Aurifil for AGF: Bari J & Pat Bravo

It’s our final day for our Aurifil for AGF blog series! We’ve so enjoyed introducing you to all of the amazingly talented designers of Art Gallery Fabrics. We have two more to share with you today and we’re pretty darn excited!

Back in 2015, we launched Aurifil thread boxes to match with the identity of each Art Gallery Fabrics designer. The best thing about this is that the threads aren’t specific to one fabric collection but rather were selected to match a designer’s signature palette. With that in mind, these collections work just as well with the brand new fabric collections as they did with those that released back in 2015. Pretty amazing, right? We hope you enjoy hearing more about these fabulous women AND don’t miss our super sweet giveaway! It will stay open for 1 more week!

Today, we meet Bari J and the heart and soul of Art Gallery Fabrics, Pat Bravo!

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Aurifil for AGF: April Rhodes & Amy Sinibaldi

We’re in week 2 of our Aurifil for AGF blog series! This week, we’re introducing you to a few more of the talented designers of Art Gallery Fabrics. Back in 2015, we launched Aurifil thread boxes to match with the identity of each Art Gallery Fabrics designer. The best thing about this is that the threads aren’t specific to one fabric collection but rather were selected to match a designer’s signature palette. With that in mind, these collections work just as well with the brand new fabric collections as they did with those that released back in 2015. Pretty amazing, right? We hope you enjoy hearing more about these fabulous women AND don’t miss our super sweet giveaway!

Today, we meet Amy Sinibaldi and April Rhodes, two fabulous designers for Art Gallery Fabrics.

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Aurifil for AGF: Maureen Cracknell

We’re in week 2 of our Aurifil for AGF blog series! This week, we’re introducing you to a few more of the talented designers of Art Gallery Fabrics. Back in 2015, we launched Aurifil thread boxes to match with the identity of each Art Gallery Fabrics designer. The best thing about this is that the threads aren’t specific to one fabric collection but rather were selected to match a designer’s signature palette. With that in mind, these collections work just as well with the brand new fabric collections as they did with those that released back in 2015. Pretty amazing, right? We hope you enjoy hearing more about these fabulous women AND don’t miss our super sweet giveaway!

Today, we meet Maureen Cracknell of Maureen Cracknell Handmade! Her Bohemian Garden collection comes in both Large and Small boxes of 50wt thread for maximum versatility. The colors were perfectly selected to coordinate with Maureen’s Art Gallery Fabrics collections, including her newly released Soulful and Garden Dreamer collections, along with Nightfall, Fleet and Flourish, and Wild & Free. We always love seeing what Maureen is up to, whether a fun event like the Sewcial Bee Sampler, or some new and fabulous thread sketching project. Follow along with her Instagram account for all sorts of inspiration!

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Aurifil for AGF: Sew Caroline

We’re back for week 2 of our Aurifil for AGF blog series! This week, we’ll introduce you to a few more of the talented designers of Art Gallery Fabrics. Back in 2015, we launched Aurifil thread boxes to match with the identity of each Art Gallery Fabrics designer. The best thing about this is that the threads aren’t specific to one fabric collection but rather were selected to match a designer’s signature palette. With that in mind, these collections work just as well with the brand new fabric collections as they did with those that released back in 2015. Pretty amazing, right? We hope you enjoy hearing more about these fabulous women AND don’t miss our super sweet giveaway!

Today, we meet Caroline Hulse of Sew Caroline! Her Sweet Pea collection comes in a Large box of 40wt thread and a small box of 50wt thread, both for use in so many of Caroline’s apparel and home decor projects and patterns. The colors were perfectly selected to coordinate with Caroline’s Art Gallery Fabrics collections, including her newly released Here Comes the Sun collection, Chalk and Paint, Happy Home, and Gleeful. Caroline’s Instagram feed is a burst of color and inspiration, featuring everything from charming bits of home décor to a sweet variety of maternity and children’s clothing. Caroline’s wardrobe is completely covetable and she works hard to share her tips and tutorials for how to do it yourself on her blog, Sew Caroline.

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Aurifil for AGF: Bonnie Christine

We’re here for our final day of week 1 of our Aurifil for AGF blog series! Next week, we’ll be introducing you to more of the talented designers of Art Gallery Fabrics, to herald their work, and shine a light on their fabulous thread collections. Back in 2015, we launched Aurifil thread boxes to match with the identity of each Art Gallery Fabrics designer. The best thing about this is that the threads aren’t specific to one fabric collection but rather were selected to match a designer’s signature palette. With that in mind, these collections work just as well with the brand new fabric collections as they did with those that released back in 2015. Pretty amazing, right? We hope you enjoy hearing more about these fabulous women AND don’t miss our super sweet giveaway!

Today, we meet Bonnie Christine of Going Home to Roost! Her Going Home to Roost Essentials collection comes in both Large and Small boxes, offering our extremely versatile 50wt thread in a wonderfully warm array of colors. Going Home to Roost Essentials provides the perfect colors for use with any of Bonnie Christine’s Art Gallery Fabrics collections, including her upcoming Lambkin collection, Wonderful Things, Hello Ollie, and Forest Floor. We love following along with Bonnie Christine’s home adventures on Instagram as she and her family build a farmhouse and make a home in the woods in North Carolina.

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Aurifil for AGF: Jeni Baker

We’re having so much fun with our Aurifil for AGF blog series! For the next 2 weeks, we’ll be introducing you to the talented designers of Art Gallery Fabrics, to herald their work, and shine a light on their fabulous thread collections. Back in 2015, we launched Aurifil thread boxes to match with the identity of each Art Gallery Fabrics designer. The best thing about this is that the threads aren’t specific to one fabric collection but rather were selected to match a designer’s signature palette. With that in mind, these collections work just as well with the brand new fabric collections as they did with those that released back in 2015. Pretty amazing, right? We hope you enjoy hearing more about these fabulous women AND don’t miss our super sweet giveaway!

Today, we meet Jeni Baker of In Color Order! Jeni’s Tid Bits collection comes in both Large and Small boxes, offering the sweetest selections of our 40wt thread. A wonderful lineup of neutral, warm, and cool tones, Tid Bits has everything you need to work with any of Jeni’s five collections for Art Gallery Fabrics – Color Me Retro, Nordika, Dreamin’ Vintage, Geometric Bliss, & Curiosities. We absolutely adore Jeni’s use of color and her amazing knack for mixing prints, and can’t get enough of the fabulous tips & tricks that she shares on her blog in addition to the super cute photos of her famous bunny George!

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Aurifil for AGF: Katarina Roccella

It’s the second day for our Aurifil for AGF blog series! For the next 2 weeks, we’ll be introducing you to the talented designers of Art Gallery Fabrics, to herald their work, and shine a light on their fabulous thread collections. Back in 2015, we launched Aurifil thread boxes to match with the identity of each Art Gallery Fabrics designer. The best thing about this is that the threads aren’t specific to one fabric collection but rather were selected to match a designer’s signature palette. With that in mind, these collections work just as well with the brand new fabric collections as they did with those that released back in 2015. Pretty amazing, right? We hope you enjoy hearing more about these fabulous women AND don’t miss our super sweet giveaway!

Today, we meet Katarina Roccella of Like Flowers and Butterflies! Katarina’s Voluminous collection contains both 50wt and 40wt thread, making it absolutely perfect for piecing, quilting, apparel, and more! It is available in both Large and Small boxes for maximum versatility. The collections feature a gorgeous range of blues and neutrals with pops of pink and golden yellow, a stunning variety that help the threads to coordinate perfectly with both her Blithe and InBlue collections for Art Gallery Fabrics. We always love seeing what Katarina is up to, from her new quilt patterns, to her fabulous tops (often modeled by her daughter), to various items to decorate her home.

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Aurifil for AGF: Sharon Holland

Welcome to day 1 of our Aurifil for Art Gallery blog series! For the next 2 weeks, we’ll be introducing you to the talented designers of Art Gallery Fabrics, to herald their work, and shine a light on their fabulous thread collections. Back in 2015, we launched Aurifil thread boxes to match with the identity of each Art Gallery Fabrics designer. The best thing about this is that the threads aren’t specific to one fabric collection but rather were selected to match a designer’s signature palette. With that in mind, these collections work just as well with the brand new fabric collections as they did with those that released back in 2015. Pretty amazing, right? We hope you enjoy hearing more about these fabulous women AND don’t miss our super sweet giveaway!

Today, we meet Sharon Holland of Sharon Holland Designs! Sharon’s Color Story collection features both 50wt thread and floss and is available in both Large and Small boxes. It is a gorgeous range of neutrals and sweet colors that match perfectly with Sharon’s latest collections with Art Gallery Fabrics, Tapestry & Bountiful. We are simply enamored with Sharon’s style and anxiously await each new Instagram post. She takes stunning photos and has a keen eye for color and design.

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Love is Spoken Here by Annie Smith

Annie Smith of Simple Arts has been known as the voice of the Quilting Stash podcast since 2005. She is an author, a designer and a Bernina ambassador and presented her debut Aurifil thread collection in September of 2016. Love is Spoken Here is offered in two stunning color ways, Summerset & Winterset. Both are full of Aurifil 28wt, Annie’s favorite for machine appliqué and coordinate with her stunning quilt patterns.

Love is Spoken Here

THREAD COLLECTION DETAILS
Love is Spoken Here: Winterset
10 Small Spools, 28wt (109yds/spool), 100% Aurifil Cotton
1231 – 2888 – 5018 – 2545 – 1243
2520 – 2740 – 2730 – 2720 – 2770

Love is Spoken Here: Summerset
10 Small Spools, 28wt (109yds/spool), 100% Aurifil Cotton
2260 – 5002 – 1154 – 2214 – 2135
2130 – 4020 – 2530 – 2479 – 2423

THE INTERVIEW
What first drew you to the world of sewing and quilting?
My maternal “Gran”, Gertrude Cantell Smith. She was a master seamstress who made all of the family’s clothes out of necessity. She made suits, coats, hats and I have a pair of brown gloves that she stitched with the tiniest stitches I’ve ever seen.

Can you tell us a bit about your background?
Generally, I’m a fifth generation Californian and San Josean and I’ve only ever lived in the SF Bay Area although I’ve traveled to teach in all but 7 states. I’m the middle child in every way. Happily married for 37 years, three kids and five grandkids and counting. I’m an extrovert and have never been shy one day of my life.

Craft-wise, I started sewing when I was 8 (Girl Scouts) and one of my first jobs in high school was working in a fabric store. I never took a paycheck home back then! I made all of my clothes (except Levi’s). I’d make them on the weekend, wear them to school and take orders from my friends, making clothes for them. Then I started making them for their mothers. That’s how I made my money in college too. I started quilting in 1980 and have never looked back from there.

Did you have a different career prior to this one and how did one lead to the other?
I went into a local quilt shop to buy a BERNINA sewing machine in 1984 and was offered a job, teaching classes for the shop. I was a stay at home mom then and taught casually. In 1988, my husband had a career change so I went to work full time.

I worked in Silicon Valley for twenty years in Call Centers — working my way up from a tech to designing the centers, hard and software, building teams of staff and teaching Customer Service Excellence. I continued to teach classes in the evening and on weekends, to keep my foot in the thing I enjoyed the most. When the dotcom bust hit and the Call Centers moved to India, there was no job left for me. I fell back on what I knew the best and hung a quilt in the local quilt shop. From there, teaching and designing became a full time job for me — and the rest just fell into place.

Who or what has been your greatest creative inspiration?
I have favorite quote about creativity and inspiration that sums it all up:

“The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul. We each have an inherent wish to create something that did not exist before.

The more we trust and rely upon the Spirit, the greater our capacity to create.”
Dieter F. Uchtdorf

When did you first discover Aurifil threads and what do you love most about them?
I discovered that big orange spool of light gray thread at the quilt shop where I was working and bought it immediately. Then, at my first Quilt Market in 2007, I met Ellie in a little single booth and talked with her. I was already hooked on Aurifil by then. I don’t use any other thread unless I’m working on a deadline and don’t have the color I need.

Do you have a favorite color/weight and why?
28 weight is my favorite because it’s perfect for machine appliqué and machine quilting. My favorite colors are still the same today as they were when I was a First Generation Aurifil Designer in 2009.  Orange, Magenta, Green, Turquoise and Purple — and I always use at least three shades of those colors too, when I create any new piece.

Can you tell us a bit more about Love is Spoken Here and how the collection came about?
When I was invited to do the collection, I had to choose what to build it around because I didn’t have a fabric collection yet. I chose the thing that everyone knows me by best — the piece I use for my logo, which I created in 2002 as a border piece for a memory quilt for my Gran. Since creating it, I’ve tried to find the design for the rest of the quilt — which has eluded me.

Quilts on a black background are kind-of my signature thing, so I designed a quilt around the border piece that has all of the love and symbolism of my Gran and our relationship. Each element has something to do with “us”. Using the colors of thread that I love, I chose the Kaufman Kona solids to match — kind-of backwards.

What do you love most about Aurifil 28wt for Machine Applique?
It’s simply the most perfect thread! The thickness and sheen are the perfect complements to frame any appliqué. Then, I love the fact that the 28 weight comes in every color that Aurifil makes, And I can shop for the Thread colors that I need using the Color Card.

What are your top tips for working with 28wt thread?
I used to use an 80/12 needle to stitch, but recently I changed to a 90/14 and I feel like the stitch is smoother. I always use Microtex needles for every project, whether it’s for appliqué, quilting, piecing or threadwork. Aurifil threads are so superior and luxurious that it doesn’t take much additionally to showcase them in every project.

What’s coming up next for you — what can we look forward to?
I just finished taping three new online classes for Annie‘s Publishing, where Aurifil threads were prominently featured. I’m in the process of designing a fabric collection based on the recurring theme of Love Is Spoken Here. And I have several new quilts, appliqué and pieced, that will be showcased at Quilt Market in Houston.

Where can we find you this year?
I’m going to teach a shop owners class about fabric choices at Quilt Market in St. Louis.
In June, I’ll be teaching at John C Campbell Folk School in North Carolina, as well as teaching in Raleigh. In August, I’ll be in Southern California — followed by San Diego, and then teaching in Utah at the Utah Quilt Guild’s Quiltfest in September. Future teaching travel will take me to Nebraska, Texas, Nevada, New Hampshire and Arizona so far.

Thanks so much for letting me share!

THE GIVEAWAY

To enter-to-win the 2 Small Love is Spoken Here Thread Collections + a pattern for Love is Spoken Here by Annie Smith,  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 Sunday, May 21! Winner will be randomly selected and announced here on Monday, May 22 . Good luck!

ABOUT ANNIE
Website — Instagram — Shop

Annie Smith is more than just a pretty face. She is a quilter who designs quilt and has her own Pattern Publishing company, SimpleArts. Her quilts have been published in Quilter’s Home and she won Best of Show at the California State Fair for Crazy Quilting. She teaches nationally and internationally to Guilds, Quilt Shops, Quilt show venues, and also online. She is a Bernina Artisan Ambassador, a podcasting Quilter, a C&T Author, an iQuilt Instructor and an Aurifil Designer.

[All images courtesy of Annie Smith]

Dandy Days with Sarah J. Maxwell

Sarah J. Maxwell‘s Dandy Days for Studio 37/Marcus Fabrics grew out of the joy and inspiration found in simple dandelions. Her colorful mix of low-volume prints and three Centennial Solids come together perfectly for her BOM quilt top, with two cool and relaxing greys as background options. Sarah’s coordinating thread collection offers both LG and SM boxes with a versatile combination of 50wt, 28wt and 80wt threads.

THREAD COLLECTION DETAILS
Dandy Days
12 Large Spools, 100% Aurifil Cotton
2435 – 5004 – 1320 – 2535 – 1148
2600 – 2525 – 2520 – 2588 (50wt, 1422yds/spool)
4660 – 4663 (28wt, 820yds/spool)

Dandy Days
10 Small Spools, 100% Aurifil Cotton
2435 – 1320 – 1148 – 2600 – 2520 – 2588 – 2105 (50wt, 200yds/spool)
5004 – 2606 – 2600 (80wt, 300yds/spool)

To view this info on our website, click the images above. For purchasing, please contact your local Aurifil Dealer.

THE INTERVIEW
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you first got started in the world of sewing and quilting?

My love affair with quilting began in college—when I got my first apartment I didn’t have a lot of money to furnish it. My mom said I could take anything I needed from home and I found a pink dogwood applique quilt in the closet made by an aunt. It was a classic kit quilt from the 1930s. Dogwood trees were always the first sign of spring at the Lake of the Ozarks where I grew up so I knew it would be the perfect reminder of home while I was away. I used that quilt for 3 years, not understanding that it was a vintage treasure. As it began to show lots of wear and tear, I put it back in the closet always thinking I would make my own quilt someday.

Sarah with Pieces of Me at QuiltCon

Do you remember the process of making your first quilt and how you felt once it was complete?
While pregnant with my daughter, Megan, I got a serious nesting instinct and wanted to make something for her nursery. I bought an inexpensive sewing machine and a “teach yourself to quilt” book and cut out my first quilt with scissors and cardboard templates. With a full-time job and a new baby, I didn’t have much time to sew, but I kept the machine set up on a corner of our kitchen table, working a few minutes here and there. When I finally completed that baby quilt I knew I had found a life-time craft.

Dream at Dawn by Sarah Maxwell

Who or what has been your greatest creative inspiration?
As a long-time traditional quilter who spent years making super-scrappy, intricately pieced quilts, my greatest source of inspiration for original work has been my daughters, Megan and Shannen. Like most kids, they didn’t fully understand or “get” what mom did as a quilter. They definitely didn’t appreciate the Civil War style or palette that I worked with for many years.

Once they left home, I wanted to send my quilts with them. The desire to create quilts that they would want in their own homes sparked a new creative journey for me and my entire Designs by Sarah J business. Stepping back and reassessing my entire creative process and trying new styles, new colors and new techniques has me excited about quilting all over again.

Dandy Days by Sarah Maxwell

How did you first connect with Marcus and what do you love most about working with them?
I connected with Marcus initially because of my interest in Civil War reproduction fabrics and quilts. I had an idea for a book and wanted fabric that would allow me to create the quilt in my head. Stephanie Dell’Olio and Pati Violick met with me and embraced the idea of producing fabric to bring that vision to life. We spent several years collaborating on historic projects. Then, a couple of years ago, Stephanie asked me what I would create if I had no limitations. This was about the same time I had the whole epiphany that my daughters didn’t want a single one of my reproduction quilts and that the industry was changing.

So, Designs by Sarah J was born and a whole creative journey exploring brighter colors, simpler fabric designs and new techniques is underway. I still love super-scrappy quilts and intricate piecing, but I always pause after creating a new design now & think about how it could be simpler or cleaner or less fussy or what adding a few solids into the fabric mix would do to the overall design.

The best thing about working with Marcus Fabrics and their Studio 37 imprint is that they truly let me embrace my inner-ADD personality. I’ve always loved having multiple projects underway and I’ve always loved lots of fabric styles. If you could peek into my messy, chaotic, overwhelming sewing room you would find a little bit of everything and every color. Marcus lets me design cotton prints, woven plaids, batiks and they let me experiment with palettes—they don’t make me adhere to a given “look” which I would find boring and stifling.

Dandy Whirl Quilt by Sarah Maxwell

What inspired Dandy Days?
Dandy Days is all about lazy summer days full of bright sunshine where the possibilities are endless. A gentle breeze can lift a kite in the wind or spin the blades of a pinwheel or carry a dandelion seed across the yard. I know some people view dandelions as pesky weeds—I view them as possibility—a gust of wind can result in bright pops of color everywhere.

Dandy Days

Do you have a favorite project made with the collection? 
My favorite project from Dandy Days is currently a tie:

With Supernova. I added several solids to a limited group of prints from the collection and created a quilt with a strong graphic impact. The quilt uses large blocks—24” square so it’s also a fast finish.

Supernova by Sarah Maxwell

With Trippy Traps, I experimented with deconstructing an English paper piecing project. I worked with Paper Pieces on an acrylic template suitable for EPP or rotary cutting and machine piecing. Because I sometimes like to see instant results, I decided to play with piecing some units & then appliquing them on a background. The quilt captures the overall statement of Dandy Days—a summer day full of color & pinwheels. It also gave me a chance to really try out the 80 wt thread and I can assure people that it’s perfect for both English paper piecing and applique.

What is your favorite thing to make? 
Large, bed-sized quilts have always been my favorite. There’s nothing like seeing something you made on your bed.

Dandy Days by Sarah Maxwell

When did you first discover Aurifil threads and what do you love most about them?
I discovered Aurifil about 8 years ago. I was doing a lot of professional sewing for magazines and for Marcus. I was SO tired of cleaning out mountains of lint from my bobbin case and a friend suggested I try Aurifil. I bought a spool & never looked back. As I’ve expanded beyond traditional machine piecing, I love the variety of weights and the rainbow of color that allows me to create all the ideas whirling around in my head.

Do you have a favorite color/weight and why?
50 wt color 2324 is my all-time go-to for piecing. I buy the large-cones and there’s always one on a thread stand next to my machine and a backup in a drawer so I never run out while I’m staring down a deadline.

Recently, I’ve fallen in love with the 80 wt thread. My appliqué and English paper piecing stitches are invisible with this thread.

THE GIVEAWAY 

To enter-to-win 1 Large Dandy Days Thread Collection and one Fat Quarter Bundle of Dandy Days by Sarah Maxwell for Marcus Fabrics, 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, May 17! Winner will be randomly selected and announced here on Thursday, May 18. Good luck!

ABOUT SARAH
Website — BlogFacebookInstagram

Sarah’s love of quilting stems from her college days, when her mom sent her pink dogwood quilt to grace the bed in her first apartment. The quilt was a comforting reminder of her home in the Lake of the Ozarks, where the dogwood blossoms always signaled the start of spring.

A few years later, married and expecting her first child, Sarah caught the nesting bug. Inspired by the treasured dogwood quilt, she bought a Teach Yourself to Quilt book and crafted her first quilt. She continued to improve her skills through classes at local quilt guilds, as well as learning from gifted teachers throughout the United States, fully taking advantage of modern conveniences, such as rotary cutting and computer design, as they became available.

Today, Sarah is a fabric and pattern designer for Studio 37 Fabrics, a division of Marcus Fabrics, with countless quilts to her credit. Her work has been featured regularly in both McCall’s Quilting and McCall’s Quick Quilts for the past several years. Additionally, Sarah’s quilts have appeared in Make ModernSimply Moderne,  American Patchwork & Quilting, and Quilts & More, as well as many other magazines.