Sew, David: A Woman’s Pandemic Quest To Embroider All Schitt’s Creek Sweaters

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Bianca Smalley sews a replica of a David Rose sweater. The Schitt’s Creek fan has sewn 65 of the sweaters so far.

Kate Dockeray / The Globe and Mail

It really wasn’t the best time. Bianca Smalley was fired from her job as a graphic designer, housebound with her family of four, and, you know, faced with the start of a global pandemic and everything that came with it.

But there, just when she needed it most, was Schitt Creek and sweaters.

More precisely – if it must be said – the sweaters of David Rose. And more specifically, a new hobby that turns David’s sweaters and shirts into cross-stitch patterns, then sews them.

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“I really like it, but at the same time from the outside I’m laughing at myself,” says Smalley, who lives in Oakville, Ont. “I don’t take myself too seriously.

Smalley first sewed one of David’s sweaters for a friend last fall. When the pandemic lockdown arrived, she sewn up another.

“It’s kind of like my happy place,” says Smalley. “The show brings me comfort.”

With comfort being a tough commodity in 2020, Smalley quickly found herself sewing another of David’s sweaters, then another and suddenly her goal was to do them all, 146 in total.

Smalley sews Dan Levy’s sweaters for his role in Emmy Award-winning Schitt’s Creek.

Kate Dockeray / The Globe and Mail

Like the show itself, David’s sweaters are followed by fiercely devoted fans, inspiring voluminous slideshows such as A Comprehensive Look Back at David Rose’s (Simply the) Best Sweaters on Schitt’s Creek, and – the brand you really make. part of the Zeitgeist – a Buzzfeed quiz that asks: Which of David Rose’s iconic sweaters are you?

There are sweaters circled with lightning and spotted with polka dots, patterned with panthers and dueling stars, eyes, hands and flames. There are superfluous zippers, fun fur swirls, all-caps words like ICON and NONCHALANCE and, most importantly, “LOVE.”

Smalley posts the pieces with a lot of love on his Instagram account, @designingbianca, where people are variously amused and inspired and “OMG obsessed”.

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Smalley – who declined to say exactly how many times she’s watched the show, except it’s “a lot” – says she is inspired not only by the community depicted in Schitt Creek, but also by what the show has inspired in real life, including the generosity and spirit of its cast and community of fans.

It’s also not the first time the show has helped her.

She says she started watching him for the first time shortly after her father was paralyzed and found meaning and inspiration in the Roses, who had lost everything and were learning to rebuild themselves.

“My personal opinion is kind of a story of grief and going through that grief,” she says. “Going through that and seeing people being able to grow and evolve and come out of it is pretty encouraging. “

On Sunday night, Smalley watched the Emmys, his kids (also fans) bouncing off the bed with glee as the show swept through the comedy categories.

She has around 65 sweaters sewn so far, some contributed by friends based on her designs. She says she has no goals as to when the sweaters will be finished and no plans for the finished set. Instead, she just sews when she can, stepping away from the news and everything in between for a little while. Sometimes she takes a break to work on something else – this week a piece in honor of Ruth Bader Ginsburg – but then she’ll go back to David’s sweaters.

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“I know it’s nothing big, but it’s a light in a pretty dark time,” she said.

And what could be more important than that?

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