August 12, 2016

Hannah Wise recently found a new side project in the comments section. Actually, fellow Dallas Morning News journalists Claire Cardona found the comment. Wise turned it into art.

It came after the story of a death that took place on a Sunday. One of the comments included the line “dead has no days off.”

Wise made a pattern and started embroidering it. At a bar one night after work, she dug for her wallet and pulled out her needle, thread and fabric instead. She explained to Jon McClure, data and news apps editor, what she was working on. He had another great comment for her.

“Enough with your stupid charts and analysis. Get the dogs off the streets.”

So Wise stitched both comments up and gave them to her co-workers.

Now, she has a notebook where she’s collecting comments and an Instagram account, Sew Many Comments, where she’s sharing them.

“It’s just a way to deal with the nonsense of comments,” said Wise, a breaking news reporter. “We all poke fun at them, and we’ll laugh at the ones we see when we do read them.”

Some of those comments are great, she said. Some are predictably horrible (Wise covers politics). This is a way to immortalize them and make them her own.

Wise will work on Sew Many Comments with Tara Bryant, a homepage and social producer for the Morning News who also knows who to cross stitch. They’re open to comments from other news outlets and comment pieces from other embroiderers. You can send them here.

Some that are already in the notebook:

“Looks like something I saw from a picture of the Depression. Did they technicolor it?”

And, along with a story about a fire: “Hot hands.”

Wise is also expecting to have a stitched comment to share via the Instagram account from a former Morning News reporter.

“I know it involves a picture of a piece of toast,” she said.

She’d love for Sew Many Comments to become a community project, Wise said, but for her, it’s also an act of self-care. She’s taking time away from work to make something tactile.

While working on the pieces at coffee shops, Wise has been approached by people interested in knowing where they can buy them. She might open an Etsy shop and sell what she creates. She’s not sure yet where this will go.

“I’m open to selling them, but I’m hesitant to do it because that makes it a job, not a hobby,” she said. “I don’t want to feel like I have to come home at 10 p.m. from my breaking news shift and then slave away on comments.”

Coming soon, new comments in incredibly tiny hoops.

A photo posted by Sew Many Comments (@sewmanycomments) on

"Dead has no days off." The first in an occasional series. Sewn by @hwise29.

A photo posted by Sew Many Comments (@sewmanycomments) on

Correction: An earlier version of this story wrongly inserted an “h” into Jon McClure’s first name. We apologize for the error. It has been corrected.

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Kristen Hare covers the people and business of local news and is the editor of Locally at Poynter. She previously worked as a staff writer…
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