We are so excited to present Improv, a new fabric line by Amy Friend of During Quiet Time for Benartex/Contempo and a coordinating Aurifil thread box! Improv marks Amy’s debut collection and we love that the prints lend themselves so perfectly to the beauty of her quilt designs. Greys, Peaches, and Golds are perfectly offset by Deep Rose hues and the absolutely perfect shade of Green… Chartreuse! Fans of Amy’s work know her for her unique use of solids to create modern quilted masterpieces. This new fabric line plays off of Amy’s love for solids, introducing mini prints as a wonderful range of blenders. Her coordinating thread collection is a perfect companion but also represents Amy’s go-to colors for her everyday quilting. These collections are on our Summer must-sew list!
THREAD COLLECTION DETAILS
100% Aurifil Cotton, 12 Large Spools, 50wt (1422yds/spool)
1147 – 2455 – 2452 – 6723 – 2420 – 2600
2610 – 1246 – 2125 – 2021 – 2315 – 4060
What first drew you to to the world of sewing and quilting?
I grew up in a house where the sewing machine table was a piece of living room furniture, frequently opened up and used by my mom to sew clothing and costumes. My mom taught me all my basic sewing skills at a young age. It wasn’t until I left my job as a museum curator to stay home with my kids that I discovered the modern quilting movement online and taught myself to quilt.
Who or what has been your greatest creative inspiration?
I think I must draw on my both my studio art training and my art history background when I create but I do so unknowingly. I most often find creative inspiration in nature, in my doodles made while on hold, and while on my morning walks.
How did you first connect with Benartex and what do you love about working with them? Benartex reached out to me as they were hoping to grow their modern fabric design branch, Contempo. I have very much enjoyed getting to know the other Contempo designers, Amanda Murphy and Cherry Guidry, who made me feel right at home at Quilt Market!
Tell us about Improv. What inspired the designs?
My designs are small scale, modern blenders. These are the types of prints that I like to use in my quilt designs. They are geometric and modern, read as solids, and work wonderfully for paper piecing. A few designs read as a cohesive background when cut up with paper piecing seams. Another design was made with fussy cutting in mind! Also, I love gradients so I created a few gradients in prints.
Do you have a favorite project or projects made with the collection?
I really love my new Triangle Toss Quilt pattern made up in this collection and designed with my improv paper piecing technique. I also love the Snowdrop pillow. Each new project becomes my favorite!
When did you first discover Aurifil threads and what do you love most about them?
I had to look this one up (something I love about blogs–they provide a great record!). I first used Aurifil in 2011 and I haven’t looked back. I love the fine 50 weight for flat seams when piecing. I also use it for quilting because I like my piecing to be the first thing you see and the quilting to blend a bit. The thread comes in beautiful colors and the sheen is gorgeous.
How did you go about selecting colors for Improv and what excites you most about releasing the collection to the world?
I knew I needed a gradient in grey created with a series of prints. I also needed a couple of soft neutrals that included a light cinnamon color. Then I selected colors based on the quilts I have made over the last year or so. I wanted to keep with colors that were true to my taste and that I actually used frequently.
To enter-to-win Amy’s Improv thread collection AND a bundle of Improv by Amy Friend for Benartex click here to head to the Rafflecopter entry page, or simply click on the image above. You do not have to complete all the options to be entered but the more options you choose, the more entries you have! Entries will be accepted from now through 11:59pm Eastern Time on Wednesday, July 26! Winner will be randomly selected and announced here on Thursday, July 27. Good luck!
Amy Friend is a former museum collections curator turned designer and modern quilter. She has authored two books published by Lucky Spool Media: Intentional Piecing and Improv Paper Piecing. Improv is her first fabric collection, newly released with Contempo, a division of Benartex. Amy enjoys lecturing and teaching in hopes of spreading her love of paper piecing and modern quilt design!
** Images, biographical text and interview text by Amy Friend