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

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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!

Fayerweather Lighthouse

  1. Where do you live and what is your favorite spot there?

I live in Black Rock, a historic coastal neighborhood that’s a section of Bridgeport, Connecticut. It’s a little more than an hour northeast of New York City. Bridgeport is also the place where Elias Howe, the first patent-owner of the lockstitch sewing machine, had a sewing machine factory. As many as 400 sewing machines were made here each day! I’d have to say one of my favorite spots is Seaside Park, a park made possible by generous donations of Bridgeporters past, including P.T. Barnum, and designed by Frederick Law Olmsted – the same man who designed another place that’s close to my heart…Central Park in Manhattan. I never tire of this view of Long Island Sound and Fayerweather Lighthouse. This photo was taken by my neighbor, Laura Blagys, on Christmas Day 2015.


Here is a photo from the end of our street. In the summer, my husband Pete and I launch our kayaks from this little beach


  1. When was your FIRST quilt sighting? 

My aunt Julie has been a quilter for a long time, but I never knew it until after I started to work with Moda! This was the first of her quilts I had ever seen. It’s a bow tie quilt that she made using old bow ties that belonged to her father Jack, my grandfather. She used only the materials from the bow ties to make this, and the white background is one of Jack’s old dress shirts. The corners are embellished with tie adjustors and shirt buttons and the black sashing/binding is from the tie lining. I love how sweet and personal a quilt can be.


  1. Did you have a career prior this, what was it? 

Before I started my design business, I designed Hello Kitty backpacks and shoes for kids. I also worked as a children’s book designer at Simon and Schuster in New York City. While I enjoyed both jobs, nothing compares to the happiness I get from what I do now. I feel very fortunate to be doing something I truly love (no offense to Ms. Kitty).


  1. Have you had a ‘light bulb’ moment in making?

Last summer I tried Shibori tie dying using indigo dyes and fell in love with the process. There is something wonderful about letting go of expectations and not always knowing what something will look like when it’s completed. I used white cotton napkins for this project so I could try various Japanese tying techniques and because I loved the results and color so much, I got a little carried away and let’s just say all my white shirts are now various shades of blue!


  1. What does your studio look like, and what would you change in it?

Here’s me in my studio with my assistant, Franny. This was when I was designing Canyon. The main “Desert” print is the one I was painting when this was taken.

I use that large bulletin board to work on all my fabric collections. When I’m designing a print, I get so involved with the composition and rhythm within the repeat.


It’s essential for me to be able to step back from the prints and to assess how the print scale and color combinations are working together. Lots of times during this exercise, things jump out at me and it’s much easier to see what needs to be refined or which prints should be dropped because they just don’t fit in. It’s never a loss because the dropped prints may become starting points for new collections.


If I could change anything about my studio, I’d love to have lots more storage! I usually pile things up and then when I need to get to work, I end up moving three piles just to get to the table top. In other words, it doesn’t always look like these photos!


  1. Do you have a GREAT process tip you want to share?

I stumbled upon a great way to store extra batting or poly-fil; just put it into a vacuum-seal bag (like one you would use to store sweaters) and compress it. Voila! All that filler in a small, tidy, compact form ready to store for future use.


  1. What are your 3 favorite colors of Aurifil thread?

It’s really hard to choose, but I picked these 4 from my “elements” thread kit. From left to right: 2525, 2710, 2479, 6722.


The colors in my “elements” thread kit for Aurifil will go with many of my fabric collections from the past, present and even future! Elements is a mixed weight thread set with 8 spools of 50wt. and 4 spools of 40 weight. I love free-motion quilting with 40wt. thread becuase it sits on top of the fabric just enough to add a little extra texture and sheen to the finished quilt.


  1. Anything else you’d like to share?

I’m grateful that Moda has given me a chance to create a line of batiks. It’s called “Latitude” and will be shipping to stores in August. Here is an overview of the line that includes some of my old favorite prints from Fandango and Terrain that I reinterpreted for batik, as well some new ones. The color palette goes beautifully with Aria, Canyon, Paradiso, Horizon and many of my other collections.


I’ve never worked with batiks before, but have been so excited to explore. Here is another blue block I made as an experiment. It started off as just one quadrant using 1.5″ squares, but then I was curious to see the gradient effect of a whole block, so I quadrupled it and ended up with this:


Now I can see a whole quilt, but maybe with bigger squares! Finally, I designed a new quilt pattern to go with Latitude, called “Hemisphere”, that is available on our shop site. It goes together very easily and has large pieces to show off the prints.


About your block – What is blue that inspires you?

I’ve always loved the color blue. It’s such a dynamic color that is both soothing and energetic. I have lived near the shore for almost my entire life and feel deeply connected with the ever-changing nature of the coast. No two days ever appear the same with regard to the water, light, colors, texture, sky, sounds and smells. The combination of these elements are comfortably familiar, reliably inspiring and even transportive. It doesn’t take much more than a deep breath of salty air to conjure memories from so many times during my life and it’s often a humbling perspective to feel in my heart.



The block I designed is called “High Tide” because it’s usually high tide that delivers treasures to the shore, like sea glass, driftwood, shells etc. I’ve collected bits of sea glass for as long as I can remember and recently used their luminous hues as inspiration for the palette in my Horizon fabric collection. There are so many shades of blue that no matter how you combine them, you can’t go wrong. They blend together harmoniously, like water.



DOWNLOAD Kate’s High Tide BlockPattern



And a few on the light side…

  • Right handed or left handed. and can you use the other at all? – Right handed ONLY!!

  • What is your Favorite childhood TV show? I loved the Krofft Superstar Hour that included greats like “Sigmund and the Sea Monster” and “Land of the Lost”.


  • Are you a Dog or Cat person? (or maybe something else?) – I guess you’d say I’m a cat person who loves dogs too! I probably share too many photos of our cats on Instagram, but who can blame me? Lou

  • They’re so cute! Here are Franny who loves ladders, Lou who loves hamming it up for the camera and Roscoe.


  • Franny and Lou are siblings and Roscoe was a rescue we found on the street in December a few years ago. He was an early Christmas gift!

  • The snack you crave – Nuts…almonds, cashews, pistachios, peanuts…all of them. I eat them by the handful and sometimes it’s hard to stop!


  • The Color you have always LOVED.…. It has always been Blue. I’m an avid gardener and sometimes when I’m digging around planting bulbs or moving perennials, I’ll unearth small shards of pottery with gorgeous blue glazes. It’s like finding buried treasure! I’ve collected them over the years and keep them on my desk in a small pine-needle basket that my aunt made. I’ve often thought that it’s an unwritten requirement of every gardener to break a few pretty plates or tea cups and mix them into the dirt for future gardeners to find!

Visit Kate at

pat sloan peek at aurifil block 4

I am having so much fun with these blocks, using a totally different colorway,  See my block 4 and all mine AND all the designer blocks together.  Plus my site is where you enter YOUR block to win a box of my thread next month!


Are you on Facebook? I have a fantastic quilt group with the most incredible show and tell going on! You should see it! JOIN me HERE … I’d love to meet you!

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******* JOIN our Aurifil Family  *******

EACH MONTH we will pick one random winner that has made a block.. that person will receive a special Aurifil thread prize! Winners are all contacted email

For more Aurifil project photos visit our FLICKR PAGE  HERE

connie ImprovStar

Our RANDOM pick this month grabbed is Connie, who even turned her block into a mini quilt!  She has WON a BOX of Aurifil thread! We had over 70 people enter last month, such gorgeous blocks .. see all the great versions HERE

REMEMBER – The Photo entry is moved to my website where more people can enter, right HERE


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