Reprinted from Get Up (June 2000)
Sadly, we ripped off the name from some unsuspecting group who I know very little about, but assume is an amazing and active bunch. But, as they say, Americans are not endlessly creative, rather endlessly re-creative…
On a Sunday, about twelve gals got together for a “bitch stitch” of sorts. We kicked out about 25 homemade menstrual pads, some of us crocheted, some repaired and altered clothing, and some made menstrual calendars to keep track of mental and physical patterns. We felt it necessary to gather together and do our thing for a number of reasons-for one: a few of us love to sew, and a few of us have mad information and experience on womens health issues, so w wanted to get together and share our knowledge with one another. Now, I am certainly not going to pretend to be one who knows much about health, but I do know that tampons and pads are not only harmful to our bodies, but also to our earth.
We shared information on natural sponges (Jade and Pearl, Inc., PO Box 1106, Hawthorne, FL, 32640 906-684-3217), reusable cloth pads (available at various local health stores, but are terribly easy and fun to make yourself), and the keeper (The Keeper, Box 20023 Cincinnati, OH 45220) which are wonderful replacements for tampoons as we like to call them back in Ohio. They lack the toxicity of tampons and pads (no warning label is required, and do not carry residues of toxic chemicals and perfumes), are incredibly reusable (I read of one woman who used her keeper for fifteen years!), are much more cost efficient in the long run, and make me feel a heck of a lot better than buying, BUYING, BUYING, wasting and polluting. Blood can also be saved from any of these babies, and acts as a wonderful fertilizer for your garden and plants. It is quite an incredible feeling to make things that care for the body, instead of relying on taking things to “cope” with our natural ebbs and flows.
Though we have yet to establish our own name for both ourselves and our gladrags, we resolved to do two things: (1) meet monthly and (2) make more pads and sell them.
The idea is to start off with local markets, shops, and festivals, and sell them for as little as possible. Rockstar, Jennifer Perry suggested that we make a pattern and include it in each pack-o-pads so that people will be encouraged to make their own. We are in need of old towels and flannel shirts to fully utilize resources and keep costs down, as well. Next month we will meet on the last Sunday, around noon-ish, to continue rags and start on reusable shopping bags.