The School of Making Swatch of the Month Inspiration Rosanne Cash


From top left: May 2021 Swatch of the Month; Fabric Swatch in Magdalena Camel; Needles; Embroidery Floss; Bird on a Branch Swing Skirt Kit; Image of Rosanne Courtesy of Clay Patrick McBride

a bird on the edge of a blade 
lost now forever  
my love 
in a sweet memory 

Bird on a Blade by Rosanne Cash and Dan Rizzie 

Last week, we wrote about the inspiration for May’s Swatch of the Month. The collaborative book, Bird on a Blade, by Rosanne Cash and Dan Rizzie, is one of the many inspiring works Rosanne has sent our way. For over 30 years, she has written and released 15 albums, 5 books, 21 Top 40 singles, received 163 Grammy nominations, and 4 Grammy wins. Her 2010 album, The List, was named Album of the Year by the Americana Music Awards and her 2014 album, The River & the Thread, received three Grammy awards and critical praise. 

Rosanne’s words are wonderful reflections of who she is as a human: honest and forthright, absent of melodrama, constructively critical, refreshingly opinionated, while she speaks beautifully and lovingly without relying on sentiment. In her memoir Composed, she wrote, “out of various forms of personal catastrophe comes art, if you’re lucky. And I have been lucky. I have also been driven by a deep love and obsession with language, poetry, and melody.” 

For our May 2021 Swatch of the Month, we chose to embroider lyrics from Rosanne’s song, “A Feather’s Not a Bird” from her album The River & the Thread. We encourage subscribers to use these lyrics or choose words of inspiration, an affirmation, song lyrics, or a quote—whatever resonates or inspires—for their swatch.  

“A Feather’s Not a Bird” by Rosanne Cash and John Leventhal 

I’m going down to Florence, gonna wear a pretty dress 
I’ll sit atop the magic wall with the voices in my head 
Then we’ll drive on through to Memphis, past the strongest shoals 
And on to Arkansas just to touch the gumbo soul 

A feather’s not a bird 
The rain is not the sea 
A stone is not a mountain 
But a river runs through me 

It’s never any highway when you’re looking for the past 
The land becomes a memory and it happens way too fast 
Yeah, the money’s all in Nashville, the light’s inside my head 
So I’m going down to Florence just to learn to love the thread 

A feather’s not a bird 
The rain is not the sea 
A stone is not a mountain 
But a river runs through me 

I’ve burned up 7 lives and I used up all my charms 
I took the long way home just to end up in your arms 
That’s why I’m going down to Florence, now I got my pretty dress 
(Going down to Florence, got a pretty dress) 
I’m gonna let the magic wall put the voices in my head 

But a river runs through me 

A stone is not a mountain 
But a river runs through me 

Inspiration from our monthly subscriber newsletter from the May 2021 Swatch of the Month features the Studio Bundles, Bird on a Branch T-Shirt Top Kit, Fabric Swatch in Magdalena Black with Embroidery Floss,”it’s a hard road but it fits your shoes” from Bird on a Blade by Rosanne Cash and Dan Rizzie (pages 26–27), “Bird of Glory and Praise“, 2016 by Shelia Berger, and 18″ Transparent Ruler.

Join our 2022 and 2021 Swatch of the Month programs at any time for explorations in embroidery along with exclusive offerings like the newsletter which includes instructions, behind-the-scenes stories, a list of design choices, first access to promotions and offers, and special collaborations.  

Reach out to our team with any questions: or call 256-760-1090.   

Find our newest DIY Kits—the Bird on a Branch Poncho, T-Shirt Top, and Swing Skirt—featuring May’s swatch design.  

Read back here to learn more about Bird on a Blade


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  1. Kim Schellenberg

    I am from the Province of Saskatchewan in Canada, but now live in another place. Your ‘Bird On A Blade’ swing skirt piece is in the same shape as our Province. The Provincial motto is “Land of Living Skies”, and besides beautiful sunsets and northern lights, it is home to hundreds of bird species on the northern part of their migration. Your swing skirt has made my ears lonely for the call of the Meadow Lark; homesick for my northern prairie home, just as Roseanne was to “touch the gumbo soul” down south. Once the borders re-open, the ‘migration’ north and south will again begin for the Canada Goose and American Eagle, back to the lands and loves our hearts are desperate to see, feel, … and hear.