Last week, we welcomed Kristi McDonough (also of Schnitzel & Boo) to the Aurifil family and we’re thrilled to have the opportunity to introduce you to her here! As our Technical Creative Specialist, Kristi will wear a LOT of hats! From being the voice of tips & tricks, to posting tips and answering questions via Thread Matters (a monthly blog series on Auribuzz), to filming live demo videos, to working with us for shows throughout the year, and more, Kristi will be an active part of our Marketing team. We wanted to take a moment to get to know her a bit better, learn about her background and expertise, and give you all the outlets to reach her when needed!
Yay Kristi! Welcome to the Aurifil team! To kick things off, can you tell us a little about yourself and how you got started in this fabulous industry of ours?
Thank you! It’s a pretty “pinch-me” thing to be a part of Aurifil! I’m thrilled to join such a well-respected and loved company. I got started in this industry by learning how to sew when I was five years old. I can remember being fascinated by the balance wheel (now called a handwheel) on my Mom’s old Singer. It was so shiny and I liked to reach out and stop it when she was sewing. She put a stop to that pretty quickly and asked if I wanted to learn how to sew. Of course, I told her yes, so she had me sit on the opposite side of the table as her (far out of reach of that glorious, shiny, spinning wheel) and said I was allowed to pull the pins out of her fabric. (That just goes to show you we’ve always been sewing over our pins, right?) Eventually she taught me how to sew for real, and I grew up taking apart my clothes so I could figure out how to put them back together. I went to college for fashion design and eventually found my way to pattern design. I was lucky enough to work with a fabric designer on a collection of patterns, which helped put my name out there. The patterns were never released, but I do have just over 30 of them ready to go at any given moment!
Who or what has been your greatest creative inspiration?
This is a challenging question to answer. So many things pop into my head: color, my daughter, Vincent Van Gogh, my mother, nature, my sister, other sewists and quilters. Katy Jones is a huge inspiration to me. She’s actually responsible for my crossover from garments to quilting…I guess there isn’t any one particular greatest inspiration, I find that everything presents itself differently, so my creativity is challenged in it’s own way every time.
You are part of a pretty creative family with a quilting mom and a daughter, whom you taught to sew when she was three. What do you love most about creating as a family?
I am quite lucky in that aspect! My daughter and I are finally at a stage where I don’t have to hover over her and watch her every move. I can sit at my sewing machine, and she can sit at hers, and we can both work independently. I think that’s pretty cool, especially because she’s only eight years old. Mom and I are known for calling each other during a sewing project and leaving each other on speaker. Sometimes we talk, sometimes we don’t. Sometimes we’ll watch the same movie while we’re sewing and “talking”. Sometimes we’ll just bounce ideas off each other or ask advice. I especially love those kinds of sewing sessions, it’s the next best thing to being able to sew in the same room! It’s nice when everyone “gets it”. Now that he’s a woodworker, even my husband understands when I say “Honey, I need to go to the fabric store! I don’t have the right fabric for this project!” I can’t tell you how many times he’s come up from the wood shop and said “I have to go to Home Depot, I don’t have the right color stain!” I just smile and nod.
What is the very first thing that you remember sewing? Do you still have it?
I wish I could remember! I can tell you one of my earliest sewing-related memories, though. (Aside from pulling pins, I mean.) I had a little bright red polyester jumper that fit my favorite stuffed animal (a monkey). The jumper had a blue plastic puffy bunny sticker on it, right in the middle of the chest. My mom was sewing and had the ironing board set up. I had been playing in the room while she was working and I thought that little jumper needed to be ironed, too. So, I placed it on the board and set the iron right on top of the sticker; just in time for my mom to turn around and watch me place that hot iron onto the plastic. When she pulled the iron away, a millisecond later, the bunny was melted to the iron and there were strings of the plastic connecting the iron to the jumper. It was so sad for both of us. Not only had I ruined my monkey’s outfit, but I had also ruined her iron! I definitely learned how to use an iron properly after that!
What is your favorite thing to sew now?
I love really, really love quilting, foundation paper-piecing, bags and anything challenging.
How did you first discover Aurifil thread and what do you love most about it?
I heard the buzz on Instagram several years ago but didn’t catch on until I received a few spools in some retreat goody bags. I love that it comes in so many different colors and options from wool to 80wt and that it is such a high quality product. I’m a perfectionist when I sew, and I’m a total quality snob. If I’m going to take the time to make something, and I’m going to spend my money on supplies for a project, then I’m going to get the best. If you want a beautiful result, you use beautiful products!
If you could be one spool of Aurifil thread, what would you be?
I’d be 50wt in color number 6723 on an iconic orange spool because I’m a rule breaker and that’s my neutral! (6723 is a pretty shell pink, by the way.)
What are you most excited about in the coming year?
I’m really looking forward to traveling, both for work and with my family. I’m excited to see how my role with Aurifil develops, and where it will take me. I have a few other exciting things that I’m working on, but can’t really say what they are. I told myself that this would be the year that I would finally start accomplishing my goals, and so far it’s been successful!
Where will we see you out and about in the quilty world?
I will be at QuiltCon this coming weekend, possibly the Chicago Quilt Festival in April, Quilt Market in St. Louis in May, maybe teaching in Seattle in June, Houston in October and hopefully some other places in between.
If our followers have a question for you, what is the best way to contact you?
I can be reached via email at email@example.com. For Aurifil questions, problems or concerns, you can find me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you’re on Instagram and need to ask a quick question, you can tag #askaurifil and I’ll be there!!
Any top tips to share?
When garment or toy sewing, instead of clipping notches wherever your pattern indicates, use a pair of pinking shears to cut the seam in half. You will reduce bulk in the seam and produce a more professional result in the process.
And, to draw inspiration from our Aurifil DOM Queen, Pat Sloan, a few fun questions to round things out —
What is your favorite…
Book? “Coming Home” by Rosamunde Pilcher and the entire “Outlander” series by Diana Gabaldon.
Band? Jonny Lang, Lynrd Skynrd, Eric Church, Notorious B.I.G., Alt-J, Zero 7. My taste in music is all over the place!
Drink? Homemade lemonade, and cheater moonshine-but only if I’m with a few certain friends.
Place to Visit? England. I haven’t been there yet, but it’s still my favorite! Otherwise Italy and wherever my mom is.
If you’d like to follow along with Kristi’s adventures, you can find her in the following places:
Thanks so much Kristi! We are thrilled to have you on our team and are looking forward to the coming year:).