Aurifil 2017 June Designer of the Month – Sarah Maxwell

2017 Aurifil DOM June Sarah Maxwell collage.jpg I’m Designer, Author, Talk Show host Pat Sloan.

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This year we are celebrating the rainbow of colors in our color wheel. Each designer is assigned a color to create their block in.

Spinning around the color wheel we land on RED-ORANGE this month.

Sarah told me she had the perfect shades to make her block, which is Stunning by the way!

Hosting the Aurifil Designer of the month means that i make lots of new friends, and also catch up with life long friends…like Sarah! We have been huge fans of each other’s work for many years and have done lots of collaborations.. like joining us for the Splendid Sampler book & I joined her for the Dandy Drive Sew along using her fabrics and mine! (download her free patterns for this super cute quilt)

Sarah and I chatted on my talk show 2/8/16, take a listen

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Each designer is sending me a photo of fabric with their thread color so I can build a fun collage of the color wheel with them.

Missed a month?

CLICK FOR PRIOR DESIGNER interviews

Remember we have a Challenge portion of our Designer of the Month interview.

Each month we select one random winner to receive a 12 spool BOX of Aurifil thread for just making the challenge block and sharing it at my website! (details at the end plus last month’s winner!)

Let’s get to know Sarah!

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

I live in a small town called Mexico in Missouri—it leads to lots of funny mishaps with shipping as things often get routed to the country of Mexico by mistake.

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When was your FIRST quilt sighting?

I grew up in a small town and when I left for college, I went through the family linen closet (yes, my mom actually had a “linen closet”), looking for things I could take for my room. I had always admired coveted wanted a beautiful appliqued dogwood quilt made by a favorite aunt but it had always been off-limits while I was growing up. My mom had a weak moment as I got ready to leave the nest & let me take the quilt to college to decorate my bed. Who knew it would inspire a whole career.

(Dandy Drive Kits.. while they last & Free Patterns)

Did you have a career prior this, what was it?

I’m a licensed attorney with an emphasis in employee benefits and employment law.

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Have you had a ‘light bulb’ moment in making

My light bulb moment occurred in relation to making half-square triangle units. When I first started quilting there was a really popular ruler out which supposedly made more accurate and more efficient units. I felt obligated to use it. And, I really disliked the technique. But because all the patterns and books at the time focused on the method, I kept using it.

Then, papers became all the rage. More recently it’s a variety of templates and rulers for cutting and trimming HST units.

Through all the evolutions and “improvements”, I’ve returned every single time to cutting triangle units with my trusty 6” x 14” ruler and 60 mm rotary cutter and trimming off the “dog ears” with a point trimmer.

My a-ha moment and my advice to every quilter is: “Embrace what you love. Don’t think you have to use a technique or a method because everyone else is or because it’s the hot, new trend. Quilting is supposed to be fun, not frustrating or stressful.”

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

My studio . . . the good news is I have a studio. I’m fortunate that I have a dedicated space for my quilting.

The bad news is it currently looks like an F-5 tornado went through it. I’m always running from project to project, deadline to deadline and I absolutely LOVE so many fabric styles that I tend to accumulate, hoard, gather more than I can possibly use. Rest assured I have great plans for pretty much every single thing in my sewing room (and in my daughter’s room, . . . and in the basement . . . and . . .). Of course, I’ll need to live to be 1,846 to execute all of those plans.

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Do you have a GREAT tip?

I love to design quilts with LOTS of fabrics. Even as I’ve moved to more contemporary, modern design, I still love incorporating many different low volume backgrounds or many prints in my chosen shades. To help make cutting less daunting, I often cut some extra pieces in my go-to sizes when I’m working on a project. Those go into plastic bins so when I’m working on a quilt that uses 2” strips, I can easily pull out the bin & add more variety to my project without having to cut from hundreds of pieces each time.

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What are your 3 favorite colors of Aurifil thread?

Color 2606 is my all-time favorite shade—I use it for everything from piecing to quilting to applique.

Then, for colorful shades, I love 1243—a great, vibrant purple and 2740, bright, royal blue.

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Anything else you’d like to share? 

Right now I’m totally obsessing over my “A Shout, a whisper, a Text” fabric. It officially debuted at QuiltCon earlier this year and started shipping to shops in May. The line is all about conversation. . . there’s a print written in Morse code; there’s a print written in shorthand. And I colored it so most of the rainbow is represented color-wise. The prints work great in my new Wheels pattern.

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My Checks Mix quilt featuring my Color Crush woven flannel plaids is in the new issue of American Patchwork & Quilting.

Watch for Shout quilts coming soon in an upcoming issue of Quilts and More and in Quiltmaker.

I have new batiks and other new fabrics debuting later this fall so I’ll have a new obsession soon.

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What is it about your color that inspired you? 

If you haven’t guessed by now, I LOVE LOVE LOVE color. There really isn’t a color I dislike (as evidenced by my current focus on fabric lines that span the rainbow.) When I was assigned “red-orange”, I started thinking about all the shades . . . from coral to persimmon to geranium . . . It seemed every flower I saw had some variation of red-orange. And a friend even sent me a photo of her husband’s car for inspiration (thanks, Kat!).

I knew my Shout line had some pieces that would work in a block. Then as I was working on some new patterns, I discovered that my fabrics blend perfectly with a lot of Alison Glass’ prints. Totally happy coincidence and stroke of luck for me since I am a total fan girl of her work.

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I mentioned earlier, I still love to use as many fabrics as possible in my designs. So, I picked 3 backgrounds from my Shout line, a bright, light red-orange (coral) from Shout, two Alison prints and a Moda Grunge for my block & started playing. I’ve been working on several designs with woven, interlacing elements that will debut soon so this block just naturally headed in that direction with the star elements being super-imposed on top of the squares.

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DOWNLOAD Sarah’s June Challenge Block

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And a few on the light side…

  • Are you a Dog or Cat person?….. or maybe something else??

I am a crazy cat lady cat person. I would have a whole cat farm if it wouldn’t lead to divorce. Currently, 3 cats reside with me—although they all “officially” belong to my daughters. Nora often inserts herself in my work—she’s an attention hog so if I spend too much time at the computer or sewing machine, she finds a way to get involved so if you follow my media, you’ve seen photos of her.

  • What is your favorite book you have ever read?

I’m an avid reader so narrowing it down to just one is really tough. But, if you really, really force me to pick a single title, I’m going with Dancing on Broken Glass by Ka Hancock. It’s outside my normal wheelhouse of thrillers or scary books (I have read every Stephen King book ever published, even the ones under pseudonyms). Dancing on Broken Glass is a beautifully written, heartbreaking, but ultimately uplifting story. Go read it. (Maybe grab some Kleenex, too.)

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Visit Sarah at:

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Help me Pick the fabrics to use for Block 6!

ENTER YOUR BLOCK so you can be in the running to win a box of thread, last month’s winner is below

And  JOIN my fantastic online quilt group with the most incredible  quilt show each day… 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 is Sharon!  She has WON a BOX of Aurifil thread! Such gorgeous blocks entered .. see all the great versions HERE

3 thoughts on “Aurifil 2017 June Designer of the Month – Sarah Maxwell

  1. Pingback: Aurifil DOM: June Block – Happy Hour Stitches

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