Personal: Jeanie Sumrall-Ajero and her sister Nancy Kurokawa founded Kaleidoscope Collections in 2004. Jeanie is the chief designer and creative force for the company. She is an avid photographer and has a professional background in computer technology. Jeanie enjoys hiking the trails in the Rocky Mountain foothills where she lives with her husband Ramon and their two long-haired cats, Kira & Luna.
How did you get stated in quilting? A few people noticed some of my designs in paper crafting and suggested I think about quilting.
Does anyone else in your family quilt? My mother. I got her started in quilting when she was 75 years old.
Where do you find inspiration for your quilting? Everywhere. I can’t think of a place that doesn’t provide some sort of creative inspiration if I am looking for it.
What is the one quilting tool you can’t live without? My computer. Almost all of my quilts are based on photographs that I run through Kaleidoscope Kreator software. Then I use Photoshop to flesh out initial concepts, choose color schemes, and modify designs if they don’t come together as planned. I use Adobe Illustrator to create artwork that I then digitize in Floriani Total Control Pro. I would not enjoy quilting nearly as much without my computer.
What do you like to do when you aren’t quilting? Photography. I was a photographer many years before I started quilting. I love capturing images from perspectives that most people never take the time to discover.
What was the best class you have taken? Surprisingly not a quilting class but a photography lecture. I attended Photoshop World about a year ago and sat in on a lecture by Vincent Versace. I was expecting a lecture about techniques, but found myself totally engrossed as he described his philosophy behind taking photos instead of the act of actually taking the photo. It totally changed my mindset surrounding my own photography. It also made me realize that teaching the “why’s” can sometimes be more important than teaching the “what’s” in a class.
What do you like most about sharing your product? I love to teach technical concepts to non-technical people. You would be amazed at how many concepts from traditional quilting can be used to teach technical things!
What do you want people to know when they walk away from your booth? I want them to feel like they can conquer the world! But short of that, I want them to feel confident in using the Kaleidoscope Kreator software so that they can relax and have fun with it. And I want them to discover how easy it is to get stitched designs to line up with printed designs in the embroidery hoop – no matter what kind of machine they have.
What is your best tip for quilters? Don’t be afraid to experiment with new techniques, with new colors, and with new tools. Start small – you don’t have to experiment on a big project. It is not a waste of time or materials to experiment on a small piece first – that’s where you work out any kinks without fear of ruining a bigger project!
You can find Jeanie at http://www.kalcollections.com/