What People Are Saying About Penny

"I like to think of you as a high priced call girl that the unwashed masses can't afford--like Woody Allen's Whore of Mensa. It's not your fault that people offer $10 blowjobs on the street corner. It's not an insult if somebody doesn't buy your art." -Alexandra J Walters

"Once Penny was making her own silk thread, and a midget appeared. Before he could open his ugly mouth, without looking up, she exclaimed, 'Rumpelstiltskin. Now get the fuck out of here.' Fairytale Over."- Beth Featherstone

"Penny can push a needle through a telephone pole without a thimble." -Shane Blaufuss

"When a man asked Penny, 'What’s the meaning of life?' She looked at him for exactly 3 minutes, completely still, until he cried. That man’s name was Steve Jobs."- Beth Featherstone

"A demon from the pits of bitch cunt." -W.C. Hurst

"pulitzer for you too." -John Lurie

Monday, December 28, 2009

Looking for a New Year's Resolution?

It's the time of year when most of us dust off our best intentions, and attempt to revel in “the spirit of the season”. Even in these ridiculously depressing times, we try to remember what's important and count our blessings and our loved ones.

Many of us gave handmade gifts this year, maybe hand knit socks or embroidered linens, or a snarky cross stitch for that friend with a rotten sense of humor. But how about supporting a charity that teaches people how to do needle work? People who desperately need the solace and confidence that comes from learning how to do something by hand?

Fine Cell Work is the “unofficial charity” of Mr. X Stitch.

What is Fine Cell Work?

Fine Cell Work is a social enterprise that teaches needlework to prison inmates and sells their products. The prisoners do the work when they are locked in their cells, and the earnings give them hope, skills and independence. 

Our mission is to rehabilitate prisoners by giving them the opportunity to earn and save money and the chance to reflect on and rebuild their lives through craft and achievement. Prisoners do Fine Cell Work for an average of 3 years: the benefits can therefore be profound”

Fine Cell Work is now done in 26 prisons

• 80% of the stitchers are men
• In 2008, 403 fine cell workers earned a total of £61,890

The inmates are taught by 50 volunteer instructors 

All our classes have waiting lists

In 2008 we had roughly 150 offers of volunteering

In 2004-08 we had enquiries from 63 prisons which we did not have the resources to meet

“Fine Cell Work gives these men dignity in work and through this, dignity in life. When a man gains self-respect he may start addressing his offending behaviour” 
Officer, HMP Wandsworth

There's an onine shop where you can purchase beautiful needlepoint pillows, or you can participate in their Sponser a Prisoner program and purchase commissioned work using a color pallet of your choosing. And of course they accept donations-

£10 would pay for materials to stitch one tapestry cushion

(100 hours of creative work)

So, if you're looking for a place where you can make a huge impact in someone's life, (and by extension their community when they're released), I urge you to take a look at Fine Cell Work. I wish we had more programs like this.

Click HERE for more info.


  1. Bravo for passing on the word! I'm all for humanitarian efforts, especially when it comes to the handmade community.

    I was one of those working my rear off finishing handmade snarky stitches for coworkers this year. I think to most of them it meant more to have something made with my own hands.


  2. This is wonderful, Penny. Thanks for spreading the word. :)

  3. Thanks guys!
    John and I don't really celebrate Christmas. We don't have kids or parents, we're not religious, and we're totally spoiled. We give each other presents all the time. So we decided to donate to Fine Cell Work and have that be our special holiday tradition.