Skip to content

25 Million Stitches – The Last Stitch….Guest Blogger: Penny Peters

April 14, 2020

 Refugees for 25 Million Stitches Project

At the very beginning of winter’s short, dark days I was inspired to join a community project called 25 Million Stitches ( ).  Each of the 25 million stitches represents one of the 25 million refugees in the world this year.  I signed up on the website and was sent a numbered piece of fabric that measures 15” X 32” with instructions that the 15” height couldn’t be changed, but the length could be shortened.  When I looked at the fabric, I instantly saw a long line of refugees fleeing violence, drought, grinding poverty, etc.  For a few days I thought about what subject matter I might like to stitch, but since the vision of the line of refugees refused to leave my mind, I settled on that.  Since I have little practice drawing human bodies, I looked up photos of refugees online, and drew separate forms from the photos.  I scaled them to size, placed them together in a line that filled the full length of the fabric, and traced them onto the fabric.  I used two strands of floss for the main stitching, and one strand for outlining.  I have now finished stitching the figures in grayed colors, and have begun working on the ground and stormy sky.  The dark days of winter flew by, and now I welcome the longer brighter days!  My piece is due to the 25 Million Stitches Project by the end of April, and all of the pieces will be exhibited at the Verge Center for the Arts, 625 S Street, Sacramento, CA, June 5-August 15, 2020.

April 14, 2020 – My 25 Million Stitches piece is now complete, and ready to be mailed. Since you last viewed it, I have added a brooding sky which begins dark and heavy, getting lighter as the refugees move toward the right-hand side.  My intention for the transformation of the sky is to signal a ray of hope after all the gloom and doom.  My intention with the ground beneath the refugees’ feet is that it should look like a precarious path to longed-for safety and a better life, but no guarantees.  I used a single strand of embroidery floss for the ground and sky.  I stitched most evenings from mid-January to the end of March.  It has been a heartfelt project for me.  I will mail it off to the 25 Million Stitches community project this week. Penny Peters

17 Comments leave one →
  1. Nimi permalink
    April 15, 2020 4:28 am

    Beautiful work depicting refuges!

  2. Karen Selk permalink
    April 15, 2020 8:48 am

    Penny your piece speaks loudly with the body language and baggage, one line, diversity, sky and precarious earth beneath the feet. It is beautiful to look at and makes one pause to remember others reality. The size of the piece may not be big, but the way the message is presented is enormous. It is a stunning piece. Congratulations! Karen

    • Penny Peters permalink
      April 15, 2020 12:35 pm

      Repeated photos of the refugee crisis have long haunted me. So happy I found the perfect outlet for feelings about the state of the world. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with me and all!

  3. Laura Elmore permalink
    April 15, 2020 8:51 am

    This makes me inexpressibly sad and happy at the same time.

    • Penny Peters permalink
      April 15, 2020 12:37 pm

      My feelings exactly. I am so saddened by the plight of those driven from home by war, violence, famine, etc. And yet working on this stitch piece I felt joy in the stitching!

  4. Valerie Gleeson permalink
    April 15, 2020 9:57 am

    Penny, this is incredibly moving. I can feel the agony and emotion expressed beautifully in this piece. The repeated use of the running stitch emphasizes the commonality of all refugees and their experiences as well as the drudgery of their days, and the colors are well thought out. You are my muse! I can only hope to one day approach your mastery

    • Penny Peters permalink
      April 15, 2020 12:40 pm

      Thank you Valerie. Love how you are using those ‘art’ words we have used together. Burdened, the figures feel so burdened by the weight of their chaotic existence that forces them on the rocky path to an unknown future.

  5. April 15, 2020 10:42 am

    The end result fits perfectly with your intentions Penny, I love it!

    • Penny Peters permalink
      April 15, 2020 12:42 pm

      Hi Ruth, please feel free to share Gail’s blog with others. I stitched the piece to bring attention to the plight of refugees, so I am happy to have the images out in the world.

  6. Gaye Elder permalink
    April 15, 2020 11:33 am

    This is a deeply affecting g work. Thank you for doing it, and thank you for sharing it. I would like to see it and the whole project in person, but here I am hunkered down in a south Georgia virus “hot spot”, 77 years old, asthmatic and hypertensive. Art is my door to freedom.

    • April 15, 2020 11:50 am

      Thanks for writing Gaye. Art is also the door for many of us.

    • Penny Peters permalink
      April 15, 2020 12:45 pm

      Thank you Gaye. You can enjoy many of the pieces that have been stitched by going to the 25 Million Stitches site online or on their Facebook page. Meantime, hope you are creating as you stay safe in Georgia. As a fellow 77 year old, I can relate!

  7. BarbFox permalink
    April 15, 2020 12:39 pm

    Your piece generates so many emotions. A deep sense of malicious boding and heartbreak. Your stitches combined portray a sad and intriguing story. Thank you Penny for sharing your important artistry. Thank you Gail for posting her work.

    • Penny Peters permalink
      April 15, 2020 12:47 pm

      Hi Barb, You have been so generous in your thoughts about the piece. I has been incredible to feel I am contributing in a positive way through hand stitch which I love doing. A perfect marriage!

  8. Penny Peters permalink
    April 15, 2020 12:51 pm

    Thank you Gail, for posting my piece on your blog. I am grateful that your audience has the opportunity to see art, design and stitch, and also happy to have your audience be aware of the 25 Million Stitches community project.

  9. Isabel Parker permalink
    April 17, 2020 8:20 pm

    Penny that is a wonderful and moving piece of embroidery. I can see your heart all over it. You should be proud!!

  10. Penny Peters permalink
    April 18, 2020 12:37 pm

    Thank you Isabel! How you are doing well…as you can see I have been enjoying hand stitch!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: