safe with me

Creating Positive Change

The past few weeks have been pretty crazy, for lack of a better word. The emotion from the elections, the dark realization that our country is a lot more racist, xenophobic, misoginist than I naively thought we were, and the strong desire to do something positive to help outweigh the increase of discriminatory and abusive actions that have resulted have kept my mind busy. To be honest, writing about beautiful sewing felt petty. I’ve now come to realize that sewing and creating are necessary parts of my way of sending kindness and positivity out into the world, and so I’m back to making and sharing as much as I can manage, as well as putting even more energy into fostering a giving spirit of loving kindness in my children, and doing everything else in my power to speak out for human rights and support those who are already fighting the good fight.

During those first few days post-election, I had a discussion with some of my quilty friends who also felt a strong need to create a public statement of our desire to stand with those who would be most negatively affected by the increased public shows of aggression toward minorities. Karin from Leigh Laurel Studios and Samarra Khaja brought our attention to the Safety Pin Movement, a movement that originated after British citizens voted to leave the European Union in June, when the nation experienced a 57 percent rise in reported xenophobic incidents. According to a NY Times article, it began with a tweet by an American woman living in Britain suggesting that people wear safety pins to show support to those experiencing abuse, inspired by the #illridewithyou movement in Australia, in which people offered to take public transportation with Muslims fearing a backlash after a Muslim gunman held people hostage in a cafe in 2014. (NY Times)  It felt like the perfect, simple, symbol that could show others that you are an ally, ready to stand with those being abused, speaking out against hate. Mandy from Mandalei Quilts decided that she was going to make a large safety pin quilt to hang on her porch, and I did what I do–I created a foundation paper pieced block.

safe with me sewn by kate bastiSafe With Me is a simple block, offered for free on my Craftsy site. It’s a symbol to signify you are an ally (no matter who you voted for). Wearing or displaying the safety pin means: You are safe with me. I stand beside you. I created this pattern to help spread the word, and spread the love. Sewing up or even wearing a safety pin is not the end, though–be sure to use your voice. If you see or hear injustice, stand with the persecuted and provide help whenever you can. Call your governmental representatives, make your voice heard and join the fight with love (albiet fierce love). I’m grateful to Kate Basti for quickly offering and sewing up the block within hours so that I could release it into the world on a hopeful mission of good. Hers is the safety pin above, on purple.

safe with me patternI’ve given a lot of thought to this pattern, since there is criticism that the safety pin is just a way for us to feel better about ourselves, or even that being such a widely known symbol, it could be used in nefarious ways. After much reflection and discussion with my husband, I decided that despite these criticisms, I think the safety pin symbol is a good thing. My intention was purely to try to spread some hope and goodness with a further reach than my little rural Maine town. Even if the act of wearing or sewing a safety pin doesn’t make any difference in and of itself, it is a conversation starter, keeping the conversation about the need to stand up for human rights and fight bigotry going, and will hopefully act as a personal reminder for those of us who are not in the minority to step up and use our privileged voices for good. We have a lot of work to do.

There are many others in the quilty community who are making efforts to raise money for different organizations that need our support more than ever right now, and while this is in no way an extensive list, here are a couple:

samarra-auctionThe ever-talented Samarra (SammyK) is holding an amazing auction on her Instagram account now through Friday. As she says in her Instagram post:

I’ve selected 12 of my one-of-a-kind lady portraits (including the nine seen in this photo and at least two you haven’t seen before. They are each approx. 18″x22″ in size). All proceeds, minus actual shipping will be donated directly to the Sierra Club, the ACLU and Planned Parenthood. The auctions for each portrait will end Friday, November 25th so you’ll get ample time to watch the auctions build throughout the week and throw in any last minute tryptophan-fueled bids for great causes the day after Thanksgiving. It’s all an experiment in doing good and giving back in creative ways, so let’s all make this happen…with festive sprinkles on top!

I have my eye on a few of these, and have already bid and been out-bid a few times, so head over and get into the game for a good cause (and an amazing one of a kind piece of fiber art).

black-lives-matter-fundraiserRachael from Imagine Gnats has teamed up with Sam from What Sam Made to host a t-shirt fundraiser for the Black Lives Matter movement. Rachael’s post here really hit home, and talks more about the collaboration and the movement.


I know that emotions are high right now and that there are many differing opinions about everything, but in my heart I know that working toward human rights and the ability for all of us to live and thrive peacefully on this beautiful earth is the right thing to do. I truly believe that love will win, and that generous loving kindness does far, far more good than harm (if it ever does actually do harm). No matter what your political affiliation, no matter your personal beliefs, I hope that we can agree that there is always room for more kindness in the world. Please be kind.

13 thoughts on “Creating Positive Change”

  1. Thank you for your post and the pattern~it has been tough and may get worse, and I agree with your plea for kindness.


  2. It is so disappointing to see intolerance rise from both sides of the debate and dialogue in a respectful way and creating a safe space to engage with each other, is what I have learned from the history of my part of the world, is what can allow us all to work for a better future. I think the safety pin applies to that concept too.


  3. thank you for doing this! i am completely heart broken over this whole thing. thanks for speaking up! i am wearing my safety pin as i type… (my daughter noticed the other day & thought i’d forgotten it there? nope, it’s on purpose for sure!)


  4. Really pleased to read your thoughtful post. I agree that the safety pin is a worthwhile symbol despite the criticisms. Will chase up those links, too. As an Aussie, I know how it feels to have a government that is racist and right wing, and to realise your fellow citizens support that. But there are many of us raising our voices for compassion, tolerance and support.


  5. Very well said. I’ve dithered back and forth over the safety pin, primarily because I have heard it said that it is a way for white people to feel good without actually doing anything. Your reflection here takes that line of thought into account and you have done a great job of explaining how you arrived at your position regarding the pin.
    I’m not sure that I believe love always wins but I do believe it is our job to spread love and I do believe that the more loving acts that are done and the more people stand up for rights for all people the more those actions will spread. So thanks for spreading loving kindness and I will try to do so also.


  6. Thank you, Kitty, for encouraging loving kindness in the world, just as you do in your own home. The world seems upside down, and it will take all of our positive efforts to right it again. Your pin is a wonderful, visible statement of that intent.


  7. I am still shocked and continue to be disappointed in how polarizing the election was and the result continues to be. We have to remember that for most people tolerance and love are true values that we try to live everyday. We do have to stand up against hate. This is one way to symbolize our feelings and show them to our friends and neighbors. Thank you for your thoughtful response and for keeping your beautiful creative energy out there!


  8. To be fair to the Welsh and Scottish, it was only England that voted to leave and turned this country into the hotrible racist, xenophobic and anti-muslim place it has become. Largely down to the gutter press. I was so sad to see the US follow in our wake. It’s been a dreadful year.


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