Project: Sew Very Happy by Susan Emory

Today, we’re handing the blog over to Aurifil Designer Susan Emory of Swirly Girls Design. Susan has a wonderful pattern to share, along with some excellent tips — all using her Summer Lovin’ thread collection, released last year. This project is absolutely perfect to get us prepared for warmer weather ahead! Now excuse us while we daydream about the bright Summer sun;).


My introduction to Aurifil Thread came several years ago when I picked up a spool of 12 wt thread for hand embroidery. I immediately loved that I no longer had to separate strands before I began stitching! Since then, I have discovered the lint-free beauty of Aurifil 40wt and 50wt to use on the machine. I switched to Aurifil and never looked back.

When I approached Aurifil to create a designer thread collection to coordinate Summer Lovin’, my  fabric line with Michael Miller Fabrics, I was THRILLED when they said yes!

I love hand embroidery and I love appliqué so we combined the best of both and produced a box with six 12wt spools and six 50wt spools.

This box is the perfect fit for the Sweet Summertime Block of the Month quilt featuring hand embroidered blocks each month.

The 50wt is ideal for machine appliqué and matches the fabrics perfectly!

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Have you had a chance to hand stitch with 12wt yet? I designed a simple hand embroidery project to give you that chance and to help get you started!

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DOWNLOAD Sew Very Happy by Susan Emory
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I used a pencil to lightly trace the design onto solid white Cotton Couture from Michael Miller Fabrics.

I combined back-stitching and french knots for stitching the design.

 

I then added borders and quilted the mini quilt. After quilting, I decided to add some fussy-cut floral motifs from Summer Lovin’. I stitched the appliqués down with matching 50wt thread. Next, I added a row of big stitch quilting with the 12wt in red.

I used the yellow and green Picnic Plaid print for bias binding.

Enjoy!! I can’t wait to see your minis!!


ABOUT SUSAN
WebsiteBlogFacebookInstagramTwitter
Susan Emory is a licensed designer with Michael Miller Fabrics and a quilt designer under the Swirly Girls Design logo. Summer Lovin’ by Susan Emory/Swirly Girls Design for Michael Miller Fabrics and the Summer Lovin’ Designer Thread Collection are in stores now.

 

 

 

Pssssst. Something fun coming soon!!

Island Batik Week: Coastal Mist by Tammy Silvers

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Welcome to our Fall/Winter edition of Island Batik Week!! We’re so excited to partner with this wonderful company once again to present a variety of new fabric lines along with the coordinating Aurifil thread collections. We’ll be featuring one designer every day and each post will offer a fabric + thread giveaway, so make sure to come back daily to learn more about our talented designers and to enter-to-win some gorgeous prizes!

To learn about Island Batik and the batik process, please visit their website. For a peek at the full range of Fall/Winter 2016 releases, in-stores now, click here or on the image below to browse the catalog.

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Deep Purples, greens and magentas are beautifully represented in Kathy Engle’s  Coastal Mist collection for Tamarinis (Tammy Silvers) with Island Batik. Tammy selected  threads to coordinate perfectly with the fabrics. The large collection features both 50wt and 12wt threads, perfect for piecing and big stitch quilting. The small collection features 10 stunning colors of our Aurifloss for adding perfect little stitched details.

THREAD COLLECTION DETAILS
Coastal Mist

12 Large Spools – 50wt (1422yds/spool) & 12wt (356yds/spool), 100% Aurifil Cotton
1148 – 2562 – 2568 – 2600 – 2455 – 2845 (50wt)
4225 – 2405 – 2420 – 4026 – 4030 – 4093 (12wt)

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10 Small Spools – Floss (18yds/spool), 100% Aurifil Cotton
2540 – 1135 – 2311 – 2562 – 4182 – 2455 – 2845 – 4026 – 4030 – 5003

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

THE INTERVIEW
What was the inspiration behind Coastal Mist, your new collection in partner with Kathy Engle? What does the collection mean to you?

The genius behind the Coastal Mist collection is all Kathy Engle.  But for me, it captures the softer beauty of the coast, evoking soft, misty mornings, gently lapping waves, and those magical, if all too brief, sunsets.

Tartary by Tamarinis

Tartary by Tamarinis

Do you have a favorite project made using the fabric and threads from Coastal Mist
I’m particularly pleased with Boho Bliss – while not at all coastal themed, the colors worked so well to give a softer bohemian feel to the project.  And of course, the Aurifil 12wts were a huge part of that as well – the edge stitching in the coordinating and contrasting colors were the finishing touch!

Boho Bliss by Tamarinis

Boho Bliss by Tamarinis

You’ve put together a pretty amazing blog tour to introduce this stunning collection, launching later this month. What was it like to work with so many wonderful designers and to see the projects they created with Coastal Mist?
Working with other designers is tremendously exciting!  It is awesome to see different takes on a collection, and different ways of combining fabrics from the collection and interpreting it.  Their inspiration is extremely motivating!

How did you go about selecting colors for your coordinating thread collections? 
I wanted the quilting weight threads to continue that “misty” feel and offer a whisper of color across the fabrics.  And then of course the 12wts were chosen to highlight the fused applique that was a major focus of Boho Bliss.  Together, the two weights offer a complete package for any quilter!

Monkey Bread by Tamarinis

Monkey Bread by Tamarinis

In addition to the large collection of 50wt threads, you have a small, 10-spool box of Aurifloss. What do you love most about working with our embroidery floss? 
The floss is a dream to work with!  I love the rich, saturated colors, the smooth thread, and the fact that I don’t have to separate it to work with it.  I love the heavier, yet smooth look when stitching with the floss.

To learn more about Tammy, check out our feature for Seashore, her Spring/Summer Island Batik Week release.

THE GIVEAWAY

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To enter-to-win 1 Large Coastal Mist Thread Collection and one Fat Quarter Bundle of Coastal Mist fabrics from Island Batik,  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, January 15! Winner will be randomly selected and announced here on Monday, January 16. Good luck!

UPDATE: This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to our winner, Lesley Moore!

ISLAND BATIK WEEK SCHEDULE 
1/10 – Coastal Mist by Tammy Silvers (YOU ARE HERE!)
1/11 – Glowing Embers by Cheri Good Designs
1/12 – Dotalicious by Claudia Pfeil
1/13 – Surf and Sand by Fourth and Sixth Designs
1/14 – Fresh Catch by Jackie Kunkel

ABOUT TAMMY
Blog — Facebook — Pinterest — Twitter — Instagram
Unknown-3Tammy Silvers is the designer behind the brand Tamarinis. She’s been designing quilts for 10 years, and prides herself on offering bold, fresh new patterns for quilters of all levels. She enjoys working with almost any fabric, but her favorites (the one that makes her drool and blow a carefully constructed budget) are batiks, bold prints, and chicken prints. Having a background in art and literature, another of her guilty quilty pleasures is finding ways to use “words” in her work, be it in the fabric itself or by adding them to the piece.

Tammy is a Georgia native and currently lives in Acworth with her husband, children (when they come to visit!), dog, and her favorite fat cats.

Under the label Tamarinis, her designs are regularly published in a variety of quilt magazines, including Quilt, McCall’s Quilting, American Patchwork and Quilting, Stitch, Fons and Porter’s Love of Quilting, Quilty, Quilt It…Today, Sew It…Today, Stitch and Create and Decorate. She also works with some of the major fabric manufacturers designing projects to showcase and promote their fabric lines, including Island Batik (of course!), Northcott Fabrics, Blend, Camelot and Fabri-Quilt.

ABOUT ISLAND BATIK
Website — Blog — Facebook — Pinterest — Twitter — Instagram
Island Batik is a manufacturer, importer and distributor of cotton batik, rayon batik and hand-printed cotton from Indonesia. Originally established in 1997, Island Batik’s mission is to share the ancient cultural art of batik and hand-dyed fabric with our many valued customers around the world.

Curious Dream by Angela Pingel

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We are so thrilled to be one of the stops on Angela Pingel’s Curious Dream Blog Hop! It’s been so fun to see all of the posts so far. From pillows to mini quilts to zippy pouches… there are already so many fabulous projects! Make sure to check out all of the stops along the way. Each day offers a brand new chance to win a FQ bundle! We’ve got lots of great stuff for you today — info about Angela’s new thread collections, an interview with Angela to uncover some of the inspiration behind Curious Dream, and a tutorial! That’s right… a super sweet, super simple, Toddler Tote Tutorial. So settle in and have fun!

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Jump down the rabbit hole with Angela Pingel‘s debut collection, Curious Dream. Inspired by the whimsy of Alice’s adventures through Wonderland and the Looking Glass, this collection calls to the dreamer in all of us. The subtle theme is perfect for any true lover of the fantastical world, but is also perfect for staples to your stash. You will find yourself smiling over the soft rainbow of colors and the details of the design. Angela’s accompanying Aurifil Thread Collection is a sweet lineup of large spools in both 50wt and 12wt — perfect for all your project needs!

[click here or on the image above to check out the lookbook!]

THREAD COLLECTION
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Curious Dream
12 Large Spools, 50wt (1422yds/spool)
2024 – 2615 – 2610 – 2805 – 5005 – 2783 – 2420 – 6729 – 2105 (50wt)
2105 – 2024 – 2860 (12wt)

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To view this info on our website, click on any of 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?
I was born and raised in South Bend, IN (Go Irish!) and I’m a midwest girl who loves to create.  I’ve been sewing for as long as I can remember and I started with garment sewing.  My mom did a bit of sewing for me and knew enough to teach me how to read a basic pattern.  I took that information and ran with it.  I’m completely self taught…so in some ways I feel like I have sooo much to learn.  But I’ve dabbled in pretty much everything.

I was introduced to quilting in particular in high school and made my very first project (a twin size quilt) from an Eleanor Burns book.  It was for my college dorm bed.  And I still have that quilt today.  I’ve been quilting away ever since!  I have degrees in mathematics and interior design, so it seems that fabric and quilt design were always in my future even though I didn’t know it.

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Did you always know that you’d be in a creative field, or did you take other career stops along the way?
LOL! No!  I knew that I would always be creative but I assumed that it would be a hobby like it is for most people.  It’s a lovely hobby to be creative and create with pressure actually.  I thought long and hard about turning it into a career because it can be easy to lose the joy you once had under the demands of the field.  But my path seems to have been leading me here in spite of myself.  I actually always thought that I would be in academics.  I LOVE school and learning as well.  In fact I was going to pursue a masters in library science but ended up getting a second degree in Interior Design instead.  But first I taught Pre-Algebra, Algebra, Geometry, Precalculus and Chemistry.

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Do you remember the process of creating your first quilt and how you felt once it was finished?
Oh Yes! Remember, I’m totally self taught, so I needed a book that taught me how to use a rotary cutter!  I’m dating myself, but there were certainly no online tutorials or you tube videos for me to watch.  It was all about reading and paying attention to details.  I still remember that I miscut or mis–sewed a bunch of the pieces and had to unpick them and redo them.  I was working a desk job over the summer and was able to use my down time to become friends with my seam ripper.  I had to buy new sashing for the quilt too because I had miscut that as well.  Oh good times. lol  But I loved that quilt and was SO proud of myself for making the entire quilt from start to finish.  I did stitch in the ditch quilting and am proud to say that the quilt is still in amazing condition.

What is your favorite thing to make? Do you prefer quilting over creating smaller projects like home accessories or handbags, or vice versa?
I’ve learned the hard way that making bags is not my favorite thing to do.  I certainly CAN make them and can even design them quite well. But I finally gave myself permission to say that they are just not my favorite thing to make.  As for quilts vs small projects, I am convinced that for me personally I need to have a healthy balance of the two.  In an ideal world, I would have just two projects going at a time and one would be a larger quilt and the other would always be a smaller project.  I love the joy of accomplishing something monumental like a quilt, but it can be necessary for my moral to have smaller projects finished more frequently.  Plus that way you can dabble with more fabrics!  Always a plus!

How did you first connect with Windham Fabrics and what do you love most about working with them?
I connected with Windham fabrics at Quilt Market and intiroduced myself to them via the standard channels of approaching a company.  I actually did this with a bunch of companies and did what I like to call speed dating at that market.  I had meetings with the creative directors for the companies and showed them my portfolio.  I had a long list of interview questions that I had for each company because not only did I want to design fabric, but I wanted to do it with the company that would be the best fit for me.  I immediately felt a connection with Windham because of their small yet big presence.  They have a plethora of talent among their designers but treat us all like we are equally important.  I loved their openness to my concepts and designs and really appreciate the freedom I have to design what I am interested in.  Communication has been great which is an essential part of working with a company for me.  Actually there is really nothing I can say that I dislike about them!  So I think we are a great fit.

Curious Dream is your debut collection with Windham. Can you tell us a bit more about the line and what inspired its creation?
It’s been a dream of mine to design fabric for a long time, but I was anxious about breaking into this new aspect of the quilting world.  I knew that I needed a design based off of something that I adored to give me the confidence to push through.  So Alice in Wonderland came to me.  At the time I thought that it was completely original to do this concept, but the stars aligned so that many people thought this was a good idea as well. lol  So now you can find a number of glorious lines about Alice.  But what I love about true design is that even with the same inspiration, we all ended up with vastly different lines from each other.  My personal goal in design is to marry whimsy with practicality.  In fact it’s almost my personal motto for life.  I really wanted to explore the character of Alice in such a way that the line felt whimsical but not novelty.  It’s a tough balance.  Using a children’s story with existing illustrations can be difficult to break free from and create another unique version.  For me, it was important to go back to the text and read the book with a highlighter; taking note of anything that caught my design eye.  I was interested in the FEEL of the book rather than recreating any exact moment.

The lookbook for Curious Dream is absolutely fabulous. What was it like to pull all of the props together for that photoshoot? Did you actually make that amazing moss chair?
Oh thank you so much!  I really appreciate that.  The look book was a labor of love.  I knew that I was tackling more props than I probably needed to, but creating wonderland is not something you get to do every day.  I wanted the back drop to support the idea of the story but in no way overshadow the fabric and its story.  Thankfully I had a wonderful photographer and I wasn’t the one trying to both run the shoot and be in charge of all the props and outfits and be a model AND then also take the photographs.

And that moss chair!!  Yes!! I did make it.  I actually have a tutorial for how to make one yourself on my website.  Because sometimes you just need a moss chair  😉

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Your daughter plays the role of Alice in the lookbook — was it fun to create projects with her in mind for this collection? 
Isn’t she just the cutest?!  It was so very fun to design the projects with her in mind.  I even took her with me to find the chair I used for the moss chair because I wanted to make sure that she looked a bit dwarfed in it.  And then designing the Alice look for her was one of the most fun fabric combos I got to do.  Because once again, how often do you get to design an Alice costume…and with your own fabrics no less?! Oh and she insisted on having some real liquid in that tea party scene.  She’s a very method model.  lol

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When did you first discover Aurifil threads and what do you love most about them? Do you have a favorite color/weight?
I’ve been using Aurifil for years now!!  They generously supplied the thread for my book, A Quilter’s Mixology, and numerous other projects I’ve been a part of.  I think what I love most about them is that they are available in so many different weights.  There is literally a thread for all of your needs.  I probably use the 40 or 50 weight the most often but the 12 weight is awesome for thick quilting lines.  And I am anxious to try the new 80 weight!  I think that would be amazing for EPP.  And who wouldn’t love the floss on wooden spools?  Those get me every time!

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How did you go about selecting threads for your latest Aurifil collection?
Again, I wanted practicality and whimsy.  So I matched threads to my collection colors of course, but I wanted more than just that.  I made sure that I included the kind of colors that are truly USEFUL.  So there are plenty of neutrals, blues and corals…all colors that pretty hot right now in general.  So whether you are using them for my collection or with other fabrics you own, they are universally on point.  Also, I wanted to make sure that there were some different weight threads in the box.  If you will be buying an entire box of thread, I want you to get the most bang for your buck. (There’s my practical side kicking in).  So I included another weight other than a piecing weight.  I included the 3 spools of 12 weight thread in colors that will pop for the opportunity to do some special heavy weight machine quilting.  I actually have a blog post about quilting with that as well!

TODDLER TOTE TUTORIAL

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1. Cut: two 9” x 11” rectangles each of outer fabric, lining fabric and fusible fleece, two 20” x 3” strips of strap fabric, two 19” x 1-1/5” strips of fusible fleece, one 4” x 5” rectangle  each of white fabric and EZ-STeam II and one 3″ x 3” square each of appliqué fabric and EZ-Steam II.

2. Fuse the 9” x 11” rectangles of Fusible Fleece to the wrong sides of the outer fabric rectangles. Set aside.

3. Remove the plain paper backing of the 4″ x 5″ EZ-Steam II rectangle and press the sticky side to the wrong side of the white fabric. Press with a hot dry iron. Let cool. Cut along all 4 edges with pinking shears. Set aside.

4. Trace child’s initial onto the gridded side of 3″ x 3″  EZ-Steam II square. Make sure the letter is traced in reverse.

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5. Remove the plain paper backing from the EZ-Steam II and finger press sticky side to the wrong side of the applique fabric. Press with a hot dry iron. Let cool. Cut letter out.

6. Remove gridded paper backing from the white rectangle, center within the top 2/3 of one outer fabric rectangle and finger press to secure.

7. Remove gridded paper backing from the letter and center within the white fabric rectangle. Fuse.

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8. Top stitch around letter and rectangle to secure and embellish as desired.

9. Mark and cut out a 1” notch on the bottom left & right hand corners or outer and lining rectangles.

10. Place outer rectangles right sides together and pin along both sides and bottom. Stitch using a ¼” seam allowance along both sides and bottom.

11. Open up the left corner notch and press together, aligning raw edges and seam. Pin and sew. Repeat with the right corner notch.

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12. Repeat steps 10 & 11 with the lining rectangles, making sure to leave a 3” gap along the bottom seam for turning.

13. Turn outer bag right side out.

14. To make the straps, center the Fusible Fleece strips on the wrong sides of the strap fabric strips and fuse. Fold short ends in over the edge of the Fusible Fleece and press. Fold strips in half lengthwise and press. Open and fold long edges in to meet the center crease. Press. Re-fold center crease and topstitch around all four sides.

15. Place outer bag inside lining, with right sides together and match seams. Pin on either side of seams to secure.

16. Tuck one strap in between exterior and lining, with raw edges aligned, so that the outside edges of the straps are 1” in from the side seams of the bag. Repeat with second strap.

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17. Pin around the entire opening and sew, reinforcing seams over all 4 strap ends.

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18. Turn bag right side out through the gap. Stitch gap closed and push lining into bag.

19. Straighten lining and pin top seam to prevent shifting. Topstitch.

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THE GIVEAWAY

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The Curious Dream Giveaway is closed. Congratulations to our winner Dorie Esquivel!

THE SCHEDULE
Monday, December 12th — Windham Fabrics
Tuesday , December 13th — Kelly Bowser, Kelby Sews
Wednesday, December 14th — Brooke Sellmann, Silly Mama Quilts
Thursday, December 15th — Wendy Sheppard, Ivory Spring
Friday, December 16th — Rebecca Bryan, Bryan House Quilts
Saturday, December 17th —  Chris Dodsley, Made by ChrissieD
Sunday December 18th — Aurifil (YOU ARE HERE!)
Monday, December 19th — Jennie, Clover & Violet
Tuesday, December 20th — Stephanie Kendron, Modern Sewciety
Wednesday, December 21st — Joanne, The Fat Quarter Gypsy
Thursday, December 22nd — Heidi Staples, Fabric Mutt
Friday, December 23rd — Round up post at Windham Fabrics

ABOUT ANGELA
WebsiteFacebookInstagramPinterest

angela-headshots-2-550x825Angela is a 30’s something wife and mom, winding her way between family life and fabric. She’s been sewing for as long as she can remember, and even did various super cool things such as making her prom dress, a quilt for her college dorm room and her flower girl dresses. Well, those things *might* be cool now, but they definitely weren’t then.

Angela is the author of the book A Quilter’s Mixology, on quilting using variations of the Drunkard’s Path Block. She has filmed a DVD on sewing curves available through Quilting Arts and also has a class on Craftsy using precuts to make disappearing blocks.  She has been published in numerous magazines and books including 99 Modern Blocks, Sweet Celebrations, 101 Patchwork Projects, Modern Patchwork, Quilt Scene, Playful Little Paper Pieced Projects, Quiltmaker’s 100 blocks, and more.

[collection images and bio courtesy of Angela Pingel]

Sew Illustrated Blog Tour

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We are thrilled to present Sew Illustrated, by Minki Kim & Kristin Esser. Have you been following along with the blog tour? We’ve loved seeing all of the gorgeous projects, reading reviews and learning more about how Minki and Kristin have inspired other designers to push the boundaries and create new works of art:). Isn’t creative inspiration the best??

Today, we have the opportunity to share all sorts of goodies with you — bits of this gorgeous new book, some of Minki & Kristin’s thoughts and inspirations via a lovely interview, Minki’s brand new Aurifil thread collection AND a fabulous little giveaway!

THE BOOK
Sew Illustrated

THE THREAD COLLECTION
Minki Kim (aka @Zeriano) is a sewing illustrator and crafter known for her sweet and whimsical thread art. Minki selected her most used colors and thread weights for her debut Aurifil thread collection, Sew Illustrated. In her words, “Threads are like brushes. You need different sized brushes when you paint.” This collection is perfect for both beginner and seasoned sewing illustrators!

Sew Illustrated
Large, 100% Aurifil Cotton
2000 – 5008 – 2620 – 6735 – 5024 (50wt, 1422yds)
2692 – 3817 (40wt, 1094yds), 2630 – 1130 (28wt, 820yds)
2605 – 3817 (12wt, 356yds), 8692 (WOOL 12wt, 383yds)

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Small
2000 – 5008 – 2620 – 5024 (50wt, 220yds) 2692 – 3817 (40wt, 164yds)
2630 – 1130 (28wt, 109yds ) 2605 (12wt, 54yds) 8692 (WOOL 12wt, 54yds)

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

THE INTERVIEW
What first drew you to this amazing creative world of sewing and textiles?
I’ve loved playing with a needle and thread ever since I was a little girl. My mother would give me bits of fabric and I would hand sew dresses for my dolls. When I became a mother myself I found that I had some hours to fill during the day. I went back to my roots of drawing and painting, but with little children around, I couldn’t leave all those materials around our small apartment. So I started hand embroidering my drawings and my children’s drawings. I enjoy hand work, but I felt that hand embroidery just took too long. One day my husband brought home a sewing machine for me and I wondered if I could achieve the same look by machine. I was thrilled to find out that I could! I felt that I had found the perfect marriage of drawing and sewing in sewing illustration.

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Vignette by Minki Kim

Who or what has been your greatest creative inspiration?
Without a doubt—my three girls. When they were very little, we would walk to the park or to school and I found myself wanting to capture those everyday scenes. Sometimes I would snap a picture with my phone, and sometimes I would quickly create a sketch as soon as I returned home. These scenes became my first sewing illustrations are still among my most treasured.

Sewing Illustrations by Minki Kim

Sewing Illustrations by Minki Kim

I am also inspired by everyday items and scenes—if I am baking bread, I want to draw that, if I’m making jam-I will sketch that. Piles of my girls shoes, rain boots—really anything to do with rain—cameras, my sewing space—everything around me. It is all inspiration for my drawings.

Notions Basket by Minki Kim

Notions Basket by Minki Kim

What do you love most about the process of creating?
What I love most is that you have a tangible result of your efforts to enjoy. The tea mat under your tea cup, the needle case you store your favorite needles in, the cushion on your daughter’s bed that she enjoys every day. I love to both see and use the items I create around my home. They are, in fact, what makes it a home to me. You can spend all day cleaning your house, and five minutes after your kids come home it is all undone—but that handmade coaster is always there for you to enjoy:).

How did the idea for Sew Illustrated first come about and what did you love most about the process of putting the book together?
The full story behind how Sew Illustrated came to be is all in this blog post. But the part that we like the most is that we were just two regular women who had a crazy idea to write a book. And if we’ve learned anything through this whole process, is that you just have to be brave enough to try, to take that next step. We wrote up that book proposal, completely expecting it to be rejected. But it wasn’t and here we are!

We didn’t really know for sure that other sewists would embrace this technique and aesthetic, but based on the response we have had from the book—our instincts paid off and many people are trying a new technique and finding out that it not difficult—and they absolutely enjoy it!

House Zipper Pouch by Minki Kim

House Zipper Pouch by Minki Kim

What was it like to work on the book collaboratively?
Working on the book together was so much fun. We met over countless cups of coffee and tea to plan out every detail. We have very complementary skill sets, so dividing up who did what was very easy—Minki was the designer and Kristin did the writing. Some people ask us if we are still friends after it was all done, and we are pleased to report that yes! We are still dear friends.

Do you have a favorite project from the book and why?
It’s a bit like choosing your favorite child—but I think the long-handled bag with the typewriter motif is my favorite. I love the typewriter design and it is a useful bag that I reach for over and over. I also love all of the projects for the table—coasters, tea mats, and dessert mats—for the same reason. They are useful projects that I enjoy seeing and using every day.

When did you first discover Aurifil threads and what do you love most about them? Actually, it was Kristin that first introduced me to Aurifil. Up until then I was using whatever thread was on sale at Joann’s. In fact, I really didn’t understand what difference a thread could make. But she lent me a spool and I was immediately hooked! It was eye-opening what a difference great quality thread can make! And then I was introduced to all the different thread weights available from Aurifil. This was something else that I had no idea about!

Once I began experimenting with different thread weights—it began to change my process. I think of sewing illustration as simply drawing with thread. The different weights of thread represent the different thicknesses of the pen or pencil you draw with. I can really change the look of the piece by simply using a different thread weight. I can use a very heavy 12 weight to mimic a hand embroidered look, but I also completely love the thin line that 50 weight gives a drawing.

Do you have a favorite weight/color?
As I said, I love them all for different reasons. Most of my sewing illustrations have used a dark brown (5024 and 1130 are my favorites) in the past—but recently I have completely fallen in love with dark gray (2630) 28 weight.

Sew Illustrated by Minki Kim

Sew Illustrated by Minki Kim

How did you go about selecting colors for this collection?
I wanted to introduce people to new thread weights. I think that most people have the usual 50 weight thread in their drawer and I wanted to open up a whole new world to them. So I selected a variety of weights that can easily achieve different looks, in the selection of colors that I find myself reaching for over and over.

Sew Illustrated by Minki Kim

Sew Illustrated by Minki Kim

THE GIVEAWAY

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Click here to enter-to-win 1 Large Sew Illustrated Aurifil Thread Collection and one copy of Sew Illustrated by Minki Kim & Kristin Esser for C&T Publishing. 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 Friday, September 9! Winner will be randomly selected and announced here on Saturday, September 10. If located in the US, the winner will receive a physical copy of the book. If outside the US, the winner will receive an e-copy of the book. This giveaway is open to all of our international friends!

Update: This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to our winner, Rochelle Summers!

THE BLOG TOUR
Just because the tour is almost over doesn’t mean the fun has to end! We would encourage you to visit all of the stops along the way to check out projects, tips, and more!

August 15: C&T Publications
August 16: Amy at nanaCompany
August 17: Wynn at Zakka Art
August 18: Sedef at Down Grapevine Lane
August 19: Lisa at A Spoonful of Sugar
August 20: Amy at chick chick sewing
August 21: Stacy at Stacy Olson
August 22: Debbie happy little cottage
August 23: Generation Q Magazine
August 24: Faith at Sarana Ave
August 25: Ayda at  cafenohut
August 26: Melissa at Oh, how sweet
August 27: Jemima at Tied with a Ribbon
August 28: Veronica at Vivid Felicity
August 29: Sharon at Lilabelle Lane Creations
August 30: Nadra at ellis & higgs
August 31: Kristyne at pretty by hand
September 1: Elnora on Instagram
September 2: Jennie at Clover and Violet
September 3: Auribuzz (You are HERE!)
September 4: Minki at Minki’s Work Table and Kristin at They Grow Up Too Fast

ABOUT MINKI
Website — Instagram — Pinterest Pattern Shop
Minki Kim is a formally trained artist and self-taught sewist. She discovered sewing as a creative outlet when her children were small and she wanted to capture the beauty of ordinary moments, first with hand embroidery and later recreating them with her sewing machine and fabric—literally drawing with thread. Originally from Korea, Minki now calls Southern California home, where she lives with her husband and three young daughters. On any given day you can find her in her sewing room creating projects to share on her blog, in her pattern shop,  and on Instagram.

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ABOUT KRISTIN
Website — Facebook — Instagram — Pinterest
Kristin Esser has been surrounded by sewing and crafting since childhood. She dabbled in apparel sewing but eventually found her passion in quilting, craft sewing, and knitting. She lives just down the street from Minki, where she has written Minki’s patterns and tutorials for publication in industry magazines. She writes about her creative pursuits and her life with her husband and three teenage children at kristinesser.com. 

** Images and all biographical text are courtesy of Minki Kim, Kristin Esser and C&T Publishing.

Guest Post: Quilting With Aurifil’s 12wt by Quilting Jetgirl

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Please help us in welcoming Yvonne of Quilting JetGirl to Auribuzz! We always love seeing what Yvonne is up to and lately, it seems she is everywhere! Between the Quilter’s Planner, the Snowflake Shimmer Quilt Along, a new line of patterns carried by Brewer and all sorts of fun secret sewing, Yvonne has been keeping very busy:). We’re thrilled that she wanted to try out our 12wt thread for a bit of free-motion quilting and have no doubt that her experiments will be incredibly helpful to many of you. So, without further pause, we’ll hand this over to Yvonne!

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I am very excited to be chatting with fellow thread and quilting enthusiasts today! I am Yvonne @Quilting Jetgirl, and today I am going to be sharing my recent exploration of free motion quilting using Aurifil’s amazing 12wt thread.

Yvonne @Quilting Jetgirl

This exploration is all born out of a specific vision I have for a quilting project. I selected my thread colors, and the beautiful rainbow has been tempting me to sew with them immediately!

12wt Thread Rainbow

Before diving right into the project, though, I wanted to spend some time getting used to sewing with the heavier weight thread. I quilt on a 2004 APQS Millennium long arm machine, and I typically quilt using 50wt Aurifil. I knew it would take a bit of time and patience to figure out what combination of settings would work best for me.

12wt Samples

I started with a large spool of 12wt 4657 (Tramonto a Zoagli) as my top thread, a standard MR 4.0 18 needle, and 50wt 2420 (Fleshy Pink) in my bobbin. I adjusted the top tension as I sewed the first sample, but no matter how tight I set the top tension, the 12wt thread would jump out of the tension spring and pull through to the back.

Sample 1

My rule of thumb is to make small changes, so for my next sample the only thing I changed was to use a double layer of batting with everything else left the same. Not only did the 12wt thread still pull through to the back, but occasionally a stitch was even dropped. You might notice that I actually did change something else: I used a print for the backing of this sample. Even though I was combing through my scrap bin for these samples, I decided that I would only use solids as I continued to explore my settings so that it would be easier to evaluate the stitches!

Sample 2

Because double batting would actually not be beneficial for my final project and there was no marked change (or if anything it was worse), I went back to single batting for the rest of the samples. My next thought was to use a larger needle, since I was exploring using the 12wt as my top thread. I upsized to the MR 4.5 19 needle, and, if anything, the thread was even less stable and pulled through to the back even more.

Sample 3

For Sample number 4, I moved the 12wt thread to be placed in the bobbin and put the 50wt thread on top. I kept the larger needle installed, and I left all tension settings alone. I thought that this showed impressive improvement, although there are clearly tension issues and “eyelashing” that can be seen. At this point, it also became obvious that using a variegated thread was going to be a challenge due to occasional high contrast between the 12wt and 50wt thread.

Sample 4

For the fifth sample, I used the same thread color in 12wt in the bobbin as the 50wt thread on top: 2535 (Magenta). I spent time adjusting the bobbin tension before getting started. I was really excited and pleased with this sample, and it became clear that the larger needle was no longer needed.

Sample 5

So I switched back to my normal needle size and quilted Sample 6. I am very pleased with the settings, and I am ready to quilt my concept while I have the settings dialed in and before I need to quilt something else!

Sample 6

Note that this is just what I have found to work best for my quilting style and machine, but the same approach works for any sewing machine (long arm or domestic). In general, I recommend a slow change approach when you are trying something new or troubleshooting any quilting problem. By changing one thing at a time, even if you know another change is necessary (like bobbin tension when switching between 50wt and 12wt), it is easy to get a clear understanding of where the sensitivities to the problem are.

And in this case, it was especially beneficial to me because I come across a planning issue when I started working on the final quilt: I wanted to include more fine detail than I was capable of controlling reliably on my longarm. So I headed straight over to my domestic machine and after a few quick test samples with the 12wt in my bobbin, I decided to quilt the mini on my domestic.

Sneak Peek

I hope this inspires you to consider stepping outside your quilting box and trying something new, whether it is giving 12wt thread a try or experimenting and learning a quilting motif you have been itching to try. Happy Quilting!


ABOUT YVONNE
WebsiteFacebookInstagramPinterestTwitterYouTube

Yvonne @Quilting Jetgirl is an intuitive introvert who is passionate about hometown and online quilting community. She believes that quilts can cover the world with care and love, and she uses her blogging platform to cultivate a community with which she shares her passion for quilt making and quilt pattern design.

On Yvonne’s Blog —
12wt Aurifil {Sunday Stash}
Quilting with 12wt Aurifil: Auribuzz Tutorial

Yvonne strongly believes that:
You are creative.
Nobody and nothing is perfect: You are doing your best work right now.
The secret to success is to show up, try, learn, modify, and repeat.

The Tropical Box by McKenna Ryan

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Tigerfish is McKenna Ryan‘s latest premier line of Batiks with Robert Kaufman. Featuring a gorgeous range of sweet and bright colors, this collection pulls inspiration from the sea. The coordinating Aurifil Thread Collection, The Tropical Box, features our 50wt thread. Though it was designed to coordinate with Tigerfish, it makes a terrific Summer sewing companion to a variety of prints and solids!

THREAD COLLECTION DETAILS
The Tropical Box
100% Aurifil 50wt Cotton, 12 Large Spools
1125 – 2588 – 2435 – 1148 – 2805 – 5005 – 2105 – 3660 – 2884 – 3320 – 1243 – 3840

McKennaRyan

100% Aurifil 50wt Cotton, 10 Small Spools
1243 – 2805 – 3320 – 3840 – 2884 – 3660 – 2105 – 1148 – 1125 – 2435

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

THE INTERVIEW
How did you first discover the world of quilting and what was it that really drew you in?
As a child, my greatest joy and solace came from immersing myself in nature, collecting driftwood, rocks and wildflowers to create natural one-of-a-kind art pieces. I told my family that someday I would live surrounded by mountains, flowers and wildlife, near lakes and streams. Years ago, I found myself immersed in a corporate lifestyle in Boston and made the grand decision to leave it all behind and move to the wilds of Montana. On the way there, I wandered into a quilt shop for the first time. It was mesmerizing and I felt as though time almost stood still. The colors, textures and designs of the quilts moved me beyond words and the seeds were planted.

Mermaid Kisses by McKenna Ryan

Mermaid Kisses by McKenna Ryan

High Tide by McKenna Ryan

High Tide by McKenna Ryan

How did your new surroundings inspire an eventual quilting career?
As I settled into my new community of only 200 residents, I quickly discovered that many of the women spent the wintry months quilting. I took an appliqué quilting class, bought my first sewing machine for $50.00 and found a passion I had never really known before. Living at the edge of Glacier National Park, natural beauty was all around. I wanted to reflect this, in quilts, but at the time there were few nature-inspired patterns, so I started making my own.

What is the process of creating like for you, whether it be for a new fabric collection, a new pattern, or something different entirely?
Over the years, I’ve realized that designs tend to come to me in their own time and I just need to trust the process. Sometimes an entire compilation will just appear in my head and I have to quickly sketch the overall composition. Then, I start pulling fabrics and colors that I know will achieve a certain feel. Next, I go to work on the details, cutting as many as 25 prototypes of a plant or animal before selecting one that best fits with the scale and flow of the entire piece. When I can connect to the creative process as a part of creation itself and let my work fulfill a higher purpose, then I am always pleased when the process is complete. It is not so much that I have created a new design, but participated in it. The better I become at trusting this process, the more I am able to access a certain grace that is inherent in the process. This grace or connection is what I believe makes art come to life. And I believe all great art is alive.

How did you decide to start your own business and what was the process like for you?
As I continued to grow and learn within the practice of quilting, I found a color, balance and design that were uniquely my own, and decided to start my own design company. On one of my long drives through the Rocky Mountains (2.5 hours to the grocery store!) I noticed the beautiful pine forests and claimed the name for my company: Pine Needles. I attended my very first Quilt Market in 1995 and though it was a wonderful experience, I found that my personal success came when I didn’t worry about trends in the marketplace and instead followed my heart. At my second Quilt Market, I introduced “Moose Junction.” I consider it to be one of my big milestones! It had masculine character with feminine appeal, and it was just what the market needed.

Moose Junction by McKenna Ryan

Moose Junction by McKenna Ryan

How would you describe your creative vision and how it infects your work?
My tag line is “Simply Beautiful…Beautifully Simple”. As I’ve grown over the years, I find that I want to challenge myself in capturing more depth and dimension with the use of fabric, while still making it a project that is easy and fun. I love the idea of quilting as a ‘living art.’ When I design, one of the greatest gifts is the awareness that what I create is going to come to life again and again in a myriad of incredible and unique ways. When I started my company, part of my mission statement was that I wanted to somehow touch the lives of others through my art. Since starting, I feel that my designs have touched the lives of many. It is this aspect of my work that truly means the most!

McKenna's Showroom in Historic Milwaukie Oregon

McKenna’s Showroom in Historic Milwaukie Oregon

*Patterns for all quilt projects shown above will be available on McKenna’s website starting in October.

MCKENNA’S APPLIQUE QUILT METHOD (via Fons & Porter)

THE GIVEAWAY

McKennaRyan-Rafflecopter

To enter-to-win 1 Tropical Box by McKenna Ryan for Aurifil Thread Collection and one Fat Quarter Bundle of Tigerfish by McKenna Ryan for Robert Kaufman 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, August 10! Winner will be randomly selected and announced here on Thursday, August 11. Good luck!

UPDATE: This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to our winner, Terry Helms! 

ABOUT MCKENNA
Website — FacebookPinterestInstagramTwitter
WITHBLEED_LARGEAurifil_McKeannaRyan_2016McKenna Ryan’s Art Quilt and Fabric Showroom is nestled in the hamlet of the historic Milwaukie district just South of Portland proper. Her website has become a destination for quilters worldwide. Visit either to truly immerse yourself in McKenna’s world, where hummingbirds hover over brilliant flowers, elk bugle in lush fabric forests, eagles soar across quilted landscapes and smoke rises wistfully from cabins in the woods. Come in, cozy up, and see why McKenna’s quilt artistry has captivated fans across the globe. (see more via McKenna’s Robert Kaufman Designer Page)

**All images and biographical text courtesy of McKenna Ryan Designs.

The Ultimate Collection by Tula Pink

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Tula Pink has the amazing WOW-factor that draws crowds and inspires masses. Her fabrics are heralded and hoarded, hers threads coveted, her tools desired and from what we can tell, everyone wants to be her friend;). It’s always exciting to see a new collection or product unveiled and we’ve come to expect the bold, the unique and the grand. In true form, her latest Aurifil thread collection is awe-inspiring. The Ultimate Collection comes in a custom, gold-embossed case and contains forty-five small spools of 50wt thread hand-selected by Tula. The threads coordinate particularly well with the Strawberry color way of her latest fabric release, Slow & Steady, but would truly be a marvelous addition to any sewing room. We’ve heard people comment that they’d just like to dive right into the box and though we’re admittedly a little biased, we can’t help but agree!

THREAD COLLECTION DETAILS
The Ultimate Collection
Custom Box, 45 Small Spools – 100% Aurifil Cotton 50wt, 220yds each
Colors included:
2423 – 2425 – 2530 – 5002 – 2265 – 2260 – 2460 – 1100 – 2479
5015 – 2132 – 2135 – 1133 – 2240 – 2245 – 1154 – 6729 – 2420
2886 – 1147 – 5016 – 5017 – 2835 – 2860 – 2865 – 1148 – 4093
5006 – 2715 – 1128 – 6738 – 2745 – 2581 – 2540 – 2535 – 4020
2370 – 2324 – 2026 – 2021 – 2615 – 2620 – 5004 – 2630 – 2692

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

THE INTERVIEW
What first drew you to this amazing world of sewing, quilting, and textile design? 

I was drawn to quilting and fabric through my local quilt shop when I was 12. I was given a sewing machine for Christmas to play on, no one in my family sewed at that point. I needed fabric to sew with and ended up at a quilt shop by chance. I fell in love with the rows and rows of prints immediately, it was a huge rainbow of color and design all organized and in color order. This shop was like a life sized box of crayons that I could walk into, I was smitten. If the fabric store that we had found had been any other type of store I don’t think I would be here today. If had been an uninspiring chain store or a home dec store or anything else I don’t believe I would have fallen in love with it the way that I did.

Tula's Spring 2016 Schoolhouse for The Ultimate Collection at International Quilt Market in Salt Lake City

Tula’s Spring 2016 Schoolhouse for The Ultimate Collection at International Quilt Market in Salt Lake City

Do you remember the process of creating your first quilt and how you felt once it was finished? 
My first finished quilt was a disaster. I was really proud of it back then and I still have it and love it because it shows how far I have come in my craft. It is an hourglass quilt made entirely of Kaffe Fasset woven stripes. I didn’t know that choosing stripes, woven fabric and all bias cut pieces was hard and I powered through it completely unaware that this was a challenging starting point to say the least. I think that is the beauty of early quilting, you don’t bring any fear to the table when you begin. You don’t know that some things are harder than others so you just dive in, head first. At some point a quilter is taught to fear certain types of sewing and that bravery of naïveté is a huge loss to the creative process. I embroidered skeletons and birds all over it to make it more rock ‘n roll I guess. It’s a funny quilt and one that I really love because it represents so much of my evolving philosophy on quilting.

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Gorgeous recent improv piecing by Tula Pink

Who or what has been your greatest creative inspiration?
Creative Inspiration is this really ambiguous thing. It is impossible to pinpoint. I would say that what drives me to design fabric is fulfilling a need. I always begin by thinking about what I would most like to sew with and then I try to fill that need. I push myself very hard to stay fresh and not fall into a rut of doing the same thing over and over. I try not to look too much at what other people are doing, I think that stifles creativity. The one thing that I have to offer above all else is my point of view. I look around my world and try to imagine it in a different way. If I see a rabbit hopping across my lawn my first thought is always” how cute would that rabbit be in pink or with stripes or made out of paisleys”. I am inspired by possibility and try not to limit my imagination to what exists.

Slow & Steady Heart

Slow & Steady Heart

Do you find that your previous career in the music industry has had any influence on your path within the quilting industry?
I find that my previous career as a designer in the music industry has greatly influenced how I manage my brand. I treat my fabric collections like album releases and consider my travel to be like touring. That is the business I know so it was natural for me to go back to that system when starting my own brand.

[projects made using Tula’s new fabric collection, Slow & Steady]

You have long been a user and supporter of Aurifil threads. How did you first discover Aurifil and what do you love most about using it within your projects?
I found Aurifil because I was having some trouble with a thread that I was using on a project and a friend gave me a spool of Aurifil 50 wt to try. I have not used anything else since. I have paid that forward ever since. I keep a healthy collection of spools in my studio for the sole purpose of handing out to friends who are using something other than Aurifil. Every single one of them becomes an Aurifil loyalist after that. It’s one of those things that you never really think about until you use something exceptional and then you wonder how you got through without it.

Stunning Machine Embroidery by Casey Taylor using threads from The Ultimate Collection

Stunning Machine Embroidery by Casey Taylor using threads from The Ultimate Collection

Do you have a favorite weight/color? 
I use 50 wt thread almost exclusively. I am a patchworker so my sewing needs tend to be really focused when it comes to thread. Color is a different matter all together. I don’t favor any single color as I tend to work in rainbows. I change thread colors at least a dozen times on any given project. If I am sewing by hand then that number will multiply really quickly. If I am working on a hand sewing quilt like an english paper pieced project, I will use every single color in that box without question.

This is such a special collection, a collector’s piece, really… How did you go about selecting colors and how did you decide on the art for the packaging?
This collection is designed to be the ultimate thread collection containing all of the colors necessary to complete a bright, happy sewing project. I sew every day and I find that 10 colors is never enough. I have built my brand on the foundation that if I need something there is a good chance that other people need it too. I was desperately searching for a collection of thread that contained a vast assortment of colors that expressed something more exciting and adventurous in terms of palette. It’s easy to find collections of neutrals and earth tones but that is not my style and I figured that if I was looking for something like that then other people probably were too.

TulaUltimate-BlogInside

The packaging is based off of my very first fabric design. That owl is sort of my holy grail, it is important to me because it is the image that set me on this path that has become an obsession of fabric and sewing. It’s the illustration  that changed my life. I was really focused on this collection not being about pairing with a particular fabric collection but something that would transcend one collection and would be useful for years to come. For me this is my ultimate dream thread collection!

TulaUltimate-Blog

How is this collection representative of your overall artistic vision?
This is the dream thread collection “the ultimate” collection in my eyes. I will never need a color outside of what is in this box. I spent weeks going over all of my thread and projects and pulled the colors that were used the most often. Usually, choosing thread is about narrowing down the colors to the essential threads that I can get away with but this collection is about shedding those limitations and covering every single need in terms of thread. Thread is the one thing that holds all of this together. Fabric without thread is pretty useless, a sewing machine or a needle has no purpose without thread, it the most valuable constant in my sewing room. I feel like the Ultimate Collection is just that, a source for unbound creativity.

Pattern preview for Tula's upcoming new book with Angela Walters!

Pattern preview for Tula’s upcoming new book with Angela Walters!

We’ve seen some remarkable projects created using these threads… do you have a favorite? 
Choosing a favorite is an impossible task. Every project requires thread to meet it’s own needs, sometimes I need a lot of colors so that the thread disappears into a rainbow of fabrics and sometimes I need the thread to show in a way that enhances the project all on it’s own. I think the thread worked the hardest on my Slow and Steady Heart quilt though. I needed to top stitch a bunch of hearts in so many color but I wanted the thread to blend in and ended up using so many of the colors in the box that I lost track. The other project that I really loved was the embroidered eye duffle bag that I made from the thread collection. I machine embroidered on my BERNINA 880 an eye in every color from the box and it’s a real conversation starter. Everyone asks me about that bag when I carry it.

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What do you love most about the process of creating, whether it be for a new fabric collection, a new pattern, or a new work of art?
My favorite part of the creative process is that moment right before I start a new project. I love staring down at that blank piece of paper and I have so many ideas and I have no idea where it’s going to go. It’s exciting like starting a new adventure. I aways think it is going to be one thing but I have done this long enough to know that the work takes on a mind of it’s own and will, at some point, start directing me rather than me directing it. In the beginning though it’s just infinite possibility and I can’t wait to see where it ends up.

Do you have any advice for designers just starting out in this industry? 
My advice to designers just starting out is to fully know who you are artistically and what you want your work to be about. Embrace your talents and never try to be something that you are not just because the industry tells you that’s “on trend”. If you are busy trend spotting then you are not creating the trends just following the path that someone else has laid out for you and you will end up putting out the same work that everyone else is putting out. Rise above it! The world needs your point of view more than it needs another version of someone else.

MORE TULA LOVE… 

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THE GIVEAWAY

TulaPink-Rafflecopter

To enter-to-win The Ultimate Collection by Tula Pink, 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 Saturday, August 6! Winner will be randomly selected and announced here on Sunday, August 7. Good luck!

UPDATE (8.7.16): This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to our winner, Brittany Burton!! 

ABOUT TULA
WebsiteFacebookInstagram — Twitter
Screen Shot 2016-07-29 at 2.36.22 PMTula Pink is an illustrator, a fabric designer, a quilter, an author, a maker and a generally good person who enjoys talking about herself.

Tula graduated from Otis College of Art and Design in Los Angeles, CA. It was fun but she was tired of being broke so she decided to get a job. Tula worked briefly as an Exhibit designer for Museums in Southern California, where she grew up, and when that became too quiet she relocated to the music industry. After about 5 years of that her ears began to bleed so she left her job and California and went in search of a new home. The plan was to move as far east as she could get without renting a boat and work her way back west until she found a place she liked. Tula got about half way and then she ran out of gas money so she stayed put.

Tula now lives in a small mid-western town outside of Kansas City, MO in a house that used to be a barn and still sort of looks like one. Tula’s main function in life is fabric design. She lives for it. Her signature designs have been adapted to fabrics, woven ribbons, paper products, needlepoint kits, embroidery patterns and sewing machines and can be found in independent fabric shops and retailers all over the world. Tula is most recognized in her industries for her dark sense of humor, a flair for hiding animals in the strangest of places (artistically, not literally) and her boldly unique use of color and pattern. Tula comes from the “more is more” school of design where there is never enough space and always room for that one last thing.

Today Tula Pink works closely with the good people at Free Spirit Fabrics to develop multiple fabric collections every year, is an Ambassador for BERNINA sewing machines, develops collections for Aurifil Threads and Renaissance Ribbons and writes books for F+W Media about quilting and sewing. She works all day everyday and gets very cranky when she is asked to leave the studio or if Tula Pink is her real name.

[For more, please visit Tula’s website]

** Images and all biographical text are courtesy of Tula Pink.

Amanda Murphy + Aurifil Threads

AmandaMurphy-Promo

The threads for Amanda Murphy‘s debut Aurifil collections were selected to coincide with Sewing Room, her 4th Benartex collection which debuted at Bernina University this month as well as her Spring Market release, Feathers & Flourishes The large box features a variety of 50wt threads in addition to Aurifil’s clear monofilament thread, Amanda’s choices for both piecing and quilting. The small box features her top choices in both 12wt & 28wt, making it an excellent  sampler for anyone looking to try appliqué with heavier weight threads.

To learn more about Sewing Room over on Amanda’s blog, click here.

THREAD COLLECTION DETAILS
Amanda Murphy’s Piecing and Quilting Collection
100% Aurifil Cotton
Large
50wt (1422yds each, 11 colors, Large Spools):
2250 – 5017 – 2886 – 1128 – 5006 – 5007 – 2440 – 2225 – 2785 – 2600 – 2021
Clear Monofilament (1094yds, Large Spool)

AmandaMurphyCollection-LG

Small
12wt (54yds each, 2 colors, Small Spools): 1114 – 2021
28wt (109yds each, 8 colors, Small Spools):
5005 – 2425 – 2225 – 2720 – 2250 – 5017 – 2620 – 2785

AmandaMurphyCollectionSM

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

THE INTERVIEW

Amanda and her BERNINA Q24

Amanda and her BERNINA Q24

What first drew you to this fabulously creative world of textiles? 
I always loved both drawing and sewing so it was a natural fit. I also liked math in school and love the process of figuring out how to put challenging designs into repeat.

Do you remember the first quilt that you made and how you felt once it was complete? 
I made a tree skirt on pre-quilted fabric while in grade school. It had three dimensional angels on it. I decorated all of their faces using makeup and made their hair out of braided yarn. An art quilt – if we are being VERY generous!

What is your absolute favorite part about creating a quilt? 
I’m torn on this one. I really love figuring out the color variations that are possible using the computer, and then seeing the colors come together with fabric. But I ALSO love machine quilting. I am a spokesperson for the BERNINA Q Series and love to teach free motion quilting on these and other domestic BERNINAs at BERNINA dealerships throughout the country!

When did you first start writing patterns and how has that changed the creative process for you? 
I started both at around the same time so it hasn’t changed the process much.  I always have quilts in mind while designing and go back and forth between designing fabric and patterns so I can check the scale and color of the fabrics and test how they work together.  I like figuring out how to make what I draw so I enjoy pattern writing as well.  Switching from right to left brain and back again keeps things interesting!

How did you first connect with Benartex and what do you love most about fabric design? 
I’m extremely lucky to be working with Benartex because I just love the people – things naturally fell into place there through various contacts I had in the industry and just a gut feeling really.  And fabric design… well I love color obviously but I also love being able to see the ideas behind the prints come to life.  I guess my favorite part would be the the little surprises that happen during the creative process.  A collection never ever turns out exactly the way I envision it in the beginning but it is the little “mistakes” that happen along the way that you learn to go with because that is what makes the fabric come to life and it is also what gives it personality.

Can you tell us a little bit about your latest collection? Do you have a favorite print? 
Sewing Room! It is a celebration of all things sewing!  Can I pick two prints?  It would have to be the sewing machines and Aurifil thread spools!

What is your favorite project made with the fabrics from this new line? 
Sewing Room Sampler is my favorite pattern I’ve ever done!  (It is releasing this coming week.)  It is a modern block-of-the-month with large buttons, scissors, and ironing board, a sewing machine – you get the idea!  It was so fun to piece!

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A close second would be my S is for Sew pattern which features appliqué that is optionally done “in the hoop”.  It is also releasing this coming week.  I like to use 28 wt. Aurifil thread for my appliqué so my Aurifil Appliqué Collection is a perfect companion to it!

How did you first discover Aurifil and what do you love most about it?
I first discovered it a few years ago at Quilt Market.  I love its dependability and wide range of colors.  It runs through my machines beautifully with almost no lint build-up.

How did you go about selecting colors and weights for this collection? 
I selected Aurifil 50 wt. large spools of thread for the Piecing and Quilting Collection, plus one spool of monofilament.  I use Aurifil 50 wt. for piecing and quilting so I choose a range of colors that go with my collections.

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Amanda Murphy’s Piecing and Quilting Collection

My Appliqué Collection is composed of eight smaller spools of 28 wt. thread that coordinate with my collections.  It allows you to try machine appliqué with thicker threads for a really reasonable price, even if your local shop doesn’t usually stock the full linethicker threads.  It also includes two 12 wt. threads that I use for stems on appliqué projects during a triple stitch on the machine. Beware applique-rs out there – you will become addicted like I did!

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Amanda Murphy’s Applique Collection

Amanda’s mini-quilt “Flourishes”, from her Feathers & Flourishes collection for Benartex, featuring blanket stitches in 28 wt. thread and triple-stitch stems in 12 wt.

Amanda’s mini-quilt “Flourishes”, from her Feathers & Flourishes collection for Benartex, featuring blanket stitches in 28 wt. thread and triple-stitch stems in 12 wt.

The Piecing and Quilting Collection includes a spool of Aurifil Monofilment thread. Can you tell us a little more about why it was important to include it? 
It seems like I’m always quilting for a specific collection on a deadline – usually multiple quilts in the weeks leading up to Quilt Market or BERNINA University. I love quilting in Aurifiil 50 wt. cotton as well but Aurifil Monofilament is my “go-to” if I don’t have time to change colors.  It pairs perfectly with Aurifil 28 wt. in the bobbin on my BERNINA long arm, 580, and 780!  (Tip: I like to use a thread stand when working with monofilament on a domestic machine.)

Detail shots of “Sewing Room Sampler”, quilted with Aurifil monofilament with 50 wt. in the bobbin.

Do you have a favorite color weight? 
For quilting and piecing: 50 wt.
For applique: 28 wt.
For mimicking hand embroidery on my sewing machine: 12 wt.
Favorite color: 5006 Light Turquoise!!!

What advice would you give to a designer just starting out? 
To do what you love and don’t worry what other people are doing.  And to embrace your “creative mistakes” and see where they take you.  Enjoy the process!

THE GIVEAWAY

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Click here to enter-to-win 1 Large Piecing and Quilting Collection and one pattern bundle by Amanda Murphy Design (Including ‘S’ is for Sew!, Sewing Room Sampler &  Sewing Garden), 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 Saturday, July 30! Winner will be randomly selected and announced here on Sunday, July 31. Good luck!

UPDATE: This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to Laura Parsons!!

ABOUT AMANDA
WebsiteBlogFacebookInstagramPinterestTwitter YouTube

Amanda and her BERNINA Q24

Amanda and her BERNINA Q24

Always attracted to color, texture, and pattern, Amanda Murphy has been designing, drawing, and sewing since she was a child. She graduated from Carnegie Mellon University with a bachelor of fine arts degree and worked as a graphic designer and art director in Alexandria, Virginia, and New York City. After moving to North Carolina with her family Amanda discovered quilting, an art that marries her passion for design with her enthusiasm for handwork. As she gradually expanded her knowledge of sewing and quilting techniques and combined them with the ideas she had been sketching over the years, Amanda Murphy Design was born.

Amanda markets her own full-color pattern line under the Amanda Murphy Design label and has designed several fabric collections.  Her fourth collection with Benartex will debut in Summer 2016.

[For more, please visit Amanda’s website]

** Images and all biographical text are courtesy of Amanda Murphy.

Ragged & The Denim Studio

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With The Denim Studio by Art Gallery Fabrics, the quintessential American fabric has been reinvented so once more you can “Feel the Difference”. It is a new series of premium substrates, that brings a whole new approach to create your projects. Featuring an array of prints and textures on trendy colors, these fabrics are ideal for quilting, apparel, home decor and accessories. Ragged is the coordinating thread collection, hand-picked to suit all needs including 40wt, 28wt, 12wt, Linen, & Wool!

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THREAD COLLECTION DETAILS
Ragged: The Denim Studio
10 Small Spools
Details:
2310 – 1248 (Cotton, 40 WT, 164yds/spool)
6722 – 2145 (Cotton, 28 WT, 109yds/spool)
2312 – 2610 (Cotton, 12 WT, 54yds/spool)
2920 (Linen, 22WT, 87yds/spool)
8092 – 8780 – 8333 (Wool, 12WT, 54yds/spool)

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

THE INTERVIEW
How did the idea to develop a line of specialty denim fabrics first come about? 

Denim is the quintessential American fabric. It’s an amazing substrate and was long neglected in our industry. At AGF, we always thought that denim had great potential and we wanted to launch a trendy line to be used in garment sewing but at the same time that could be brought into play for quilting. Quilting with denim is very fun!

Tell us a bit about the different types of denim available with this collection.
We have several types, which are different in texture and weight:

SMOOTH SOLIDS are the classic denim that are very thin and have the same weight of quilting fabric.

TEXTURED SOLIDS are thicker and more structured for sturdy projects.

CROSSHATCH TEXTURED DENIM consists of a beautiful woven pattern.

OUTLAND YARN DYES are lightweight with an attractive denim look.

LOVEY DOBBY super soft and great for many projects, especially garments.

PREMIUM LINEN BLEND a blend of linen and cotton with a soft touch.

STREAKED BLEND for unique for out of the box projects.

DENIM PRINTS are the stars of the group. They are super soft and lightweight denim, ideal for sewing and quilting with many creative designs printed on them.

[editor’s note: visit the website for a closer look at all offerings]

What inspired the designs for the denim prints?  
We really wanted the quilting community to start creating quilts with denim, so the idea of adding prints came as a no-brainer. Quilters can create a multitude of unique quilts with our variety of prints!

There is often a conception that denim is meant for apparel, but we’ve seen some incredibly inspiring non-apparel projects lately. What are your favorite non-apparel projects with these new fabrics?
Well, we have to admit that we love quilts, bed runners, totes, more totes, clutches and even toys just to name a few!

How were the threads for Ragged, the coordinating thread collection, selected? 
We love the quality of Aurifil threads and they come in several materials and weights to help create many different techniques when sewn on denim. The colors coordinate perfectly and that makes them ideal for sewing and quilting with our types of denim.

The collection includes a wonderful variety of thread weights, including 40wt, 28wt, 12wt, Linen and Wool. What tips would you share with consumers for how to use the various weights in their projects?
There are not many tips we can recommend since Aurifil threads have the best quality, so you can use them at will!! They resist breakage extremely well, so they can be used in bobbin work, hand embroidery and stitching, high-speed machine quilting, topstitching, hand quilting, and sashiko as well. Imagine the possibilities!

What do you love most about Aurifil threads and how it partners with your fabrics? 
We are incredibly honored to be partners with Aurifil! We share the same values and quality products are at the top of our lists. The color range is unbelievable and they come in every weight you can ask for. We love the luster and sheen of each of the cotton spools and how delicate the wool threads are. We even love how they barely produce lint which means that we have less lint to clean in our sewing machine hooks! What else can anyone ask for? Aurifil threads are perfection!

THE GIVEAWAY

DenimStudio-Rafflecopter
To enter-to-win,  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 Friday, July 22! Winner will be randomly selected and announced here on Saturday, July 23. Good luck!

UPDATE (7/23): This giveaway is now CLOSED. Congratulations to Stephanie Clark Basden!! 

ABOUT THE DENIM STUDIO

ABOUT ART GALLERY FABRICS
WebsiteBlogFacebookInstagramPinterestTwitter — YouTube — Flickr
Screen Shot 2016-07-15 at 12.47.30 PMCreativity, beauty and design are our passions here at AGF. When it comes to design, we love to create fabrics that fit a modern lifestyle with a chic, sophisticated touch. Enticing color palettes and artful, intricate prints are what make our collections one of a kind. We are often described as the most “trendsetting” fabric company these days for always keeping originality and uniqueness on the top of our list.

** All collection images courtesy of Art Gallery Fabrics.

 

 

Big Stitch Quilting by Sarah Fielke

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Sarah Fielke is an extraordinary quilter, teacher, fabric designer and author. She is a licensed designer with Windham Fabrics and has long been an Aurifil ambassador and champion of our threads. Likewise, we’ve long been admirers of Sarah’s work. It’s like a match made in heaven and we couldn’t be more thrilled to present Big Stitch Quilting, her second thread collection with Aurifil.  A stunning lineup of colors in our 12wt thread, it’s perfect for Sarah’s signature hand stitched details and quilting.

THREAD COLLECTION DETAILS
Big Stitch Quilting
100% Aurifil Cotton
Large – 12wt, 356yds each, 12 colors, Large Spools
2692 – 2024 – 5004 – 2615 – 2784 – 5006 – 2888 – 5018 – 2510 – 2260 – 2530 – 2423

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Small – 12wt, 54yds each, 10 colors, Small Spools
2692 – 2024 – 5004 – 2784 – 5006 – 2888 – 5018 – 2510 – 2260 – 2530

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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 & quilting? 
My mother was a stitcher all kinds, including quilting. She taught me from a very young age to use a sewing machine, hand sew, hand embroider and knit. It wasn’t until my first baby was born that I started stitching professionally – I made everything for Charlie’s nursery, including all his little wraps and pram blankets. That was at the time where everything for babies was pink, blue, lemon or mint, and covered with lambs. My things were made of gingham and had fun appliqué and lettering, so all the other mums in my mothers group wanted to know where I got them. They were my first customers, and then later my first class! Charlie is 19 this year and so I will have been teaching patchwork for 19 years in December.

When did you first begin with the art of hand quilting and what do you love most about it? 
I hand quilted my very first proper quilt, when I was 12. I made it for my mum’s birthday. It has since vanished into the unknown – I have a sneaking feeling it may have fallen apart. 🙂 I hand quilted pretty nearly every quilt I made until I owned a shop (Material Obsession, which I co-owned for nearly 10 years). When we opened Material Obsession I taught machine quilting for a while, and I can machine quilt quite capably, but I don’t enjoy it. If I’m going to spend the time to quilt something myself, I hand quilt it. If I don’t have time, I have a wonderful machine quilter who does a fantastic job! I love hand quilting because of the quiet hours spent with the quilt itself. It’s amazing how each hand quilted piece will bring back memories of what I was doing when I quilted it (which very often is something like a season on Downton Abbey). The thing I love most though is the texture and character that hand quilting, especially with thicker thread like the Mako 12 weight, gives to the quilt. There is a drape and softness that machine quilted quilts don’t have, and the thicker coloured thread gives the quilts an extra punch and personality.

What are your greatest challenges and your greatest joys with hand quilting? 
My greatest joys are sitting on a cold winter’s day with something that needs quilting urgently – that means I can abandon everything else, binge watch Poldark and drink endless cups of tea with the quilt (and the dog!) in my lap. My greatest challenges are that there is never enough hours to hand quilt everything I want to hand quilt any more.I make too many quilts on deadlines to enable me to hand quilt them all. I’ve also got an issue with my hands (that, funnily enough, wasn’t caused by hand stitching!) and so I can’t quilt the endless hours I used to be able to without pain, and I have to stagger myself.

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What project would you recommend for a hand quilting beginner? 
I think the best thing you can do is to make a lap sized quilt, something you aren’t attached to or want to be perfect, and quilt the heck out of it. People often think that the best way to start is with something little like a cushion. Actually those kinds of things can be more difficult to quilt because you can’t get them in a hoop properly, and it’s hard to develop your technique and gain confidence. Bite the bullet, sew together a whole lot of charm squares or something, and jump in on the deep end. You need to give your hand a chance to develop some stitch memory.

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We love that you are such an active educator, both online and off. What do you love most about the practice of teaching?
Hands down, seeing my students achieve. I love the friends I make and the social aspect, I love doing the big shows and retreats. But my favourite thing is seeing a student who has proclaimed she can’t hand sew, or has trouble with colour, or Y seams or whatever it is, proudly hold their finished work up for everyone to see. I have students who I’ve taught patchwork and hand quilting, who are now teachers themselves, or who win prizes in quilting competitions. Hearing those things, no matter how small, just makes my day every time.

What is your favorite technique to teach and why?
I love teaching hand appliqué and hand quilting. My technique for hand appliqué is quite unusual, and it’s been developed over a long time to make appliqué easier for people. Quilters often assume that hand appliqué and hand quilting are these incredibly difficult, time consuming, boring things to do. Showing them tricks and tips to make their hand stitching rewarding, accurate, quicker and less painful always makes for a fun class.

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When did you first discover Aurifil thread and what do you love most about it? 
I met Alex Veronelli at Market quite number of years ago and he gave me some Mako 50 weight to try for hand appliqué. I went home slightly dubious (you always love the things you’re used to), tried it out and immediately ditched all my old thread to the basting basket and became an Aurifil junkie. The 50 weight is so fine and smooth – but having now tried the 80 weight I am simply desperate for it to be available in all the colours because – OMG! Thats a discussion for another time though as it isn’t yet available, so I will wax lyrical about it at a later date 🙂

[editor’s note: Aurifil’s 80wt thread is due for limited release this Summer and full release this Fall, 2016]

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I did an appliqué collection for Aurifil called Folk Story which I love desperately – but funnily enough the appliqué collection came about because I was harassing Alex to produce some 8 weight Mako for hand quilting. I tried REALLY REALLY hard peeps, and Alex kept insisting that the 12 weight was beautiful and I should try it…. Finally I gave in, tried it, proceeded to hand quilt two entire books worth of quilts with the 12 weight and realised that of course Alex is the Mako thread guru and I should always heed his wisdom. You learn something every day.

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How did you go about selecting colors for Big Stitch Quilting?  
I find choosing the colours for these collections so difficult, they are all so pretty and I want everything! I thought really hard about which colours I use the most, for hand quilting both pieced quilts and appliqué. Neutrals were of course essential, so there is black and white, light and dark grey. I wanted a light and a dark in each colour because I like to highlight what I am quilting rather than blend, i.e. dark pink around a light pink flower or visa versa. Pinks and reds are so versatile because they can be beautifully blended with yellows and oranges as well as with themselves. Navy is my black, I always use navy unless the fabric I am quilting is actually black. I had to also add a cheery clear blue and some yummy greens for quilting around leaves and stems to round everything out nicely.

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Do you have a favorite thread color/weight or does it truly depend on the project at hand? 
It really does depend on the project, as I use lots of different Aurifil thread weights for different projects, including the 50wt in cream in my machine, 50wt for hand appliqué and the 12wt for hand quilting. I also love to do EPP, I use a lot of Lana Wool threads for my wool appliqué, and I love to embroider and the Aurifloss is gorgeous!! How do you ever choose a favourite? If you’re going to make me, though, I’d have to say that 2888, which is the light green in my Big Stitch Quilting Collection, is my favourite colour for both quilting and appliqué. I always seem to be running out of it! However, my absolute favourite thing at present is the set of three different shade spools of blue 80wt thread I was sent to try out.  I’m hand appliquéing a quilt that is ALL blues at the moment and the 80wt just disappears into thin air!

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SARAH’S CRAFTSY HAND-QUILTING TUTORIAL

SARAH’S BOOK

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THE GIVEAWAY

Sarah Fielke-Rafflecopter

To enter-to-win 1 Large Big Stitch Quilting Thread Collection and one copy of Sarah Fielke’s latest book, Old Quilts New Life,  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 Saturday, July 2! Winner will be randomly selected and announced here on Sunday, July 3. Good luck!

Update (7/3): This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to Jo Hobson!!

ABOUT SARAH
WebsiteBlogFacebookInstagramPinterestTwitter
quilts_Page_010Sarah Fielke has been a passionate stitcher ever since her mother first taught her to sew 30 years ago. It was when she was pregnant with her first child years later that her sewing skills became a career. She made little gifts for her friends’ newborn babies, decorated her son’s nursery, and began selling what she made and teaching her friends to sew.

Sarah is an award winning quilt designer. In her 15 years in the quilting industry, her four best selling quilt books have sold over 100,000 copies worldwide and have been translated into 5 languages. Sarah’s quilts have roots in both modern and traditional quilting, making her a firm favourite with quilters new and old. She describes her quilts as “contemporary traditional”. Her first book, Material Obsession, is widely described as having been at the forefront of the Modern Quilting movement, and is a staple in many quilter’s libraries. Her other books include: Material Obsession 2, Quilting From Little Things, Hand Quilted with Love, Little Quilts, and her latest release, Old Quilts New Life.

She exhibits her quilts at quilts shows in Australia and internationally. Sarah has designed fabrics for Lecien, Japan, and is now working with Spotlight Australia and Windham Fabrics to design fabric for both the major craft stores and patchwork shops. Her 6th fabric colletion, Snippits for Windham Fabrics is out now in quilts shops worldwide.

[For more, please visit Sarah’s website]

** Images and all biographical text are courtesy of Sarah Fielke.