aspiration, the events and people that intersected their lives, and their own histories. Until very recently that "history" - the history recorded in textile - was largely ignored.
Textiles often tell a story that runs contradictory to the dominant history - the stories of the marginalized, of the oppressed, of the vanquished, will do that. But the important thing to remember is that there is a story being told through the textile. We can "read" the story of a quilt through the fabrics used, the kind of stitchery added, the darns and tears in the textile, the care given to the quilt, the names or identifying marks added to the textile.
A more literal interpretation of the quilt code would say that it is false, that nice white folks did not hang quilts out for escaping slaves to see and interpret. That might be accurate on one level, but the broader story is probably a lot more complicated than that. Escaping slaves brought their very sophisticated textile-making (and story-telling) traditions with them. They would have made quilts to commemorate the journey north (and there are quilts like this in collections around Canada and the United States) - and other African-American women would be able to "read" them, that is to recognize the narrative that went along with the quilt. Whether or not a quilt was actually used to tell another HOW to escape is another story - one that has been lost along the way through the domination of one particular kind of history. What is paramount, however, is that quilts from this period do record the journey north, the escape from slavery, the hope for the future, and the familial and community ties that were important to the maker. This makes the quilt code - the story of the quilt - quite real, but in a slightly different context.
I agree with Stephanie that all stories are valuable. I liken the conflict to the analogy of the box that was used in my Native Studies class. If you put a group of people in a talking circle and place a box in the middle of the circle, each person will describe the box differently because they each have a different perspective. All descriptions are valuable and all are true, because they describe the same box.
Thanks for your great blog. I enjoy reading it so much - when I am deep in thesis mode it cheers me up immeasurably. Sorr that this is such a long commentary - I hope no one minds.
I find the best way to get across to my almost two year old how happy I am with something he's done is to High-Five him. With that in mind...
(Imagine the "happy talk to toddler" tone...)You did such a great job listening and understanding. I am very proud of you! High-Five!!
I think the world these days with all of our non-verbal and non-face-to-face communication we could do with more of a deep breath, benefit of the doubt approach. Thanks for that. :)
Since you will be passing through NYC maybe you will consider posting photos or comments from your bookbookbook tour stop there? I was a little sad that because of the camera mishap we never heard anything about it, but all the other stops you made got at least a post. Maybe we "Lord & Taylor" people got a little too rowdy, LOL!
I've been living in Barcelona, Spain this year, bemoaning the lack of a friendly knitting community and the ready availability of up to date yarn. Your blog has been a surrogate knitting group. Thanks. Two young catalan women, who have taught themselves to knit from the American internet knitting sites, a woman from Thailand (who also taught herself to knit from the internet), another American temporarily in Spain, an ex-pat American living in Spain permanently and a Russiam woman living indefintely in Spain have formed a knitting group that meets once every two weeks at a local Starbucks (the only place we can find that prohibits smoking). Keep up the good work, and consider publishing patterns, technique books and support items in Spanish!!
Oh man! I can't believe that you are going to be in Greensburg.. Perhaps a trips to Grandma's house is in order!! she doesn't quite approve of your Yarn Harlot name.. but I am sure that is just a miss understanding! It just figures that a)they have a good yarn shop in Greensburg now that I have moved away (used to work at the mall there!!)and
B) you are visiting it.. and it is only a 5 minute drive from my old apartment! (sure beats the 3 hour drive to Craftsman Hill )
Oh.. hmmmm.. it is only a 2 1/2 drive there..
Well spoken on your comments! Please you must take the Sock to Westmoreland mall and take a picture of it there in the glass elevator or something!! AND!! GO TO COZUMEL'S!!!! The Mexican Restaurant!!!! It is the best.. THE BEST!
Appreciated the mediation. It always amazes me that this communication tool wasn't taught to me in school since it didn't exist then! I mean the internet...I'm not *that* life-experienced. It's no wonder we're all still getting used to it. Can you imagine not knowing about pencils until you were 20? or 30? or 40? or...? Shocking. Some will take to the new device like ducks to water (wait...do ducks really like water?!?) and others will amble along just enjoying the ability to write something down instead of having to commit everything to memory. I'm glad we can all get along in this webby New World.
And your trip to the prairie provinces was when? Did I miss it somewhere? I'll be checking...
My dear, you are such a lovely person.
My daughters (9 and 11) attend a school that regularly trains students in mediation. I'm having both of them read today's entry.
Thanks for the great example, Stephanie.
Hey, Stephanie! On an unrelated topic--though not completely out of interest or anything--I saw a very interesting book on Amazon.com earlier . . . something about "Yarn Harlot" with an adorable cover with a little sheep?
I am so bummed that I will have to miss your visit to Philly - Sunday will be a fatigued/achy post-chemo day for me. Your book was such a delight during my post-surgical days and brought many smiles and laughs to me. I can't thank you enough for the joy of your book. (I sent you a long e-mail about this quite a while ago thanking you for your fun book but it must have gotten lost in cyber-space.)Have a great time and enjoy our great city. Much love and happiness, Martha
Marvelous post, Dear Harlot.
I also appreciated Emily's comments. Very interesting.
I'd actually never heard of the code being in the design of the quilts, but in when and where a quilt was hanging, rather like the hobo codes, letting you know if it was a safe place to stop or not.
Interesting stuff, though, the history of, and in, textiles.
I tried really hard to connect with you today at BEA.....It just didn't happen. You were all the buzz.... How did you like it?
I tried really hard to connect with you today at BEA.....It just didn't happen. You were all the buzz.... How did you like it?
Emily that was beautiful. I just recently attended a Quilt History seminar in Iowa. The information these women could glean was amazing. Patterns, fabrics used, stitch patterns, dyes even. I bet the same thing happens in knitting. I love when magazines feature a knitted article from either a museum collection abroad or one closer to home. I also love the chullo caps made in the Andes. Alpaca yum...
Well-handled, girlfriend. I am just back from the RBTE, having signed 300 copies of _White China_ REAL FAST and shmoozed with the trade. May the next leg of the bookbookbooktour go well and quickly, and may Mr. Washie and your nearest and dearest form the sort of intimate bond that leaves you with NO EFFING LAUNDRY TO DO!!!
This to shall pass
who was the first in earshot to notice that BOOKBOOKBOOK sounds real like a chicken clucking...
I just wanted to thank Emily for her comments on the Quilt Code: it was very informative. It deepened my understanding of the controversy surrounding it, as well as the potential sources of disagreement over their meaning.
Steph, you handled an awkward situation with grace as usual. Thank you.
We want the Harlot in MN, Harlot in MN , Harlot in MN....
I'm sure you get the point. Just got the book last weekend- I've read it 3 times. Hands down, the funniest book I've seen in a loooong time.
Now, I know nothing about the Quilt Code - but 'The DaVinci Code' - that REALLY was a lot of garbage ! ;0)
Harlot we miss you! Come back to the living room!
Yep -- just like your other living room, this one's getting sticky...
Well said, Stephanie. It's easy to see that you are a mother of teenagers. :)
On an unrelated note, just wanted to check that you are aware that the GO bus to Hamilton takes under an hour and costs $16.90, round trip. And there are yarn stores here. An easy evening's jaunt, if you will. Just sayin', is all. ;o) (And if you were already here and I missed you....well, I suck, that's all I can say to that!!)
Also, my boyfriend just rolls his eyes when I pull out the bookbookbook, because he knows he's about to be subjected to lots of "BWAHAHAHA....hon, you gotta hear this one!!" :)
Another book coming out? Exciting. Read about it at www.rjconklin.com/keeptalking.com. When were you going to tell us? ;-) Did I miss it?
Another book coming out? Exciting. Read about it at www.rjconklin.com/keeptalking.com. When were you going to tell us? ;-) Did I miss it?
Well Done! to Steph for the successful hatchet burying.
(from my Dear Dad's saying "It's time to bury the hatchet, and I don't mean in each other's heads" )
Thanks for the links re:quilt code & UGRR. I found it fascinating information. The quilt debate brought to mind Australian Aboriginal dot paintings. They were primarily maps to show waterholes, good places for bush tucker, shelter, etc. in a symbolic way. While they are beautiful pictures of cultural relevance, for decades people have been asking are they art? (I think, yes)
In both cases, telling the story is what's most important, and gentle debate spreads the word :-D
Loved sock's scenic adventure, too, & I look forward to the next installment.
Good Yarning, from Jay
It was SO cool to meet you today. I put some pictures up tonight and there will be more tomorrow. Thank you for the interesting insight on blogging and for your friendly attitude. Please come back to the states OFTEN.
I've just ordered your book from Amazon here in the UK. Would you believe I went shopping for some Lorna's Laces and Cherry Tree Hill at our local store and the woman had never heard of them and wasn't interested - think I might move overseas - sigh.
Love the blog.
I am coming late to this conversation, so just want to add that, being a quilter as well as a knitter, I had heard about the quilt code before.. here is a link to a book providing a detailed examination: http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0385497679/qid=1118079298/sr=8-1/ref=sr_8_xs_ap_i1_xgl14/002-7022555-2858462?v=glance&s=books&n=507846.
History is always open to interpretation and we may never know, but respect seems to be a pretty easy-to-fathom subject. Thanks for the rules as a reminder, as we all spend a lot of time in each others' virtual living rooms these days.
Where is the 'more about wool tomorrow.' It is 6 June. I miss the harlot.
Where is the 'more about wool tomorrow.' It is 6 June. I miss the harlot.
New Jersey was a base of operations for Harriet Tubman and others involved in the UGRR. There's strong evidence lanterns were used as signals, particularly for the dangerous night crossing of the Raritan River, which was patrolled by armed bounty hunters and armed abolitionists.
Hidden in Plain View focuses on Charleston, South Carolina. For a thoughtful review of the problematic assertions of the book, see http://www.antiquequiltdating.com/ugrrwrightcritiqueHIPV.html
I've often wondered how many people would participate in something like the UGRR today. Slavery was legal in much of the U.S., most government agents (including mail carriers) were under orders to assist slave hunters, and the Supreme Court repeatedly ruled to uphold slavery. Abolitionists faced social shunning, economic and legal reprisals, and violence.
Compared with that, a donation to TSF is easy!
Thanks so much for visiting Philly. I hope that you felt the knitterly love, both at the Black Sheep and at Rosie's,and made it safely and less-eventfully on to your next destination. Many thanks for making this shy, beginning knitter feel included in all of the fun -- you are a kind soul indeed.
Thanks so very much for coming to Greensburg, PA -- hollyberry sock and I had a wonderful time with you and everyone at Knit Wits! I never imagined you'd come so close to where I live! Glad you got to see Pittsburgh at night, emerging from the Ft. Pitt tunnel to that fantabulous array of city lights.
I got your book last week and I'm really enjoying it. A lot of the pages are hi lited :-)
The links in the comments have been very educational in the quilt code debate--well, except for the porno links, but I assume those are spam!
Perhaps because I'm I teacher, I'm a little (okay, a lot) impatient with the "everybody's opinion is valid and unique and special" school of thought when it comes to issues of education, research, and learning. It seems that this issue has been quite thoroughly researched by scholars of African-American history, yet their findings are weighed evenly against wishful thinking.
Not to open a whole other can 'o worms, but this reminds me of the "intelligent design" debate raging currently in the US.
All ideas are not created equal.
Yes, forgive the typo ~ and I AM a teacher. Sheesh.
Steph--a--nee...where are you? A whole week. No new blog. I'm having serious Harlot withdrawal.
Arguments happen far too often on the internet because of lack of inflection. You would think that given the ammount of communication that happens on the internet now that some grammartitician(sure it's a word. Shush) would have come up with some magical symbols or something to show inflection in type. You know, beyond bold, and italics.
Checked the tour schedule and I know you just got home but man-o I miss you and the blog. Please throw this dog a bone...
It was wonderful to meet you at Knit-Wits, Inc. in Greensburg! Thanks for taking your time to come and blessings to your family for the time they have to spend without you while you travel around meeting the members of the "yarn-yarn sisterhood" (and brothers too)
So where did all the wiccan stuff come from in these postings??
"I chose, during my visit to the Black History Cairn in Owen Sound to respect the right of the Black Community there to tell their story the way that they believe it to be true. You may tell your history the way you believe it to be true as well. "
You have a very generous spirit. I presume this generosity extends to those whites who who for the past 135 years or so have "told their story" by claiming that under slavery, blacks were happy and carefree, and that the stories of abuse and torture told by abolitionists were fabrications; and to Klan members who say their organization was founded to protect the virtue of white women from the predations of black men. After all, the continuation of humanity does not actually hinge on discovering the truth about any of this. It's merely a matter of opinion.
It is worth pointing out, I think, that the overwhelming majority of those promoting the quilt "code" - and the ones making the money - are *white*.
Leigh, I think you're a wolf in sheep's clothing -- bravo on the veiled insult. Adding fuel to a fire that's already put out, insulting a hostess in her living room? Shame on you. Maybe you should take the chip off your shoulder, knit a few rows and find some balance. Peace, Bridget.