Aurifil 2016 November Designer of the Month Kim Niedzwiecki

I’m Designer, Author, Radio show host Pat Sloan.. Our November Designer is the incredible designer and a good friend of mine,  Kim Niedzwiecki. She write at Go Go Kim

Once you meet Kim, you’ve made a friend for life, you just know it will be that way! I first meet her at a trade show and she came swirling around the corner (as she NEVER goes slow) all bubbly and fun in the most amazing outfit she had sewn. We hit it off and.. well.. i think we chat now every day, you are going to LOVE Kim as much as I do.

Listen to Kim chat with me  on my Talk Show Aug 12, 2013 and learn how she got the name ‘Go Go’!

Let’s get to know Kim!

Where do you live and what is your favorite spot there?

I live in a somewhat small town with my family halfway between D.C. and Richmond, VA.  Most people think I am making the the name up when I tell then I live in Spotylvania.  It is a real place and takes forever to spell out over the phone especially when you have to spell out our last name too!

You cannot swing a cat ( no cats were swung, I promise) in this part of the US without hitting at least a dozen historical sites.  Even the land our house is built on was a battlefield that occurred during the Civil War.

My favorite place and also the place I take many of my photos, is a monument that is in the back of our neighborhood.  It is an open space that is privately owned by an historical society. It has few trees ( it is uncommon here) and lots of beautiful grass.  Also nearby is downtown Fredericksburg with many quirky shops and antique shops filled with inspiration.

When was your FIRST quilt sighting?

In 1992, I met a woman through my son’s preschool class that had a quilt for her baby.  I asked her where she purchased it and when she told me she made it, I was in awe.  It was a simple patchwork with the cutest dinosaur fabrics ( I think my fabric love started way before I started sewing). She had gotten the pattern from a magazine.  WHAT!!??!!  I had no idea that these things were in magazines.

She invited me to her home and gave me the pattern from the magazine.  I still have the pattern.  This means I either really loved the pattern or I need to clean out my basement more often! Maybe both!

At the time, I did not own a sewing machine nor did I have any idea how to start but I knew that someday I wanted to make a quilt.

Did it inspire you to start quilting?

It opened my eyes to the world of quilts. It did inspire me to want to quilt. I was under the impression that even simple quilts were difficult.  I never had any idea until many years later that it is all straight stitching.  That is what I tell anyone that looks at work that they admire and is fearful that they cannot do it.  Sure you can, it is almost all straight stitching( for machine piecing anyway)!

I even encourage my kids to sew straight lines.  Just straight lines.  I just want them to be comfortable with sewing straight lines with the patchwork foot.   If they ever decide that they do want to quilt, they will know that they can sew anything by simply sewing a straight line.  My youngest son mastered straight lines and made a pillowcase for American Patchwork and Quilting 1 Million Pillowcase Challenge!

Does anyone quilt in your family?

No one in my family quilted. My grandmother sewed garments but never a quilt.

My very first hands on quilt experience was in 2001 when my friend Emma was making a patchwork quilt using squares of boiled wool. She had old sweaters that she was boiling the wool, cutting the squares and then hand stitching them all together. They were absolutely lovely.  Katy, my daughter, was about nine months at the time and loved the squares.  I asked Emma if she would mind showing me how it was done.  “Not at all!”  ( in her fantastic Irish accent), was the response. She taught me how to felt the wool cut them and hand sew the squares. I did sew some together and quickly realized that hand sewing was not in the cards for me.  I never finished that quilt but  Katy had her very first stash of gorgeous boiled wool squares of her very own.

If you still have your first project?

One of my very first quilts was for my grandson Blake.  This was the first time I ever used free motion quilting.  I was so afraid that it would look awful!  It turned out pretty cool and I found that free motion quilting is very therapeutic.

 

Did you have a career prior this?

I have done many things in my life, fingers crossed I will do many more!

Many, many, many years ago, I was in the U.S Navy as a Plane Captain for A-4 and T-2 aircraft based at NAS Miramar in the same hanger as Top Gun in San Diego. I have also been 8 hr hazmat trained to collect and dispose of household hazardous waste. I have worked in daycare and have been a full charge bookkeeper for commercial redevelopment partnerships and a property manager for one commercial/residental properties owned by one of the partnerships in the Gaslamp Quarter in Downtown San Diego.  None of this has anything to do with quilting but it did teach me that I could learn anything!

I more recent years, I was the Social Media Coordinator and Quilt Guild Donation Coordinator for Aurifil USA from 2012 until Feb 2016 and added Creative Director to that list from Feb 2015 till Feb 2016.

I absolutely loved working for Aurifil. I learned so much about quilts and the sewing industry through all of the research, and sharing for all of the social media outlets. It was so much fun organizing events with the fabric design houses, developing an implementing marketing ideas for promotion and attending Quilt Market and other events for the company.  The knowledge of the industry and the friends I made has been an incredible experience that I will always cherish.

Tell me about your design business

My personal blog My Go-Go Life and all of the social media for my blog was continued separately during the years I worked for Aurifil.  As Go-Go Kim, I continued designing my patterns, tutorials and posting sewing projects regularly.  My days were filled all things thread and my nights were filled with sewing projects and designing.

Also while working for Aurifil, I was a contributor to Moda Bake Shop, a contributor for the fun project book Kitchen Stitches for Martingale, had tutorials featured on the Liberty of London blog and guest posted on Bernina We All Sew and Sew4Home.  I have also had the great joy of being a quilt pattern tester and piecer for designers in the quilt industry.

One of my first tutorials for Liberty of London was a Cathedral Window Planner cover.

I am also thrilled to bits to be one of the designers for The Splendid Sampler with Pat Sloan, Jane Davidson and so many other talented designers!  The color block styling for these few Splendid Sampler blocks were incredibly fun to make!

If you have not joined in the thrill of the skill building fun of The Splendid Sampler, you still have time! It is the best way to learn more with a group of supportive quilters from around the world!

 

Have you had a ‘light bulb’ moment in making ?

When I started sewing in 2007,  I had absolutely no idea whatsoever as to what I was doing.  I was not brought up with people showing me how to sew and although I took a sewing class in high school, I never made anything.  I passed with a B in the class but no sewing knowledge.

Determined to teach myself how to sew, I bought a used Bernina 1005 from a local Sew and Vac in San Diego.  It was a power house of a machine.  My husband looked at me like I was insane when I told him how much a spent on it. It is a very basic, mechanical machine. No flashing lights, no fancy stitches, no embroidery and rather unimpressive looking.  He rolled his eyes ( in a way only in house engineers can do) and said something along the lines of “ I hope you can sew.”

I spent some time getting to know the Bernina but after two weeks, I changed my mind and called the store to bring it back.  The answer was no.

So there I was, me, a machine that had already won the first round and a small fabric stash that had accumulated in the corner of my home.  I am still not sure how so many fabrics made it into my house so quickly!  It was pretty overwhelming honestly.

I did not touch the machine for a few weeks and then decided that I can do this.  I can sew.  Many people sew.  It is straight lines!  So I did!  I started sewing straight lines. I started sewing zig zags, I used pul and installed zippers and designed my first pattern, a baby bib, without help.  It was so much trial and error ( mostly error) but I learned so much by making those mistakes.

My AHA moment was really just not letting the fear of what could go wrong get in the way of all that can go right!  For the wrongs, there is always Jack my Seamripper!

This sweet view master reel mini quilt was one of my first steps for me to feel more confident in my sewing and designing abilities. The pattern and tutorial for this mini quilt is available on my blog in the Free Patterns section.

I will try sewing anything at least once!  I do thrill sew!  This past May, I decided to learn more about garment sewing.  I joined #memademay on Instagram and was sewing almost a garment a day!  Many of the skills I learned in quilting helped me in garment construction and the reverse was true as well.  The challenge to try something new is very exciting!

What does your studio look like, and what would you change in it?

My Go-Go Studio is my favorite place in my home.  Even when it is in a crazy state of confusion with many projects all happening at once, everything in that space is mine!  It does not have doors ( my daughter wishes it did) but as soon as I am IN my space, I can shift from being mom to being a sewing super hero.  Okay, maybe it is not all that dramatic but once I am there surrounded and sometimes buried by color and fabric, my mind starts to go crazy with ideas on what to make next.

The only change I would make in the Go-Go Studio is the floors.  Currently they are tile and very cold.  In the late Fall and Winter they make the whole room intolerable.  Cork floors would be ideal.  This change will not be happening anytime soon, so I just move my production into the tv room that is full of windows and has carpet to help keep me warm.

Do you have a GREAT storage, organization, or label making tip?

I am always organizing my sewing studio.  It is a constant WIP!  My biggest organizational or storage ideas are usually found at the thrift shop or in my kitchen cabinets at home.  Vintage bowls, ball jars and planters found at local home improvement stores and baskets are the best for storing smaller items or items you do not use everyday.

For more storage, ladders, Ikea shelving and

This thrifted basket holds many quilts , including some beautiful vintage quilts, when they are not in use.

For my camera battery charger and extra lenses, I use a hand painted box purse I found at a local thrift shop.  As a scrappy quilter, I have a million scraps and I have no plan to get rid of them.  I wait for wire baskets to go on clearance at Target and stock up!  I love when they have the colorful ones like the red one on my shelf

This tray was found at a home shop on clearance is works perfectly for thread storage!

 

What are your 3 favorite colors of Aurifil thread?

My number one all time, hands down, no doubt about it favorite Aurifil thread color is 2600 Dove. This thread is the most versatile and blends with almost every color of fabric with the exception of pure white.  For whites and lights, I use 2026.  It is not harsh but a wonderful neutral that will blend with so many colors.

This is how much 2600 I wish I could have brought back from the Aurifil warehouse in Italy!  This would have kept me sewing for a lifetime!

My third favorite depends on what project I am working on.  With 270 incredible colors, it is next to impossible to say from one day to the next what I will need.

 

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The blue skies of Fall are beautiful. Geese Feet was inspired by the season, the sky and the geese themselves!

In Virginia we have geese. Lots of geese!   In the Spring, they come and land in a pond in the back of the neighborhood and lay eggs and then there are adorable ducklings to see.  In the Fall, there are so many that fly in and stay pretty late into the winter.  It is always fun to watch them fly overhead to see if they form a flying geese block.  My nine year old and I were walking the dog last week and he noticed that they went from two smaller V’s into one big V.  We do enjoy the geese!

This is the pond where the geese congregate.  I have the pleasure of seeing this pond everyday when I walk.

For this block I could not wait to try out Pat Sloan’s newest Sunday Drive blue batiks for Moda Fabrics! These blues are so saturated!  Really gorgeous fabrics!

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DOWNLOAD Kim’s Geese Tracks pattern

If you prefer Half Square Triangle construction, VISIT KIM for a tutorial!

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And a few on the light side…

  • Right handed or left handed.. – I am right handed but have been brushing my teeth with my left hand because I read a study that says it can help keep your brain healthier longer.
  • What is your Favorite childhood TV show? – I was born in the 60’s and grew up in the 70’s. H.R. Puffinstuff was the most trippy and incredible show! The Buggloos and Witchy Poo too…so much imagination! The 70’s had some fabulous shows for color inspiration!
  • Are you a Dog or Cat person?  Cats love me.  Cats that hate ALL other human beings on the face of the planet love me more! So, if you were to ask cats, I am a cat person.

We have a dog Tara that my son almost hit one rainy night on a back road in Nashville.  He rescued her, looked for her owners to no avail and she has lived with us for the better part of three years as he was in the Air Force and was deployed twice.  Tara would swear I am a dog person since she has been my shadow for all of this time.

My pet of choice is a chinchilla.  They are warm ,adorable, they take baths in dust and LOVE to snuggle.  We had two chins in California.  Our chinchilla Gillmore was the best!

  • The snack you crave – I am completely addicted to popcorn.  It is almost embarrassing. On top of loving those lovely popped kernels, I am a complete popcorn snob.  There is one brand I love and I make it every night. Avocado oil, white popped corn and just a little Himayalan salt is pure Heaven!

The Color you have always LOVED…..

I have always loved Aubergine but Red is my signature color.  I have red shoes, red bags, and red POPS up in my quilts all the time!  I have figured out the way to know your favorite color is to look at where your stash is lacking but what colors are making it into most of your quilts.  This for me is definitely red!

There have been so many projects I use red!

This Courthouse Steps quilt was constructed in two days and then made into a circle skirt.

I try never to waste!  These wallets were made using some of the scraps from the skirt made with the quilt above.

Trying different fabrics is another way I like to challenge myself in sewing.  This Log Cabin quilt was made using all used garments from the thrift store.  Each block is unique.  The textures and colors were amazing.

All the links that you want to share.

You can see more of my sewing adventures and patterns by visiting:

Kim Niedzwiecki
My Go-Go Life

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Each month when I pull out my fabric for these blocks I become excited about them again! BUT this time I need your help. Since I’m doing more than 2 colors, I’m not sure which way that big HST should go for color placement

COME VOTE on Opt 1 or Opt 2 & ENTER YOUR Challenge BLOCK HERE 

Are you on Facebook? I have a fantastic quilt group with the most incredible show and tell going on! You should see it! JOIN me HERE … I’d love to meet you!

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******* JOIN our Aurifil Family  *******

EACH MONTH we will pick one random winner that has made a block.. that person will receive a special Aurifil thread prize! Winners are all contacted email

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Our RANDOM picker this month selected Jan!  She has WON a BOX of Aurifil thread! Such gorgeous blocks entered .. see all the great versions HERE

REMEMBER – The Photo entry is moved to my website where more people can enter, right HERE

9 thoughts on “Aurifil 2016 November Designer of the Month Kim Niedzwiecki

  1. Is the pattern for the Cathedral Window planner Cover available anywhere? I’ve tried every way to find it and can come up with nothing. It is truly lovely.

  2. Pingback: November Aurifil Designer of the Month: Kim Niedzwiecki

  3. I love your comment about how you got started and the page in the magazine was the same one I started with and still have the fabric and tried to hand piece each piece. I have it on my bucket list to finish after hand surgery in December. This year has been a real trying year medically. You made my day with your first quilt pattern. I appreciate all you, Aurifil thread and Pat Sloan has done for me. I look forward to completion of several UFO’s next year and more from this quilting blog. Thank you.

  4. I follow Kim’s blog, and am delighted that she is this month’s designer. The Goose Feet is a fun block. Are there supposed to be more pages, though? The directions stop after making the HSTs for the soles of the feet.

  5. Pingback: In the studio this week & a Free Shipping Special... - Jacquelynne Steves

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