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Travel Journal
Crazy Quilt, 2000, 28 x 28"

This is where Ladystitch began.

It had been over 20 years since I had embroidered-anything-when I walked into Dharma Trading  to buy silk yardage for my son's class project.  The aisle sported a sign 'everything this aisle  75% off '.  Hmmmm.

And there they were; eye-boggling colors, rows of Japanese silk ribbons and buttonhole silk,
how-to videos, books and tools for silk ribbon embroidery and Judith Baker Montano's  new method of crazy quilt construction.

I was hooked. Instantly.

Three shopping bags later (yes, I remembered my son's fabric-barely)  and a quick trip home, I had pulled out my purchases, slipped the Montano instructional video into the T.V. and didn't emerge for 7 hours.  But by then, I had conquered basic ribbon and crazy quilt stitches and was once more  in love with embroidery.

And I hadn't once followed a blue, printed line on a single pillow case...YES! This was embroidery I would never find boring.

Travel Journal grew from that first background. I carried it and a supply of ribbons, buttonhole silk, embellishments and a Montano book  to New Jersey, Yosemite, Santa Cruz and during lots of relaxing hours at home.  I finished the little quilt 6 months later.

Much to my delight, it took  a Best in Class, Special Theme Award  and a Blue Ribbon at the Marin Quilt and Needle Arts Show that fall. As it was the first time I had ever entered a show, I was stunned.

While stitching the quilt, I joined the Marin Golden Threads Chapter of the Embroiderers' Guild of America. With the encouragement and friendship of  those wonderful women, and classes and seminars through EGA, my skills and confidence grew. 

Crazy Quilting remains my favorite technique, but now I work in multiple layers of embellishment and rarely use cottons, prefering silk for both fabric and fiber.

No matter how often I digress to bead embroidery,  goldwork, stumpwork or applique,  I always return to Crazy Quilting.

I am also a volunteer conservator at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles, working to stabilize some of their precious antique Crazy Quilts. As I handle-with great reverence-these windows into an unknown woman's history, I feel connected to a long line of hands that created intricate beauty from scraps of color.

At the Opening Banquet for the EGA 2010 National Seminar in San Francisco, I was thrilled when they announced that I had been  chosen as recipient of their 2011 National Research Grant to study needlework conservation techniques.

I am one very lucky lady.



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