There are times when a friend surprises you so much that you’re left speechless. Our friend Judy did just that this past week. She sent us eight embroidered dish towels, a gift of both function and beauty, created with care and friendship and a very fancy schmansy sewing machine.
Judy and I have been friends since we labored together at Bell Labs back in the 70’s. Although we are the same age, when we met she was one of two or three women senior electrical engineers and I was a lowly, but quick learning technical associate (TA), aka junior software developer. Needless to say, since those ancient days, we’ve endured much, together and apart. Thanks to her efforts behind the scenes, I received a substantial boost to my technical career when, with fervent energy, Judy defended me in one of the Labs famous competitive performance appraisal meetings. Her male peers resisted awarding me a merit raise, not because I wasn’t becoming a dynamite software developer, but because my nail polish was frequently chipped. Judy gave them an earful and then some. None of those dudes ever said anything like that again. Do you remember those early days, the days before diversity and the EEOC took hold in male America? Judy and I will never forget.
Back to the story…with her razor-sharp engineering mind and laser focus on detail and accuracy, Judy has become an outstanding quilt maker, toy maker extraordinaire, and home goods decorator. For example, that’s her grandson’s playground quilt complete with race track that she’s working on in the photo above.
Creating our embroidered towels was an multi-step process requiring the patience, fortitude and persistence only an engineer can have. As you can see in the photo below, there are eleven steps to produce a finished product. Judy tried to explain it all to me after we picked the patterns — an anchor, a compass and Dolce Vento’s name in script.
“Now that we’ve picked the designs and script font, I’ll test them and choose the colors (1) that compliment the towel color. Next, I’ll prepare the hoops that will hold the towel, stablizer backing, and clear plastic wrap which provides a smooth top surface for the sewing foot. I will also spray adhesive to help keep the garment in place and the needle gliding smoothly (2-5). Then, when all is set, I’ll thread the bobbin and the machine. I’ll change colors when appropriate(6) as I baste the pieces together (towel, stablizer, and topping) and then sew the embroidery design (7-9) as dictated by the software in the sewing machine. The final steps will be to remove basting, topping, stabilizer, saving large enough pieces of stabilizer for floaters (10-11). When totally done, I will degunk the hoops so I can use them again. The anchor and compass designs require about 30-40 thousand stitches, taking about an hour of actual sewing for each design. Words a lot less.”
Thank you Judy…see you in Hilton Head this fall, girlfriend!