Meet the Folks at Martingale: Palmer Louise Davis (a travel guide)

Posted by on June 25, 2012, in quilting & sewing,

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When trying to explain my odd history, I usually start with numbers: I’m thirty years old and have moved twenty-seven times, living in six states (starting in Washington, where I live now) and three countries. Then I list some of the jobs I’ve held: nanny, recruiter, “eBay Queen” at a motorcycle store, manager of after-school programs at a nonprofit, and web designer.

After that I usually have to add that I didn’t go to college after high school. Instead, I wrote. And wrote, and wrote, and wrote: screenplays, a young adult novel, poetry, short stories. I never sold anything in that time—I have a box of rejection letters stored somewhere. While collecting those rejection letters, I taught myself to crochet and knit, starting with a “good luck hat” to wear while writing. Yes, I am that weird!

I felt so isolated after a few years of living in an ivory tower of literature that I made a big change. I moved from Oregon to New Jersey to work as a nanny, unaware that I’d be living an hour’s train ride from wondrous Manhattan. I spent every weekend exploring the city, eventually getting a job there. (At right, my brother riding the subway).

While I adored playing in New York, I never got used to living there. As a relevant example of why, I had to give away the gigantic storage bin of yarn and knitting needles I’d brought with me, because I never had the space or time to craft. I didn’t pick up needles again until I lived in England.

After being on the East Coast for about two years, I went to Europe, starting in a small town south of Barcelona, and winding up in Southwest England. I fell in love with the gorgeous Devon countryside and the adorable children I looked after as an au pair.


The view from the house in Devonshire where I worked as an au pair.

I met one of my friends there through a notice about her knitting group, but ironically, my work schedule never let me attend a meeting. Nevertheless, while three year olds bounced around me, I crocheted a scarf for her as a birthday present (below left).


Right: My boyfriend at the time visits me from England, shown here at Niagara Falls in the scarf I knitted him for Christmas.

Unfortunately a family crisis cut my time in England short, bringing both my mom and me to Buffalo where my brother lived. We stayed there for about a year. Next, I moved to Austin, Texas based on recommendations from friends. They were right, I love that city and have visited every year since.

The whirlwind five years ended with six months in New York. Sharing an apartment with a magician, I spent most of my free time with a fascinating group of burlesquers and exploring places like Coney Island. Despite the hectic life I was living, I was amused at times to find myself crafting again, mostly making costumes.


Coney Island in 2010.

About five years since I’d first moved to the East Coast, it was time to click my heels, Dorothy-style, and go home. My companion on most of these travels, a four-pound black-and-white bunny named Flippy, is happy to have settled down.

The best parts of my gypsy past? The din and thrill of walking up 32nd Street for my first day on the job in midtown Manhattan; riding the train into Barcelona; having friends from Sydney to Sunset Park. The best parts of being home? Watching my niece and nephew evolve each day; building a new craft stash without worrying I’ll have to move it across the country; having time to unfold.

Working at Martingale has been part of that, letting me sink my teeth into all sorts of design projects and find daily inspiration in the work of coworkers and our authors. As an example, here’s my nephew with the Rebecca Danger-inspired stuffed monster I made for him for Christmas.

nephew with stuffed monster


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