December Aurifil Designer of the Month, Sharon Pederson Nine Patch Media

Hi I’m Pat Sloan, the Aurifil Designer of the Month coordinator.  I’d like to introduce you to our December Aurifil Designer, the powerhouse author, teacher and designer Sharon Pederson!  I’ve had such great fun getting to know Sharon. If you have ever meet her you know what I mean! She is clever and witty and makes me laugh. She also does stunning work with Aurifil thread, like her signature quilt above. I had the opportunity to interview Sharon scroll down to March 15th 2011 and listen on your computer or download to a player!

Sharon’s project will become a Holiday favorite, and you can even make it for a hostess gift this month… it’s THAT fast!

Remember to post your photo at our Flickr folder of a project given by one of the Aurifil Designers of the month (see tab on right for all the profiles). One quilter EACH MONTH will win a prize of Aurifil thread! Just post a photo of your completed top or a project from the ones given. Everyone in the Flickr folder is in the running!

Flickr folder –

So let’s take a peek into Sharon’s world….

1.When was your FIRST quilt sighting? Did it inspire you to start quilting? If not, what did?

I became a quilter because of the Oxford English Dictionary. That’s probably the first time you’ve gotten that answer – right? I had always wanted the Complete Oxford but felt that I couldn’t afford the then $200 price for it – but I got one of those Book of the Month invitations to join and if I bought only 4 books I could get the Complete Oxford for only $24.95(complete with magnifying glass so I could read the miniscule print). I immediately read the entire catalogue and picked out 3 cookbooks I didn’t already own (at the time my passion was cooking and I had a library of over 300 cookbooks) but I still had to pick out a fourth book. Hmmm…….I rarely buy hardcover fiction so what to do? Then I spotted a book about quilting and I thought: “How hard can it be?” And that’s how it all got started.

2.What is your favorite type of quilt or quilt pattern?

I love traditional quilts and my favorite type of quilt pattern changes every so often. Currently it is any kind of quilt that can incorporate a Rose of Sharon appliqué block. Since my business partner Elizabeth Phillips and I launched the Rose of Sharon Block Challenge which resulted in the book and DVD of the same name, the AccuQuilt die, the embroidery collections, the Island Batik fabric collection, and of course the wonderful Aurifil thread collections, our lives have been taken over by all things Rose of Sharon. I even have Rose of Sharon shoes!

3.We all have parts of the process we ‘prefer’ more than others. What part of quilt making do you ‘Prefer’ most and why?

The part of quilting I most enjoy is the moment when a design pops into my head. From then until I get it ‘down’ on paper or in fabric it’s kind of temporary insanity. I ‘must’ get to a place where I can figure out how to accomplish what I see in my mind and until that happens I am quite preoccupied. Often what I am trying to work out is a method that will make a particular pattern accessible to more students – after all, my particular passion in quilting is teaching – so if I can take a pattern which is considered ‘difficult’, and turn it into something that is ‘easy’ then I’m happy.

4.Do you do other crafts now? Did you do those BQ ‘Before Quilting’, what types of ‘stuff making’ do you connect with the most??

I’m not much interested in other crafts but I do love to cook (remember the collection of 300 cookbooks I had) and currently I’m passionate about bread making. Of course I have the bread making books – a steadily growing section in my library – and I’ve already worn out a bread machine. I like making bread ‘from scratch’ but I do use my bread machine a lot.

All’s well that end’s well. This is what happens if you forget to check on the bread rising. In spite of it’s overflow problem it all came out well when baked.

5.Did you have a career prior to making art, and what was it? Do you still do that career while having your design business?

My career before quilting had little to do with art – unless you consider putting together a well run election campaign an art. I was a political organizer and worked all over Canada trying to elect candidates for the party I supported. For a few years after I became a quilter I continued working at my ‘real job’, but in 1991 I decided that I much preferred quilt teaching and I retired.

6.How do you fill your soul?  What I mean by this is – what makes you SO HAPPY that you know that if you do this you are experiencing a little ‘Heaven on Earth’.

Anybody who has grown up near a large body of water will understand this – what fills my soul is being able to walk on the beach any day I want to. ‘My’ beach is very close to my home and often I am the only person there at daybreak. When I’m away from it I miss it terribly – walking there brings me a sense of peace.

Photo Caption – Early morning on Saratoga Beach

7.When you start a new project do you have a ritual you follow? Like cleaning your work area, buying a new tablet to sketch in, or maybe having a new bag of M&M’s on hand!

When an idea takes over and I have that ‘must do it’ feeling I rarely take the time to perform a ritual – it’s more of a ‘push everything on the work table aside’ kind of approach. As soon as I have figured out how to do what I want then I clean off the table, tidy up whatever mess I’ve made in the process of figuring it out and I suppose that is slightly ritualistic. I do love rituals in other areas of my life – I love to ‘set’ a table and when I have friends or family over for dinner that is what I do first.

8.Do you have a process to get your ideas started? I use a theme and words. Some people use photos, fabric swatches… etc

Hmmm…do I have a process to get ideas started? I sometimes get ‘quilters block’ and feel that I have no creative ideas at all. When that happens I usually bake bread – or go for a walk on the beach and hope that I’ll get one of those wonderful, breathless feelings that lead me back into my studio.

9.What is your favorite weight of Aurifil thread?  What are you ‘go to’ thread colors?

I have three favorite Aurifil thread weights – 12 wt for my version of Sashiko by Machine, 40 wt for piecing and quilting, and 50wt for invisible machine appliqué. How could anybody have ‘go to’ thread colors when there is such an array of beautiful possibilities – with 250 available choices I just ‘go to’ my ‘suitcase’ and pick out the perfect one for whatever I’m doing.

10.Besides your sewing machine, what are the tools you MUST have when you quilt?

The tool I use the most is my AccuQuilt Go cutter. I haven’t made a thing without it since it arrived in my studio. I absolutely love it and if you love appliqué as I do it is an invaluable tool. All of the quilts for my upcoming book were designed using the shapes on my AccuQuilt Rose of Sharon die and knowing that I didn’t have to cut out those tiny little blossoms by hand, made designing blocks stress free. When I made the cover quilt for the Rose of Sharon Block Book the AccuQuilt die hadn’t been created yet and I can tell you that drawing and cutting out hundreds of 1/2” circles wasn’t the easy job it is now.

11.Do you travel to teach? And if so, how often and what types of groups? Guilds, stores, retreats, big shows? Is there a schedule on your blog or website?

11.I have had the great pleasure of teaching for quilt guilds, shops, and festivals all over the world. My quilt travels have taken me to England, Scotland, Wales, (and to Ireland in June 2012 for the first ever International Quilt Festival of Ireland), South Africa, Dubai, China, and the Mexican Riviera, twice to the Caribbean, the Panama Canal, and Alaska via quilt cruises. In North America I’ve taught as far North as Yellowknife and as far South as Florida, from Newfoundland on the East coast to Vancouver Island on the West and countless places in between.

Will I continue to travel to teach? Yes, but on a much smaller scale. The older I get the more I appreciate staying at home. I live in a small house surrounded by huge trees in a beautiful part of the world – Vancouver Island. My DH is retired and we enjoy exploring our Island so I’m making sure I have lots of time to do that.

Photo Caption top – This is me at the Cape of Good Hope – aka Cape of Storms.
above –  Learning to stretch silk for batting – in China.

12. How would you describe your personality? Are you process oriented, detailed, big picture, are you carefree, structured, unstructured, all over the place depending on the project?

What a wonderful question – do you expect me to be truthful about this one? My personality – is a work in progress – I used to be what is often referred to as a Type A personality but I am growing out of it. I now describe myself as a non-practicing perfectionist.

13.- If you could train with, or work with, or follow one person for a day.. who would it be and why?

I would love to spend a day with an incredible bread maker who is the owner of Bread Alone Bakery in New York’s Catskill Mountains. You thought I was going to pick a quilter didn’t you? It’s not that I don’t want to learn more about quilting, or that I don’t admire greatly, many of the talented quilters out there – it’s just that I think having another passion in life helps to balance things. Daniel Leader has written the most wonderful book about traditional bread baking and I would love to train with him. So far I haven’t even had the chance to visit his bakery, but my copy of his book Bread Alone, is always on my kitchen counter.

And a few on the light side…

What book are you Reading? – I am currently reading is The Weed that Strings the Hangman’s Bag by Alan Bradley. Reading is not quite right, I’m ‘listening’ to it. Audio Books are the greatest thing when you have a job to do that requires only a small part of your brain.

Your Favorite Movie – Sense & Sensibility – I have two versions of it, the Emma Thompson one, and a BBC adaptation by Andrew Davies. Both are wonderful.

What song makes your heart sing – My musical loves are mostly operatic – and although many of the arias are definitely ‘happy dance’ types the ones that move me the most are more poignant – tears are almost as therapeutic as laughter. Maria Callas singing “La Mamma Morta’ from the opera Andrea Chenier never fails to bring me to tears. Many non-opera fans were introduced to it in the movie Philadelphia when Tom Hanks plays it for Denzell Washington.

Your Favorite Color – A color I have always loved – can’t answer that one. There isn’t one I’ve always loved – but there is one I’m currently in love with – will that do? I love lime green. It’s almost a joke with me now – if it’s lime green I am drawn to it. I even have lime green glasses. In Dubai we were taught how to fold a scarf to cover our faces.

************** THE PATTERN/The Giveaway ******************

How fast and FUN is this! Sharon used her die cut machine for this fast project, but you can cut the shapes by hand, the shape and die info is in the pattern.

Sharon Pederson for Aurifil Christmas Tree Pattern

Sharon Blogs here

Facebooks here

and she has a website with ALL her books, dvds, thread and workshops CLICK here

EACH MONTH we will pick one random winner that has made one of the Designer projects to receive a special Aurifil thread prize.. wowzer!!.

You can make ANY of the designer projects (and we hope you make them all!)

Share your photos at our Flickr Folder… we can’t WAIT to see what you do!

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  1. Thank you fot the hint regarding the book Bread Alone, I have located a copy and it will be always on my kitchen counter too. Still believe Bread is the staff of life,and I have the tummy to prove it. Regards.

    1. Yes the tummy seems to go along with the passion for bread – but giving it up is not something I’m prepared to do. – I know you’ll love Bread Alone, and another big favourite is Jim Lahey’s My Bread.

  2. Sharon thank you for the great tree pattern. Wish I could whip it up for friends but too busy getting other stuff done for this Christmas but will start early next year to make some for next Christmas. What is the name of your new book which uses the Rose of Sharon for the Go cutter?

  3. HI Marie:
    The working title for the book is “Springtime Roses” but it won’t be out until early 2013 – it takes a long time for a book to get from inspiration to publication. The ‘old’ Rose of Sharon Block Book (Martingale & Co) has many blocks that can be cut completely on the AccuQuilt Rose of Sharon dies – and many that have only a few shapes that must be cut the old fashioned way.

    1. Hi,
      Thanks for your prompt reply. I’ll be anxiously awaiting “Springtime Roses” in 2013. Lord willing I’ll still be around and quilting.

  4. How did I never know Aurifil had a blog? I came here on the suggestion of Jeanne at The Learning Curve, and I’ll surely be back!

  5. If I buy the entire line of thread, do I get one of the cho-cho trains shown on the Aurifil homepage? That is one very very neato cho-cho train according to my boys!

  6. Love the tree pattern Sharon thank you for sharing. I will post to you when I make it. I do plan on making it but won’t be until after this holiday. I am an avid lover of tree quilts…..congratulations on being the designer of the month for Aurifil. I wish you a very a Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Year..

  7. As the owner of an Accuquilt GO I look forward to the publication of your latest book. I am sure it will be a “must buy.” My thanks also for the delightful Christmas tree pattern.

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