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Wednesday, November 07, 2007
Dear Julia Roberts...
...(and Vanity Fair, and Conde Nast Publications...) This isn't your standard fan letter or letter to the editor. I'll start off by saying that I have liked some of Ms. Roberts' work in the past, and I used to think that there was something endearing about her, but I think that's mostly in the past now.

The reason I am writing this is because of a statement made about "silly needlework" that Ms. Roberts made in reference to her dream of being a stay at home mommy. I don't know the inflection that Ms. Roberts used in making that statement, and I'm sure a publication such as Vanity Fair doesn't think much of needle-artists in general, but as a reader of your publication I am offended.

Ms. Roberts, in her need to convey to the world that she wishes that she could be at home all the time with her children, said that she would do all sorts of things including "silly needlework". Now, she may consider the things that she does with yarn and two pointy sticks to be silly, but for some of us it is something entirely different.

It is art.

It is a way to relax after a long day, instead of a way to pass the time between movie takes.

It is something that we use to give a piece of ourselves to the ones that we love.

It is not silly in the least. Oh sure, I'll concede that maybe some of the designs that we make are silly looking or bring smiles to faces with silly sayings but the methods we use and the reasons we do these things are not silly but far from.

There are women who knit and crochet chemo caps for cancer patients. There are friends who labor over cross stitching gifts like wedding samplers for their friends before they've even stitched one for themselves. There are pick-me-up gifts of little scissor fobs or biscornus that make someone smile when they get them in their mailbox. Needlework in general (meaning knitting, crocheting, needlepoint, cross-stitch and all the related thread and needle methods) goes back a long long time.

Children were taught to stitch long ago in order to make samplers with the full alphabet - that was how they learned. Some of these pieces are hundreds of years old and they are part of family legacies. Even samplers made today are a source of pride for those who put in the time and effort to make them what they are - beautiful pieces of work that will be handed down in families.

They are not silly. Now, knowing that Ms. Roberts has called her knitting "creative" and "enjoyable" in the past, I certainly hope that this statement was made in a self-deprecating manner or was a message to someone who once called her needlework silly. Perhaps it was directed at her buddy George Clooney who allegedly keeps his house decorated in harvest wreaths and pilgrim figurines year round. It doesn't matter who she's poking at if she is. What matters is that she didn't take care with her comments about something that she enjoys doing when she's also taking care with her comments about her husband, children and career.

Ms. Roberts if you want to be a stay at home mommy for a few days without any of the outside help that you might have (nanny, gardener, cook, maid, etc) then I'm sure I could scare up a few women that would gladly give you their houses for a few days while they trade lives with you so that you can try out being a true stay at home mom.

You have the means to be able to drop out of Hollyweird for awhile, so go ahead and do it. Stay at home and take care of your kids and do all your environmentally conscious stuff that you want to do. Including your "silly needlework". Now please excuse me because I'm going to go back to my regular job of working full-time at another dot-com startup while still being a mom to my two growing girls. And I'm going to sit down tonight with my needlework (cross-stitch, for your information, and not silly by any means) and watch television while I do so.

And I won't be watching any of your "silly acting stuff" while I do so.