So happy to welcome Alejandrina to our Member Highlight page.
What draws you to modern quilting?
I’m a lover of texture and bold graphics, with little room for cuteness. Give me geometry, asymmetry, minimalism, color block, abstract fabric designs. Modern quilting is all that, so it fits right in. Currently I’m particularly drawn to my mountains of scrap, improvising (hail Debra Jalbert and Sarah Lauzon), but the scrap pile is not getting any smaller. Improvisation is so liberating and exhausting at the same time but ultimately most rewarding.
I’m very happy to see the resurgence of hand work: needle turn applique and hand quilting are favorite techniques and I love using them in a modern setting.
Do you consider yourself a beginner, intermediate or advanced quilter?
I’m probably an intermediate quilter, if only because I’ve been doing it for so long. Some techniques I do well, others not so much. I used to agonize because not all points matched; now I don’t worry or choose a pattern where perfect points don’t count; that must be what “intermediate” means.
How long have you been quilting?
In the late 1980s we used to live 30 minutes from Lancaster, PA, Amish country and would often go there for a Saturday trip. I loved all those quilts but never thought to attempt them, as I was into cross-stitch. One weekend we stopped in a quilt shop and, on a whim, signed up (husband and I) for a quilting class that was none other than needle-turn applique but we didn’t know what that was. One of my most cherished mental images is thinking of my husband, in a business suit and tie, in an airplane, taking out his plastic container with bits of fabric and attempt to sew them onto a background. Can you imagine the other passengers’ looks?
Mid-1990s, I signed up for a community college quilting class where everything was by hand. What a joy was to discover the rotary cutter after that! Next came my trusty Pfaff and a huge Horn cabinet and more fabric that is advisable.
At that time there was very little modern quilting, so I stuck to more traditional forms, even though I was lucky to live near a couple of quilt shops that were, at a minimum, contemporary. I used to do a lot of needle-turn applique because I’ve had very good teachers: my friend Joy Shelton and the many classes with Mary Sorensen. But I didn’t know that I loved modern quilting until...I saw the Gee’s Bend article in the New York Times and my world completely changed. At about that time a friend mentioned the Orlando Modern Quilt Guild, thinking I’d enjoy the group. Was she right! When I joined there were about 25-30 members; I am absolutely enchanted with the Guild’s growth, all my new friends and our 10 years in the bag. Go OMQG!!
Besides quilting what activities do you enjoy?
I like to read and cook. At this point, all three enthusiasms are getting in each other’s way so I’m struggling to find the happy balance point. Maybe it’s a part of getting old, who knows. I’ve been retired for a couple of years and I’m still looking for the daily structure that “going to work” provides. All I DO know is I’m happiest when I’m sewing.
What types of workshops, speakers, challenges, do you enjoy?
I love to learn or improve techniques. Since closet(s) are bulging with unfinished projects, I’m happy with classes that show a technique and don’t expect me to finish anything. It took a while to realize that not everything must be completely done. The Guild’s challenges, bees and special interest groups have been very beneficial to try new things. Last but not least, I love making quilts for others -- the Pulse quilts or the 70273 Project in addition to our yearly initiatives. The Guild has been a powerful force in giving to the community and I love it all the more for it.