For many months, Auntie Alina was all by her lonesome in PA as one of the first eastern aunties of the Squad! Alina learned how to sew from her mother when she was little.
Here’s how Alina ended up making masks with a bunch of western aunties in the very beginning:
“I learned to sew with my mom when I was little. I have very fond memories of sitting next to my mom while she sewed our clothes, and I would help by cutting patterns and putting pins back into the pincushion. I loved choosing patterns and fabric with my mom. Because I was (and still am) so small, we shopped remnants because it was more affordable.
I got my first sewing machine when I was 10 – a Cabbage Patch toy with which I made many “pockets” because it didn’t do anything else. I graduated to a real sewing machine as an an adult, mostly because I needed to hem my own pants. I’ve made quilts and blankets for my nieces and nephews and other craft projects. When the pandemic first began in the U.S., I made masks for my family and friends because it was something that I could do. Masks were my love language. I still had fabric left so sent masks to my friends who worked in hospitals.
I found ASS because I followed Kristina on Instagram. I had seen Kristina’s show, “Wong Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” in graduate school at the University of Michigan. I remember being very impacted by it because of how she used knitting in the show and how honest she was about mental health (something not discussed in my family). I got the Wong t-shirt in the photo when I went to see the show again in Minnesota. ASS has helped me feel less powerless and more connected, as being in central PA away from family and friends has been difficult. I find it to be a community of activists and resisters, intensely and intentionally political. My paid work is often theoretical – we talk a lot about social justice. While I think this is helpful, sewing for ASS is doing the work of social justice.”