270 Shades of (Everything Under the Sun including) Grey

One of the things we love most about Quilt Market is the opportunity to showcase some of the gorgeous work of some very talented designers. It’s particularly exciting when we have new pieces to debut, like with this stunner by Sari Thomas of Sariditty. “270 Shades of (Everything Under the Sun including) Grey” features our 40wt thread in, you guessed it, all 270 colors! When Sari presented the idea earlier this year, we just knew it would be a beauty.

Hi Sari!! It was so fabulous to meet you at QuiltCon this year! I think that is the first time we talked about doing something to showcase our threads — all 270 colors — in a quilt, loosely inspired by our 270 Colors Quilt by Sheri Cifaldi-Morrill. What drew you to the idea?
I was so happy to finally meet some of the faces behind the Aurifil team! When Sheri showed me her 50wt quilt she made, I was so drawn to the effectiveness of it really showing off that weight used on a quilt. I’m used to using 50wt quite often, both in my own piecing as well as in longarm quilting for others. From there, I just knew I wanted to really show off a quilt that was strictly stitches and no fabric piecing to compete with the threads.

Can you tell us a little about your process — thread weight used, how you settled on spirals for the quilting, etc?
More often than not, my quilting clients tend to opt for a lighter weight thread for the quilting since it blends in and “hides” a bit, so I’m always using 50wt, 60wt, 80wt, or 100wt. However, I personally love using 40wt (and sometimes heavier) threads so that the stitching has a bit more of a pop and inclusiveness to the overall finished quilt. With the Aurifil quilt, which I decided to call “270 Shades of (Everything Under the Sun including) Grey,” I felt that an overall display of spirals in every 40wt thread color would really be eye-catching. The more you look at the spirals, the more it plays with your mind and keeps the eye traveling across the quilt only to notice more and more colors as the layout fades from shade to shade.

What fabrics did you use for the quilt? 
I really didn’t want fabric and piecing to compete with the effect of the 270 spirals, so I opted for Art Gallery Fabrics Pure Elements white for the quilt top. I love working with and quilting on AGF cotton — it’s such a crisp and chic fabric content that only supports and shows off any type of thread and quilting design. The backing and binding are both from the AGF Denim Studio — to me, denim is an all-around neutral that looks good with absolutely any color.

What was your favorite part about creating the quilt? 
As simple as it sounds, I loved the mathematical aspect of configuring this quilt. I knew that my grid of spirals would be 15 wide and 18 deep. Each spiral is 4.25″ diameter with about 1/4″ space between each. Once I locked in the first spiral how I wanted it, I saved it as a file in my Handi Quilter Pro-Stitcher and simply re-quilted the same design 269 more times.

What was the most challenging part? 
Like I said above…269 more spirals after the first one was set and done. That was pretty challenging in that I had to maintain my ghost grid as I went; change the thread each and every time; stop and start when my bobbin needed changing from dark versus light; and somehow not get severe vertigo from staring at the spirals for so long. Each row took me 1hr 15minutes from start to finish…and if you do the math, that added up to a lot of standing time and back aches. Hah!

Any tips for working with Aurifil’s 40wt thread?
I really loved quilting with the 40wt on this project! On a longarm, you always set the bobbin tension first and then adjust the top thread. Just make sure you do set bobbin perfectly first then likely loosen the top tension a bit so that the heavier top thread isn’t pulling the bobbin thread up and through the quilt top.

Are there any particular spirals that ended up being your favorites? 
That’s such a good question! I think in every row I ended up choosing a favorite, which was quickly beat out by the next row’s favorite. But in the end I did have a few that really stood out to me with their coloration:

  • 4647 – I love this one because it’s kind of patriotic red, white, and blue at first, but upon closer look it’s more magenta, white, and aqua.
  • 4651 – I really, really love this spool!! The variegated cream, citrus, and lilac is majorly swoon worthy to me!
  • 1135 – I have no idea what the official name of this yellow is, but it’s so yummy and reminiscent of spring daffodils and buttercups. I love this one!
  • 1148 – I also really love how this aqua/teal looks stitched out! I was instantly thinking of the beaches in Puerto Rico, where I grew up, when I used this color!

What’s next? Where can we find you this Summer?
I’m all over the place with teaching and making this summer! I’ll be in Salt Lake City teaching at the Handi Quilter Academy at the end of June. Nicole Young and I will be teaching our premier Saki Butterfly Quilt Workshop in early August at HipStitch in Albuquerque, NM. In between that, I’ll be in my studio quilting away on client quilts, finishing up a few secret-for-now projects, and plotting and planning the next big To Dos for this fall and early 2018. Nicole and I have a few patterns coming out over the next few months as well as a couple fun extras that we’re excited to share. And, as always, I can be found online for day to day updates and contact: www.sariditty.com and @sariditty

A rainbow of thread ends!

Thanks so much to Sari, both for sharing a bit of her process with us and for creating such a magnificent quilt!!

ABOUT SARI
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Sari is the creator, owner, designer, and chief (and only) executive officer behind the scenes of {sariditty handmade}. She spends her time making colorful textile creations, instructing fitness classes at the nearby university, and enjoying her furry tribe.

Officially she is a licensed commercial pilot. She graduated from Purdue University with a B.S. in Aviation Technology, where she then went on as the chief pilot for an engineering firm for a couple years. She married a long-time college friend in 2011 who was already an Air Force officer in Charleston, South Carolina. After their “I dos,” the moving truck was loaded up, and Sari was on to a new southern chapter in her life…

Sari discovered by chance that she has a natural knack for completely uninhibited free motion quilting. So much so, in fact, that she’s classified her personal FMQ touch as Sketchbook Quilting. She loves the opportunity to quilt for others and also for her own creative projects.

[photos and biographical text by Sari Thomas]

7 thoughts on “270 Shades of (Everything Under the Sun including) Grey

  1. I love that the quilting stands on its own without any piecing. What an accomplishment!! Love those variegated spirals. Thank you for telling us about this quilt.

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