Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Female Ladies

(I don't know. My husband calls women female ladies. And now I do, too. Because he is funny and I just want to be like him.)

I'm not sure if I've mentioned here that I've been working with our local Girl Scout troop (and yes, I could check, but isn't it more fun if I just go on endlessly about it?). Laura Verlaque, of Our Beloved Verlaques, is one of the troop leaders, and when I found that out I just kinda started hanging around her house, insinuating that I knew all sorts of useful skills a young woman may want to learn. Eventually she just felt sorry for me and let me help out. She even gave me a pin and made me an official Girl Scout, which made it approximately 60% less creepy that I don't even have a daughter, much less a troop member, of my own.

OK, all of this is to say: I've been working with them on what may be my most favorite project ever.

The troop has been studying the varying and evolving roles of women, and for their Bronze Award project they decided to make a story quilt depicting eleven inspirational women from Southern California.

The final list (once we eliminated Taylor Swift) was:
  • Julia Child
  • Sally Ride
  • Billie Jean King
  • Eva Fenyes
  • Clara Shortridge Foltz
  • Bridget "BiddyMason
  • Shirley Temple Black
  • Judy Baca
  • Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston
  • Ellen Ochoa
  • and Flossie Wong-Staal

Each girl selected a woman to study and to represent on the quilt. I drew out simple line portraits of each woman on plain white fabric, taught the girls a basic embroidery backstitch, and they were off and running--embroidering each woman's portrait and name onto their panels. After the embroidery was finished, they embellished each panel with something to symbolize their woman (Julia Child got pearls, Sally Ride got reproduction NASA patches, you get the picture), and even used a little blusher (that's my doll-making trick) to give their faces some dimension.

Once all of the portrait panels were completed, I made a final panel describing the quilt. I also asked each girl to sign her name, and I traced and embroidered over their signatures. Then all that was left was the stitching the panels together, batting, backing and binding, and voila! A story quilt for the ages (and especially for March, when it will hang in the lobby of the kids's school for Women's History Month.)

Here are some close ups of a few of the panels. I can't tell you how proud and grateful I am to have had the opportunity to help the girls create such a gorgeous and meaningful project. Yay girls!





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