Interview with March workshop instructor Annette Ornelas


The Greater Ann Arbor Quilt Guild is thrilled to welcome Annette Ornelas of Southwind Designs for our March workshops and meeting lecture.

Annette OrnelasPP

From Annette’s website:

Southwind Designs, which began in 2000, was developed to offer students unique quilting patterns that were easy, fun and could be done by any level of quilter. Owner Annette Ornelas wanted to teach quilting in a way that would put her students at ease in a relaxed atmosphere and provide a new spin on traditional patterns and quilts.

Since then, Annette has produced eighty patterns and two books one of which, Peeled-Back Patchwork: Curves without Piecing, was published through AQS in 2004. She also developed the Dimensional Curves technique to simplify the process of piecing curved quilt-block shapes for her students.

In the last five years Southwind Designs has produced quilt patterns for Timeless Treasures Fabrics. These have been featured as limited-time downloads on their website. You can find several updated formats of these designs here.

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She is teaching two workshops to create these gorgeous wallhangings:


Mexican Stars

Friday March 18th, 2016





Dance of the Dragonflies

Sunday March 20th, 2016




Annette’s specialty is creating curved piecing – without the curves! Sound intriguing? We took a moment to chat with Annette to learn more about this technique as well as a little bit about her. Here’s what she had to say.


Q: How long have you been quilting? 

A: I have been quilting since 1991, when my husband deployed and I needed something completely different to do.

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Q: What is your favorite part about quilting?

A: My favorite part is – well everything.  – I like the designing, figuring out the design – (even the dreaded math), cutting, sewing and quilting.  Larger quits are often done by long arm quilters to save time, but I still like to quilt the smaller ones.

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Q: What is the biggest thing you hope your students take away from your class?

A: I like to inspire my students to try something new.  To just dive in and do it and realize how much they can do and have fun doing it.

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Q: You describe your quilt patterns as dimensional – can you explain more what you mean by that?

A: My curves are dimensional.  They are achieved through folded inserts, which are peeled-back, smoothed into a curvy shape and top-stitched.  They are all done through straight-line piecing – with curved results.

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Q: Piecing curves can be very intimidating for a lot of quilters but your work really embraces it. What would you say to someone who is hesitant to take a workshop because they are worried they can’t do curved piecing?

A: Since we are not actually piecing or cutting curves this technique is so much easier than traditional curved piecing.  It is great for all levels of quilters.  I know that once you learn this technique you won’t look at curves or triangles the same way.

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We also asked Annette a couple of quirky questions to get to know her better. 🙂

Q: What is your favorite color?

A: I have lots of favorite colors:  purple, green, orange.  – It all depend son how they come together.  I am a little blue challenged.  Especially grey blues – they don’t get used as much.  Overall I like the warmer colors best.

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Q: Do you have any pets? What kind and what are their names?

A: We have three dogs:  Chico – a feisty Chihuahua, who rules the roost.  Grover an older, very sweet hound dog and Max, a very energetic greyhound/retriever mix.

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Q: Do you like to listen to music/movies/audiobooks while you work in the studio or do you prefer silence?

A: It depends on what I do – straight piecing or sewing I like to listen to tv or more and more audio books.  Designing or writing I need to have a quiet studio/office.

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Q: What other hobbies/art forms do you do besides quilting?

A: I started out with sculpture, painting and stained glass and actually wanted to be a stained glass artist, then I married my husband and moved from Germany to the US, but no matter what I do I always come back to art.  Right now I am consumed by quilting.  I used to dye fabric and did some surface design, but don’t have as much time to play as before.

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Q: Unusual trivia fact about you – anything you’d like to share.

A: I was born in Germany and lived in the US for over 20 years now.  I like flowers, plants anything, botanical, but also appreciate architecture and like to go explore new things.


Many thanks to Annette for chatting with us and don’t miss the opportunity to take one (or both!) of her workshops!


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This post was written by Mary Beth Donovan

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