I am naturally drawn to memories of my mother-in-law Wini Alexander, as well. Wini became a part of this history when she moved here in 1981 at the age of 64. What an incredible impact she had on my life as well as on the history of quilting in this island community.
Below is the Winter Wonderland (my name) Sampler quilt Enchanted Quilters made in 1997 and raffled in 1998, the year before Wini died.
|1997 L-R: Wini Alexander, Carole Knutsen, Darlene Demetrick and Carol Gregory.|
In 2005, the LaConner Quilt Museum Invited me to curate an exhibit of Wini's needlework to run January - Feb 2006. It was a great catalyst to get me started in documenting her needlework. Inasmuch as I had saved 30 years of her correspondence, I relied heavily upon the letters I had saved to help create detailed documentation.
Wini helped organize many raffle quilt projects to raise funds for various non-profits throughout her quilting life. She was also instrumental in helping found the Enchanted Quilters of Lopez & Shaw Islands and the Northwest Quilting Connection, and created NQC's newsletter, serving as its editor for 12 years until her passing in August 1999. After Wini moved to Lopez Island in 1981, people occasionally addressed mail to her simply as "The Quilt Lady on Lopez Island" and the mail invariably reached her!
Another great thing about these three quilts is that the kids designed them themselves without ever suspecting their grandmother would turn them into quilts. The eldest created her self-portrait at school by laying down on butcher block paper and having someone draw around her. Then she filled in the face and clothing. When she brought this home, the others wanted to make one, too, so I found similar paper and we made two more. Then I suggested we "send them off to Grandma so she can see how much you have grown." The rest is history.
The additional wonder of these quilts for my children is that Wini used scraps from actual clothing she had made them for the clothing on each quilt, so they recognized themselves immediately!
Wini began to make a list of the quilts she had made after I gave her a journal following my lecture “Documenting Our Lives As Quilters” at a National Quilters Association meeting in Bellingham, WA, in October 1985.
-- To Be Continued --