Sunday, March 6, 2016

The Secret in My Stash: Warning: Adult Content, with Brief Mention of Childish Presidential Politics

Warning: If you're sick of presidential politics, are squeamish about anatomy, and/or you're under 18, don't read this.
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These days, I look at my teenage daughter with awe. At 17, too young to read this, she is teetering ever closer to adulthood; so innocent, so wise, so funny, and so eager to leave the nest.

I always assumed she would learn My Secret after my demise, clearing out my sewing room, when she's a world-weary middle-aged person. But recent events forced my hand.

It was at dinnertime Friday, the night after the March 3 Republican presidential candidate debate, My husband was out of town, so it was just the three of us at the table: me, my daughter, and her phone.

"Honey," I said, "there's something I've been hiding from you for many years. It's something even your father doesn't know."

She looked worried. "What is it, dear mother?" (In my ideal world, family members converse like Little Women. In reality, she slowed down her texting hand and said "Huh.")

"In my fabric stash," I went on, stumbling a bit, "well...in my stash...I have penis fabric."

Fortunately, she burst into laughter and made me prove it.

Sometimes you struggle to bring forth a quilt; and sometimes a quilt thrusts itself upon you, just comes to you, propels itself into the world. I started this quilt the next morning, and finished it that night. I'm thinking of calling it "Banner for the March 3, 2016 Presidential Debates".
Below is the central portion. I bought the controversial fourth fabric up  from the bottom (above the measuring tape) in the 1990s, when 'controversial fabric' was an oxymoron.
It was made by Rainbow Resource Co., which vended at the Glendale Quilt Show in Burbank, California. The company creates overdyed and silkscreened fabrics, including novelty fabric with funky objects strewn about, like chickens and shopping carts. Their G-rated fabrics can be found on their website, here.

In a discreet lower shelf of their booth, I found the box with the fabric in question. It was fun just hanging out in that booth, ogling the unique wares, and listening to the giggles and screams when customers came across the adult-rated pieces.

At the time, I was youngish, and rarely asked myself, "What  are you going to DO with that fabric?" I bought it because It Was There. The Internet was just a fetus seed baby dot; one-of-a-kind fabric had to be seized lustfully purchased immediately.

Once the fat-quarter was in my stash, of course, I realized that I could not conceive fantasize think of a use for it. Also, I would have a difficult time explaining it to my children, who were way too young to appreciate anatomical irony. So I smushed it way in the back of a fabric shelf, and there it sat, lo these many years, uncircumcised uncut.

Until Thursday's childish Presidential debate called it forth from my own childish depths.

The quilt also included this entertaining fabric from a shirt:
Plus Uncle Sam, babies and bottles, crowns, cigars, body builders, and distorted creatures eating each other alive:
Plus skeleton fabric to remind us that while it's electoral stupid season, what's at stake in the upcoming elections is a matter of life and death for billions of people.
Lest anyone think I am picking on the GOP, I also threw on some former Presidents who had an assortment of well-publicized organ containment challenges. All three are Democrats. 
Here's a New Republic article which provides historical perspective: "The Presidential Penis: A Short History." Author Jeet Heer points out notes that every US President so far has borne this particular organ. Controversy about its dimensions and doings have long been part of our politics. "The only way to stop American presidents from alluding to their penises," Heer writes, "is to elect a woman."

It could happen. Does anyone happen to have any extra ovarian fabric smushed in the back of their stash? 

UPDATE: 3/17/16. I am amazed by the number of people who have written to ask me how they can get their hands on buy that manly fabric. I wrote to Rainbow Resource, and they still have it!  Owner Charlene Younker wrote:

"Yes, I still sell my hand silkscreened pieces of penis fabric. I currently have it printed on solid red or natural Kona cotton, also a yellow tape measure cotton print that I have overprinted it on, and a few other colors are available. The pieces are about 14x18 inches and sell for $4.50 or $5.50 each depending on fabric chosen. Interested readers of your blog can call me at
707-937-0431 between 10a.m.-5p.m. Pacific time zone to order, or check my schedule and find my vendor booth at a quilt show near them." 

No financial affiliation! There's another option -  I just went over the custom fabric printer Spoonflower.com - typed "penis" in their search window, and up came several possibilities, from the anatomically correct to the highly stylized. Pricey, but they may have just what you are longing for want!

35 comments:

  1. That fabric made me laugh out loud! Your post definitely cheered me up...Ive been in a funk about it since I heard that man reference his you-know-what during the debate!!

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    1. Thanks so much for your comment. I'm glad it was therapeutic for you. It was therapeutic for me to write this, plus to finally find a worthwhile (?) use for that semi-awful fabric that's been sitting in my stash all these years!

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  2. Oh, I think I have some of that fabric also, but I have forgotten where! What fun to discover it in your quilt, and to read your marvelous essay. So funny. I look forward to your blog for quilted commentary on current events, and you are right on! Thank you for the laughs and the thoughtfulness of your humor...

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    1. Jeri, you bought it too? Thousands of quilters have it hiding in their stash!Wouldn't it be interesting to see what other people have done with it? It actually took me quite a while to find it! Thank you for your always kind and supportive comments!

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  3. Sure wish they still sold it. Thank you for the quilt and your commentary. This is definitely the silly season!

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    1. Ms. Kitty, it would not surprise me if they have some that they would be willing to sell you. I would contact them. They're probably still trying to get rid of it!

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    2. Ms. Kitty, see my new update at the bottom of the post. Rainbow Resources DOES still sell this fabric! You have to contact them by phone.

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  4. You are amazing! I laughed out loud.

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    1. I'm so glad you're not grossed out. I may have gone too far this time.

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  5. . . . "sometimes a quilt thrusts itself forward." Indeed. Very funny, very a propos. Amy

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  6. Thanks, Amy! I like to keep myself amused!

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  7. Good place to use that fabric. I have it in purple with glitter. I'm using mine in the 2015 Bonnie Hunter mystery. I didn't have the nerve to put big pieces in the front so it's just a few small pieces. But, the rest of it is going on the back. I've been told I can't display the quilt in my guild's show. Some people are so easily offended.

    Barbara at Stash Overflow

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    1. Purple with glitter, Barbara?! That's awesome! I'm sorry your guild lacks a sense of humor about it! Thanks for sharing your story!

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  8. I have that same fabric, bought at the Glendale Quilt Show in maybe 2000. I've used tiny bits of it, and horde it for the perfect quilt. So glad too see it used perfectly!!

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    1. I think this was the perfect quilt for my piece of this fabric, Clare, and now I have to figure out what to do with the leftovers...it could take another election cycle before I need more!? Thanks for stopping by!

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  9. Oh my god what a hoot! Who knew there was penis fabric? I wonder if there is vagina fabric? I love your political craziness quilt. You must have quite the stash :-)

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    1. My stash has everything. Except V. fabric. Still looking....Thanks so much!

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    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  11. bwaahahaha thanks for giving me respite from worrying that one particular candidate is being taken seriously (you know who I mean) I'm sending your link to my sewing sisters... Thanks Cathy. I loved the way you described your daughter too.

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  12. LeAnna, thank you so much, you are a creative inspiration to me and so many people!

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  13. I have that fabric as well = in red and in the purple glittery mode. As I recall a friend used some to make her daughter a little bag to carry condoms in her purse so she'd be prepared if the need arose. Loved your story.

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    1. Oh my gosh, Robin. I never even thought of that use for it!!! (Sound of my head exploding).....College women really should Be Prepared. Their mothers, not so much. Thanks for the comment and the idea!

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  14. Ok....let' try this again as me!

    I need to get me some......of that fabric.

    See, so much better!

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  15. AFter I answered your question on the HQ Yahoo page about dog groomer arms, I looked at your home page and blog. This is a riot, thank you for the early morning laugh, and I look forward to reading more from you!!

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    1. Patty, I'm glad you enjoyed the post, and thank you for the dog groomer info!

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  16. Fantastic post - you had me laughing out loud. I also very much like your political commentary quilt - I would definitely stick those Democrats in there too, they have earned their place.

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    1. Thanks for the vote, Kaja! I am goign to sew them on. I find LBJ the most fascinating of the three. As that historical article noted, he was famous for leaving the bathroom door open when talking with important people, just to show off....

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  17. I remember buying that cigar fabric in 1999...I made sofa pillows for an ex who spent a lot of evenings at a cigar bar under a now-demolished freeway exit. Used the scraps in several other small projects. His wife threw out the pillows when they got married, or I probably would have tried to reclaim the fabric. I have no idea what about it was so appealing.

    I also have the penis fabric, which I bought at Houston in 2004 after reading about it on the QuiltArt list. The black-on-red is in a traditional-ich hand-pieced Grandmothers Flowers quilt I haven't finished yet, and my plan is to just not mention it to anyone and see who notices. Bwahaha.

    Heather

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    1. Heather, I do remember that Quiltart discussion! I already owned the fabric at that time. As I recall, a hypothetical question was raised about people using x-rated fabric for a designer's pattern. That led people to point out that there's no such thing as x-rated fabric, certainly nothing commercial. The only one anyone could think of was this one particular offering from Rainbow Resource! It was quite funny! I love your idea of hiding it in a Grandmother's Flower Garden. Grandmother is, after all, a mother!

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  18. Hilarious! We are sick of presidential candidate politics here and it is not even our country. I cannot imagine what it is like for you.
    Such an eclectic fabric stash you have. I am sure your daughter expected nothing less.

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    1. GM, I never even thought of that - my daughter probably would not have been utterly shocked to discover it. I do indeed have a weird stash! Thanks for stopping by.

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  19. Love it. Thanks for sourcing it. I hope you wil consider entering this quilt in the Rocky Mountain Quilt Museum's upcoming politically themed show.

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    1. Thanks, Misty, can you send me the link or info for submissions? I'm at cathy.perlmutter@gmail.com.

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