2017 Fall Quilt Market, Part 2

Although Quilt Market & Quilt Festival keep us in Houston for weeks, it’s rare that we see much beyond our hotels and the George R. Brown convention center. Thankfully, we’re regularly treated to views like these, so we tend not to mind!

Alexander, Brad, Hilary, & Kate en route to Schoolhouse!

Friday, October 27 was officially Schoolhouse day at Quilt Market and we were thrilled to present a brand new product and a brand new series, both equally exciting.

Forty3 is Aurifil’s brand new 40wt, 3-play thread, 100% Cotton thread, specifically designed to handle the rigor of today’s high-speed, high-tech Longarm machines. Alex Veronelli introduced the amazing new thread to a packed house… standing room only.

Forty3 is manufactured to Aurifil’s standards and has all the versatility and lustrous color of the original 40wt threads, with the added benefit of extra strength. Don’t worry, it’s still virtually lint free! Because it is made specifically for Longarm machine use, the thread is offered on a 3280yd cone only. It is available in 50 gorgeous colors.

Aurifil Designer Sarah Thomas of Sariditty and quilter Alfonsina Uriburu joined Alex for the launch. Both had tested the thread and had some gorgeous samples on hand to showcase.

AuriKids is a partnership between Aurifil and a new generation of sewists and quilters. We aim to generate excitement, create joy, educate young minds, and pass along a time-honored tradition. We launched 4 new small-spool collections at Market featuring 4 young designers. The program grew out of the work that Aurifil Designer Wendy Sheppard (of Ivory Spring) has been doing with her daughter Gwendolyn, now one of our debut AuriKids designers.

We welcomed Wendy to the stage to debut the program. We will be sharing more in the weeks to come and have some exciting plans for 2018!

We first introduced our demo table at Spring Market earlier this year. We had an absolute blast and felt so honored to have such an amazing group of designers come by to share their talents and drop a little quilty knowledge;). We upped the ante a little for Fall and offered a string of events every day, from mini-classes to book-signings and trunk shows.

Wendy Sheppard:
Wendy joined us for 3 awesome events — a demo on her masterful free-motion quilting, a book signing for her latest book with Landauer, and a showcase for our brand new AuriKids series.

Victoria Findlay Wolfe:
Victoria shared a remarkable mini-class on a piecing method from her new book, Modern Quilt Magic.

Sarah Fielke: 
Sarah traveled all the way from her home in Australia to attend Quilt Market — officially presenting her WordPlay collection with Windham Fabrics and offering 2 fabulous mini-classes in the Aurifil booth! Sarah schooled us on hand-quilting & hand-appliqué.

Sarah Maxwell: 
Sarah joined us for a demo on hand appliqué using Aurifil 12wt and her stunning flannels with Marcus Fabrics.

Jill Finley:
Jill shared a wonderful demo on hand appliqué using Aurifil 50wt thread. She also debuted a brand new collection featuring 20 small spools of her go-to 50wt threads, Quilter’s Palette.

Karen Miller:
Karen joined us for 2 awesome events, one a mini-trunk show and one a mini-class, giving attendees excellent tips on how to FMQ on a home machine. Karen’s debut collection with Aurifil, The Subtle Sampler, released in September.

We also had Christa Watson, Amanda Murphy, Alfonsina Uriburu, & Patricia Belyea. Thank you so very much to all for making our Market experience so darn amazing and for allowing us to leave with so much more quilty knowledge!

For a closer look at some of these events, check out the video tab on our Facebook page — many were broadcast on Facebook Live!

We’ll be back with you tomorrow for a peek at all of the other inspiring things we spotted at Market! Thanks for following along. 🙂


Moda + Aurifil: Debuts & a Giveaway!

The past two weeks have been a whirlwind and we’ve loved having the chance to feature Moda Fabrics and some of our shared designers! Thank you for following along with us! We hope you’ve pulled some inspiration for future projects and have learned a little more about our two companies in the process.

Alex Veronelli, Mark Dunn, and Elena Gregotti

Today is our final day and we’re excited to share a sneak peek at the collections that will launch at Fall Market this year! We’ll share thread collection labels only, but you’ll have a chance to check out the booths, with new fabric lines, new projects & patterns, and all of the threads in a few short weeks when we hit the ground running at Fall Quilt Market in Houston!

We’ve also got a super fun, super fabulous, super thread-amazing challenge/giveaway planned, so make sure to read all the way to the end for more info:).


Sunny Stitches by Corey Yoder – 10 Small Spools of 12wt thread
Beach Road by Jen Kingwell – 10 Small Spools of 50wt thread
Nest by Lella Boutique – 10 Small Spools of 50wt thread
Harmony by Sweetwater – 5 Small Spools of 50wt thread + 5 Small Spools of Aurifloss

For more information on these collections and more, make sure to follow along with us here and on Facebook/Instagram at Fall Quilt Market — October 28-30, 2017.

After all of these designer features and project showcases, we’re feeling insanely inspired and are just itching to pour that inspiration into a new project! Our challenge to you is this:

  • Create a mini quilt with a perimeter of at least 40″ (10″ x 10″) and no greater than 100″ (25″ x 25″). Mini quilt can be anything that you’d like!
  • Use Moda Precuts & Aurifil threads to complete your mini. (Your choice!)
  • Entry requires TWO posts: (1) Photo of Moda Precuts & Aurifil threads that you’ll be using for the project & (2) Photo of your finished mini
  • Entry can be completed TWO ways: (1) On IG — tag @modafabrics, @aurifilthread, #ModaAurifilMiniChallenge (2) Linky Party — click here or on the button below for entry.

Challenge/Giveaway starts today and runs through 11:59pm on December 1. Open to creative makers worldwide!

Now for the PRIZE! We’ll select one random winner from all entries to receive a stack of 12 assorted Moda Charm Packs AND a Colors of Moda thread collection (45 delightfully colorful small spools of 50wt thread). WOW! We’ll announce the winner here on Monday, December 4.

UPDATE: This challenge is now closed. Congratulations to our winner, Melanie of @mellierc on Instagram. Thank you to all who sewed along with us! 

Have fun and good luck:)

In case you’re looking for a bit of mini inspiration, it just so happens that Moda released their Moda All-Stars Mini Marvels book last year! A glorious collection of minis from 15 of Moda’s designers, expertly curated by Lissa Alexander. There are so many to choose from — different styles & moods, different techniques to use! Talk about fun!

“…find your passion and enjoy what you do. Don’t spend your whole life wishing you’d done something different.” – Mark Dunn

“The beauty of our industry is that it’s a labour of love.” – Elena Gregotti

“On a personal side I have to say that I learnt a lot about the Quilt Industry and how to stay in this business thanks to the friendship and guide of Moda’s people.” – Alex Veronelli

“What other industry gives of their time and talent like quilters. Where there is a need, quilters are the first to respond using their skills to make, share and comfort those in need. That is greatness!!” – Lissa Alexander

Monday, 9/18 — Moda + Aurifil
Tuesday, 9/19 — Moda + Aurifil: The Interviews
Wednesday, 9/20 — Moda + Aurifil: Stacy Iest Hsu
Thursday, 9/21 — Moda + Aurifil: BasicGrey
Friday, 9/22 — Moda + Aurifil: Kate Spain + Brigitte Heitland 

Monday, 9/25 — Moda + Aurifil: Interview & Pro Tips
Tuesday, 9/26 — Moda + Aurifil: Pat Sloan + Me & My Sister Designs
Wednesday, 9/27 — Moda + Aurifil: Lynne Hagmeier + Minnick & Simpson
Thursday, 9/28 — Moda + Aurifil: Joanna Figueroa
Friday, 9/29 — Moda + Aurifil: Fall Sneak Peeks + Contest/Giveaway!  (YOU ARE HERE)

Thanks for following along & Happy Stitching!

Moda + Aurifil: Interviews + Pro Tips

Thank you so much for joining us for our two weeks of Moda love! Welcome to week two:). Today, we’re turning to Moda’s very own Lissa Alexander (also of Moda Lissa) to learn a little more about Moda AND we’ll hear from a handful of our treasured Moda designers for some excellent tips & tricks to keep you inspired!

A lineup of Moda All-Stars helmed by Lissa Alexander on the left! — via Martingale

Can you tell us a bit of background about Moda?
United Notions was established in 1975 when Mark Dunn came to Dallas, Texas to start a notion distributorship. Mark previously worked for his father in Atlanta, GA in the notions industry and had decided to go out on his own. Dallas was the perfect place being centrally located and several of the major notions brands were also located there. Mark Dunn along with Vice President of Design, Cheryl Freydberg created Moda Fabrics in 1990. First creating in house lines and now working with over 50 of the top creatives in the quilting and graphic industry, Moda has always prided itself on top quality, beautiful designs, while selling to the independent quilt and specialty retailers. United Notions/Moda is very much a family business as some of the 3rd and 4th generation family members have joined the company.

Cheryl Freydburg, Mark Dunn, Lissa Alexander, and Holly Hickman — via Moda

What do you love most about working in this industry?
Having a job that centers around my hobby is the best gig there is.  Working with creative people in every step from product development to seeing the final fabrics and quilts on the store shelves is incredible. I love exploring trends, playing with color and studying the history of patchwork gives me goosebumps, but overall building relationships with like minded people that I am able to call my friends has got to the most rewarding part of working in the industry.

What other industry gives of their time and talent like quilters. The most recent example is the storms that have affected the Texas and Florida areas. Where there is a need, quilters are the first to respond using their skills to make, share and comfort those in need. That is greatness!!

Fat Quarter Shop took Lissa with them to visit Moda Designers at Spring Market 2016 — via Fat Quarter Shop, Jolly Jabber

When did Aurifil and Moda first connect and how has the relationship developed over the years? 
United Notions was distributing Aurifil threads, so we already had a business relationship with the brand. Aurifil was still fairly new to the quilting industry. You had to be living under a rock to not notice the social media vibe that was happening thanks to Alex Veronelli, CBDO of Aurifil. I was intrigued mainly because Alex reminds me a lot of the president of Moda. They both thrive on listening and watching and then responding to the needs and wants of their customers. They both are very quick to be able to answer these needs not in product but also in their flexibility to react. The moda designers have loved working with Aurifil to combine thread sets that match their fabric lines. Whether picking fabric or threads, color is always the hardest thing to decide on. The thread sets have taken the thinking out of the equation.

Mark and Cheryl with Moda Designers — via Moda

Why do you love working with Aurifil? 
I had used Aurifil threads fairly regularly, but it was not until I took my machine in to be serviced that I realized how special this thread was. The machine tech had noticed the Aurifil spool on my machine and told me he could really tell the difference with the thread I was using when he was cleaning my machine. When I took my machine home I began to pay closer attention to what the tech said, I had little to no lint as I was sewing or in my bobbin case. The stitches laid into the fabric nicely eliminating even the slightest bulk that certain threads can cause.  I do ALOT of sewing on all different colors so I like the naturals but also use some of the colors as a neutral color 2000, 2310, 2312. The medium colors such as pink color 2437, grey color 2615, country blue color 2612 work wonderfully when using a big range of fabrics, they are not too dark, not too light, just perfect.

Aurifil Spools from ‘It Always Comes Back to Weight’ — via Moda

I asked around the office and polled some of my quilting friends and here is what they had to say about Aurifil.

  • Variety and options!
  • I like the different weights and the different looks you can get from them – from the 80wt on machine quilting to the 12wt for big-stitch quilting.
  • Threads colors consistent across the sizes so that I can mix machine quilting with hand quilting.
  • I use their variegated threads for quilting because the change of colors is very subtle which adds texture without glaring color differences.
  • Spool sizes. Small spools so I can lots of colors to the big cones for machine piecing.
  • Easy identifiable colored spools to distinguish thread weights.
  • Bobbins hold lots of thread.

And believe it or not I even got one comment  –  it doesn’t hurt that Alex smells good. 🙂

Thanks SO much to Lissa!!

In talking with our Moda & Aurifil designers, we asked for tips… both for working with Aurifil threads and with Moda fabrics. We’ll admit we’re feeling insanely inspired after reading all of these!

Brigitte at Houston Quilt Market 2016

Brigitte Heitland
My favorite weight of thread is the 50wt – I use it nearly for everything in my work: for piecing, for doing EPP, for quilting. My tip would be: get a box of neutrals like the MODERN BACKGROUND PAPER and INK box: They are filled with whites, greys, beiges, blacks. Those colors will be used again and again and again. Even in a colorful quilt with lots of pieces I stick with a medium grey or beige thread, which matches all colors. Such a box will be a good companion for a long time and can be refilled with spools if one runs out.

For Moda Fabrics my tip is: stock your inventory with some precuts like a Layer Cake, a Jelly Roll or a Charm Pack. There are many – even free – patterns out (like my free Jelly Roll pattern here), and the little precut packages are perfect for a quick project without wasting any fabric. So you have always something handy if you are in the mood to make for a weekend project.

Barb & Mary of Me & My Sister Designs

Barb Groves of Me & My Sister Designs
I always match my thread color to my binding. When using precuts, always use the top of the pinked edge when measuring!

Lynne Hagmeier of Kansas Troubles Quilters

Lynne Hagmeier
I love Aurifil 50wt. thread for topstitching with my Layered Patchwork technique and for piecing seams. I suggest a size #70/10 needle for finer thread so your stitch line is perfectly straight. I’ve found many quilters use a size #80 needle for ease in threading, but have a bit of wobble in their stitching. Matching your thread size to your needle size is key to perfectly straight topstitching.

Laurie Simpson of Minick & Simpson — via Pat Sloan

Laurie Simpson of Minick & Simpson
I’m sure almost everyone knows, but if you cut your thread with sharp scissors at an angle – it makes it much easier to thread your needles.

Pat Sloan
The best way to select the perfect matching Aurifil thread color for your favorite piece of Moda fabric is to pull one stand off the thread spool.  My tip is that there are often several colors that will work well. When you have cool tones, try different gray threads. When you have warm tone fabrics, use shades of brown and tan. You’ll be surprised at what till work!

Kate Spain
When I use my home sewing machine for free-motion quilting, I like to use Aurifil’s 60wt bobbin thread. It goes a long way … which means I don’t have to stop to change the bobbin thread as frequently and for anyone who has quilted a queen-sized quilt on a home sewing machine, you know how much time that will save!

Monday, 9/18 — Moda + Aurifil
Tuesday, 9/19 — Moda + Aurifil: The Interviews
Wednesday, 9/20 — Moda + Aurifil: Stacy Iest Hsu
Thursday, 9/21 — Moda + Aurifil: BasicGrey
Friday, 9/22 — Moda + Aurifil: Kate Spain + Brigitte Heitland

Monday, 9/25 — Moda + Aurifil: Interviews + Pro Tips
Tuesday, 9/26 — Moda + Aurifil: Pat Sloan + Me & My Sister Designs
Wednesday, 9/27 — Moda + Aurifil: Lynne Hagmeier + Minnick & Simpson
Thursday, 9/28 — Moda + Aurifil: Joanna Figueroa
Friday, 9/29 — Moda + Aurifil: Fall Sneak Peeks + Contest/Giveaway!

Thanks for following along & Happy Stitching!

Moda + Aurifil: Interviews

Thank you so much for joining us for our two weeks of Moda love! Today, we’re turning to Aurifil’s fearless leaders, Alex Veronelli & Elena Gregotti, to learn a little more about Aurifil and how this lovely partnership with Moda came to be.

Aurifil’s CEO, Elena Gregotti

Can you tell us a bit of background about Aurifil?
Elena — Aurifil was founded in 1983 by my father Angelo and his school friend Adolfo Veronelli,  to give a better service to his customers that were buying Tajima multi heads embroidery machines from his Company Studio Auriga. Angelo and Adolfo selected the best Egyptian long staple cotton thread to supply the best cotton thread on the market.

L to R: Anna (Alex’s sister), Alex, Elena, and in front, Chiara (Elena’s sister) on location in Egypt.

When I join the Company after finishing University, I was looking for new markets and I found out the Quilt Industry, a world completely new for us and really fascinating. We started in year 2000 to discover this market and in 2007 Aurifil USA born.

The market appreciated our products and thanks to a very well orchestrated Social Media Campaign by Alex Veronelli, we started to gain more and more market share.

Chicago, Aurifil US home base! (photo by Elena Gregotti)

Last year in September I moved to Chicago to develop our office and now I can say that we have a great Young Team ready to follow up the Market and to develop new projects for 2018 and the years ahead.

What do you love most about working in this industry?
Elena — I love the fact that by using my product people develop their creativity. Thread is the ‘tool’ which allows artists to create masterpieces, holding everything together.I am always amazed at the unlimited ways threads are used each time to create a unique piece of art.

The beauty of our industry is that it’s a labour of love.

Aurifil’s CBDO, Alex Veronelli

When did Aurifil and Moda first connect and how has the relationship developed over the years? 
Alex — I can date Spring Quilt Market in Pittsburgh, 2009 as a milestone about the relationships between Aurifil and Moda. United Notions was already distributing as Wholesaler the Aurifil threads, but the real moment when we moved the first steps towards a cooperation orientated for example in developing thread collections with the Moda’s Designers matching their fabrics definitively must be linked to that Spring Market. Then as the time go by the relationships have intensified with the cooperation in marketing’s initiatives, with the development of products in collaboration, and with always a more deep support to the mutual designers.

Why do you love working with Moda
Alex — Moda is so Italian! Starting from the name “moda” that in Italian means “fashion”, then it is a family company with an able second generation on board, furthermore is a company with class and style, all this by my point of view gives to Moda definitively an Italian soul.

Mark Dunn & Family (photo courtesy of Moda)

Aside from my romantic considerations just mentioned, as connoisseur of the Quilt Industry and of the brand positioning’s dynamics I appreciate how the Moda’s brand had been able to climb the leadership not just in its category but in the entire industry.

Moda is also an example for how they care and mind about their dealers and for the profuse commitment in preserving the quilts history.

(photo courtesy of Moda)

On the practical side Moda’s Head and Crew are prepared, professional, creative and enthusiast and this makes really not just easy but also enjoyable to collaborate with them.

On a personal side I have to say that I learnt a lot about the Quilt Industry and how to stay in this business thanks to the friendship and guide of Moda’s people.

The Moda team at Quilt Market (photo courtesy of Moda)

Thanks SO much to Alex and Elena 🙂 — We’ll have the low-down from Moda next week!

Monday, 9/18 — Moda + Aurifil
Tuesday, 9/19 — Moda + Aurifil: The Interviews (YOU ARE HERE)
Wednesday, 9/20 — Moda + Aurifil: Stacy Iest Hsu
Thursday, 9/21 — Moda + Aurifil: BasicGrey
Friday, 9/22 — Moda + Aurifil: Kate Spain + Brigitte Heitland

Monday, 9/25 — Moda + Aurifil: Designer Tips
Tuesday, 9/26 — Moda + Aurifil: Pat Sloan + Me & My Sister Designs
Wednesday, 9/27 — Moda + Aurifil: Lynne Hagmeier + Minnick & Simpson
Thursday, 9/28 — Moda + Aurifil: Joanna Figueroa
Friday, 9/29 — Moda + Aurifil: Fall Sneak Peeks + Contest/Giveaway!

Thanks for following along & Happy Stitching!

Moda + Aurifil

Moda Fabrics has been a treasured and dedicated partner, a creative leader, and, above all, an inspiration for years. We so value the collaboration and relish the opportunity to work with such a wonderful team to promote a top-notch list of designers. We’re taking some time over the next two weeks to celebrate the collaboration… to share some stories, introduce a few new collections, herald some of our amazing designers, highlight a few great tips, give a few sneak peeks, and finally to launch a super fab giveaway! We’ll have a new post ready for your viewing every afternoon, so grab a snack, a cup of coffee/tea/hot chocolate, and join us for a bit of Moda love!

Alex Veronelli, Mark Dunn, and Elena Gregotti

To kick things off… a little background about our two fabulous companies. ❤


The official word: United Notions, Moda Fabrics and Moda Home is a multi-line fabric, notions and finished product manufacturer and distributor selling to the trade. They offer a wide range of fabrics, notions, patterns, books, quilting supplies and finished product in their Dallas warehouse. They have been in the quilting and fabric industry since 1975 and are constantly striving to bring the latest and greatest in both their fabrics and other quilting and home products. Moda currently has independent designers as well as an in-house design staff bringing some of the hottest new lines of fabrics and home product available in the industry.


The fun stuff: This is part of the Moda Crew, circa May 2015. We absolutely adore that they always take such fabulous photos. (Note to Aurifil… more group photos!)

This part of the Moda crew attends Quilt Market and it includes Directors, Vice Presidents, the Sales representatives and folks from Moda Fabrics and United Notions. There is an equal number of very important people who don’t go to Market, they’re too busy keeping everything running back home in Dallas.

United Notions is the company founded in 1975 by the amazing Mark Dunn, whose philosophy is to “…find your passion and enjoy what you do. Don’t spend your whole life wishing you’d done something different.” Wise words!

To clarify, United Notions and Moda Fabrics are two companies in one. United Notions is essentially everything that isn’t fabric on-a-bolt, a pre-cut or a quilt kit. If it’s something you’d use for any kind of sewing, they probably have it. From every kind of cutting implement to thousands of different threads, they’ve got storage bins and marking tools, pins and needles, patterns and books and so on.

Moda Fabrics? Well, from outstanding basics like Bella Solids and Grunge to collections designed by internationally-known quilters and artists, they have a style of fabric and color palette to suit everyone.

We are in LOVE!

All credits to Moda for the above text! To learn more about Moda, head here and to learn more about Mark Dunn and how this all started, click here


The official word:
Aurifil is an accomplished, family-owned, Italian company based near Milan, specializing in the production of 100% Cotton threads from the MAKO region. The threads have achieved worldwide success thanks to a dedicated tribe of quilters, sewists, and textile artists who herald the thread for its versatility, its strength, and the fact that it produces virtually no lint.

The fun stuff:
Alex Veronelli and Elena Gregotti are what we like to call our super-power duo;). Keen business skills partnered with innovative thought, creative exploration, and masterful social media skills… The two have truly taken Aurifil to the next level with their amazing leadership.

The company’s history goes all the way back to 1957 when Elena’s father, Angelo Gregotti, founded Studio Auriga to produce designs for a multi-head mechanical embroidery machine. It was the first and only company to undertake this type of work in Italy. In 1972, Angelo traveled to Japan and discovered Tajima, starting the company on a new and amazing path featuring the highest level of technology available. In 1983, Angelo recruited his school friend Adolfo Veronelli to join his project and start a new adventure producing thread. Their vision was to source the best Egyptian Cotton and to create the finest thread on the market. And so Aurifil was born.

In 1995, Elena discovered world of quilting. She was immensely fascinated by what can only be described as works of art… masterpieces in fact. Even though it was completely different than their typical target, Elena urged her father to approach the quilt market. It was obvious that the quilters knew quality when they saw it. The attention that Aurifil thread received when presented for the first time at the European Quilt Show in Strasbourg was astonishing. Alex & Elena worked hard to improve the product further and began to sell in the US through an importer. In 2007, after increased success, Aurifil USA was born.

And now, in 2017, we celebrate our 10th anniversary as Aurifil USA. We have a diverse and amazing team based in offices just outside Milan, Italy and in Chicago, IL. We also have a handful of team-members spread out across the US — our ‘remote’ division;). We are a team of passionate folk… we love our product, we love our industry, we love what we do… and we hope it shows!

Monday, 9/18 — Moda + Aurifil (YOU ARE HERE)
Tuesday, 9/19 — Moda + Aurifil: The Interviews (Alex Veronelli, Elena Gregotti, & Lissa Alexander!)
Wednesday, 9/20 — Moda + Aurifil: Stacy Iest Hsu
Thursday, 9/21 — Moda + Aurifil: BasicGrey
Friday, 9/22 — Moda + Aurifil: Kate Spain + Brigitte Heitland

Monday, 9/25 — Moda + Aurifil: Designer Tips
Tuesday, 9/26 — Moda + Aurifil: Pat Sloan + Me & My Sister Designs
Wednesday, 9/27 — Moda + Aurifil: Lynne Hagmeier + Minnick & Simpson
Thursday, 9/28 — Moda + Aurifil: Joanna Figueroa
Friday, 9/29 — Moda + Aurifil: Fall Sneak Peeks + Contest/Giveaway!

Thanks for following along & Happy Stitching!

All About Aurifil, Part 3

Welcome to the third installment of our All About Aurifil series. Today we are going to learn about some of Aurifil’s new and/or specialty threads: 80wt, Cotton Floss, and Wool. But first, a continuation of our threaducation! Let’s talk about mercerized and long staple cotton. These two things go hand-in-hand so it makes sense to discuss them in the same conversation. Let’s get started!

Continue reading

Tips for Combining Machine + Hand Quilting

Today we are thrilled to have a post from our talented Aurifil Artisan, Jessica Skultety of Quilty Habit! She created a beautiful quilt using  Anna Maria Horner‘s new 12wt thread collection, Stitch Gallery. It is available as a Limited Edition in the super fabulous wooden box you’ll see below, and also in our standard cardboard packaging. She has kindly shared some of her favorite tips for how she combines hand quilting and machine quilting! Take it away Jessica!

Hi! I’m Jessica Skultety of Quilty Habit, and I teach, lecture, blog, and quilt obsessively. As an Aurifil Artisan, I’d love to share some quilting ideas with you today. Combining machine and hand work isn’t a new idea, but it’s an option that can add another special detail to your quilt. You don’t have to add a lot of either one to make a huge impact!

First, I’d like to introduce you to my latest passion project, “Bouquet,” and explain the process behind quilting it. Then, I’ll share 5 tips and more inspiration!

Quilting is my favorite part of the quilt-making process. It didn’t start out that way, but as soon as I started to free motion quilt on my home machine, I caught the bug. This is not to say that I don’t quilt with my walking foot – because I do!

One of my main goals for a quilt is to showcase or emphasize its design with the quilting itself. This is sometimes difficult to figure out, but it gets easier over time. It’s like deciding how to decorate a room: how will you accentuate its features? Often, for me, this means creating movement with waves and spirals.

I’m also a huge, longtime fan of Anna Maria Horner’s saturated, colorful fabrics, so I quickly began to dream up a wall quilt with her older fabrics and newest line, Floral Retrospective (which, luckily, contains some reprinted fabrics in brand spanking new colorways), plus her new special edition 12 weight Aurifil thread collection. Aren’t they so beautiful (and that box!!)? Since orange peel quilts are my favorites to make, I used petals as a starting point, much like my first orange peel quilt, Scatter.

After making the petals and adhering them with fusible and raw edge applique, I machine quilted in a circle from the bottom left to emphasize the circular, spreading out motion of the orange peels/flower petals. I quilted with 50 weight Aurifil 2600 (Dove Gray, my favorite) so that it would somewhat blend in the background but show on the petals.

My walking foot was a big help here; I marked the first couple of circles with my hera marker, starting at the bottom left corner, and then followed the lines roughly. You can use the guide on your walking foot to follow previous circles, but I chose to make them imprecise (imprecision in quilting is my favorite).

I’m admittedly a novice hand quilter, and I wanted to keep it simple but striking. First, I chose the Anna Maria Horner 12 weight threads that matched the quilt’s colors (leaving out just orange and yellow). The colors I used: 2566 (Wisteria), 4020 (Fuchsia), 2026 (Chalk), 1125 (Medium Teal), 4662 (Spotted, variegated green), 1248 (Grey Blue), 2845 (Light Juniper), and 3660 (Bubblegum, variegated pink). Can I just say how much I’ve fallen in love with using variegated threads for hand-quilting?

I marked my lines with a blue water soluble marker and ruler, right over the machine quilting. Then, I blissfully sat on my couch for a few hours with an audiobook in hand, stitching away. I’ve tried a few different hand stitching threads, and admittedly I love Aurifil because of the huge variety of colors and smoothness of the thread gliding through three layers. The thread doesn’t split easily. I wore my thimble but barely needed it!

Originally, I hand-quilted one line extending from almost every petal and between, but on second thought I decided to add another line of contrasting thread next to it. The quilting shows even more now! I love how it shows up on the back, too:

We took Bouquet for a walk down a (usually crowded) alley in Easton, PA. It was simply too windy to take more pictures, but this one will do! I’m really pleased that the hand-quilting shows up from far away. Again, another element added to my quilt.

5 Tips for Combining Machine + Hand Quilting

  • Machine quilt first, then hand quilt.
  • Use a frame or don’t – find what works for you. I’ve only hand-quilted small quilts and projects so far (see below) so a frame hasn’t felt necessary.
  • If you want to achieve consistency with your hand stitches and you’re new like me, try sashiko stitching first. If you buy a premarked fabric, you can practice making a beautiful design. Aurifil 12 weight threads can be used for this, too!
  • Get yourself a needle minder. Mine are magnetized and stick onto my project, so I never lose anything!
  • Be open to imperfection. It’s impossible for every single stitch to be perfectly straight, every time. Let loose and embrace the notion that you’re making a beautiful handmade piece of art

More Examples

  • I love how my friend Chawne Kimber (@cauchycomplete) regularly combines hand and machine quilting. Check out the details she added to her Cotton Sophisticate quilt.
  • Within the last year, I’ve been combining lots of machine quilting with hand stitching. Here are some other samples with links to their blog posts:

Clockwise from top left: “Starlight,” Fall Table Topper, Sashiko Flower Pillow, “Fractured Cathedral Window.”

And, if you’ve read all the way to the end, thank you! And thanks to Aurifil for providing the threads for this project. Let me know – have you tried combining hand and machine? If not, what’s holding you up?

Thank you so much Jessica! The quilt is beautiful and the tips and tricks are certainly a wonderful resource for anyone looking to try out this technique. You can find more details about all three of the Anna Maria Horner limited edition collections HERE. And stay tuned to the Auribuzz blog for the official collection announcement!

All About Aurifil, Part 2

Welcome to the second installment of our All About Aurifil series! We had so much fun last week and loved seeing all of your responses. We’d like to continue your “threaducation” with some information about “Indanthren” and “Reactive” colors as well as our 40wt & 50wt threads. Let’s turn attention once again to our Technical Creative Specialist, Kristi, for All About Aurifil!

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All About Aurifil, Part 1

In honor of Aurifil USA’s 10th Anniversary (and of National Sewing Month) we are pleased to introduce a brand new brochure, chock full of helpful thread info accompanied by some stunning thread eye candy. ❤ We thought the best way to present it, in all of its lovely glory, would be to launch a mini series, dedicated to a bit of thread education. So, settle in and turn your attention to our Creative Technical Creative  Specialist, Kristi, for All About Aurifil!

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