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Stitching together traditional, modern page 2
A retired ATF geographic profiler has returned to her first love by opening a quilt shop in Spotsylvania.

 The Crazy Cousin will host a trunk show of Amy Bradley's quirky patterns this month.
ROBERT A. MARTIN/THE FREE LANCE-STAR
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Date published: 11/4/2012

By Cathy Jett

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From Dec. 1 to 15, The Crazy Cousin will commemorate the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Fredericksburg by holding an exhibit of Civil War-era quilts and a trunk show of California stitchery artist Lolita Newman's hand-embroidered quilts and patterns. Her work features African-American soldiers of that period.

In addition, Mary Kerr of Woodbridge, an American Quilt Society certified appraiser, will be on hand to do appraisals on Dec. 8.

Trahern's new venture is the latest in an interesting career. It began when she graduated with a master's degree in school counseling from Fort Hayes State University in Kansas and worked alongside probation and truancy officers in a pilot program to counsel first offenders.

"I met a guy who worked with the investigators, and he told me I was too spunky and needed to be a federal agent," she said. "I said to him, 'Get me an interview.'"

Trahern was hired by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, and eventually became chief of ATF's Explosives Detection and Accelerant Detection Canine Program for seven years. She also helped establish its ombudsman program.

She later became a supervisory special agent/geographic profiler with the ATF, and specialized in serial violent crimes. For the past eight years, she was stationed at the behavioral analysis center at the FBI's National Center for the Analysis of Violent Crime at Quantico.

"It was just kind of dark," Trahern said of the work she did. "After I retired, I thought: 'What could be profitable and fun in the art world?' I decided to jump into the fire and do it."

She picked the location in the Chancellor Center for The Crazy Cousin because it's close to her house, has plenty of parking and is just off Interstate 95.

Finding a name for the business was easy. When Trahern and two of her cousins from Wichita, Kan., got together at a hand-stitching retreat last year, they were laughing so much that people told them they were crazy.

"We said, 'Yes, we're the crazy cousins,'" Trahern said. "I couldn't convince them to move to Virginia, hence the name is just singular."

Cathy Jett: 540/374-5407
Email: cjett@freelancestar.com


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