Sherbet Dip by Jo Avery

Jo Avery of My Bear Paw has long been a designer who we’ve followed closely on social media, awaiting her next beautifully staged photo, or her next stunning quilt finish. We adore her style and admire her knack for combining vibrant colors. Sherbet Dip is her debut collection for Aurifil and it includes her favorite shades for piecing and quilting, all in 50wt, alongside some lovely variegated threads that she tends to use in her free motion quilting. Though she does use a wide range of colors, the collection is really a representation of her signature color palette.

Jo Avery Showcasing her debut Aurifil collection at Festival of Quilts 2017

THREAD COLLECTION DETAILS
Sherbet Dip
100% Aurifil Cotton, 12 Large Spools, 50wt (1422yds/spool)
Colors included:
2535 – 2545 – 5017 – 4093 – 6729 – 5015
6725 – 5006 – 4670 – 3320 – 4654 – 3660

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?

My big sister taught me to sew when I was six years old and I spent a lot of my childhood making toys. She also taught me to EPP hexies and when I was in my early twenties with a home of my own I started making them again and this became a quilt top. I joined a local quilting group and they taught me how to quilt it and introduced me to the whole world of rotary cutters and strip piecing. I haven’t stopped quilting since!

Who or what has been your greatest creative inspiration?
This is a hard one as I feel I have been influenced by so many amazing quilters and artists. However the person who really opened my eyes to the creative possibilities of quilting was Nancy Crow. I attended a lecture by her at the V&A in London in the mid 1990’s and her work totally blew me away. I think she was so ahead of her time and I am always trying to bring her to the attention of the younger Modern Quilters.

What is your favorite thing to make?
This changes day to day as I have a low boredom threshold! I love making a full-sized quilt, it is very satisfying to finish a large project. I’m not one of those people who puts off the binding stage, I always feel that binding locks in all the quilty goodness so I bind as soon as I’ve finished the quilting. At the moment I am addicted to making zippy pouches, I make at least one with the scraps from each finished quilt.

Do you have a go-to technique?
I do like to switch about and try something different with each project but I am always drawn back to needle- turn applique which I find aesthetically pleasing and very soothing to work on. I like to find ways to combine it with other techniques, and am always refining my hand sewing skills. One thing I love about quilting is that you never stop learning and improving, it is a lifelong journey.

When did you first discover Aurifil threads and what do you love most about them?
I was given a sample at the first Fat Quarterly Retreat in London five years ago. I remember the first time I used it for hand sewing, the thread just glided through the fabric, it felt completely different to the other threads I’d used. I started using it for machine piecing and quilting soon after. As it’s so fine you can get much more thread on to a bobbin than you can other brands which means less changing, perfect for FMQ.

How did you go about selecting colors for Sherbet Dip and what excites you most about releasing the collection to the world?
It was a very easy job for me as I love choosing colours! I had some favourite Aurifil shades that had to be included and I knew I wanted some variegated threads as I love to use these for FMQ. I also tried to make the selection representative of my signature colours. I hope this box inspires others to use more colour in their quilts and be braver with their choices, or just to feel happy when they look inside it!

Tendrils technique sample

THE THREAD HOUSE
Jo Avery joined forces with fellow UK quilt designers Lynne Goldsworthy and Karen Lewis to launch a new Retreat and Pattern company in 2016,
The Thread House. They hosted their first retreat in January of this year with a second planned for January 2018. Nine exclusive patterns are currently available — 3 from each designer. Jo’s patterns are the Starlights Quilt, the Crockery Cupboard Quilt, and Conker Quilts (also the thread collection cover quilt!) and all three are available for purchase here on payhip.

GIVEAWAY

To enter-to-win Jo’s Sherbet Dip thread collection AND a digital copy of each of Jo’s 3 patterns for Thread House: Conkers, Crockery Cupboard, and Starlights, 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 26! Winner will be randomly selected and announced here on Sunday, August 27. Good luck!


ABOUT JO
Website — FacebookInstagramThe Thread House

Jo Avery has been playing with fabric and yarn for as long as she can remember, culminating in her current role as a designer, teacher and entrepreneur. Her natural affinity with expressive colour informs all her quilts and her love of intricate techniques such as needle-turn appliqué and embroidery adds further levels of rich detailing, and allows her to embrace both modern and traditional aesthetics. Jo enjoys inspiring others to discover their own creative potential through her workshops and retreats.

** Images, biographical text and interview text by Jo Avery

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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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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
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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.

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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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The Fussy Cut Sampler

Once upon a time, there were two amazing women named Elisabeth and Nichole. They met one fated day, long ago, at the Los Angeles Modern Quilt Guild. They shared a love of fussy cutting and became fast friends. Years passed and the two creative makers began a wonderful collaboration, fussy cutting favorite prints and honing their mad quilting skills. One day, Elisabeth and Nichole hatched a brilliant idea and after much hard work and extensive expert-level fussy cutting, The Fussy Cut Sampler came to be. The quilting community rejoiced and celebrated by creating block after block featuring tiny images that come together to tell a series of magnificent stories.

Seriously though… we are in LOVE with this book and we’re not alone! The Fussy Cut Sampler by Elisabeth Woo Hardy and Nichole Ramirez has taken the quilty community by storm. The quilt along launched back in May and we’ve seen so many gorgeous blocks with some of the most amazing little fussy cut features. It has been an absolute delight to witness!

Today, we’re excited to share some beauty shots and talk a bit with the authors to hear more about their inspirations and how this lovely little book came to be.

INTERVIEW
What did you love most about the process of putting The Fussy Cut Sampler together? 
We loved finding ways to explain techniques that we’ve had in our heads forever! Plus, adding in jokes that you’d actually have to read the text to find!

Do you have any favorite blocks to share? 
Elisabeth: My favorite is block 48. I’ve loved creating words out of text fabric since I first started quilting, so it’s exciting to see the technique in a block!

Nichole: I can’t pick a single favorite, but the entire stripe chapter is near and dear. I love stripes, they’re one of my favorite kinds of fabrics. Elisabeth didn’t like them at all, but by the end of this process I’d won her over to the stripe side!

What is the most fun piece of fabric you’ve been able to fussy cut for inclusion in a quilt? 
Nichole: I was finally able to use the thumbprint cats (designed by Samarra Khaja). I’ve had them in my stash forever but was never quite sure what to do with them!  (see image below)

Elisabeth: This might seem silly, but I think the fabric that makes me the happiest to look at is the background from block 22 – it’s just a dash line stripe, but Nichole had given me her last tiny scrap. The fact that I was able to get exactly what I needed for the block before running out made it super special. (see images above)

You both created quilts to include in the book — how do your styles differ? Did you share progress with each other throughout, or did you wait to do a final reveal? 
We shared our process with each other while we made the quilts, but we weren’t worried at all that they’d look similar, our quilt styles are night and day. While Nichole creates scrappy, eclectic quilts using all the colors, Elisabeth worked with a limited palette. We knew that if one of Nichole’s blocks was too blue/orange heavy, it would look too much like one of Elisabeth’s blocks. We found it was encouraging to see our progress shots, especially since we couldn’t share the book with anyone else yet!

What did you love most about working together to make this all happen? 
We work together in our day-job lives too, so we see a lot of each other. I think the best moments of the book-writing process were when we set up camp in Nichole’s living room, test sewing blocks. Her dog, Bucky, kept us company. There were many lovely Saturday afternoons spent sewing away.

You’ve got quite a few people sewing along with you for the Fussy Cut Sampler Quilt Along — what is the absolute coolest fussy cut you’ve seen thus far? 
I don’t know if we could narrow it down to a single fussy cut block, but our most favorite thing has been to watch people’s quilts grow and take on their own distinct personalities! We can usually tell just by looking at the block who the maker is. Each quilt is different, and reflects the personality of the maker – which was always our dream for the book.

For anyone who might be just learning about the Quilt Along, is there still time to dive in and get involved? Where should we direct them to get started? 
There’s definitely still time! We’re in week 10 now, but you can join weeks 11 & 12, more information on our blog: www.thefussycutsampler.com/blog.

And of course… how did you first discover Aurifil thread and why is it the thread for you? 
It feels like we’ve been sewing with Aurifil forever. We find that it flows effortlessly through our machines with minimal lint, and lasts for such a long time. Plus, the orange spool makes it easy to identify what weight of thread we’re using, and we love the huge color assortment.

GIVEAWAY!!

Excited to dive into your own fussy cutting festivities? We’ve partnered with Elisabeth & Nichole to offer up a super snazzy Instagram giveaway to help get you started. Head here to learn more and enter-to-win one copy of The Fussy Cut Sampler + 4 LG spools of Aurifil 50wt thread in a Elisabeth & Nichole’s favorite colors: 2220, 1133, 1320, & 1231.

ABOUT ELISABETH & NICHOLE
Nichole Ramirez and Elisabeth Woo met at the Los Angeles Modern Quilt Guild and became fast friends because of their love for fussy cutting.

Elisabeth began fabric collecting years before she even started quilting. Since then, her quilts have hung in the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show and at local county fairs. Follow her on Instagram.

Nichole began her quilting journey in 2003, when she taught herself how to make a baby quilt from tutorials online. She is a charter member of the LAMQG and her quilt designs have been published in Quilt Scene, Quilty and Modern Patchwork, Make It! Patchwork and Modern Patchwork Gifts. Follow her on Instagram.

Hello by Susan Emory

Every time we think about Susan Emory’s sassy new collection for Michael Miller Fabrics, we immediately have a soundtrack of Lionel Richie & Adele running through our heads;). Silly? Perhaps. But Hello is just fabulous enough to make it all work! Born out of a moment of workday inspiration, Hello combines bright colors and B&Ws with vintage phones and a super fab text print that just screams for creative appliqué. Susan’s coordinating thread collection is a rainbow of color, with black, white, and gray included for maximum versatility.

We’ve been honored to be such an active part of Susan’s collection launch, taking part in a super fun booth hop at Spring Market in St. Louis a few months back, and in her blog hop which finished up just last week. Today, it’s all about the thread, the fabrics, and the patterns that Susan created to showcase both.

THREAD COLLECTION DETAILS
Hello
100% Aurifil Cotton, 12 Large Spools, 50wt (1422yds/spool)
Colors included:
2588 – 1148 – 4093 – 2735 – 2582 – 2145
5015 – 2865 – 2250 – 2625 – 2692 – 2024

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

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

I’m from a quilting family, my mother and grandmother taught me how to sew and quilt. As quilting tools and technology evolved, I began to try new techniques and find my own style.

Who or what has been your greatest creative inspiration?
I’m inspired by mid-century design. Most of my fabric lines and my personal decor both have a vintage feel. I’ve also been inspired by my family. My mother was a very crafty, creative person and encouraged me to express my creative side. My sister is a talented seamstress and has always been a great source for brainstorming and looking at things a little differently.

Tell us a little more about Hello — what inspired the designs and what excites you most about the collection?
The large letters came to mind when I was sitting in a meeting and considering if I could send a ransom note to my friend so she would save me – ha ha. I ran with that theme and the scissors and telephones seemed like a natural fit. This lead to the Hashtag Texture blenders and other punctuation prints.

You pulled together a pretty fantastic group of makers to help celebrate and market this collection. The process started months ago, culminated at Spring Market with the collection launch, and carried through to the Hello Blog Tour that just completed. What was the process of putting that all together like? 
I definitely have a lot going on with this line. It takes serious organization to keep the projects and deadlines straight. After artwork is submitted I wait for strike-offs to come. Strike-offs are a small sample of the printed fabric showing exactly how the colors print. The fabrics are then adjusted or approved and the mill adds them to their production schedule. This time the colors needed no adjusting, I loved them! While I’m waiting to get my hands on actual fabric, I design projects to feature the prints. We have a short window of time from receiving sample yardage to needing quilts photographed for marketing purposes, so I need to be ready to roll when the sample yardage comes in. While I’m working on the new line, I’m also marketing the previous line and designing the next line. There is an overlap of fabric line design due to the length of time it takes to get from idea to fabric, six months to a year.

The Hello Blog Tour was months in the making. Because this fabric line has a lot of opportunity to personal expression, I decided to ask some of my favorite bloggers to make a project to inspire others. I contacted them well before the sample yardage was available and they began to plan their projects using digital images of the fabric. There were twelve blogs to visit during the tour from July 14-21. Some of the blogs gave away prizes and free patterns. The free pattern for “For A Good Time Quilt 24/7” is available on my Hello Blog Hop post.

Do you have any favorite projects from the tour? 
There are a variety of projects that were on the tour. Some of the highlights were Cheryl’s ruffle pillow, and the amazing quilting done by Teri and Geta . Really, every blog had a great project, I couldn’t pick just one!

What is your favorite piece that you’ve made with Hello?
I love my new Happy Place quilt. This was a fun one to make with several different techniques. I love paper piecing and applique, so this quilt is right up my alley. I also love the scrappy look and bright colors. I plan to hang it in my sewing studio.

When did you first discover Aurifil threads and what do you love most about them? One year at Quilt Market (2009?) my booth was next to Aurifil’s booth. I learned a lot about thread that week! Not only did I learn the value of Aurifil thread, but their history and business practices impressed me. I use 40wt and 50wt for applique, piecing and quilting. I buy white and light gray on very large cones, I go through a lot of thread. My favorite is the 12wt. I love to do hand embroidery and working with the single strand is easy and efficient. I also use 12wt on my machine for decorative stitching.

How did you go about selecting colors for Hello and what excites you most about releasing the collection to the world?
I knew I wanted a “rainbow” thread collection and Hello was the perfect fabric line for it! I used my fabric strike-offs to select the colors. I knew people could use the entire color range of this thread because my DC7659 Cut It Out print calls for a lot of applique. I also designed new patterns, including Happy Place, that use machine applique. This entire process has been very exciting. I love when the fabric and thread become available and I can see what everyone makes with them. There is nothing more rewarding than seeing quilters create with my art 😊.


GIVEAWAY

To enter-to-win Susan’s Hello thread collection AND a bundle of Hello by Susan Emory for Michael Miller 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 Tuesday, August 1! Winner will be randomly selected and announced here on Wednesday, August 2. Good luck!

UPDATE: This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to our winner, Christi Scheffel! 

ABOUT SUSAN
WebsiteBlogFacebookInstagramPinterestTwitter

Susan Emory is crazy about DIY, color and creating! She expresses her art as a fabric designer, quilt designer, quilter, artist, teacher and blogger. Susan’s designs can be found under the Swirly Girls Design brand.

 

 

 

** Images, biographical text and interview text by Susan Emory

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Improv by Amy Friend

We are so excited to present Improv, a new fabric line by Amy Friend of During Quiet Time for Benartex/Contempo and a coordinating Aurifil thread box! Improv marks Amy’s debut collection and we love that the prints lend themselves so perfectly to the beauty of her quilt designs. Greys, Peaches, and Golds are perfectly offset by Deep Rose hues and the absolutely perfect shade of Green… Chartreuse! Fans of Amy’s work know her for her unique use of solids to create modern quilted masterpieces. This new fabric line plays off of Amy’s love for solids, introducing mini prints as a wonderful range of blenders. Her coordinating thread collection is a perfect companion but also represents Amy’s go-to colors for her everyday quilting. These collections are on our Summer must-sew list!

THREAD COLLECTION DETAILS
Improv
100% Aurifil Cotton, 12 Large Spools, 50wt (1422yds/spool)
Colors included:
1147 – 2455 – 2452 – 6723 – 2420 – 2600
2610 – 1246 – 2125 – 2021 – 2315 – 4060

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 grew up in a house where the sewing machine table was a piece of living room furniture, frequently opened up and used by my mom to sew clothing and costumes. My mom taught me all my basic sewing skills at a young age. It wasn’t until I left my job as a museum curator to stay home with my kids that I discovered the modern quilting movement online and taught myself to quilt.

Who or what has been your greatest creative inspiration?
I think I must draw on my both my studio art training and my art history background when I create but I do so unknowingly. I most often find creative inspiration in nature, in my doodles made while on hold, and while on my morning walks.

How did you first connect with Benartex and what do you love about working with them? Benartex reached out to me as they were hoping to grow their modern fabric design branch, Contempo. I have very much enjoyed getting to know the other Contempo designers, Amanda Murphy and Cherry Guidry, who made me feel right at home at Quilt Market!

Tell us about Improv. What inspired the designs?
My designs are small scale, modern blenders. These are the types of prints that I like to use in my quilt designs. They are geometric and modern, read as solids, and work wonderfully for paper piecing. A few designs read as a cohesive background when cut up with paper piecing seams. Another design was made with fussy cutting in mind! Also, I love gradients so I created a few gradients in prints.

Do you have a favorite project or projects made with the collection?
I really love my new Triangle Toss Quilt pattern made up in this collection and designed with my improv paper piecing technique. I also love the Snowdrop pillow. Each new project becomes my favorite!

When did you first discover Aurifil threads and what do you love most about them?
I had to look this one up (something I love about blogs–they provide a great record!). I first used Aurifil in 2011 and I haven’t looked back. I love the fine 50 weight for flat seams when piecing. I also use it for quilting because I like my piecing to be the first thing you see and the quilting to blend a bit. The thread comes in beautiful colors and the sheen is gorgeous.

How did you go about selecting colors for Improv and what excites you most about releasing the collection to the world?
I knew I needed a gradient in grey created with a series of prints. I also needed a couple of soft neutrals that included a light cinnamon color. Then I selected colors based on the quilts I have made over the last year or so. I wanted to keep with colors that were true to my taste and that I actually used frequently.

AMY’s BOOKS

GIVEAWAY

To enter-to-win Amy’s Improv thread collection AND a bundle of Improv by Amy Friend for Benartex click here to head to the Rafflecopter entry page, or simply click on the image above. You do not have to complete all the options to be entered but the more options you choose, the more entries you have!  Entries will be accepted from now through 11:59pm Eastern Time on Wednesday, July 26! Winner will be randomly selected and announced here on Thursday, July 27. Good luck!

UPDATE: This Giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to our winner, Jamie Crist Tagba!!

FUN LINKS
Improv Thread Collection
Improv Fabric Collection
Improv Blog Hop & a Free Pattern
Owl Pillow
Improv Blog Tour Kick Off and Interview

ABOUT AMY
WebsiteBlogFacebookInstagramTwitter — Shop

Amy Friend is a former museum collections curator turned designer and modern quilter. She has authored two books published by Lucky Spool Media: Intentional Piecing and Improv Paper Piecing. Improv is her first fabric collection, newly released with Contempo, a division of Benartex. Amy enjoys lecturing and teaching in hopes of spreading her love of paper piecing and modern quilt design!

 

** Images, biographical text and interview text by Amy Friend

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270 Shades of (Everything Under the Sun including) Grey

One of the things we love most about Quilt Market is the opportunity to showcase some of the gorgeous work of some very talented designers. It’s particularly exciting when we have new pieces to debut, like with this stunner by Sari Thomas of Sariditty. “270 Shades of (Everything Under the Sun including) Grey” features our 40wt thread in, you guessed it, all 270 colors! When Sari presented the idea earlier this year, we just knew it would be a beauty.

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