My first exposure to Bust magazine, I wasn’t even aware of the connection. A friend invited me to a “Stitch ‘n Bitch” in Lansing, Michigan. The name was humorous and perfect – an event for stitching and talking with other women! To be more kid-friendly, we abbreviated the group name to SNB.
Although most of the others were knitting or crocheting, I decided the word “stitch” entitled me to do any kind of stitching. At each monthly gathering, you’d find me hand stitching strips of fabric into quilt squares!
As an aside, I wasn’t the only one with a loose interpretation of stitch. One creative soul used her iron and Stitch Witchery® to make curtains. (If you are not familiar, Stitch Witchery is a fusible “tape” that can be ironed with other fabric to make a hem.) That day the weather was so nice, we sat outside. The girl making the curtains set up her ironing board in the yard and made magic!
Jump to the present. I’ve moved away from Lansing and the SNB crew, but I still quilt, sew, make soap and any other crafty project I come across.
Getting to Know You…
In the last 6 years I started knitting too. As a result, I learned that the founder and editor of Bust magazine, Debbie Stoller, helped to popularize the term stitch ‘n bitch.
Debbie Stoller was one of the 1st feminists to embrace DIY (do it yourself) and helped change the perception of crafts from old fashion to hip. Having a PhD in Psychology of Women from Yale makes her an authority on the subject and an inspiration to me.
Since learning to knit, I have read several of Debbie Stoller’s books including Stitch ‘n Bitch Nation and Stitch ‘n Bitch Superstar Knitting: Go Beyond the Basics. I have even picked up a few second-hand issues of Bust magazine. The magazine is empowering, gritty and gets below the shellac of modern life. It is feminism for now.
The latest book from Debbie Stoller is, “The Bust DIY Guide to Life: Making Your Way Through Every Day” (published in 2011 by STC Craft). This book is empowerment through know-how. The premise is the more we know how to do, the freer we are and the more choices we have. Crafts aren’t to be rejected as some domestic carry-over from the past, but rather, embraced as enjoyable arts and skills.
But Wait There’s More!
The Bust DIY Guide to Life isn’t just about crafts. It literally covers life from the cradle to the grave. To give you an idea of the scope of this book, topics include: camping, clam digging, natural skin care, cooking, but also… home births, DIY funerals (really), plumbing, financial security, among many other topics. As the introduction says, “…DIY is not just about making things – it’s also about making a life.”
Each topic is a stand-alone article that was originally published in Bust. As a graphic designer I enjoyed the fun design, project photos and illustrations curated by Laurie Henzel, Debbie’s co-founder of Bust.
Some people might not enjoy all the double entendre, but that’s simply the Bust coming through! (Did I mention that Bust is sexy like a librarian?) If you have young ones or certain sensitivities, I have to issue a “potty mouth” alert!
This book is smart and sassy. It holds 15 years of accumulated wisdom expressed in the way only Bust does – worldly wise and cut the crap!
Check it out!
P.S. Amazon.com has sample pages from the book, so you can see for yourself!