We’re proud to welcome award-winning quilter, Andi Perejda, to the Craftsy community. She instructs the fun, new class, Hand-Quilting Heirloom Design and Technique. But in this free video, rather than teach technique, we asked her to tell us a bit more about herself, what her background is, why she loves teaching, and some of the most exciting moments in her quilting career. Check it out below, and then be sure to check out her class for 25% off!
I’m Andi Perejda. That’s short for Andrea. I was born in Kalamazoo, Michigan. And I trained as a scientist. So for a long time I worked on the other side of my brain, studying cell biology. I got a doctorate in that, and did research for a number of years. And then I started a family. I decided that I needed to stay home with my kids. So I took up quiltmaking back in about 1991, and I’ve been obsessed with it ever since.
I did a lot of sewing as a child. I started in 4-H at the age of 9, making a DIRNDLE skirt, and a little Peter Pan-collared blouse that I entered in the fair. And I did a lot of clothing construction in high school and so forth. But I pretty much gave up sewing while I’d gone to college and graduate school. So it was fun to start it up again as an adult.
I think I’m motivated to keep trying new things just out of sheer passion for trying new things. I’m a very curious person. I become motivated by going to other quilt shows and seeing people’s work, also by nature and travel, and seeing facades of old buildings and getting ideas for quilting motifs, or taking photos of landscapes and translating those into quilts.
Lately I’ve been doing a lot with surface design on fabric. And I’ve been having a lot of fun just doing it with other people and trying new techniques.
I made a quilt recently called “What Planet Am I On?” It’s full of improvisational quilting designs. I really didn’t draw them on to the fabric and then quilt them. I just quilted whatever I was thinking would be appropriate on that particular spot. I think it’s been a lot of fun to try to do that just off the cuff, and be stimulated by my own drawings and doodles, let’s call them.
Teaching is fun because you get to meet other quilters, and you can get a lot of energy from other people’s interests. And you can learn things from them, as well, even when you’re teaching. So I think just the interaction with people—quilters tend to be very kind people, very generous people in general.
I’ve been a part of a quilting bee for about 18 years. When you join a quilting bee, you’re sitting with other women, you’re hearing about their experiences in life and with children and with quilting. And it does bring people together. We try things together, we try new techniques. We’ve made opportunity quilts for the guild together. We’ve entered shows together and have gone to see each other’s work in shows. So, it’s been a really sort of supportive network of friends. And I’m really appreciative of that.
The excitement comes when you win an award for something you’ve made, I think. Well, there’s other ways, too. But it really is fun to get a call from a major quilt show, telling you you’ve won a great prize, and “by the way, would you like to fly there and accept your reward?” Of course you would! It’s a lot of fun! So that’s happened to me a few time, and I have to say that’s very exciting. It’s just the little moment of time that passes very quickly, but it’s wonderful.
Hand-quilting is a very relaxing art. I can get quite a bit done in a single evening, if I just relax and put my feet up on the foot-stool and start going. It takes your mind off of a lot of other things. You can just get into the zen of quilting and find a very peaceful couple of hours at a time.