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Proud Tennis Grandma

Updated: Oct 7, 2022

MEET THE ARTIST: Judy Crider, Loveland CO

Welcome back to our Artist Spotlight series, where we feature our contemporary makers and also share background on the creators of our vintage and collectors' items.

Judy Crider of Loveland CO models an apron she made

Last year we asked each of our artists to write a short bio for our website. Here's how Judy Crider described herself: "I've been sewing since I was about 8 years old but more importantly my interest in tennis began when my granddaughter, Sarah Hamner, began playing at the age of 4. She is now 18, just played in the US Open, and is in her freshman year at the University of South Carolina! I'm a proud Grandma!"

The depth of drive and talent in this family starts at the top. Judy constantly amazes us with her first-class sewing skills and creativity. She is the creator of our extensive line of aprons and darling lined tennis tote bags. It was so much fun working with her to find tennis fabric and play around with color and design.

Custom apron by Judy Crider; fabric art by Audrey Clayton

As I write this post (a year after her bio was written), I'm watching the livestream of Sarah in her 2nd round match of the 2022 ITA Women's All-American tennis tournament. I just texted Judy; she's watching, too, from her home here in Loveland. Sarah is the defending champion, having captured the title as a FRESHMAN at USC last year.

We met Judy years ago when Sarah and our son Joey were both playing USTA tournaments as kids. Sarah's mom (Judy's daughter), Becky, was a new tennis buddy of mine—we were members of Highland Meadows Tennis Center together. If you're following all this, our friendship is now three generations deep with this talented and wonderful family. (Racquet sports are their jam ... we hear that Sarah's brother Nick is quite the pickleball player.)

Martini apron by Judy Crider; fabric art by M+C Designs

So Judy was getting settled back into the Northern Colorado area, after living in Idaho for a few years, right around the time we hatched the idea for TennisAlley. She came over to help reacquaint me with sewing skills and gave my trusty old Kenmore machine a little tune-up. I quickly realized my limits (rectangles) and jumped at the opportunity to have this quilter and former sewing instructor create more complex items.

Custom lined tote by Judy Crider

Good thing she loves a challenge. "I taught younger people to make Civil War ball gowns; it was totally out of my comfort zone!" A girl from her church called with this special request. In lieu of prom, she and other home-schoolers were having a Civil War-themed ball. Would Judy teach them how to make their own gowns? She laughs at her initial response: "Uhh... Can I call you back?" Then she said, "Let me see the pattern... see what I can do." Imagine these gowns, fitted on the bust and very full with hooped skirts underneath. Wisely, Judy made a practice one out of muslin first.

What is she working on now? "I recently finished a quilt for a niece and one for myself and one for Becky." She reveals how she is facing her latest challenge with particular determination. "Recently I was diagnosed with macular degeneration, so I decided that I needed to finish up projects I'd already started. I also decided that I like to sew with a purpose." What that means for Judy, who also has grandchildren in California, is to be forward-thinking. "I will start making baby quilts for great grandkids-to-be," she says.

It's a realization that life doesn't always go our way, she explains. Sort of like tennis ... sometimes the balls just don't fall our way. "Just deal with what we have and keep on going."

Judy plans to be at TennisAlley both Saturdays of the Loveland Art Studio Tour. You might just get to meet her!

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