Archive for May, 2010

Rabia’s Story

May 22, 2010

So a few days ago I asked you for your stories, and what a response I got! Thanks to everyone who shared, I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.

I thought I’d show you my sample for my final piece, containing Rabia’s story. Rabia is on my course with me – she’s 21 years old and she moved to England from Afghanistan six years ago. This is her story:

I didn’t know anything about it- nobody had told me at all about things like that. When my breasts started growing I went to my dad and said “I’ve got two spots on my chest, I think I should go to the doctor” and then my mum shouted at me for talking to my dad about things like that. So when I started, and I found blood, I thought I’d cut myself when I’d been scratching because I had long fingernails. I wiped the blood away and carried on. But later I found more blood, and no matter how much I wiped I’d always find more- I was really scared. I went to my sister and told her about what was happening, I was embarrassed about damaging myself in this way, but she just gave me a hug and told me and explained it and she said “You’re a woman now!”.

One of the things I’m finding so interesting about this project is the wealth of stories- from different generations, different parts of the world, different class backgrounds. It’s incredible how diverse it all is.


So we’re studying blackwork at the moment, which is a lot of repeating pattern backgrounds (essentially).

I created a little uterus motif and repeated it across a background, and popped in a line from Rabia in it too.

I stitched this through counted fabric and dissolvable fabric, so then I removed the counted threads so it was just on dissolvable:

Then I dissolved the fabric away so all I have left are the stitches.

I like it but I think I’ll do a couple of things differently for the final piece.


I want your stories!

May 19, 2010

Hello everyone, women in particular –

My project is currently about menstruation. Periods an’ stuff.

And so this is a call for you tell me the stories of your first periods. I wanna hear it all- no matter how ‘boring’ or ’embarrassing’ or ‘disgusting’. Everything.

I will probably use direct quotes in my stitch work, so that’ll be exciting for you I guess.

If you could leave the stories in the comments on this entry that’d be GRATE. If you’re a little shy you can email me:
rosagmartyn [at] gmail [dot] com

My story- I was two weeks short of thirteen- I had extreme tummy pain and went to the toilet expecting the worse. Instead, I found blood. After telling my mother that I’d started she danced me round the kitchen singing “You’re a woman, you’re a woman!” Next day I went into school and whispered to all my friend girls “I started my period last night.” It was a proud moment, for me.

The Financial Times refused to publish this

May 18, 2010

And so I, and others in blogland, shall do it for them.


Love, Rosa.

Take Back Parliament

May 14, 2010

So, we’ve had an election recently in the UK. And I got involved. Big style. The run up to the election consumed me- all the time. All my chat was about it, for weeks. Some moaned, some just sat and listened knewing I was unstoppable, and some got involved and went with me on it.

I was championing the Liberal Democrats. I loved them so much I went to a ‘flash mob’ in central London where we all stood around wearing the party colour (yellow) and chanted “I agree with Nick!” (the party leader)


Here’s a photo, taken by my Brother in Law of my sis and I there. Guess which one I am lololololol

One of the Liberal Democrat’s policies was electoral reform- challenging Britain’s First Past The Post system and asking instead for Proportional Representation- making every vote count so that some parties (the Lib Dems being one of them) had an actual chance of getting power- rather than the two main parties being the only seemingly viable options.

I didn’t realise how important a policy it was until the voting results came in. Conservative got 37% of the vote. Labour got 30% and Lib Dem got 24%. Did this translate into seats into Parliament? No. No it didn’t. Conservatives got 305 seats, Labour got 258 and Lib Dem? 57. How on earth does that work? I don’t understand it- but I know it’s not right.

This gave way to a new movement in the UK. People demanding fair votes, people demanding Proportional Representation- regardless of their political views, people want their votes to count. A group called Take Back Parliament have started a petition and have organised demonstrations and ‘flash mobs’ (which now appears to be less dancing in public and more a hastily organised get together of 100+ people in public.) and encouraged people to wear purple, the colour of suffrage, all week.

Tomorrow is the main event. On Monday there was a flashmob- and I went, head to toe in purple, with a little something extra… An armband embroidered with ‘Proportional Representation no more broken elections’ emblazoned onto the side. I had spent my day doing it and had even printed off patterns to take incase anybody there was into the stitch. I gave out a few but as we all know, political protesters that enjoy cross stitch are few and far between.

Larger size, here!

Larger size, here!

Today I finally got around to photographing the finished article-

I do quite like this armband fandango.