Aurifil 2016 October Designer of the Month Kathy Brown


I’m Designer, Author, Radio show host Pat Sloan.. Our September Designer is the wonderful and amazing Author, fabric designer and teacher Kathy Brown. Her company name is The Teachers Pet, and I imagine you have used her designs, rulers or fabric already!

The last time she was on my talk show was Feb 1, 2016  CLICK to Listen or subscribe by Itunes

Let’s get to know Kathy!

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Top Ten Tuesday {Halloween}


It’s October, the Halloween prep is on and we’re feeling particularly spooky around here! We love getting into the holiday spirit by decorating our homes, inside and out, for the season. Halloween throw pillows? Check. Spooky quilts and quilt blocks? Check check. Pumpkin everything? Check!! What are you doing for Halloween? If you’re looking for something fun to make, we’ve rounded up a few of our favorites — from things you can make in an afternoon to full size quilts that will keep you feeling spooky for years to come! Which one is your favorite?

1. Epic Halloween Quilt Along — Flying Parrot Quilts


2. Scrappy Pumpkin Table Runner — Andy Knowlton for Thermoweb


3. Jack-O-Lantern Pumpkin Pillow Cover — On Sutton Place


4. Country Bumpkin Halloween Bandana Pumpkin — Sadie Seasongoods


5. Pumpkin Spice Latte Felt Applique — Wild Olive


6. Creepy Critters Halloween Row Quilt — Ellis & Higgs


7. Witch’s Silhouette Halloween Pillow Pattern — The Polkadot Chair


8. Halloween Eyeball Softie — Mucho Xoxo


9. Boos and Ghouls Quilt Along — Bryan House Quilts


10. Halloween Pillow Tutorial — Jedi Craft Girl


Find more free patterns, tips, tutorials and inspiration by following  on PinterestFacebook, and Instagram. All are updated regularly to provide you with the best the sewing world has to offer!

For more information about Aurifil products, including thread weights, Designer Collections, and where to purchase from your local quilt shop or select online shops, please visit

Showcase Sunday {8.28}


Welcome back to Showcase Sunday, our forum to showcase the beautiful work that all of you do!  We can’t get enough of the beautiful things that you’re making, so keep tagging us and sharing your work and we’ll feature some of our favorites here every other Sunday. Don’t forget to check in on Facebook & Instagram to see more! Happy Stitching:).

(Click on any image below to visit the artist’s Instagram account for more!)













@nightquilter & @duringquiettime

@nightquilter & @duringquiettime




























Aurifil 2016 August Designer of the Month Angela Walters

Aurifil 2016 Design Team August Angela Walters collage

I’m Designer, Author, Radio show host Pat Sloan.. Our August Designer is Angela Walters of Quilting is my Therapy.  The first time Angela and I had a chance to chat was at a trade show. It has been exciting to watch her grown as an artist and designer.

Angela has a wonderful series of articles called ‘The Business of Machine Quilting’. If you are looking to create a business quilting for others, I recommend you read her series.

I chatted with Angela 10/8/12 and 5/14/12  on my talk show CLICK to Listen or subscribe by Itunes

Let’s get to know  Angela!

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The Ultimate Collection by Tula Pink


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!

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.

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.


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!


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.


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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!! 

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


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.

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


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


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


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!


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.


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!


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!



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!!

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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.

Aurifil 2016 July Designer of the Month Wendy Sheppard

Aurifil 2016 Design Team July Wendy Sheppard collage

I’m Designer, Author, Radio show host Pat Sloan.. Our July Designer is Wendy Sheppard of Ivory Spring, as her motto says “Where treasures of past and present connect”. Wendy and I live in the same area and we discovered we have a love of Applique, quilts with great color, Aurifil thread, and  days without rain!!  We both noticed that when we had a regular Tuesday evening meeting.. it seemed to ALWAYS rain!

What I love is how Wendy’s patterns spam a great many techniques and styles. Besides her applique, my favorites are the pieced patterns that look amazing, but are very easy to do! Wendy is a master at that, which I think you’ll see today.

I have talked with my friend Wendy  2/15/16 on my talk show CLICK to Listen or subscribe by Itunes

Let’s get to know  Wendy!

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Big Stitch Quilting by Sarah Fielke


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.

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


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


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

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.


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.


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.


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.


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 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!!

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.

Aurifil 2016 April Designer of the Month Kate Spain

Aurifil 2016 Design Team April Kate Spain collage

I’m Designer, Author, Radio show host Pat Sloan. We are finally in spring in my part of the world and our April Designer is the amazing Kate Spain!

The quilt world is so lucky to have the talented Kate Spain design gorgeous Moda fabrics and curate yummy Aurifil thread collections for us! She designs for many places, you can find rugs, stationary and much more with her beautiful patterns on it.

We have become good friends over the years and I’m really happy she is on our design team for 2016!  You can listen to my chat with Kate on my talk show.. —>  3/17/14 click to  listen

Pat Sloan enter your aurifil block.jpg

PLEASE READ — We are CHANGING something!!

Our Monthly quilt block Challenge will now be at my website with a Photo sharing party! This will be much easier for everyone.  If you want to look first, It’s HERE

We LOVE our MONTHLY thread BOX giveaway (seriously folks… you could win a box of my thread which is over $120.00 value.. JUST for making a quilt block… you have to join in!). Each month we pick one random winner that has made a  block from our featured designer of the prior month. That person receives a FULL BOX of my Aurifil thread as the prize!

Grab your Kate Spain fabric and let’s get to know her!

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Aurifil 2016 March Designer of the Month Christa Watson

Aurifil 2016 Design Team March Christa Watson collage

I’m Designer, Author, Radio show host Pat Sloan. We are jumping out of winter in my part of the world and I couldn’t be happier!  Our March Designer is Christa Watson of Christa Quilts!

Christa is an Author, Teacher, Shop owner, Designer, and Aurifil thread lover for many years. She has a passion for quilting, which she shares at her website and Facebook group via sew alongs and tutorials. She is always sharing something great! 


We have become good friends over the years and I’m really happy she is on our design team for 2016!  You can listen to Christa and I chat on my talk show.. —>  Christa was on 6/3/14 and 9/8/15, take a listen

Pat Sloan enter your aurifil  block.jpg

PLEASE READ — We are CHANGING something!!

Our Monthly quilt block share will now be at my website with a Photo sharing party! This will be much easier for everyone.  If you want to look first, It’s HERE

We LOVE our MONTHLY thread BOX giveaway (seriously folks… you could win a box of my thread which is over $120.00 value.. JUST for making a quilt block… you have to join in!). Each month we pick one random winner that has made a  block from our featured designer of the prior month. That person receives a FULL BOX of my Aurifil thread as the prize!

Let’s get to know Christa!

Continue reading