2013 Faculty Interview Series – Allie Aller

Allie Aller
Washougal, WA (Portland, OR Metro Area)
Allison Aller is one of our Faculty Members for the 2013 Road show.  She is teaching 4 classes: 4001 “Pretty Crazy,” 5001 “Curved ‘Piecing’ Crazy Hearts,”6001 “Essential Embroidery for Crazy Quilting and 7001 “Frame It With Flowers.”  Space is extremely limited, and only available in classes 5001 and 7001 so hurry over to road2ca.com and signup while space is available!

Matt: Where were you born and what is your birth order?
Allie: I was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the youngest and fourth child with three older brothers. Tragically, when I was 4 and he was 5, my brother Freddie died, but 10 months later my sister was born. So I am a middle child, and my sister is my best friend.

Matt: Where did you grow up?
Allie: I grew up in Grand Rapids, and spent the summers on Lake Michigan near Whitehall.

Matt: What motivated you to begin quilting?
Allie: Family matters motivated me to start quilting, as it has so many of us. My oldest brother got married when I was in high school, and he received my first quilt. 5 years later my mother had a terminal illness; quilting got me through that tough time. Ever since my mom’s quilt, I have never stopped….and that was a long time ago!

Matt: Describe your “quilting studio” — is there something in it that you just can’t live without?
Allie: My sewing room is the best room in the house! We are up on a hill, so my windows look out over the treetops to the river valley below and the foothills beyond. I have lots of storage bins full of the goodies we crazy quilters use: lace, silk ribbon, trim, beads, fancy fabrics, cottons….I just wish I had more storage! But since my husband and I became “”empty nesters””, I’ve begun taking over the living room… 😉
I think I couldn’t live without the view…..”

Matt: Does anyone else in your family quilt?
Allie: Not yet, but my son’s fiance does, so soon!

Matt: Do you have any other hobbies besides quilting?
Allie: I love to grow flowers.

Matt: Do you have children, grandchildren etc?
Allie: Our two sons are Max, 25 and Chad, 22.

Matt: Do you have any pets?
Allie: We have a cat, May, who is the subject of one of my class projects, “Frame It With Flowers”. She’s a cutie.

Matt: Do you have a favorite food, what is it?
Allie: The fresh sourdough bread that my husband Robert makes is my favorite food, with lots of butter!

Matt: What is your favorite recepe for entertaining?
Allie: Pizza, salad, and cookies….gets ’em every time.

Matt: What would be on your “Bucket List” if you could do anything and money was not an object?
Allie: I would travel to Cornwall, England and apprentice myself to Amanda Richardson, one of my very favorite textile artists. A few months under her tutelage would be a dream come true! http://www.amandarichardson.co.uk/index.php

Matt: What is the best class you have taken?
Allie: It was a piecing class from Sharon Craig, 20 years ago. It didn’t impact my work so much, but it showed me how generous, lively, and organized a quilt teacher can be. Her spirit inspires me to this day.

Matt: What is the funniest or most embarassing moment you have had happen while you were teaching?
Allie: We have a tradition in crazy quilting…students bring in thrift shop prom dresses and we cut them up, giving everyone chunks of the fancy dress fabrics. It is a fun and cheap way to increase our stash. One time a student brought in a very fancy wedding gown for this purpose and we couldn’t bear to cut it up. I told them I had worn a plain outfit when I got married, and never experienced being a traditional bride…Next thing I knew, my arms were through the sleeves (the dress was too small to actually put on), the students were arranging my veil and I had a bouquet of hand-dyed silk ribbon!

Matt: Where have you traveled in your quilting career? Any favorite locations?
Allie: I’ve been to several regions around the United States and found something to love in all of them, but I have to say that Asilomar in Monterrey, California was my favorite place to work. It is so beautiful there!!!!

Matt: What is the last book you have read, and who is your favorite author?
Allie: I just finished a biography of Bill Donovan, the founder of the OSS in World War II. (I’m a spy buff.) My favorite author of fiction is Alan Furst, whose “historical espionage” makes this reader very, very happy.

Matt: What’s the best thing about teaching?
Allie: I love meeting my wonderful students, and helping them get excited about their own creativity. It’s always a thrill and a joy when their faces light up with new smiles!