Search: obama

1. bark obama doggie sweater [at etsy]

2. C Jane Knit obama mittens [free pattern]

3. Obama sweater [ravelry download]

[disclaimer: I don’t live in the US and therefore will not be voting in the upcoming elections. I did look for knitting patterns for the other candidates but didn’t find any – if you know of any please leave a comment]


Guest series 2012: I asked fellow bloggers, makers and creators to write on their creativity and focus their essay on one of four topics: creativity and health, creativity and business, creativity and parenting or creativity and process. I am very excited to have a wonderful lot of fellow creative folk guest posting here at over the next couple of months. Please welcome…

Weeks Ringle {blog}, together with her husband Bill Kerr run the Modern Quilt Design Studio (previously FunQuilts), they have a new book Transparency Quilts just out, and they also publish a magazine Modern Quilts Illustrated.

Infinity © FunQuilts

We started our business in 1999 with virtually no planning. I had been making modern quilts since 1987 and Bill began making them with me when we met in 1995. We both had other careers but wanted to work together and wanted to integrate a business into our home lives. It was not ideal but sometimes you can’t wait for the right moment and you just have to go for it. And we did.

We began making high-end custom quilts for interior designers, architects, gallery owners and individuals. The design world embraced us and soon our quilts were in magazines and newspapers across the country. At the time there was no Modern Quilt movement and we were not optimistic that there ever would be. We were criticized for machine quilting our quilts and for doing minimal and improvisational quilt patterns. We had no desire to try to covert the quilting industry to our way of thinking because it was so futile at the time.

Outside the Box © FunQuilts

We were making and selling our quilts primarily in New York. On September 10, 2001 we received large orders from two museums that we thought would provide a good amount of income for us for the coming months. At that time, the waiting time for orders was about eight months. Then came September 11.

Bill and I first watched in horror at what we were seeing. Later we started to feel the effects on our business. Within days both museums cancelled all of their orders, worried about the future of tourism in New York. I remember sitting in our old offices and saying to Bill, “We need to totally redesign our business. Today. I’m wondering if we should think about trying to teach a class in our studio.” Years later former Obama chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and current mayor of Chicago would have a sign on his desk that reads, “Never let a crisis go to waste.” That was our mindset at the time. Bad news: We had the feeling that we were about to lose everything. Good news: We had nothing left to lose.

We had already booked a show at a local art gallery. I asked if we could put out a simple brochure for classes. Within a week, the class was filled with people who had seen our work in magazines and at the show. Orders from other parts of the country came in and we thought that we could balance things out even without New York.

Color Conspiracy © FunQuilts

Eventually both FreeSpirit and Rockport, our first publisher, called asking us to work with them. Bill and I went to Quilt Market and watched an unknown designer also with FreeSpirit, named Amy Butler, launch her first line. “Maybe there will be a place for Modern Quilting after all,” I remember saying. It was 2003. We proposed our second book Modern Quilt Workshop to Rockport soon after and it became the first book printed that we know of with “Modern Quilts” in the title.

“You were too early,” are words we hear a lot. Now the bookshelves are full of books on lots of different aspects of Modern Quilting and few can believe that we were given a hard time by a quilt magazine editor for making an orange quilt. It’s a different world now, which has both its pluses and minuses for us.

Jewel Box © FunQuilts

The crises are still there and even after 13 years in business, five books, over 100 fabrics, features in over 70 magazines and our own magazine, we still don’t feel as though we’re an established company. Everyday continues to have its own surprises and challenges. We continue to work 15-17 hr days six to seven days a week (because that’s what it takes to make a living in a rough economy when you own a business, not because we’re workaholics) with breaks for our daughter, soccer games, getting exercise, cooking dinner and such. But we’re never, ever bored.

Horizon 1999

[I was just reading an old post that Weeks reminded me of … She wrote this post for Whipup back in 2006 and back then was hopeful that one day there might be a modern quilt conference where all the modernists could hang out together … so exciting to see it all happening with Quilt Con coming up next year – and Weeks and Bill will be there teaching and talking. Ed.]



The feature post last week by quilt artist Chawne sure did raise a few issues and I would like to discuss a few of them here. First up though I want to say that I admire Chawne and her work and her artistic integrity, she is a wonderful skilled crafter and she creates from the heart. I featured her work on whipup for precisely those reasons and will continue to feature artists and makers whose work is real and raw, as well as the nice and practical and the thoughtful and artistic, just as I have done since whipup first launched over 6 years ago.

We have featured a variety of art/craft over the years – everything from crochet coral reefs to knitted poo, penises and boobs (yarn body parts warning), from knitted tank cosies to radical cross-stitch (language warning), from crafting politics to human hair as yarn, from knitted graffiti to public embroidery – if you are interested in exploring more check out our art+design category.

A few issues that were raised in the comments included those discussing the ‘quilt’ and its place in politics and art, many people were offended by the use of certain words but many others found the work to be as thought provoking as I did. Many quilters and crafters may not realise that quilting has a long and strong tradition of political and social activism, when I posted a series of Obama crafts a few years ago there was a strong reaction to politics raising its head in the craft world, so I want to reiterate that women throughout history have used craft as a way to have a voice in a male dominated world and I am sure that women will continue to claim their craft to voice their opinion or protest or to just speak their creativity.

You might like to read this thoughtful essay at the Quilt Index by Marybeth Stalp and titled In the Shadow of the Quilt: Political Messaging in Quilts

…those quilts that do not incite “fuzzy” and “comforting” feelings, but instead those that highlight and address publicly the social reality of inequality, racism, sexism, oppression, and the like.  I also examine quilts that communicate subversive, ironic, and sardonic messages. [Excerpt from essay]

A few folks were worried that their children might happen upon a few crass words online and as a parent myself I didn’t think twice about sharing those images with my kids and in fact it was the catalyst for a really interesting discussion about American history as well as the way language is used in our society.

Many readers were down on whipup for posting this and some even suggested that I remove the post as they found it ‘offensive’ and ‘disgusting’, and there were a few more ugly words thrown in there that I personally found way more upsetting and distasteful than the words that appeared on the quilts. Of course I won’t be removing the post, and I will continue to defend and showcase a wide variety of crafts here at whipup, just as it is your right not to read this website if you choose. However one point did emerge: it seems that many of you wanted a more defined language warning — that I will rectify for next time.

Thanks for reading


Hello’ers! Kathreen has graciously invited me to be a guest blogger on her fabulous site and I’m very thankful for the opportunity! Thank you Kathreen! xox

The Girl

My name is Lee and I’m a twenty-six year old textile/fibre/crochet artist born, bred and based in Canberra, Australia {find out more about me and my work on my blog}. I was about seven or eight years old when I first asked my Mum to show me how to “do that thing with the hook”. The fascination lasted about two weeks and produced a basic knee rug that was comprised of more holes than actual crochet. The world of crochet was quickly forgotten as I moved on to tennis lessons instead. Which, come to think of it, also lasted about two weeks….

In late 2008 I remember stumbling upon the world of amigurumi (small crocheted animals/toys). I made a few little pieces before yet again my severe lack of an attention span kicked in and I found myself on the search for something new and exciting to try.

Gone With The Wind {with the artist}

The Technique

My search came to an abrupt halt in 2008 when my jaw hit the floor and my eyes were glued to the incredible crochet portraits by Todd Paschall of Crochet by numbers. I remember the first time I clapped eyes on his smiling portrait of President Barack Obama and I was in awe.

Image courtesy of Todd Paschall of

A squillion questions sprang to mind, the biggest one being, How in the world do you DO that?! When I discovered that Todd was sharing his technique and also offered to convert any picture into an easy to follow pattern, I knew I had to give it a try.

I began by getting the basic stitches down pat. The crochet-by-numbers technique only requires you to know how to ‘chain’ and ‘single crochet’, so I began by practicing with little square swatches. Within a matter of days I was ready to have a go at the training patterns featured on Todd’s site. At first these were the ‘scary ones’ I was a little anxious about trying as they involved the dreaded practice of colour changing! I soon discovered that it was nothing to fear and was actually quite fun!

Todd’s technique does not require you to ‘carry yarn’ or weave in any loose ends, instead every colour change is accompanied by a cut and tie-off. Although many folks have shivered at the prospect of cutting and tying-off at every single colour change, I’ve found it can actually be quite relaxing! Although I do often warn those who are thinking of giving it a go, to be prepared to be patient, have a fully stocked chocolate stash beside them and one hell of a comfy chair!

As my confidence grew and I knew I was hooked (sorry, pun was begging to be used), I moved on to much larger pieces, with much more detail (aka. more colours and more colour changes!). Pretty quickly I discovered that crocheting portraits had become incredibly fun, exciting and important to me. Ideas about future pieces, possible colour palettes and the never ending string of possibilities had actually started to keep me awake at night. Visits to local yarn stores quickly became a compulsory stopping point every time I left the house. It soon became glaringly obvious that a hook and a ball of yarn offered so much more than a way to while away spare hours.

The Result

As my work will illustrate, I’m a bit of a pop culture fanatic. I have a wide interest in film, music and literature as well as the era’s that go along with them. Musically speaking I am drawn to the 1950s and 60s in particular. The Monkees, The Beatles and The King to name a few…



Elvis and Ann Margret

I also have a love for the glory days of Hollywood and the actors that created true magic with their presence on the silver screen.

Joanne Woodward and Paul Newman

It is also a poorly kept secret that I am a bit of a Harry Potter fanatic. I use the term ‘fanatic’ there, when really the word ‘MASSIVE’ should go in front of it. I don’t know what it is about the books and movies that continues to take hold of my hook, but I keep being drawn back to the wonderful characters and world of Hogwarts, time and time again.

Daniel Radcliffe

This piece featuring Daniel Radcliffe as a young Harry Potter and as the young man he has become has certainly earned a spot in my top three favourite pieces to date. Not only does it have the most clarity of any piece I have done, it is the first time I was aiming for the ‘sepia effect’ and it was the first time I nailed it! It is also the largest piece I have tackled to date at a staggering 32,000 stitches.

I also get immense joy out of creating pieces that conjure up personal memories for loved ones. In particular, is a piece I put together for my Dad’s 50th birthday. It features a picture of him as a finger-snapping two year old boy in the backyard of his childhood home in Sydney. As a life-long radio fanatic, I decided to surround him with radio paraphernalia, including a retro-styled radio, microphone and the logo of his favourite radio station throughout his adolescent years.

It remains my favourite piece to date. Not only because it’s so monumentally personal, but because of the reaction it received from my Dad upon seeing it for the first time. I stood in the living room and holding it up and outstretched before calling him into the room. He stopped dead in his tracks, gasped, muttered a few choice expletives against the palm of his hand that had shot up to hide his open mouth and smiled. We then both proceeded to get a little misty eyed (balled our eyes out actually…). His reaction meant that the sixty plus hours spent on it was forgotten instantly and I knew then that I had found a truly remarkable way to express love and pay tribute to the many people, musicians, actors, films and loved ones that I have and continue to admire.

Hogwarts Bunch Blanket

Recently the world of crochet portraiture has begun to open some really exciting doors for me too! Earlier this year, my Hogwarts Bunch Blanket was featured in ‘Let’s Knit UK’ magazine and for the past three weeks, ten of my pieces have been adorning the walls of a local café/bar in my first ever exhibition!

If you have ever wanted to give crochet a go, by all means pick up a hook and get cracking! You never know where it might take you!!

For more information, pictures, ramblings, how-to vlog’s and free patterns, please feel free to drop by and say hello!

Lee xox


Journey of Hope: Quilts Inspired by President Barack Obama by Carolyn L. Mazloomi (Author), Meg Cox (Foreword). Voyageur Press; First edition (April 5, 2010).

This book is the outcome of the quilt exhibition – The Journey of Hope in America: Quilts Inspired by President Barack Obama, which commemorated an historic milestone in American history – the election of an African American man as president. The show opened Dec. 18, 2009 at the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center in Wilberforce, Ohio, and will run through to Dec. 18, 2010 before touring the country. I didn’t see the exhibition – but whipup has featured quilts from the show here, here and here.

Quilting has traditionally long been a forum for American women to express their views through stitching. This book is not about Obama or about politics (well it is but its more than that), but an incredible voice of expression and this collection of quilts is an amazing archive of this time in history.

So skipping politics, I want to talk about the quilts, there are many that depict Obama himself, and others that show communities, and tell stories, there is a lot of text used and an amazing array of mediums and techniques. That was what i found most inspiring about the quilts, each artist describes their quilt, what inspired their design and what techniques they used to make it. Computer printed fabric, photo transfers, painted fabric, fabric pens, beads and buttons, paint and embroidery, hand quilting, machine quilting, applique, machine embroidery, stenciling, collage and mixed media – really the gamut of artistic expression has been used – materials include new and recycled, wools, cottons, silks, paper, vinyl and shells, stones and upholstery – the list continues – …

The creativity and artistic endeavour takes my breath away…

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