Free Tutorial: Project Zippy Pouch

We are of the firm belief that there is nothing better to organize your life than a good ol’ zippy pouch. They are so super handy, easily customizable, portable, and endlessly cute. They are also a terrific example of a wonderful way to use Aurifil thread in something other than a quilt!

Our Technical Creative Specialist, Kristi McDonough (also of Schnitzel & Boo), recently had to stitch this adorable zippy up and she has been kind enough to share a simple tutorial. We’ll first offer a up a HUGE thank you and then we’ll hand the reigns over to Kristi for all the details. Take it away, Kristi!


This Project Pouch is a fast and fun way to use some of your favorite fabrics, even if you only have a small piece. In fact, you can use four different feature fabrics! It’s also a perfect way to experiment with Aurifil‘s different thread weights. While I’ve referenced the exact threads used below, feel free to use whatever weight thread you have on hand.

PROJECT ZIPPY POUCH
by Kristi McDonough

Supplies:
— 1 Fat Quarter Main Fabric
— 1 Fat Quarter Accent Fabric
— 1/3 yard Cotton Canvas/Duck Cloth
— 1/3 – 1/2 yard Lining Fabric (depending on direction of print)
— Batting Scraps
— 1/2 yard Medium to Heavy Weight Fusible Interfacing
— 28wt, 50wt and Wool Aurifil Thread
— 14”-18” zipper
— Sewing machine, iron, cutting mat, acrylic ruler, rotary cutter and other preferred supplies

*Seam allowance is ½” unless otherwise noted. Construction of pouch will be with Aurifil 50wt thread unless otherwise specified

Cutting Instructions:
— Cut one 13” (wide) x 9” (tall) rectangle each of Main Fabric, Accent Fabric, and Interfacing for Pouch Front/Back (Keep direction of print in mind when cutting fabric!)
— Cut one 8” x 14” rectangle from Accent Fabric for zipper tab
— Cut two 14-½”x 12-½” rectangles of lining fabric
— Cut two 6-½” x 12-½” rectangles from canvas and interfacing for pouch bottom
— Cut two 14” x 10” rectangles of batting

*To use 4 of your favorite fabrics,  cut four 6-½”(w) x 9”(t) pieces, then continue sewing as directed.

Directions:
1. Fuse Interfacing to wrong sides of both pieces of Pouch Front/Back; cut in half to measure 6-½”(w) x 9”(t).

2. Fuse Interfacing to wrong side of Canvas; set aside.

3. Fold Zipper Tab fabric in half lengthwise, with wrong sides together and press. Open this piece up, fold the raw edges in to meet the center fold; press. Refold the entire piece along the center fold and press again. Fold and press one short end to the inside 1”. Re-press original folds as necessary; set aside.

4. With right sides together, stitch one Main piece to one Accent piece along the 9” length; repeat for the other two pieces, making sure to stitch along the same side for both sets. Press seams open.

5. Place wrong side of Pouch Front/Back on the batting; quilt as desired using Aurifil 28wt thread.

6. With right sides together, align canvas to bottom of Pouch Front/Back; stitch. Press seam towards canvas; topstitch using Aurifil Wool thread (use 50wt in the bobbin.)

7. Place Pouch Front/Back right side up. Lay zipper face down along the top of the pouch; pin in place keeping the last 2”-3” free. Place a lining piece, wrong side up, along the pinned zipper edge; repin all layers together, making sure to keep the last few inches of the zipper free, but pinning the lining to the pouch.

8. Using a zipper foot, stitch zipper in place. Hold the zipper free of the stitch line when you get to the unpinned zipper section, but keep sewing!

9. Press pouch Front/Back and Lining pieces away from zipper; topstitch using Aurifil Wool thread.

10. Lay the pouch out flat on the table; match right sides of Lining and right sides of Pouch and pin all the way around, leaving a 4” gap in the lining for turning; stitch, making sure to backstitch at the start and finish.

11. Decide how wide you want the bottom of your bag to be and divide that number in half. I wanted this one to have a 1-½” base, which is ¾”. Start the measurement at the seam lines, and draw a square. (Be careful that your lines are accurate! In the photo, I have a “square” that is 1” on one side and ¾” on the other. I took the photo, then adjusted the measurement and forgot to take a new picture. Oops! Mark this square on all four corners; cut on the lines with sharp scissors. DO NOT STITCH THE CORNERS YET!

12. Turn Pouch right side out.

13. Tuck the end of the zipper inside the folded end of Zipper Tab, topstitch across the top of the tab. Make sure the butt of the zipper is out of the way of the stitching line and the path of your sewing machine foot.

14. Guide the zipper tab along the length of the pouch to determine how long to make the handle; mark with a pin, then measure ½” down (towards the end of the tab) and mark with fabric pen on both sides of the tab.

15. Turn the pouch wrong side out again.

16. For the lining, bring the seams together, placing the seams in opposite directions (this will help reduce bulk and make it easier to sew); stitch making sure to backstitch!

18. Tuck the tab through the corner opening. The tab should be centered in the opening and the raw edge of the corner should match up with the mark; pin in place and stitch, using a backstitch on both ends. Stitch the last corner in the same manner as the lining described above.

19. Turn pouch right side out. Pin the opening of the lining; edgestitch using Aurifil 50wt.

That’s it! You’re finished:). Have fun with your bag and fill it with as many treasures as it will hold. We’d love to see what you’ve made, so tag us on Facebook (@aurifil) or Instagram (@aurifilthread) so we can see what you’re up to. Happy Stitching!

Kristi

SARIELLA

Meet SARIELLA — the beautifully brilliant and vibrant thread collection debut by design duo Sarah Thomas (of Sariditty) & Nicole Young (of lillyella) — collaboratively known as Sariella. This box is like a ray of sunshine; a brightness & feeling of warmth that brings an immediate smile. We first met Sarah at QuiltCon earlier this year and were instantly enamored with her energy and her killer quilty style. She even created a stunning quilt for showcase at our booth at Spring Market (learn more here). It came as no surprise that Nicole is equally talented, with a keen eye for color and design. Honestly, we’ve got a bit of a quilty crush!

We are so thrilled to have this chance to partner with them on this perfectly curated collection of our 50wt Thread + one spool of clear monofilament. The collection was inspired by their signature Saki Butterfly pattern, also their logo, and while the threads are everything that you’d need to make your own butterfly, they are bright and lovely and versatile and will perfectly complement so many fabulous projects. We’re super excited to see what you all make with this collection!

THREAD COLLECTION DETAILS
SARIELLA
11 Large Spools Cotton 50wt (1422yds/spool)
1 Large Spools Clear Monofilament (1094yds/spool)
Colors included:
2435 – 2535 – 2277 – 1133 – 1135 – 1231
2884 – 4662 – 2810 – 5006 – 2021 – Clear Monofilament

For more information on this collection, please visit our website or contact your favorite local quilt shop!

INTERVIEW
What first drew you to to the world of sewing and quilting?
As soon as we met via the quilty social media world in May 2015, we became fast friends and seemed to always be asking each other for input, advice, and suggestions on our own personal projects. About a year later, we simply decided that Sariditty and Lillyella needed to join forces to become SARIELLA for some collaborative projects, tutorials, and patterns.

Sarah has been quilting for 3 years, which came about serendipitously. After marrying an Air Force man, Sarah “retired” from her career as a commercial pilot and took on the dutiful spouse role that also meant moving bases often. After moving from South Carolina to southwest Oklahoma, she was visiting her parents in New Mexico where she and her mother attended the Rusty Barn Quilt Show, where she stood at the controls of a longarm for the first time. It was a natural fit for her, and that’s when she took the plunge to purchase a longarm and start quilting. With so many mothers on the Air Force base who wanted to preserve their children’s clothing, making keepsake quilts was the first step to Sarah’s quilting business, and the rest is history!

Nicole began quilting in 2013, also after a military move. She had sewn casually most of her life, but had always wanted to learn how to do it correctly and how to quilt. She finally had some space to set up her machine after moving with husband to Southern Colorado and found a local shop offering classes. She was instantly hooked and hasn’t looked back!

Who or what has been your greatest creative inspiration?
As far as finding inspiration from textiles, we both adore Me+You/Hoffman Fabrics. The modern twist of the Indah Batiks are refreshing and a great change to traditional batiks often seen. We also both love AGF, especially The Denim Studio collection. Sarah is a big fan of Alison Glass, Carolyn Friedlander, and Kate Spain as well. Some of Nicole’s personal favorites are Tula Pink, Anna Maria Horner and Sarah Watts. We both live on quite a bit of acreage that needs upkeep, as well as having animals that need frequent exercise and care. Any time we encounter a creative block, we have our land and animals to occupy our time and brains, which gives us a much-needed reprieve from thinking too hard on any one pattern or project. Usually a stroke of genius hits us while tending to our chores or, quite often, while we’re asleep. We use our day-to-day happenings to lend inspiration and direction to an idea, and collaboratively we make that idea explode! We also recommend looking to your surroundings for inspiration. There are so many amazing patterns and color palettes within nature and the structures around us. Look at things a little different and suddenly that floor you’re walking on isn’t just tile, but a quilt waiting to happen.

Tell us about the Saki Butterfly Quilt and what inspired its creation.
Saki Butterfly came to be as a combination of pattern and technique for which we’re known. Nicole created the Take Wing Pattern – a foundation paper piecing pattern of a full butterfly, which is depicted by the right wing of Saki. Sarah has doodled most of her life and is best recognized for her free motion style she calls Sketchbook Quilting. The left half of Saki is Sarah’s interpretation of a doodle complimenting Nicole’s original Take Wing Pattern. We had the butterfly combination, knew it was a perfect logo, and now needed a name – Our nicknames are Sari and Nikki…hence Sa+ki…Saki!

Over the summer of 2016, Sarah was part of the RJR What Shade Are U? Blog Tour. She instantly knew that an enlarged version of Saki would make the perfect quilt. The quilt was such a hit across the board that we are now offering weekend workshops for this specific pattern, which focuses on foundation paper piecing, appliqué, and finishing techniques.

What do you love most about putting a project together and do you have tips for those just giving it a try? 
Measure once, measure twice, measure three times then cut and sew. And be cognizant of using consistent seam allowances throughout a project to ensure proper point alignment. Never be afraid to ask questions if you’re unsure of something. Knowing when the perfect time is to use 50wt versus monofilament thread, for instance. Sarah also often says to her quilting students, “Find 10-15 minutes every day to doodle in a sketchbook. Practice, practice, practice the doodles to create muscle memory. It’s no different than taking piano lessons…you have to practice to get better.”

Most of Nicole’s quilting tips are quite the opposite of time savers, because, as a perfectionist, she doesn’t fall in line with the popular quote that “finished is better than perfect”, but believes that taking your time and paying attention to the small details is what makes a great project. She recommends matching your thread to your fabric when piecing, especially when paper piecing bulky seams where it is more likely to show, even if this means changing your thread color two or three times along a single seam. She guarantees the results are worth it!

When did you first discover Aurifil threads and what do you love most about them?
From the very beginning of being involved in the quilt world, Aurifil spools are everywhere! Whether it’s online purchases, a visit to a local quilt shop, or even other people’s social media photos, the recognizable Aurifil spool can’t go unnoticed. Sarah was quick to try out a spool of 50 weight with her piecing and loved it. Quality thread is mandatory when working with quality fabrics – there’s just no way around it. That goes for piecing and quilting. Nicole soon followed by trying out Aurifil once Sarah couldn’t stop talking about it. We love the vast range of thread weights available for our long list of projects and their needs. Everything from 80wt down to embroidery floss…we love each and every one, not to mention the color selection! And the thread collection boxes…they’re just so attractive!!

How did you go about selecting colors for SARIELLA and what excites you most about releasing the collection to the world? 
We’re sure it’s no surprise that our debut collection is based on our fluttering friend, Saki the Butterfly! We’ve curated 11 vibrant spools of 50wt thread that will mix and match with Saki’s coloring and many other colorful projects, and one spool of clear monofilament (which is a favorite of ours!).

This collection is sure to take you through all walks of stitchery fun — from machine and hand piecing to top stitching, appliqué, and quilting. Designing the box art was so enjoyable – mixing Saki Butterfly line art with colorful hexagons, and we’re already plotting and planning how we’ll be using our empty collection boxes because they’re so fun and pretty! We hope you love this collection as much as we do, and we can’t wait to see how you use your collections, both thread and boxes.

UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL + GIVEAWAY
Check out Sariella’s blog today for another look at this fabulous collection and don’t miss the amazing giveaway they’ve got going on over on their Instagram account!


SARIELLA is the quilty love child of Sarah Thomas of Sariditty and Nicole Young of lillyella stitchery. Both are military wives, mommas to big dogs, donut aficionados, and have hyperactive creative drives. They make the nearly 1500 miles and two time zones between them seem effortless with constant video chats, emails, and text messages. The best of their two minds comes to life through unique patterns, fun tutorials, and miscellaneous crafty goodness.

Follow Sariella: WebsiteFacebookInstagram
Follow Sariditty: WebsiteFacebookInstagram
Follow lillyella: WebsiteFacebookInstagram

** All images and most text courtesy of Sarah Thomas & Nicole Young (Sariella) **

Sew Many Colors T-Shirt!

Once upon a time, a designer named Sheri (Cifaldi-Morrill of Whole Circle Studio) had a brilliant idea. She was working on a mini quilt for entry into the annual Quilt Alliance Contest. The theme was ‘playing favorites’. Sheri decided to arrange some of her favorite 50wt spools in her signature circular layout as a tribute to her favorite brand of thread, Aurifil, using her favorite fabric solids, Kona by Robert Kaufman. The spools were realized in actual size and were brought to life via Sheri’s favorite piecing technique — foundation paper piecing.

So Many Colors by Sheri Cifaldi-Morrill

The fine folks here at Aurifil spotted this magnificent mini right away. It was eye-catching and a fine showcase of one of our absolute favorite things… thread! We contacted Sheri and a beautiful partnership was born.

A few months later, we debuted Sew Many Colors, a new pattern created and developed by Sheri, based on her original mini, featuring 10 lovely spools. Sheri chose the number 10 as a secondary tribute to Aurifil USA’s 10th Anniversary! The pattern was offered for free on Sheri’s website and also on ours as a call to action for quilters around the world to create a showcase of their own top 10 spools of thread. We watched with joy as the submissions came in and we got to witness so many different versions of this fabulous pattern. It was one of the highlights of our year and we are forever grateful to Sheri for making it possible.

A few of the mini submissions for your viewing pleasure: 

Fast forward a few more months, to today… Today marks the launch Sew Many Colors: The T-Shirt!

Sheri worked with the incredible team at Patchwork Threads to turn her mini quilt design into a wearable work of art. The V-Neck Tees are available in Black & White Heather and are 20% off  from now through Monday, so if you want to walk around wearing a delightful wheel of your favorite threads, head here to check it out!

And, wearing our super comfy t-shirts, we all lived within happiness, joy, and super fabulous color!

A huge THANK YOU to Sheri Cifaldi-Morrill for being such a creative and wonderful partner in all of this!  ❤

** Aurifil does not profit from this post. We just think that a t-shirt featuring our 50wt threads is particularly fabulous and we couldn’t help but share!

 

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Choose Happiness

Enchanted, Dodi Poulsen of Two Sisters at Squirrel Hollow‘s debut collection for Aurifil, released at Houston Quilt Market last year. The colors were hand-picked to coordinate with the magical prints in her collection with Riley Blake Designs.  A lovely showcase of navy, pink, mint, and teal with a little pop of yellow & green, the collection brings to mind fairytales of our youth.

While her collections boast an array of our 50wt thread, Dodi has been experimenting with our Aurifloss in her Enchanted colors.

She has thoroughly enjoyed working with the floss and was kind enough to put together this lovely pattern to share with all of you:

Choose Happiness is a delightfully sweet embroidery pattern featuring a tiny squirrel among the flowers. It’s completely darling and would look perfect as a finished hoop, as Dodi did here, or finished as a wall hanging, embellishment on a tote, or even on a throw pillow.

To grab your copy of this free pattern, simply click on the link below. Print the page at 100% and use your preferred method to transfer the pattern to your fabric for easy stitching. For some great tips, check out Dodi’s blog.

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Download CHOOSE HAPPINESS 
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We’d love to see your versions of Choose Happiness! Don’t forget to tag us (@aurifilthread & #aurifil) and Dodi (@sashgal) with your project photos so we can oooo and aaaah over your work;).

ENCHANTED FABRIC
Eighteen lovely prints available in yardage & precuts. Click on the link below, or check your local quilt shop for more info!

ENCHANTED THREAD
12 Large Spools, 50wt (1422yds/spool), 100% Aurifil Cotton
2784 – 5007 – 2425 – 1148 – 5002 – 5006
2423 – 1135 – 2882 – 2588 – 4093 – 2515

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10 Small Spools, 50wt (220yds/spool), 100% Aurifil Cotton
2784 – 5007 – 2425 – 1148 – 5002
5006 – 1135 – 2882 – 2588 – 2515

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

EMBROIDERY PATTERNS by DODI

 

ABOUT DODI
BlogInstagramPinterest

dodiaurifilpicDodi Lee Poulsen designs and creates wonderful patterns to be enjoyed by quilters of all skill levels. Her patterns and designs have been featured in numerous Quilting magazines. She currently designs fabric for Riley Blake Designs.  She has been a quilt instructor for over twenty five years and she teaches and lectures throughout the country. Together with her sister, Heidi Fisher, Dodi launched her pattern company, Two Sisters at Squirrel Hollow in 2006. Dodi added their children’s division, Little Londyn Patterns, with her daughter Megan Miles. Dodi is the author of 5 books. She and her husband live in the state of Washington and are the proud grandparents of 8 grandchildren.

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Aurifil 2017 August Designer of the Month Brenda Ratliff

2017 Aurifil DOM August Brenda Ratliff 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.

This month we land on Yellow-Orange and I’m thrilled that Shop owner and designer Brenda Ratliff from Pink Castle Fabrics took on the job!

Brenda and I chatted on my talk show 11/21/16, take a listen

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We are thrilled to have several fabulous shop owners on the team this year. I’ve had the chance to work on several projects with Brenda and she has amazing ideas and is pretty fun to be around!  Someday I hope to visit her shop, but until then you can find Aurifil thread, amazing clubs and even her retreat ‘Glamp Stitchalot’ online! 

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 threadfor 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 Brenda!

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The Artistry of Sheena Norquay, Part 4 — Seabird Collection

We have arrived at the final day of our series celebrating the work of textile artist Sheena Norquay. Today is all about her Seabird Collection, a gorgeous array of colors in Auriful 80wt threads. The colours were inspired by puffins, oystercatchers, herring gulls, and black headed gulls.  Their feathers are black and white with added greys for the gulls. The yellow, orange, red, pink and navy blue/grey were inspired by the colours of their beaks and legs.

We are absolutely head over heels for this one and couldn’t have asked for a better showcase of our new 80wt threads.

The colours are:
Black 2692, Dark Grey 2630, Medium Grey 2605, Light Blue/Grey 2600, White 2024
Yellow 1135, Orange 1154, Red 2255, Navy Blue/Grey 1158, Dull Pink 2375

Please visit The Artistry of Sheena Norquay, Part 1 for more details + the full interview with Sheena.

GIVEAWAY
To enter-to-win the Seabird Collection by Sheena Norquay, please leave us a comment on this post letting us know which of Sheena’s pieces below is your favorite and why. Entry will close at 11:59pm on Friday, August 18 and a winner will be announced here on Saturday, August 19. This giveaway is open to all of our International friends!


INTERVIEW (con.)
The Seabird Collection is your latest release, available since April of this year, and it features our new 80wt thread. What did you like most about working with the 80wt?

80 weight thread is very versatile. When piecing, I take a small stitch such as 1.5 or 2 and press the seams open. This gives a smooth ride when quilting over a seam and the small stitches help prevent wadding fibres popping through the seam.

Secondly, it is great for free machine embroidered small details such as the birds. I embroider the bodies of the birds on to cotton organdie which is inserted in an embroidery ring. The birds are then appliqued either by machine or hand to the seascape and the excess organdie cut from around the body shapes. The 80 thread is then used for embroidering tiny details like beaks and legs, although sometimes if the details are really small, I hand stitch the eyes, beaks and legs with one or two lengths of 80 thread. I use a wrapping stitch for the legs and this gives them a more 3 d effect because of the stitches pulling from side to side.

For larger birds which are hand appliqued like the “Three Puffy Puffins,”  “ Two Black-Headed Gulls,” or both oystercatcher pieces, ”Two Oystercatchers on Sand” and “Three Oystercatchers on Boulders,” I use the 80 thread for needle turned hand applique. The thread is so fine you can’t see the stitches.

I have also used the 80 thread for hand embroidered trapunto and have stitched with 2 colours of threads in the needle on the top section of “Pop Ups and Sink Holes,” which was inspired by a drain cover. The bottom section, which has the sink holes, was free motion quilted with 80 threads.  There are 2 colours in each sink hole in every second row.

Finally, the 80 thread works really well if I don’t want the actual quilting stitches to be too prominent, but I want them to create an indented, fine line; or if I am free motion quilting small patterns such as rock line details on the applique or on the border; or if I am free motion quilting lines which involve back tracking  (“Five Feathers”).

How did you go about selecting colors?
I looked at pictures and my own photos of puffins, oystercatchers, black headed gulls and herring gulls, taking note of the colours of feathers, beaks and legs. It is quite tricky to match the greys in particular to their feathers. Also the legs of oystercatchers seem brighter and more orange at certain times of the year, and yet paler and more of a dusky pink at other times.  Anyhow, I then selected thread colours which were the closest match and looked for fabrics to match the threads.

The collection could almost be split into 2 sets of colours, bright and dull, which can be used separately and for other things as well as seabirds. The blue/white /pink sample and the yellow/red/black sample illustrate how the 80 thread works well with decorative stitches on the machine, especially stitches which are quite dense. The fabric is less inclined to pucker when using the 80 thread.

Do you have a favorite piece made with the threads?
I enjoyed making all the samples but I have at long last, found a thread to stitch fine lines such as those on a feather so I guess “Five Feathers” is my favourite.


Sheena made some amazing samples with the colors of Aurifil 80wt from her Seabird Collection. She was also one of our initial testers for the 80wt thread before our launch  in Fall of 2016. She was kind enough to send us her impressions and her tips and we are ever grateful!

On using Aurifil 80wt for machine stitching:
When using  80wt threads in the machine, I tightened the bobbin tension from the setting I use for 50wt threads. Because my old machine has only vertical spool holders, I put the thread spool in a tall, narrow glass behind the machine so that the thread was coming off from the top, clockwise. The other method I used was to put the thread spool on the upright holder and threaded the thread up through a large safety pin so that the thread was coming off from the top. I used an 11/75 quilting needle. All the small birds were machine embroidered on to cotton organdie in a 6-inch ring so the 80wt thread is good for really small birds. I would use no. 50 thread for embroidering slightly larger ones as the thread covers the surface quicker.

On using Aurifil 80wt for hand stitching:
The 80wt threads were great for hand applique – so smooth to stitch with. I  hand appliqued all the large birds and on some I also embroidered on top of the applique. I also used the 80wt threads to hand stitch fine details on the beaks and legs. I used 2 threads in the needle, both cut and knotted at the end next to the spool. The threads lie better if you do this rather than cut one thread and fold it over and knot it. I think I would probably prefer to use the floss for hand embroidering small details if I am covering an area but the 80wt if I am stitching lines.

PUFFIN TRIPTYCH
Finished at 43 X 57.5cm
Created between September 9, 2016 & December 8, 2016
Total time: 15 hours 40 minutes

Puffin Triptych by Sheena Norquay

The puffins were free motion embroidered on to cotton organdie. The 2 on the left were hand appliqued with edges turned in which gives a better result than the pair on the right which were machine appliqued. The machine edge gives a hard, incised line. The beaks and legs were hand stitched with yellow 1135, red 2255, navy blue/grey 1158 and orange 1154. The sky, water, and borders were free motion quilted using light blue/grey 2600 and 1158 navy blue/grey. Cliffs were quilted with medium grey 2605.

Detail of Puffin Triptych by Sheena Norquay

THREE PUFFY PUFFINS
Finished at 52.5 x 43.5cm
Created between September 14, 2016 & December 8, 2016
Total time: 26 hours 40 minutes

The puffins were hand appliqued with white 2024 and black 2692 and have an extra layer of polyester wadding behind them to puff them out. Faces, beaks and legs were fabric painted and hand stitched (2 threads in the needle) with red 2255, yellow 1135, orange 1154, and navy blue/grey 1158.

The background is machine pieced, hand appliqued, and free motion quilted with 50wt threads.

TWO OYSTERCATCHERS ON SAND
Finished at 53.5 x 44cm
Created between September 8, 2016 & December 8, 2016
Total time: 19 hours 35 minutes

Two Oystercatchers on Sand by Sheena Norquay

The oystercatchers were hand appliqued and free machine embroidered on to a layer of wadding using black 2692 and white 2014 threads. Eyes, beaks and legs were fabric painted. Beaks and legs were then machine embroidered on to a layer of wadding using red 2255 and pink 2375.

Detail of Two Oystercatchers on Sand by Sheena Norquay

The background was machine pieced and free motion quilted using 50wt threads.

THREE OYSTERCATCHERS ON BOULDERS
Finished at 54.5 X 44.5cm
Created between September 14, 2016 & December 8, 2016
Total time: 23 hours 25 minutes

Three Oystercatchers on Boulders by Sheena Norquay

The oystercatchers were hand appliqued with 80wt black 2692 and white 2024. The boulders were also hand appliqued using pink 2375, light grey 2600, mid grey 2605 and dark grey 2630. Beaks and legs were fabric painted and free machine embroidered using red 2255 and pink 2375. The oystercatchers and boulders were free motion quilted using same colours.

Water was free motion quilted using 80wt blue 2725 which is not in the collection.

THREE OYSTERCATCHERS, 2 BLACK HEADED GULLS AND WAVES WITH WHITE BORDERS 
Finished at 43.5 x 27.5cm
Created between September 26, 2016 & December 8, 2016
Total time: 16 hours 55 minutes

Three Oystercatchers, two black headed gulls by Sheena Norquay

The birds were free machine embroidered on to cotton organdie using black 2692, white 2024, and mid grey 2605. Legs and beaks were hand stitched using red 2255 and pink 2375. The background was machine pieced with some fabric painting and free motion quilted using 1158 navy/grey, 2024 white, 2605 mid grey, 2630 dark grey, and 2600 light grey.

Detail of Three Oystercatchers, two black headed gulls by Sheena Norquay

BLACK HEADED GULL, TWO OYSTERCATCHERS WITH NAVY BORDERS
Finished at 43.5 x 58.5cm
Created between September 26, 2016 & November 22, 2016
Total time: 15 hours 5 minutes

Black headed gull, two oystercatchers by Sheena Norquay

The birds were free machine embroidered on to cotton organdie and hand appliqued to the background using white 2024 and black 2692. The legs and beaks were hand stitched using red 2255 and pink 2375. The background was machine pieced,  hand appliqued and free motion quilted using mid grey 2605, navy/grey 1158, white 2024, light blue/grey 2600.

FIVE FEATHERS
Finished at 63 x 26.5cm
Created between November 18, 2016 & December 8, 2016
Total time: 13 hours 25 minutes

Five Feathers by Sheena Norquay

This pieces was inspired by seagull feathers collected on walks. The feathers were free machine embroidered on to cotton organdie which was then laid on top of white cotton and 2 layers of wadding (thin polyester thermore and Hobbs 80/20 cotton/polyester), and free motion quilted. Colours used were black 2692, dark grey 2630, mid grey 2605, light blue/grey 2600, and white 2024.

POP UPS  1
Finished at 32 X 32cm
Created between November 22, 2016 & December 1, 2016
Total time: 11 hours 15 minutes

This piece was inspired by a photo of a drain cover which one of Sheena’s friends asked her to take. She suggested a challenge to use it as inspiration for stitching something. Sheena happened to have bought a bath mat which had holes in it and used it for printing a background of 7 x 7 holes, the same as the drain cover, on to a piece of calico. She then pieced a black border and tacked a bit of wadding behind the holes. She free machine embroidered circles in the round holes using the colours from the Seabird collection and trimmed away the wadding around the stitching. A layer of wadding and backing was added and free motion quilted following the lines of the printing and composing decorative circles on the black border.


ABOUT SHEENA
WebsiteFacebook

Sheena Norquay was born on the Orkney Islands, just off the Northern tip of Scotland. Though she began sewing as a child, it wasn’t until attending University in Aberdeen to gain a B.Ed degree that she truly dove into the world of sewing, quilting, and textiles. The degree included 2-dimensional design in textiles which inspired her interest in exploring the artistic potential of threads and fabrics.

Having been a Primary School teacher in Inverness for 30 years, Sheena is now a freelance quilting teacher and teaches workshops locally, all over the UK, and sometimes abroad. She also writes articles for magazines and her quilts have been featured in several books.

Sheena’s work has been exhibited locally, nationally, and internationally since 1981 and she has won many awards in competitive quilt shows. She sells her work, cards and postcards of her work, and also accept commissions.

Text courtesy of Sheena Norquay. Images copyright 2016 Sheena Norquay.

The Artistry of Sheena Norquay, Part 3 — Scottish Highlands Collection

Sheena Norquay’s Scottish Highlands Collections were inspired by the colours of mountains, forests, moorlands, and lochs of the Scottish Highlands as well as native animals such as Highland cows, Red squirrels and Red deer.

The colors are rich and vibrant and well represented in 2 small boxes — 1 in 50wt and 1 in Aurifloss.

The colours are:
2309 (cream), 2612 (pale blue/grey), 2566 (light mauve), 6735 (dark mauve), 2885 (dark green), 1246 (grey), 2775 (dark blue), 2155 (rust brown), 2975 (ochre), & 1147 (light green).

Please visit The Artistry of Sheena Norquay, Part 1 for more details + the full interview with Sheena.

GIVEAWAY
To enter-to-win the two Scottish Highlands collections by Sheena Norquay, please leave us a comment on this post letting us know which of Sheena’s pieces below is your favorite and why. Entry will close at 11:59pm on Friday, August 18 and a winner will be announced here on Saturday, August 19. This giveaway is open to all of our International friends!


INTERVIEW (con.)
Your Scottish Highlands Collection is available in both 50wt and Aurifloss — what are your favorite ways to combine the two thread weights into one piece of art?
I like using the Aurifloss first to hand embroider shapes, animals or sections of landscapes. Colours can be blended together as already explained using 2 – 6 strands of 2 or more colours. The more colours you use, the more subtle and “muddy” the colours become and this is useful when stitching something pictorial. It is a bit like painting with the threads.  If I am stitching a grid or line of shapes I usually take the more orderly, rigid, mathematical approach. Whatever I am embroidering, I usually do it on to a layer of wadding, either wool or polyester.

Once the hand embroidery is completed, I trim away excess wadding around shapes close to the stitching before tacking ( basting)  this to a layer of 80/20 cotton/polyester wadding (batting). The free motion quilting is then done with the no. 50 threads and the embroidered shapes pop up – for example the triangle shaped pieces or “Red Squirrel.” It is useful to have the same colour of threads as I used for the embroidery.  Sometimes I add more hand stitched details with the floss such as on the foreground of “Sheep at Loch Ness.”


Sheena made a series of samples to showcase the threads in her Scottish Highlands Collections — 50wt & Floss.

SAMPLE 3
Finished at 20 x 21cm
Created between December 21, 2015 & February 2, 2016
Total time: 7 hours 15 minutes

by Sheena Norquay

Four strands of 9 single colours were embroidered using a detached chain stitch on a pieced 9-patch block and Thermore wadding to create nine triangles which represent mountains. The border was embroidered in zig zags with the 10th colour before a second layer of 80/20 cotton/polyester wadding was added. It was free motion quilted using 50wt thread.

SAMPLE 5
Finished at 22.5 x 50.5cm
Created between December 29, 2015 & January 26, 2016
Total time: 23 hours 20 minutes

Each row of triangles is a 4 step blend from one colour to another using 4 strands of floss. (4a, 3a + 1b, 2a + 2b, 1a + 3b) All 10 colours in the Scottish Highlands collection were used.

TWEED CUSHION WITH TRIANGLES
Finished at 37 X 37cm
Created between January 3, 2016 & February 18, 2016
Total time: 13 hours 40 minutes

Five small pieces of tweed were pieced together — each piece has 3 triangle shapes  embroidered with 4 strands of Aurifloss using a 2 step colour blend ( 2a, 1a+1b 2b).  Grey/black herringbone tweed was stitched around the embroidered rectangles to form a cushion cover. The outline of a large triangle was embroidered with slanting stitches to match the weave of the tweed. Each row of stitches has 2 strands of cotton floss and forms a 2 step colour blend.

The cushion cover was quilted with straight lines following the weave of the fabric using Aurifil 50wt and the walking foot. There is an extra layer of wadding behind the large triangle (wool) with the main layer being 80/20 cotton/ polyester.

FLYING TRIANGLES

CLUTCH BAG

POSTCARDS FROM THE SCOTTISH HIGHLANDS
These samples are painted, pieced, hand appliqued, and embroidered with colours from the Scottish Highlands collection of cotton floss and free motion quilted using Aurifil 50wt threads in the same colours.

HIGHLAND COWS  
Finished at 30 x 25cm
Created between January 4, 2016 & February 9, 2016
Total time: 14 hours 30 minutes

Detail of Highland Cows by Sheena Norquay

Inspired by a photo Sheena took of 2 Highland cows near Inverness, this piece was made with fabric painting and hand embroidery using cotton floss threads from the Scottish Highlands collection. It was free motion quilted using Aurifil 50wt.

LONE STAG  
Finished at 29 x 25cm
Created between January 15, 2016 & February 11, 2016
Total time: 12 hours 40 minutes

Lone Stag by Sheena Norquay

The mountain was inspired by a photo Sheena took from the train south of Aviemore. She loved the patterns on the mountain and it is an area where one can often see red deer. The piece was created using fabric painting and hand embroidery with 2 colours of cotton floss from the Scottish Highlands collection. It was then free motion quilted using Aurifil 50wt.

GREEN TREELINES AND TARTAN TWEED
Finished at 31.5 x 32cm
Created between January 18, 2016 & February 4, 2016
Total time: 17 hours 30 minutes

Green Treelines and Tartan Tweed by Sheena Norquay

This piece was inspired by a photo taken from the train between Inverness and Perth. The wind was whipping the snow up into the sky, a sight Sheena had not seen before and she was attracted to the contrast between the trees and the lines on the mountain. It was fabric painted and hand embroidered using cotton floss from the Scottish Highlands collection. The border is wool tartan. Couched threads are 3 strands of Aurifil Wool twisted together and hand stitched.


ABOUT SHEENA
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Sheena Norquay was born on the Orkney Islands, just off the Northern tip of Scotland. Though she began sewing as a child, it wasn’t until attending University in Aberdeen to gain a B.Ed degree that she truly dove into the world of sewing, quilting, and textiles. The degree included 2-dimensional design in textiles which inspired her interest in exploring the artistic potential of threads and fabrics.

Having been a Primary School teacher in Inverness for 30 years, Sheena is now a freelance quilting teacher and teaches workshops locally, all over the UK, and sometimes abroad. She also writes articles for magazines and her quilts have been featured in several books.

Sheena’s work has been exhibited locally, nationally, and internationally since 1981 and she has won many awards in competitive quilt shows. She sells her work, cards and postcards of her work, and also accept commissions.

Text and images courtesy of Sheena Norquay.

The Artistry of Sheena Norquay, Part 2 — The Beach Collection

Sheena Norquay’s Beach Collection was inspired by the colours of shells, stones, pebbles, sea glass and sand. It is a box of 12 Large Spools of 50wt thread.

The Colours are:
2524 (light blue/purple), 2564 (light pink/lilac), 4150 (yellow variegated)
1248 (dark blue/purple), 2311 (cream), 2375 (peach)
2610 ((dark grey/blue), 2312 (light beige), 2340 (light rust)
2615 (light grey), 2805 (light turquoise), 2326 (dark beige)

Please visit The Artistry of Sheena Norquay, Part 1 for more details + the full interview with Sheena.

GIVEAWAY
To enter-to-win The Beach Collection by Sheena Norquay, please leave us a comment on this post letting us know which of Sheena’s pieces below is your favorite and why. Entry will close at 11:59pm on Friday, August 18 and a winner will be announced here on Saturday, August 19. This giveaway is open to all of our International friends!

INTERVIEW (con.)
Tell us about The Beach Collection. What inspired the designs and how did you go about selecting the colors?
One of my favourite things to do when I am not stitching, is to go beachcombing. I have collected shells, stones, seaglass, fragments of pottery etc over the years and so I looked at my collection for colour inspiration for the Beach Collection. The rocks and stones on the beaches where I go in Orkney are mainly of sandstone which has warm, gentle, subtle colours. The colours of some shells, seaglass and other stones are cooler but still soft. I tried to have a combination of warm and cool, light and dark in the collection.

Do you have a favorite project made with the collection?
I enjoyed making all of the samples but I think the wholecloth “Periwinkles in a Spin” shows off all the threads in the collection to best effect.


Sheena made a series of samples to showcase the threads in her Beach Collection.

PEBBLE WAVE GRID 
Finished at 59 x 86cm
Created between January 17, 2016 & February 2, 2016
Total time: 29 hours 20 minutes

Pebblewave Grid by Sheena Norquay

Strip pieced using 12 colours of cotton fabrics matching the threads in the beach collection. Pebbles are printed and painted horizontally in shallow curves echoing the shape of the blue wave at the top. The curved horizontal lines of the grid are satin stitched. Wave shape at the top is twin needled, free motion quilted using swinging c curves and satin stitched in vertical lines in the same colours as the fabrics. Pebble shapes on the calico section at the bottom are fabric painted to match the fabrics and the backgrounds are quilted with colours matching the pebbles and adjacent strips. Backgrounds of the coloured strips are free motion quilted in pebble designs in horizontal bands using each of the 12 colours in the Beach collection.

Pebblewave Detail by Sheena Norquay

SCALLOPS
Finished at 39 x 88cm
Created between January 13, 2016 & January 19, 2016
Total time: 22hours 50 minutes

Scallops by Sheena Norquay

Squares were pieced in colours to match the Beach Collection. The background has 3 different cream and beige fabrics. Scallop shell shapes were free motion quilted in repeat, half drop, random, and overlapping patterns. Shells on the coloured fabric were painted with pearlescent paint. The background was quilted in 12 colours in different sizes of circles and curved lines.  Sheena used 2 layers of wadding – polyester Thermore + 80/20 cotton/polyester.

Details of Scallops by Sheena Norquay

PERIWINKLES IN A SPIN
Finished at 61 x 42cm
Created between January 21, 2016 & February 12, 2016
Total time: 15 hours

Detail of Periwinkles in a Spin by Sheena Norquay

Inspired by periwinkle shells. 12 small shell shapes are free motion quilted using Aurifil cotton no. 50 in 12 Beach Collection colours. The shells form a spiral which is then continued in swinging C curves between 2 lines to complete a larger periwinkle shape. Lines separating swinging C curves are satin stitched. The background is quilted in a water pattern. I used 50/50 cotton/polyester wadding behind the small shells, a layer of thin polyester Thermore behind the large, shell shape and 80/20 cotton/polyester for the main layer. It was quilted on a 1008 Bernina machine.

PERIWINKLE SPIRAL PATTERNS
Finished at 61 x 42cm
Created between January 23, 2016 & February 13, 2016
Total time: 13 hours 15minutes

Periwinkle Spiral Patterns by Sheena Norquay

This piece was inspired by the periwinkle shell and its spiral shape. The shell is split into 12 sections and in each section Sheena free motion quilted 12 different spiral patterns using 12 different colours of Aurifil cotton no. 50 from the Beach Collection. She used 2 layers of wadding – 80/20  cotton/polyester + Hobbs Wool Tuscany.

 

PERIWINKLE BORDERS
Finished at 35.5 x 49.5cm
Created between January 13, 2016 & January 27, 2016
Total time: 12 hours 15 minutes

Detail of Periwinkle Borders by Sheena Norquay

Four sizes of periwinkle shapes were free motion quilted in horizontal borders in 12 colours of Aurifil no. 50 threads from the Beach collection. Backgrounds were free motion quilted in water, pebble, and sand patterns. Borders were separated with satin stitch. Sheena used cotton sateen and two layers of wadding – polyester thermore + 80/20 cotton/polyester.

 

BLUE PEBLEWASH WITH MUSSELS  
Finished at 42.5 X 60.5cm
Created between January 1, 2016 and February 21, 2016

Blue Pebblewash with Mussels by Sheena Norquay

The blue pebbles were printed with a bathmat and Jacquard Lumiere fabric paints. Mussel shells were hand painted and hand appliqued. The water was hand painted. Cotton organdy was free motion embroidered, appliqued and quilted in wave and bubble shapes. Sheena used 2 layers of wadding – thin thermore polyester + 80/20 cotton/polyester. The piece was free motion quilted with Aurifil cotton no. 50 threads using some colours from the Beach collection. The patterns created by water on the sand were inspired by photos that Sheena took at Nairn Beach and the shells were inspired by some that she has collected from various beaches.

Detail of Blue Pebblewash with Mussels by Sheena Norquay


ABOUT SHEENA
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Sheena Norquay was born on the Orkney Islands, just off the Northern tip of Scotland. Though she began sewing as a child, it wasn’t until attending University in Aberdeen to gain a B.Ed degree that she truly dove into the world of sewing, quilting, and textiles. The degree included 2-dimensional design in textiles which inspired her interest in exploring the artistic potential of threads and fabrics.

Having been a Primary School teacher in Inverness for 30 years, Sheena is now a freelance quilting teacher and teaches workshops locally, all over the UK, and sometimes abroad. She also writes articles for magazines and her quilts have been featured in several books.

Sheena’s work has been exhibited locally, nationally, and internationally since 1981 and she has won many awards in competitive quilt shows. She sells her work, cards and postcards of her work, and also accept commissions.

Text and images courtesy of Sheena Norquay.

The Artistry of Sheena Norquay, Part 1

I first met Sheena Norquay shortly after I started working with Aurifil, a mere 4 years into my time in this industry. Up until that time, I’d never seen anything quite like her work and was immediately taken with her artistry, her vision, and her undeniable quilting genius. She is adventurous in her work, always up for trying something new, while remaining meticulous and measured in her experimentation. Every time she creates a new piece, she sends along thoughts on that piece… what she tried and why, which threads were used, and what she thought about the process. It is both fascinating and breath-taking and I’m excited to share some of that with you over the next few days.

In the last year, Sheena has released 3 new collections… 2 last Fall and one just this past Spring. Each collection has its own voice, its own purpose, and its own color palette. Each comes with a variety of stunning projects, designed to showcase the thread, whether 50wt, 80wt, or floss, and how it can be the star of the show rather than the complementary accessory.

So today, we’re thrilled to introduce you to Sheena, to share our interview with her —  giving us all a peek at her process and some insight into her inspiration — AND also to her collections — The Beach Collection, Scottish Highlands, and The Seabird Collection. Make sure to check back in every day this week to learn a little more about each collection and to see some of Sheena’s gorgeous work!

THREAD COLLECTION DETAILS
The Beach Collection
LARGE – 100% Aurifil Cotton, 12 Large Spools, 50wt (1422yds/spool)
Colors included:
2524 – 2564 – 4150 – 1248 – 2311 – 2375
2610 – 2312 – 2340 – 2615 – 2805 – 2326

Scottish Highlands, 50wt
SMALL – 100% Aurifil Cotton, 10 Small Spools, 220yds/spool
Colors included:
2309 – 2612 – 2566 – 6735 – 2885
1246 – 2775 – 2155 – 2975 – 1147

Scottish Highlands, Aurifloss
SMALL – 100% Aurifil Cotton, 10 Small Spools, 18yds/spool
Colors included:
2309 – 2612 – 2566 – 6735 – 2885
1246 – 2775 – 2155 – 2975 – 1147

The Seabird Collection
SMALL – 100% Aurifil Cotton, 10 Small Spools, 80wt (300yds/spool)
Colors included:
2692 – 2021 – 2630 – 2625 – 2615
2370 – 2324 – 2255 – 1135 – 2775

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

Sheena Norquay’s Beach Collection

THE INTERVIEW
Can you tell us a bit about yourself and your background?
I am from the Orkney Islands which lie to the north of Scotland, but now live in Inverness, the capital city of the Highlands, most of the time. I used to be a Primary School teacher but am now a freelance quilting teacher. I teach and exhibit nationally and internationally and have won many awards for my work.

What first drew you to to the world of textiles?
I have been exposed to textiles since I was a child. My mother knitted and sewed all our clothes. One grandmother knitted Fair Isle garments and the other grandmother did embroidery, painting and various fabric crafts. I was also taught how to knit and sew at school but my favourite activity, which I did at home, was to make clothes for my dolls from fabric scraps. This developed into making my own clothes when I was in my early teens.

I loved fabrics and threads from an early age and was introduced to more exotic textiles when one of my uncles, who went to sea, brought back an embroidered skirt and top which he bought in India. Sadly, the garments did not fit, but I still have them in my collection, along with embroidery by my grandmother and by many unknown women whose work I have bought at antique fairs and charity shops.

My introduction to patchwork happened while I was doing my B.Ed degree. One of the girls in my2-dimensionall design course was working on a hexagon bedspread so I decided to have a go and make a cushion. Laura Ashley scrapbags were on sale then in the 1970’s so I used them as well as my own scraps. The cushion grew into a bedspread and I remember being so proud of making something so large!

In 1979 I saw my first actual quilts at an exhibition in Inverness Museum and Art Gallery of old American quilts and a smaller exhibition of “modern” quilts by an American quilter called Linda Schaepper.  That was the beginning of my entry into the world of quilting and I have been so lucky to have experienced the growth in its popularity and to have met so many wonderful people and to have travelled to so many places.

Puffy Puffins Detail (Sheena Norquay)

Who or what has been your greatest creative inspiration?
Apart from my late mother and grandmothers, the late May Miller ( friend of Kathleen Whyte, well known embroiderer and head of the Embroidery Department at the Glasgow School of Art at that time)  was the person to show me the creative potential of threads and fabric and she taught  me to see the world with creative eyes during the 2 years of my 2 dimensional design course.

In the 1980’s when I joined the Quilters’ Guild of the British Isles I was inspired by Deirdre Amsden’s use of fabrics and colour. Also, the Guild had slides of American quilts for hire and I was inspired by how Michael James used colour and pattern, and how Nancy Halpern used quilting to create movement and atmosphere.

From where do you draw inspiration for your artwork?
Most of my inspiration comes from looking closely at nature. I am particularly inspired by Orkney skies, its magical light and its seascapes. I also like looking at patterns on sandy beaches and lines on rocks. I find bird shapes very elegant and enjoy doodling and decorating surfaces with stitching, hand and machine.

Photo by Sheena Norquay

Can you tell us a bit about your process — how you determine the subject of a new piece and how you work through from start to finish?
I usually begin by taking lots of photos of something that inspires me. This could be subjects already mentioned, group challenges or themes for quilt shows. This is followed by thumbnail sketches of possible compositions. I then scale one of these up to a full size drawing (sometimes using an overhead projector) and think about the techniques I am going to use.

The next step is to go through my fabrics selecting the ones that I think are suitable, followed by a final selection. The rejects are put back on the shelves. For a pieced landscape or seascape, for instance, I make templates, pin them on the reverse sides of the fabrics, cut leaving about quarter of an inch and piece. Details are appliqued on to the background before quilting. If it is a wholecloth quilt, I trace the drawing on to the fabric ready for quilting. Threads are selected, usually Aurifil no. 50 cotton, and then the free motion quilting begins.

I always have a few projects on the go at the same time. Most of the machine work is done in the mornings or afternoons, whereas hand stitching is done in the evenings while watching TV or on long train journeys!

Scallops Detail (Sheena Norquay)

When did you first discover Aurifil threads and what do you love most about them?
I first started buying Aurifil no. 50 cotton threads from Barnyarns in England when Madeira tanne cotton no. 50 was no longer available, sometime in the early 2000’s. I love Aurifil threads because they are of such high quality and go through the machine so smoothly. I also like hand quilting and embroidering  with cotton no 28, 12 and Aurifloss. Recently, I started using wool acrylic on various tweeds like Harris tweed, both for embroidering by hand and machine. I am very lucky to be given threads by Aurifil and am honoured to have been asked to compose several thread collections.

How big of a role do the threads play in your artwork?
I would say the threads play the main role now, especially when stitching wholecloths. Because I have always been drawn to drawing rather than painting, I think this is why I enjoy quilting so much. I would also say that when I am asked to compose a collection for Aurifil, I select thread colours before the fabrics and it is an interesting challenge to do sample pieces using only 10 or 12 colours. In the past, I have tended to select fabrics first and then threads but of course it depends what you are making, whether it be something pieced, appliqued or a wholecloth.

I  also enjoyed the challenge set by Alex when he gave me my first spool of Aurifloss to try. This has opened up a whole new way of working with threads and blending the colours to create new colours, whether it be in an ordered, mathematical way when creating gradations of colour in 1, 2,3,4 or 5 steps, or in a more intuitive, painterly way when embroidering, say an animal or landscape. For instance, I might add one strand of a dark colour to 3 strands of another colour or colours to darken something like the edge of a tree trunk just a little bit, whereas I might use 3 strands of the dark colour and one strand of  another colour if I wanted it much darker.

So, at the design stage, as well as thinking about thread colours, I also think about what type of Aurifil threads I am going to use for the various hand and machine techniques.

Postcards from Scottish Highlands — Highland Cow Detail (Sheena Norquay)

What is up next for you? Where can we find you this year?
I will be helping on the Aurifil stand at The Festival of Quilts in August. After that I have an exhibition with Gillian Travis and Hilary Gooding at the Cowslip Workshops in Cornwall in the south of England followed by teaching at various places. Later in the year I will be teaching at the Quilt Symposium in New Zealand and finally I hope to do some writing.

Photo by Sheena Norquay

ABOUT SHEENA
WebsiteFacebook

Sheena Norquay was born on the Orkney Islands, just off the Northern tip of Scotland. Though she began sewing as a child, it wasn’t until attending University in Aberdeen to gain a B.Ed degree that she truly dove into the world of sewing, quilting, and textiles. The degree included 2-dimensional design in textiles which inspired her interest in exploring the artistic potential of threads and fabrics.

Having been a Primary School teacher in Inverness for 30 years, Sheena is now a freelance quilting teacher and teaches workshops locally, all over the UK, and sometimes abroad. She also writes articles for magazines and her quilts have been featured in several books.

Sheena’s work has been exhibited locally, nationally, and internationally since 1981 and she has won many awards in competitive quilt shows. She sells her work, cards and postcards of her work, and also accept commissions.

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Daisy Days by Keera Job

Keera Job‘s debut collection for Riley Blake Designs is the absolute vision of Summer. Daisy Days features Pinks, Blues, & Greens with some Yellow & Grey to complete the scene. The sweet florals evoke visions of a carefree childhood — garden adventures, daisy chains, and afternoon tea parties. In fact, Keera’s first sketches for the collection were drawn while sitting in her garden, watching her two daughters at playtime.  Our heads are spinning with ideas for what to make with these gorgeous prints!

Keera’s coordinating thread collections feature our incredibly versatile 50wt thread in both large and small spools. She has included all of her go-to colors — everything you’ll need to create your own delightful Summer projects.

THREAD COLLECTION DETAILS
Daisy Days
LARGE – 100% Aurifil Cotton, 12 Large Spools, 50wt (1422yds/spool)
Colors included:
4644 – 2805 – 2847 – 6726 – 1231 – 2884
2255 – 2435 – 2415 – 2130 – 2140 – 2021

SMALL – 100% Aurifil Cotton, 10 Small Spools, 50wt (220yds/spool)
Colors included:
4644 – 2847 – 6726 – 1231 – 2884
2255 – 2435 – 2415 – 2130 – 2021

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

THE INTERVIEW
What first drew you to to the world of sewing and quilting?

I made my first quilt on the floor of my Grandma’s sewing room when I was fourteen. This is where my love of colour and fabric really began. When my daughter was born almost five years ago I launched my business, LIVE.LOVE.SEW Pattern Co. and began designing quilt patterns and sharing free quilt tutorials on my blog. Colour and fabric has and always will be what drives my creativity.

Who or what has been your greatest creative inspiration?
My girls are my greatest inspiration – the way they view the world, their vivid imaginations and the simplicity of just being with them really opens my eyes up to new things. I love exploring with them and helping create memories they will hold forever. I also draw a lot of inspiration from others – their stories and their gorgeous creations all make me want to get in my studio and draw or sew or paint!

How did you first connect with Riley Blake and what do you love most about working with them?
I was working alongside Millhouse Collections here in Australia, who are the distributors for Riley Blake Designs fabrics, as an ambassador. They saw some of my designs and after we spoke on the phone I submitted my full collection concept. I’m still pinching myself! Designing fabric is a dream come true and I’m so humbled to be joining the Riley Blake Designs family.

Tell us about Daisy Days. What inspired the designs? 
Daisy Days was created for my girls. It is all about childhood memories – making daisy chains and hand-picked posies with ribbons and bows. It’s garden adventures, playing ring-a-rosie with giggly girls and having tea-parties with teddy bear friends. I drew the first sketches for this collection sitting in the garden watching my girls at playtime. Remembering this still warms my heart.

Do you have a favorite project or projects made with the collection? 
I designed three quilts to coordinate with the collection, but my favourite is the Picking Daisies quilt. Its a combination of scrappy patchwork blocks and applique pieces. I love that you can hand sew the petals and quilt it with the coordinating Daisy Days threads!

When did you first discover Aurifil threads and what do you love most about them?
I began using Aurifil threads when I made my daughter’s baby quilt. I had read so many great reviews about the range of threads and ordered some online to try. I love the colour range available, and the varying weights are brilliant for any type of sewing or quilting project. Aurifil threads give you this feeling from the beginning that you are working with something special and something of great quality.

How did you go about selecting colors for Daisy Days and what excites you most about releasing the collection to the world? 
This was so fun! I love looking through the Aurifil colour cards to colour match to my projects. Doing it with my own fabric collection was a fantastic feeling! I’ve matched colours for each of the colourways in the collection – there’s the gorgeous pinks that I am crushing and beautiful pops of sunshine yellow and leaf green. Also included is my go-to 2021 White which I use for ALL my quilt piecing!

GIVEAWAY

To enter-to-win Keera’s Large Daisy Days thread collection AND a bundle of Daisy Days by Keera Job for Riley Blake Designs, 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, August 9! Winner will be randomly selected and announced here on Thursday, August 10. Good luck!

DAISY DAYS BLOG TOUR

While we’re not one of the official stops on the Daisy Days Blog Tour, we are still excited about following along with this gorgeous showcase. The event kicked off this past Tuesday with Sedef Imer of Down Grapevine Lane and will continue on every Tuesday throughout the month of August. See below for the schedule so that you don’t miss a thing!

Tuesday 1 August Sedef Imer downgrapevinelane.com
Tuesday 8 August Amy Smart diaryofaquilter.com
Tuesday 15 August Amanda Herring amandaherringdesigns.com 
Tuesday 22 August Samantha Dorn aquapaisleystudio.com
Tuesday 29 August Emily Dennis quiltylove.com 

ABOUT KEERA
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Keera is wife to cattle farmer and mother to two beautiful little girls. She lives with her family in gorgeous rural Australia, spending her days drawing and designing fabric and quilt patterns, teaching and hosting little-girl tea-parties on her favourite quilts! She is a young working mother who found quilting and surface design through some amazingly inspirational women. She feels blessed to share her love of fabric, colour, quilts and design!

 

** Images, biographical text and interview text by Keera Job & Riley Blake

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