Introducing Vintage 30s – Ruby’s Treasures by Barbara J. Eikmeier for Paintbrush Studios. It was created in conjunction with McKim Studios and pairs popular 30s-style prints with the embroidery designs of Ruby Short McKim. Barbara selected 10 different colors of our Aurifloss for her coordinating Aurifil Thread Collection.
THREAD COLLECTION DETAILS
Vintage 30s – Ruby’s Treasures
10 Small Spools – 100% Aurifil Cotton Aurifloss, 18yds each
1135 – 2720 – 2860 – 2479 – 2515 – 2372 – 3770 – 4661 – 4660 – 5003
To view this info on our website, click the image above. For purchasing, please contact your local Aurifil Dealer.
What first drew you to the quilting world?
I learned to sew in 4-H at the age of 9 and got my first sewing machine when I was 14, so you could say I’ve been a sewer most of my life. I was drawn to quilting by an article by Jean Ray Laurey that I found in one of my mom’s Better Homes and Garden’s magazines – in 1976! I made three or four quilts while still in high school but didn’t really start to quilt for real until after my marriage in 1984 when my neighbor Sue Alwine invited me to join a quilting class at the Salinas Adult Education Center in Salinas, CA. I was 24 years old.
Do you remember the process of creating your first quilt and how you felt once it was finished?
When I was 15, I got my own bedroom and had the walls painted yellow. At our local Ben Franklin store I bought fabric and batting to make a quilt for my bed. It was a Rail Fence block arranged in a Streak of Lightning pattern made in solid red, solid yellow, and red and yellow calico print. The magazine article showed how to enlarge a design with a graph paper grid. But I figured I could do it on my own. I added a 5/8” seam allowance (customary in dressmaking) and made the pattern on tissue paper because everything I had sewn up to that point was dresses and the pattern was always tissue paper. There is hardly a seam that meets in the whole quilt!! I sewed the top right sides together with the backing and turned it with the batting inside and tied it with embroidery floss. It went on my bed and I slept under it for many years. I was proud of my accomplishment but I don’t remember a warm glow or anything special about it. I had set out to make a quilt for my new bedroom and I did it. I still have the quilt. The workmanship is awful – for many years I wouldn’t even show it to anyone. But recently I have had it out and have enjoyed showing it because although the workmanship is dreadful (and what was I thinking with those colors?), the design feels contemporary. I posted the story on my blog here.
Who or what has been your greatest creative inspiration?
I love traditional quilts so turn to antique quilts for my inspiration. I have great admiration for pioneer women who made beautiful quilts with little access to fabric, thread, and tools.
What is your favorite part about the process of quilting and why?
The best part of making a quilt is selecting the fabrics and pattern. I find it stimulating to dig in my fabric bins and find just the right colors to get started. I work from my stash a lot but almost always combine new fabrics with what I have on hand – it seems like the new fabrics really make the quilt come to life and it keeps my same old stash from feeling stale.
How did you first connect with Fabri-Quilt and Paintbrush Studios?
I had talked to two other fabric companies about designing fabrics and was in the process of preparing a proposal for one of them when a friend introduced me to the design team at Paintbrush Studio. As it turned out they were looking for someone to design reproduction fabrics. Their offices are located in Kansas City, just 25 minutes from my home. I really like that they are local, family owned, and Kansas friendly.
What was the inspiration behind your Vintage 30s collection and how did the collection come to be?
Each collection has a special story and the Vintage 30’s collection is all about Ruby Short McKim a popular quilt designer from the 1920s and 30s. Ruby had a cottage industry selling patterns, kits and finished tops and quilts. She was also a columnist for Better Homes and Gardens and published a book of quilt patterns. 2016 is the 100th anniversary of publication of Ruby’s first quilt pattern. I met her granddaughter, Merrily, who runs McKim Studios Revival, and worked with her to write a few magazine articles to help spread the word about the 100th anniversary. In the course of our meetings a reproduction fabric collection came up so I brought a proposal to Paintbrush Studio which resulted in the Vintage 30s Ruby’s Treasures fabrics. Most of the fabrics in Merrily’s collection were solids although there are three prints in the group that are reproduced from Ruby’s fabrics. The rest of the prints came from antique fabric scrap bags I have purchased over the years and a few were parts of two different yo-yo quilts.
What did you love most about developing the collection?
The best part about creating Ruby’s Treasures was that Merrily gave me access to Ruby’s actual archives where we found scraps of solids bundled in little packages that had been stored since the mid 1930s.By starting with those solids I felt like Ruby herself selected the color palette for this collection. A customer said, “That pink doesn’t really seem like 30s to me.” And yet it is, according to the treasures left from Ruby’s cottage industry! I had two goals for my 30s collection, that the prints were pretty (many 30s prints aren’t really that pretty!) and that they worked well together.
Do you have a favorite project that was created using this collection?
The collection plus the solids go together nicely and I have enjoyed every project I’ve sewn with it but I think my favorite is the Garden of Nine quilt that I created to showcase the Aurifloss threads. All of the fabrics are used in small amounts and since the thread is matched to the fabric it all worked out beautifully. Denise Mariano’s quilting was done with 50 wt Aurifil which finishes the project with finesse.
When did you first discover Aurifil threads and what do you love most about them?
I discovered Aurifil thread at a quilt show in Lancaster, PA – it must have been in 2003. There was a vendor who had a big beautiful display of thread and excellent samples in her booth. I bought a thread chart and one spool of neutral colored thread to try it. She promised me I would be back for more. I loved it – the thread was so silky and there was so much less lint in my machine! But I had a hard time finding it in the US – initially it was only available at large shows – internet buying was still young then. The next time I saw it was at the quilt show in Paducah where I found a booth selling small spools – at the time the small spools were the cone from the large spools minus the base. They were like tubes of thread! That booth had these little plastic boxes and a bin of spools where I could fill the box with my own color selections – in hindsight I guess you could say that was my first Aurifil thread collection! The long fibers and fine thread make the 50 wt excellent for appliqué as it doesn’t tangle or break and I don’t need to use beeswax with it as I do with other finer weight brands.
Do you have a favorite weight/color?
50 wt. And I have two favorite colors 2310 for my piecing. I now buy it in the great big 6000 yard cones. And 2890 for appliqué – I do a lot of floral designs with green leaves and this green works well with many fabrics! I’ve just learned that there is a new 80 wt thread coming out and am eager to try it for appliqué. I also like the 12 wt for woolwork appliqué. It stitches up beautifully in a hand blanket stitch. And the Aurifloss is great for embroidery – I’m now addicted to 6 strand embroidery floss wound on a spool. My local quilt shop carries Aurifil in many colors and weights so I no longer have to fuss about where I’m going to buy it!
How did you go about selecting colors for this collection?
I went back to those solids from Ruby’s archives for the initial selection of colors. Then I compared them to the new solids we were marketing with Ruby’s Treasures (which are super close to the originals). I was originally going to select 12 wt threads for the packet but when I received the updated thread chart and sample threads from Italy there was a spool of the Aurifloss and I totally changed my mind! After all McKim Studios had licensed two of Ruby’s original embroidery patterns in preprinted panels that we were releasing with the fabric collection so embroidery floss was a perfect fit. I selected a few of the variegated threads because it was hard to choose just 10 colors! In hand embroidery you have the option of using the section of color off the variegated spool for a particular place in the design so by including some variegated I felt like I increased the number of colors in the collection. I especially love the variegated blue.
To enter-to-win 1 Small Aurifil Thread Collection and 1 Paintbrush Studios FQ Bundle for Vintage 30s – Ruby’s Treasures, 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 Thursday, October 20! Winner will be randomly selected and announced here on Friday, October 21. Good luck!
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Barbara J. Eikmeier lives in Kansas and she writes. Both her children write, her daughter-in-law writes and her husband writes. Her two dogs and two cats don’t write but they wish they could because there are things they would like to say. Her nine fish do not wish to write, they like their secret underwater lives.
Barbara also quilts, gardens and bakes pies. Sometimes she has writing deadlines and has to put quilting and baking aside (except for Thanksgiving pies). When pushing a deadline the perennial flower beds take care of themselves – with a little help from her husband.
If it’s between May and Sept and she’s not at the computer, sewing, baking or in the garden, check at Lake Perry, she might be sailing. It’s her other favorite activity.
To learn more about Barb and her adventures, make sure to pop by her website!