Sunday, November 9, 2008


The everlasting cold is finally abating and leaving me with a smidge of extra energy.

Blocks keep coming in from amazing people. Thanks, and thanks, and thanks! There a couple of venues pending. I'll keep ypu informed as they come to fruition. If you have any places you would like to see the project hang, either in part or the entire 1600+ blocks that are now complete, let me know!

In other news, I helped a number of other fiber artists create an Obama quilt this summer. Our most hopeful dream came true this week. Keep an eye out for this quilt at the inauguration! My HOPE blocks is the second from the bottom on the left.

Obama quilt in Houston by diana.bracy.

Sunday, October 5, 2008


It is election time and there are choices to be made. While I am proud and privileged to be creating this memorial, it is not something I want to do for the rest of my life.

Take a look at this video:

Please vote for the candidate who makes plans for peace, not for war for the next century. I want us to be able to finish this project.

Yes, we can.

Saturday, September 27, 2008


Nothing too glamorous, I've just been thinking about how to attempt to stay organized. I have 2 or 3 folks who are working on plans to exhibit parts of the project in the near future.

I've created an online calendar account at Yahoo. If you are interested in exhibiting, you can check out the availability at Yahoo Calendar. The id is ascexbibits and the password is dates&times. Each listing will show the number of blocks on display that particular day at each venue. Total them up to see how many are available. (I'll have a running tally in the sidebar on the blog.)

Please make sure to send me a comment or e-mail if you add something to the calendar, so we can coordinate delivery and other details and get you talked about in the blog. It is an easy project to hang, and can be customized to fit anywhere. Instructions for hanging will come with the sections you request.

As far as delivery goes, if you know someone coming through St. Cloud, we can try and coordinate a pickup time. Otherwise, I need to ask that the exhibitors pay shipping both ways.

If it works schedule- wise, I will sometimes be available to do a bit of a meet-n-greet, and spend some time showing people how to make french knots and sew on beads. I would need to ask mileage, and, that you buy me a cup for the road home.

if you've made through the end of all this boringness, you will be rewarded with a photo of six more blocks that are now available for display! They just arrived in the post from Carol. THANKS for the pic Carol!!

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Yes, You Can Have A Peaceful Event At The RNC

You won't, however, get any media attention. Well, at least not from any of the main stream media who found their way to Peace Island.
I did do a couple of interviews with people making documentaries. It will be interesting to see what happens with them. And, before I found my gumption to actually be interviewed, Zach did some video of the project as we were getting set up.

It really looks nice! Thanks Zach!

It was really an awesome day. The police had many streets blocked off, so it was a little difficult in getting there at certain times of the day, but, for those who did make it, It was what every celebration of peace should be. Food, music, kite flying, a bit of civil disobedience, and art with a message.

Many people, after visiting with me about the project, took blocks and needle and thread with them, and sewed while enjoying the music. We got alot accomplished there, and many blocks went home to be finished and mailed in. I love getting blocks in the mail!
What a day!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

What a Day!

I am once again on my way out the door, so here are some photos from Peace Island Picnic to look at until I can add commentary.

Sunday, August 31, 2008


Her is one last photo of the 715 blocks that hung at the Whitney Center this summer.

My family helped me do a trial run in setting up for the Peace Island Picnic. We set up the standard from which the panels will hang and figured out how to solve the glitches that arose. Hanging against a wall is so much different than hanging in the gusty breeze! There are a few minor things to change, and I think things will be ready for Thursday. Provided the RNC doesn't abandon St Paul all together. See you Thursday!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Peace Island Picnic

Made a speedy trip to St Paul Wednesday evening to shore up some plans for the Peace Island Picnic. The picnic will be a finale event to the Republican National Convention being held in St Paul September 1 - 4. These are a couple of quick shots of the picnic area.

From 1pm to 8 pm there will be free food, music, the creation of the world's largest peace sign, and the display of the And Still Counting project. More updates and details here - the unconvention.

Keep sending me blocks! I would love to have 2000 blocks on display. I have about 1700 right now, and the more we have there, the larger the impact.

If anyone has access to those pop-up tents, I will be needing 4 of them to display the project. I would need to borrow them on the 3rd, 4th, and 5th to accommodate set up and tear down.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Saying it All

I received an email today from someone who kindly made a block for the project. She summed things up so well, "This was a thoughtful and meditative activity - every French knot I made hurt."

This project can feel like that a lot of the time. I have to focus on the calming and meditativeness of the stitches or the beads and hope that it will send it's calm and peaceful intent where it is most needed.

Thanks to all who are helping to remember those who have given so much.

Look! More base blocks from Annie!! Let me know how many you want!

THANKS! to Jean for the financial booster shot! RNC, here we come!

Monday, July 21, 2008

Other Stuff

While ninety plus percent of my creative energies end up here at the project, I thought you might like to see some of the other things I work on in my sewing studio. I finally got back to my flikr site to add a few more things and some labels. It's still a work in progress, but isn't that life?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Quilting Gallery

Hey - Look at this! The project was featured in Quilting Gallery's charity quilting month. Welcome to anyone stopping by from new places!

Friday, July 11, 2008

Keepin' On Keepin' On

My, how summer seems to be flying by. The RNC will be here before you know it!

We are a go for the Peace Island Picnic, and there is a possibility of a retail space in downtown St Paul for that week. (Sept 1 -6) Hopefully we can get the space donated. If we find something with great visibility, and some cost, I may come begging. You've been warned.

Here are some of the behind the scenes stuff I've been keeping busy with.

Because I can't be "all project, all the time," a preview of a new quilt pattern I'm writing.
bucket o' backs
Six inch squares of batting scraps.
These are the sleeves that get sewn onto the back of the top row of blocks in the 5 x 6 sections.
The "spaghetti straps" I came up with to link one section with another when hanging. Each section of 30 blocks hangs from a stick that loops through the sleeves sewn across the top row. The "spaghetti straps" hang from stick to stick in the back and keep the weight distributed across the sticks, and not the blocks.
Piles of completed blocks waiting to be pinned together.
Base blocks ready for knots/ beads - see the two big stacks of blue blocks in the back? THANKS ANNIE! 100 blocks and she's making more. Now you have no excuse to not participate - there are plenty of blocks already made!

I tried to make a video tutorial about french knots, but am having trouble making it load. We'll see.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Shelving Myself

1. I recently started a part time job at a branch of my local library. I am really enjoying the energy and atmosphere of the library in a whole new way.

1a. Last Saturday, I was interviewed by Katherine Bell. She is writing a book called Quilting for Peace, and will be including the And Still Counting project in her book.

1 + 1 = 2! How cool is it that next spring I will be able to shelve a book that has a bit of me and the project in it?!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

A New Installation

A photo of the last bits of the installation process at the Whitney Center in St Cloud, MN. That's my brother Steve on the ladder, Jim the curator, is standing by the flags, and I can't for the life of me remember the name of the man who serenaded our efforts, but he was a fine singer.

We hung 715 blocks. 715 American soldiers, 151,500 Iraqi citizens. 715 out of 3,100, not quite 1/3 of the blocks I'm hoping for. I'm going to need a really big space.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

That's A Lot of Blocks

I am working on documenting my quilt inventory. So, I put the 690 blocks that are at my house right now, out on the lawn. That's a lot of blocks.

It's a weird and bittersweet accomplishment. I am glad to have these finished, and usually I have this sense of "look what I made!" It's just different when they represent so much death.

Friday, May 23, 2008


I signed up a while back as a Fiber Artist for Obama. We are coming up with possible design ideas for our project. I cannot, for the love of all that is good, make my photo of my idea for a block attach to the group emails. I'm trying here. Cross your fingers.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Memorial Weekend

I'm not so good at writing about all the things that I feel about the war and it's costs and effects on our country and the world. When my words get stuck, I tend to make things. I'm hoping that implementing the creation of a small memorial quilt for each soldier who has died speaks the words I can't find.

So I am hoping that each of us at the very least, spends a little time contemplating war and freedom and liberty and the cost of achieving the lives we are privledged to have. And if you find yourself with a spare moment or two, make some knots on a block to honor those who have given their lives.

Portions of the project will be available to view this weekend at the Hjemkomst Center in Moorhead, MN, and at the Evansville Art Center in Evansville MN.

Monday, May 19, 2008


You read that right! There are currently 1170 blocks completed! Thanks! Take a deep breath and let's keep going. I have a couple more irons in the fire about future venues. Let me know if you have any places you'd like to see it hang.

I am looking for someone who is driving from Fargo/Moorhead to the Twin Cities and would be willing to play courier for the sections of the project that are currently hanging at the Hjemkomst Center. I need them for our next installation at the Whitney Center here in St Cloud the first week of June. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Sunday, May 11, 2008

What A Week!

Check it out! Here's a link to the press coverage in the Echo Press from Alexandria Minnesota. (I can't make the link work today, will edit this tomorrow at the library. You'll just have to trust me that we got some press.)


Every single day this week has brought me something else for the project. Safety pins!! Fabric! Competed blocks!! Batting! Thread! I can't thank you enough for all of your kind help with this. Some things have come in groups, and I am not certain I have everyone's name listed in the sidebar thanks section. Drop me a note if I have missed your name. I want to make sure you're thanked!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Front Page News

So things are rolling along. We are well over 1000 blocks completed, and a few kind folks have graciously donated nearly all the safety pins we'll need, as well as purple beads. THANKS!! Oh my gosh THANKS!

I met with Coleen and Ross Rowley last week and will be joining them at their event at the Republican National Convention. Check out some of there plans here. I am so excited to have the project be seen by policy makers. It is important they be reminded that we do keep tab on the decisions they make on our behalf.

No meeting for coffee this weekend. Spend some time with your mom!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Getting Seen

It's always difficult to temper my enthusiasm about progress of the project with the gravity of the subject matter. Something feels a little off when I get excited about things.

But it's a good thing that more and more blocks get completed and seen. So on that note, I have secured a space for it to hang June, July and August! It will be at the Whitney Center in St Cloud. We should be well over 1000 blocks then as I have 960 right now. Plus, I may have found a venue for the Republican National Convention.

Keep on knotting, and beading, and sending me safety pins. Has anyone picked up on the hints about safety pins? oh, Joann's has solids on sale hint, hint nudge, nudge, know what I mean?

I Have No Idea

Apologies to anyone who may have shown up at Mississippi Bean & Tea to find no one sewing.
I have no idea what went wrong with my intestines yesterday afternoon, but, they were not to be ignored. I had to leave shortly after I got there. Which was late anyway, because it's that transitory time of year. You know when you no longer keep your keys in your coat pocket, 'cause you're no longer wearing a coat, and you can't for the life of you figure out where you put them down. So I begged a ride from my sister in law. Then 10 minutes later called my mom to come get me. You know it's bad when you call your mom. Thanks mom!!

I still can't find my keys. I may actually have to participate in that spring cleaning nonsense.

Next Sunday I will be at the earth day celebration at Great River Arts in downtown Little Falls with the project. Come visit us there!!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

900+ !!!

Hey- we're making progress! I have just over 900 blocks completed with your help.

Keep plugging away and sending me blocks. And no excuses like, "I can't sew on a button." To sew on a bead, is one stitch up, and one stitch down. Granted, that's over and over, and over. Then you spin that technique and use the fancy term, "mastery learning" by the time you've completed a couple of blocks, you'll be able to sew on a button! Another bullet point on the resume of life!

If you still refuse to pick up a needle and thread you can help by purchasing some size #1 safety pins, and purple "E" beads. Right now I have 3 sections of 30 blocks each ready to pin together, but I am fresh out of pins and running low on beads. HELP!! I won't turn down other supplies either, but pins and purple beads are the top priority right now.

I am working the details to hang the project in another venue. I am hoping all 1000 (because by the time it hangs you'll have sent me at least 100 more blocks and the pins and the beads) will fit in this space. I'll let you know.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

At Last

Here is a photo of the portion of the project that is currently hanging at the LOFT Gallery in downtown St Cloud. This show is a group display with other artists from the Avon Area Arts. A new local group that has started up. Check it out at 819 St Germain. (That's the downtown version of St Germain- it's interesting to note that there are 4- yes, 4 different streets with the same name in St Cloud. Two of them are only a couple blocks apart from each other, and the other 2 are on the other side of town, not really near each other. I like to joke that city planning meetings are actually keggers. I don't know how else to explain 4 distinct streets with the same
name without accusing someone of being drunk.)

I hope everyone has been diligently knotting and beading and stitching. Perhaps someday we'll be caught up, and it will only take a few of us getting together once a month to record the most current deaths. Or, maybe it will all end peacefully, and I can be done with this BIG project. That's the one I'm hoping for. Thank you to everyone who is helping to complete this. Your response and dedication keep me going when I sometimes feel overwhelmed with the enormity of everything.

If you find yourself in the St Cloud area on a Sunday afternoon, Stop in at Mississippi Bean and Tea at 819 St Germain. (Yes, in the same building as the gallery) I am going to be setting up a little stitching get together from 2-4 in the afternoons. I will bring blank blocks, thread, needles, & beads. You can bring along yourself and maybe another friend to help stitch knots, or beads while we enjoy each other's company. We will do this every Sunday, unless I have something else come up. Then I will make a note here. But if we get a nice group going, you won't even need me every single Sunday. I'm excited for the progress we've made recently, and it makes me want to maintain that momentum.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Catching Up

Life got a little overwhelming for a while, but, things are almost back to manageable.

We are making progress! Remember back in January when I hung the 330 blocks that were completed then? Now there are 330 hanging in The Hjemkomst Center, 360 blocks hanging at the Loft in downtown St Cloud, and I have another 100 finished blocks courtesy of Anne, Bob and Eileen . THANKS!! Sarah sent me a note saying she has another 70 blocks ready for knots!! We are going to pass the 1000 completed block mark soon.

I would love to know how many blocks you have in progress and might be sending in soon. And if you feel the need to send in some #1 safety pins, and size E purple beads, I will do a happy dance!!

My pc and I have been arguing about posting photos this week. I'm going with the tomorrow is another day theory. Check back for images from both the Hjemkomst Center and the loft soon.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Out and About

I spoke with two groups about the project this week. One a contemporary quilting group in Lakes Country Minnesota, and another small symposium group on compassion up in the Fargo / Moorhead area. Hi to all who kindly let me ramble on!! It's really energizing to meet folks who are excited to join in.

I hung some more panels at the Heritage Hjemkost Interpretive Center in Moorhead. Of course I left my camera in St Cloud. I will do some scrambling this afternoon and get some photos up soon.

I am putting some more panels together to hang at a gallery in St Cloud this weekend. I'm almost out of brass safety pins, so if anyone has any they would like to donate to a good cause let me know!!

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Anne and the Lightbulb

So it's one of those ideas where we all went, "Well of course!" Okay, to be honest I did stop and think about it for a minute or two because, well, I can be a control freak sometimes. My family can stop laughing now.

Anne discovered that if she programmed her Bernina 1260 just right, she could add a space between the asterisk stitches, and they would look like the individual beads and french knots we have putting in our blocks! Thanks Anne!

On a 1260, the stitch is number 27. Hit number 27, memory, and then straight stitch, memory, and you should be good to go. The stitch is a little bigger than the beads and knots have been, and I am guessing that a spiral is going to be the best design to get all 212 stitches on the block.

Don't have a Bernina 1260? As long as you are able to program a stitch in between an asterisk stitch * * * , so they maintain their individuality, I say go for it. I don't want a running together of stitches ***** that don't have any distinction. This is after all, about remembering the individuals who have died.

If you have other sewing machine makes that have a similar tight stitch on them and you think you want to try it, let me know. St Cloud has dealers for every major brand of sewing machine and I can go test drive it to make sure it clears my inner control freak.

I like how there will be a nice mix of beads and hand stitching and machine stitching in the project. A bit of everything. And we may actually get it done! Now if Anne can figure something out for the soldiers and our government leaders we'll be set to finish the damn war too.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Cold Cold Day

Here they are in their sweaters and hats. Thanks to everyone who came out in the frigid, frigid weather on Saturday! We completed another 25 blocks and had a great afternoon hanging out together.

I had six panels along with me, and I left them at the Hjemkomst Center to become part of a exhibit on compassion. If you're near the Fargo / Moorhead area stop in.

Thursday, February 7, 2008


A big Hello and ThankYou to Carol from Giraffe Dreams and everyone who has been following her link here! It's great to have more folks supporting the project!!

I am getting ready to work on the project with folks up in Fargo/Moorhead this weekend. There will be a day of compassionate workshops at the Hjemkomst Center in Moorhead from 1 - 4pm. I have 6 ( YES 6!) more panels to display, and we will be working on putting more knots and beads on even more blocks. I'll post some pictures early next week.

Come join us on Saturday, or check out the display at WBUUC - It comes down Sunday afternoon.

* That makes 17 completed panels of 30 blocks each, or, 510 Americans, 108,120 Iraqis.

Friday, January 25, 2008


A light bulb flashed this last week. The Republican National Convention will be held in St Paul this summer. Why hasn't this registered with me before? The Republican National Convention. In my backyard. Where I can find a venue to display the project. The project that everyone who writes national policy should see.

The fire has been lit!! The more blocks we have completed by convention time , the more powerful the piece will be! I'm working on finding a venue for the project to hang, or possibly be carried in a parade or, or, or..... it's brainstorming time! If you have any ideas, pass them along!

There was some great energy last night at my MCQ meeting!! Thanks for all the blocks and supplies donated!! You Ladies Rock!!

Another idea - zip ties around the sticks onto chain link fence. The pictures I took in November look really great on the fence. On the fence is how a lot of people feel about the war anymore. We want the troops home, but don't want to risk further chaos for the Iraqis. Folks who once supported the war, are now regretting that stance. We might need to look at fences. hmmm....

Keep on stitching!

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Supply and Demand

Hey Quilters! Has anyone been cleaning and organizing as part of their '08 resolutions? Found any solid colored cottons collecting dust? Have any batting scraps? Any of those brass basting pins sitting around taking up space? Send them my way!

I'm getting prepared for a couple of get - togethers where we will be hanging out, enjoying each others company, while working on the project. The more blocks I have prepared for knotting or beading the better. I would love it if you wanted to go ahead and make the blocks yourself, I would never rule that out!

Drop me an e-mail if you have any stuff to send, and I will get you my address.

BTW - A couple things are in the works, hopefully I can update on at least one later in the week.
Keep your fingers crossed!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Cut Ups

I figured out that 1 5/8 yards of solid fabric can be cut up for 18 blocks with very little waste. Thought I'd share it with anyone who is working on blocks.

Make 3 - 6" cuts; subcut into 3 cuts @ 6", and 1 cut @3.5"

Make 11 - 3.5" cuts. 5 of them are subcut into 2 cuts @ 6" and 1 cut @ 7.5"

The next 5 are subcut into 2 cuts @ 7.5" and 1 cut @ 6"

The last strip gets subcut into 3 - 7.5 "cuts. Depending on the width of the fabric, I sometimes have to piece the last 2 from this section with scraps from above.

Now you're set to follow the original tutorial and put them together.

Again, THANKS to everyone who is working on this with me!!