We’ve been following Karen Lewis‘s work for years… becoming instant fans the moment we started seeing her stunning screen printed fabrics popping up in our social feeds. When she aligned with Robert Kaufman to turn those small run prints into something that could be accessed by the masses, we were smitten.
Our first range of collections with Karen focused on the bright colors of Blueberry Park — rainbow hued and like a ray of sunshine, the 50wt collections kept us smiling through every stitch.
Last Summer, we collaborated with Karen on Wabi Sabi Sewing (F&W), a project based book that utilized a variety of thread weights, including both Wool & Cotton 12wt in addition to Cotton 50wt & 28wt. It was truly a box filled with creative possibility and the colors were the perfect combination between rich and muted.
Just two days ago, on day 1 of Festival of Quilts, we launched Wayside, a new collection to coordinate with Karen’s latest range of fabrics with Robert Kaufman. The box presents 10 small spools of 50wt, with colors that are more like a whisper than a shout… muted and subtle, perfect for piecing and subtly quilted accents.
We’re so excited to see what stunning creations come from this collection and we’re itching to get started on our own projects with Karen’s Wayside fabrics!
THREAD COLLECTION DETAILS
10 Small Spools, 50wt (220yds/spool), 100% Aurifil Cotton
2420 – 2915 – 2975 – 4667 – 2000
4241 – 2606 – 4670 – 2615 – 2024
What first inspired you to start sewing?
I have always sewn and as far back as I can remember have always had a thing for textiles. When the world of the internet opened up and I found more and more links to different makes and makers my addiction to sewing and textiles became even stronger.
What is your absolute favorite thing that you’ve ever made?
That’s such a toughie! I think it is probably my Breaking Rules quilt in my book Wabi Sabi Sewing. It includes all my favourite things about sewing… mixing different substrates together in a project…hand quilting and not worrying about everything being uniform and perfect. In fact the more imperfect the better!
You’ve been designing for Robert Kaufman for a while now — what do you love most about working with them?
Prior to working with Robert Kaufman my fabric design and printing was limited to Fat Quarter size, or just under, and to be given the opportunity by Robert Kaufman to see my designs in yardage was and still is a big thrill.
Can you tell us about Wayside and what inspired the designs?
In between Blueberry Park and Wayside we moved house and location and Wayside was definitely borne out of being subject to new sights in my new neighbourhood. We wanted to produce a collection that was of a neutral palette after the saturation of colour of Blueberry Park and to add a touch of sparkle in it which I love!
Do you have a favorite project made with the collection?
I think my favourite project is actually the quilt I did for Nicholas Ball’s book hop for his new book Inspiring Improv. I thoroughly enjoyed the different (for me) process of making that quilt and the delight with how it turned out.
Your coordinating thread collection has a wonderfully soft color palette, a truly stunning collection of neutrals that would be any quilter’s dream collection. How did you go about selecting colors?
Thank you! I’m so delighted with how the collection looks and hope it will be a great addition to everyone’s thread stash. I selected the colours based on the colours of Wayside, picking out the neutrals, the metallic and throwing in a couple of variegated to go with it. I think it will work well with whatever fabric it is paired with…but hopefully that will be plenty of Wayside!
We noticed that you’ll be the featured designer for the 2020 Quilter’s Planner — Congratulations! What does this honor mean to you as a designer?
I was absolutely thrilled to be asked by Stephanie to be the featured designer for 2020… such an honour! To be thought of so highly, with so many talented designers in our industry, and to be given this accolade makes me very proud. I love the Planner and so to use it all next year seeing my designs throughout will be such a buzz.
Where can we find you in the coming year — what fun plans do you have on the horizon?
2019 has been a helluva year, with a lot of what I have been working on coming out next year which will be fun! I’m going to be teaching in Denmark and Canada later this year which I am excited about and you’ll be able to see me travelling to other places in 2020 so keep a look out for that!
Your thread collection launches at Festival of Quilts in Birmingham this week — Just for fun:
What do you love most about Festival of Quilts?
Definitely meeting up with everyone!
How long will it take you to get there?
I’m only a couple of hours away by train…much easier than Quiltcon!
Where and when will we find you?
I’ll be there Friday and Saturday and most of the time hanging out on your stand!
Website — Blog — Instagram — Facebook — Stitch Gathering — The Thread House
Karen Lewis is based on the edge of Leeds, Yorkshire, where she spends her days printing, quilting, and designing new fabric collections for Robert Kaufman. She loves traveling and goes all over the world teaching, printing, and quilting. When she is not working, she is usually rambling around the local countryside with her scrumptious puppy Scout, any of her 3 (almost) grown up children, and her hubby.
** Images by Karen Lewis