Open thread: not very lady-like after all

In one of my posts, thewhatifgirl said:

I’ve always wanted to take up embroidery (I impulse buy anything embroidered anyway, might as well learn to do it myself!) but always been repulsed by the subject matter that is available.

syfr linked to subversive cross-stitch (they have a Flickr group too) and gin noted that there’s things like that all over the place, sometimes almost too many. Nevertheless, let’s talk about your alternative take on your lady-like hobbies. Or your lady-like take on your alternative hobbies!

Image of monsters barbecuing, with the text "zomgwtfbbq!!!1!"

zomgwtfbbq by weeta on Flickr, CC BY

This is also an open thread, for discussion of subjects of general interest, things in older posts, and things we’ve never posted about.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , on by .

About Mary

Mary is a women in tech activist, a programmer, a writer, and a sometime computational linguist. She writes at Her previous projects include co-founding the Ada Initiative and major contributions to the Geek Feminism blog. She's @me_gardiner on Twitter.

30 thoughts on “Open thread: not very lady-like after all

  1. Kimberly

    I have knit a tetrahedral dice bag for my dice. And plan on knitting a Weighted Companion Cube in the near-ish future.

  2. Alice

    A friend of mine in Amsterdam sent me over a small piece of linen, some embroidery floss and a needle, to help me get over a broken heart last year. I used them to make this:

    I created the design myself; the text by Googling for pixel fonts and then using a paint program to set the text I wanted, the vines by embroidering freehand. The whole process was incredibly therapeutic. (The text for the quote came from another friend, Louise, who is credited in the signature at the bottom.)

    Embroidery is so absurdly easy, and cross stitch does lend itself naturally to creating embroideries based on pixel art.

    One of the best crafters I know, incidentally, is a geek man I work with. He made a crochet baby Cthulhu that I’m in absolute awe of.

  3. millefolia

    Last night I visited a museum exhibit that included some nicely executed and framed embroidery pieces. They were all based on graffiti the artist had seen around town.

  4. Burn

    Unfortunately I’ve never been particularly good at any hobby involving textiles. I knitted half a scarf last year while I was doing fieldwork, and then the days got longer and warmer and I could start doing things other than knitting at night, and I promptly forgot how to do it. I used to like sewing when I was ~12-14, but the sewing machine I inherited is unreliable and difficult to control, and I rarely have the patience to use it for anything other than basic, utilitarian things.

    My other geeky hobby is music. I really miss being in glee club. As an undergrad, even in a university community where women were <25% of the total, we had a very boisterous women's glee club. (Classical stuff, despite the name. It was not like Glee, the show.) I joined the university chorus in grad school but had to quit due to schedule conflicts and I desperately miss singing in a group because occasional karaoke doesn't cut it. I'm terrible at playing guitar, but I recently bought a cheap used banjo and I absolutely love playing it. I can't afford lessons right now so I'm learning from a book and Youtube…but I've unfortunately found that a lot of the online community of banjo players makes typical geek communities look positively progressive and enlightened re: gender. Having seen the few other women on forums be tokenized to the point of not being able to get any constructive feedback (rather than "OMG, a woman playing a banjo, neato, you are sooooo good" even when I'm…not), I've decided to be far more anonymous and impersonal than I'm used to being online. It's been a while since I hid my gender. But, it's also been a while since something pried me off the internet in my evening free time, so, mixed feelings!

    But yeah. If you have any musically-inclined ladyfriends who are looking to play an instrument, but are frustrated with guitars for some reason, tell them banjos are good for women too. (The narrower neck is good for people like me with small hands.)

    And for the first time, I might actually….decide to step into a filking room at a con. <_<

    I love that ZOMGWTFBBQ cross-stitch, by the way. It is absurdly cute.

  5. Burn

    Oh, addendum for geeks in the SF Bay Area who are into fiber arts and crafts….I recently went to the Exploratorium for their Geometry Playground exhibit opening. They are having some workshops and events this summer about the relationship between various crafts and geometry. There were some sweet examples of lacemaking and quilting on display in one area when I went a few weeks ago. for more info.

  6. Amanda

    I’m sewing a Companion Cube plushie for my boyfriend and intend on making Companion Cube, Space Invader, Pac-Man and/or retro Nintendo controller pillows for our new house next year.

    I make and sell jewellery as a hobby/part-time earner. I would love to make more geeky, pop culture stuff because there isn’t too much of a market for girl geek merch, Her Universe and ThinkGeek aside. Sadly, copyright laws make this an idle dream.

    Hair bows, for instance. I have a wicked idea for hair bows with the Starfleet insignias at the centre rather than a flower or heart. And corresponding ribbon colour depending on the station.

    I do plan on trying my hand at semi-precious items (going on a silver making course later in the year) and I want quite a few pieces to be Lovecraft inspired.

    My little SIL has already made us Mario Mushroom coasters from those beads you melt together. They’re awesome!

    1. thewhatifgirl

      Amanda, there is a lot of “geek jewelry” on Etsy, though I don’t know how well they sell. But I’ve seen tons of fan stuff that probably violates copyright on Etsy, so they probably aren’t all that concerned with copyright issues.

  7. Flourish

    See, that’s all very well and good, but cross-stitch is so boring. Free embroidery for the win! (Although cross-stitch is much more like pixel art, so that’s one thing in its favor. I guess it depends on if your geekery tends more toward mathematics or towards historical reenactment. Heh.)

  8. Kim Curry

    I cross-stitch occasionally. Mostly those wizard or dragon kits you can find in stores. Although I am actually working on a semi-traditional baby blanket for my toddler. I figure it should be done by the time he goes to college :)

  9. regis

    I crochet, although a lot of the time I just knock off granny squares one after the other because it’s a good thing to distract me when I’m fidgety.

    I’ve been crocheting less now that I have an iPhone.

  10. Rayna

    I like to think I’ve welded geek, feminism and cross stitch together pretty nicely. I’ve been stitching QR codes for a while now, including this large scale one that was part of a street art festival in Melbourne And have some more normal sized QR codes that were exhibited in Sweden as a part of Craftwerk 2.0 and will be in Sydney this October.

    I also design patterns and have this free pattern of the Firefox logo which may appeal to some of you

    Another author on my site, Cross Stitch Ninja, is prone to cross stitches of epic old skool gaming proportions, here’s a couple She blows my mind.

    1. Leigh Honeywell

      *fangirls in Rayna’s general direction*

      Thanks for dropping by! Your site’s been mentioned a bunch of times on here, glad you made it over :)

  11. Heather Aurelia

    My mother does cross stitch, well, and everything else. She taught me how to crochet but I haven’t picked it up in such a long time! But this wonderful, I think I will start practicing again!

  12. imayer

    as a non-thread-based traditionally female hobby, my dad & I are into geeky cooking, which is to say ‘let’s look up the etymology/history of a particular dish, and make that instead’
    for instance ‘salad’ comes from ‘sal’, salt, and traditionally referred to salted vegetables
    casserole comes from the french word for pan, particularly one with a lid, and so can technically be applied to anything cooked in a pan with a lid.

    We also have a fondness for molecular gastronomy, but that usually devolves into ‘what are the weirdest things I can cook together and still be willing to eat?’

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