Owning the Conversation

[Trigger warning: all of these links are about sexual assault. Definitely not the norm for this blog.]

Our happy little town is taking a lot of heavy hits this fall. Or, perhaps more accurately, our entire community has been forced to acknowledge the secret things that have been happening all along. I’ve been impressed by the courageous way people have stepped into these conversations, demanding change, wanting to act, looking for better answers.

This list will only be a brief snapshot of what one person has seen written over the past few days. There’s so much more. More than we can engage with in a short period of time. But my hope is that there isn’t an expiration date for learning to be a better human, to become a kinder community, to listening to these voices. Students will leave Grounds for Thanksgiving, and will carry these conversations to other cities and towns, to other people who need to learn the same lessons. This isn’t a problem unique to our town, but right now we’re the center of a conversation, and I hope we can continue to speak with wisdom and compassion on this topic even when the spotlight has moved on.

A Rape on Campus: A Brutal Assault and Struggle for Justice at UVA (the article that kicked off the larger conversation)

Universitybot Responds: Gang Rape as “Sexual Misconduct” (response from a professor to the initial statement from the President of the University)

Sexual violence and the law: what you need to know (written a year ago by one of the students interviewed in RS article)

A UVA Student Responds

Friends of rape victim comment on Rolling Stone article (local news story)

UVA Community reacts with shock and fury over Rolling Stone story on campus rape (Cville Weekly, whose cover story from a few weeks ago was related to this topic)

What one UVA rape victim wants you to take away from the Rolling Stone article (Cville Weekly speaking to one of the students interviewed by RS)

The student newspaper is totally crushing it:

What I didn’t know then (a frat party from a first-year woman’s perspective)

Inter-Sorority Council response

A few articles that friends and community members have shared in response to this particular situation:

A Tiny Police Department in Southern Oregon That Plans to End Campus Rape

Why Are So Many Boys Leaving High School Thinking Rape Is Funny?

35 Things We’d Better Tell Our Sons About Harassment, Assault, and “Boys will be Boys.”


More variations on the theme, from other places, from earlier dates (my list of links to share is over a month old now)…
Street harassment in NYC. Following-up with the creators. Continued commentary.

CONSENT BRO! (This is a great article, specifically about educating fraternity guys about what constitutes rape.)

31 books finished in 2014: The Supper of the Lamb

31 books finished in 2014

Oh man. I don’t want to admit I’ve finished reading this. Mostly because I want to just pick it up and start reading it again from the beginning.

I’d heard, from people whose judgment I trust, that this was a wonderful book. But I kept not reading it. I think it was the oddness of it, the way it doesn’t really fit into any category. It’s ostensibly a cookbook, written by an Episcopalian priest. It calls itself “a culinary reflection.” There is poetry. The first chapter, he asks you to study an onion. I still don’t know for certain whether or not we discussed all the recipes promised. But I was delighted by this man, by his views of food and life, frugality and fasting.

My favorite furniture set-up in our current house is when there is a couch in the dining room (which is open to the kitchen), specifically so you can sit comfortably on a couch while someone is prepping/cooking/cleaning in the kitchen. Reading this book felt like sitting on a couch while a dear friend did work in our kitchen. He’s such a good host that I suspect he was sneaking me drinks and snacks while cooking, or inviting me over to the counter so he could show me the interesting pattern made by the boiling of the water.

Basically, everyone has to read this book now. Just accept your fate. If, for some reason, you hate the book, I’ll buy it from you so I can give it to someone else.

wine & wreath

When my friends Luke and Julia were planning their wedding last year, I met them at Rassawek Vineyard a few months before to help determine the ceremony location and event flow. Because the property is so extensive, and every building is SO COOL, we had a lot of tough choices to make. For proof, check out both of these links – their wedding photographs are insanely gorgeous, and I’m currently geeking out over the history of the property and buildings. Neither of those even tell you about the tiny one-bed cabins scattered around the water and the treehouse/fort/lookout with a ladder built into the tree trunk.

So when Julia asked if I wanted to join her at Rassawek for a wine tasting and wreath making workshop last December, it was a no-brainer.















Everything was provided – wreath frames, greenery, embellishments, wine and snacks. Everyone was having fun and helping each other! It was one of my favorite holiday events, sweetened because I went out to the property early to take some product shots of my quilts.

I’m unable to attend this year, but there are still a few tickets left for the December 6th event. If you go, let me know! I’d love to see what you make.

29 & 30 books finished in 2014: Maus

29 books finished in 2014

30 books finished in 2014


I may have borrowed these from Sam & Rachel simply to increase my book count for this year. Which is also why I’m counting them as two. (And because they were published five years apart, and I couldn’t leave out either one of these beautiful covers.)

I read them quickly. Stories of World War II are always brutal. There were a lot of panels so gruesome that I had to look away. It’s difficult to stare unflinching into such horror, and the framing structure (using the son of the survivors as the narrator, and jumping from past to present-day) both offers relief and oddly detracts from the central story.

Plantain Sweater

First thing’s first – it’s difficult to take flattering photos of a slouchy tee.

plantain sweater

I might try again, or recruit a friend to help, but just know that I’m obsessed with this sweater and will choose to believe that it looks less frumpy in person than in photos. Or that the frumpiness is part of the charm with this particular sweater.

(Or, we could just admit/discuss how difficult it is for a tall and curvy lady, whose wardrobe choices revolve around emphasizing her waist, to wear something loose and unstructured.)

plantain sweater


Things you can’t see in these out-of-focus shots:
-I haven’t finished the sleeve hems.
-Also haven’t tied off or trimmed any loose threads.

I “finished” this enough to try it on last night, and then was so thrilled that I forgot there were more steps to complete.

The base pattern is a Plantain Tee, with sleeves lengthened and bottom hem lowered for a hi-low (or mullet) effect. I also skipped the neckline facing, and just did a simple stitched foldover.

The fabric is a “sweater knit” of unknown origin – I can’t find it in my order archives, which makes me think it might have been part of a Fabric Mart bundle. I’ve only ordered one of their bundles, and was impressed with how well they matched my usual color palette. It’s very possible that the last two fabrics I’ve sewn clothes with (this, and a plaid dress that I haven’t shared with you) are from that bundle. (Maybe I should order them more often!)

For the next Plantain Sweater:
-Alter the pattern to make a crewneck, or at least a less dramatic scoop. I forgot that the sweater knit would have less recovery, and that means this will ALWAYS be something I have to wear a tank top under.
-Find a heavier fabric. I’ve already started a pin board of sweater knits (because of course I have), and most of them are fairly lightweight. Maybe this will do for winter – I’m already sweating in this, when layering with jeans and boots and a scarf and a warm coat – but I’d like to try something warmer, especially since I’m allergic to wool sweaters.