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.


  1. Love the colors! So many choices & such beautiful texture. It has never failed me.

  2. Love the Big Stitching … Quilt is Gorgeous!! I have to admit, have not used Aurifil threads before :/ Have read so much on the Blogs about it tho…definitely on my Gotta Try List 🙂 Do looove the colors!
    Thank you for chance to win this Awesome Give-a-way! 😀

  3. Oh my. Great colors. I need to go check out Sarah’s book and more of her work. Wonderful!

  4. I love using Aurifil thread…it blends so nicely for piecing and using it for all types of applique! It’s just the best choice for my love of quilting!

  5. Hand quilting is my passion!! Big stitch hand quilting is already planned for my next finished the colors and thank you for the chance to win Aurifil thread which has become my only choice for thread now.

  6. Aurifil thread is my only choice. I love that it sails smoothly through my machine and doesn’t leave a bunch of lint. The colors are great!

  7. I use 50 wt for all my piecing and think it keeps the seams flatter. I’ve also started to use 50 wt for some FMQ.

  8. I love all the colors and all the designer collections I need to win the lottery and buy them all

  9. I love all the colors and how fine the 50 wt is. I have tried the 12 wt for hand quilting and really love that it’s on a roll instead of a twisted mess of floss. I can’t wait to try the 80 wt.

  10. What I like about Aurifil thread is that there are so many colors. I’ve always found a match to the fabric I’m using. It doesn’t hurt that it sews up wonderfully too.

  11. I love all of Aurifil’s colors and its being almost lint-free. Thanks for the wonderful giveaway!

  12. I love the aurifil colors. I really love the 50 wt for piecing – no lint, flows through the machine, keeps my 1/4″ seams perfect. Thanks to the thread scientists for this!

  13. Oh my, I love the idea of using 12 wt. thread for hand quilting. I have an embroidered project, soon to become a quilt, that will “need” to be hand quilted. This new thread weight may be a fun answer. BTW…I LOVE Aurifil threads!!

  14. I love that you can get so many colors in several different weights! It glides off the spool and makes such a smooth stitch.

  15. I love the different weights and colors that are offered. My new machine loves it too!

  16. I love all of the different colors and different weights that are available. My machine also loves Aurifil thread!

  17. I can’t wait for the 80 wt thread. I wish I could buy Aurafil locally, been wanting to use it for a big stitch project. Love,love Sarah’s quilts and colors!

  18. I love that it is lint free and just so beautiful to work with. I have several collections and find I use them most. Sarah is a very inspiring lady. I did one of her craftsy classes and see the hand quilting as another one for sure.

  19. I love that Aurifil thread has less lint and less breakage than any other thread I have found. I do need more colors as I have started to applique( hint).

  20. Wonderful post! So interesting to hear Sarah’s bio. I’m already a convert to Aurifil’s 50 wt thread for all my piecing but I’d love to try big stitch quilting with the 12 wt.

  21. Aurifil is my go to thread. I’m excited about the 80 weight! I have a few (ahem) spools of 12 weight that I am looking forward to using when I quilt my Sarah Fielke Block of The Month quilt.

  22. Great post! I keep collecting some of these heavier weight threads; just need to sit down and try the “Big Stitch”!

  23. I love the look of her big stitch quilting. I have tried it in the past and enjoyed it. Thank you for the introduction and a great giveaway.

  24. I love the consistancy in quality. You know that every spool will be the same. I also love the collections by fabric designers no guessing if the colors coordinate and match❣

  25. The quality of the thread. And the huge choice of colors. I love the look of hand quilting, but it takes me so long to get the project done. However, it is very relaxing.

  26. The color variety. I haven’t tried 12 weight, but I’m looking forward to using that.

  27. I love, love, love all the colors and I adore all the different threat weights. But, what I love the most about Aurifil is the solid, dependable thread.

  28. Aurifil thread is perfect for all different types of sewing, from machine & hand piecing, machine and hand quilting, embroidery and embellishing it is fantastic!

  29. I’ve tried the 12 wt. for big stitch quilting and love it much better than pearl cotton. I also love the 28 wt. thread for finer stitch handquilting. Aurifil always has the exact colors I need, love that best!

  30. I love that Aurifil thread does not produce lint. Also, that for hand quilting it glides through the work and does not wear thin like so many other threads do.

  31. I love all the colors and the hand quilting. I wonder if it takes less time to quilt when using the 12 wt thread than a finer thread?

  32. I highly recommend your class on Craftsy. Like you, I love quilting (and applique) with heavier thread. I was pleased to see that you use this and perl cotton so I am willing to leave my comfort zone with perl cotton.

  33. Sara’s quilting is beautiful! I have been hand quilting forever always trying to make my stitches as small as possible. I love that big stitch quilting is decorative as well as functional. I must get my hands on some Aurifil 12 wt and give it a spin!

  34. I love hand stitching and quilting, so rewarding! Beautiful quilts and love that Aurifil thread!

  35. What do you love most about Aurifil thread? I like the reliability. The strength of the threads.

  36. It is so inspiring to see Sarah’s dedication 🙂 Love her sweet quilt designs <3 I love the bold vibrancy of the Aurifil threads' colors.

  37. I love aurifil thread and so does my sewing machine. Better 1/4 inch seams and less lint. So far I’ve only used the 50 and 40 weights, but I would love to try the big stitch quilting using 12 weight. Thanks for the opportunity to win your giveaway.

  38. I love the brilliant colours and the large range of reliable threads. Thanks Aurifil!

  39. I love the quality of aura fil thread. I piece with it, machine quilt and hand quilt with it and hand stitch with it. It never fails me. I had reason to reach out to Aurifil with a question regarding quilting with it and Alex himself responded and not only attempted to find a solution sent thread samples for me to try. (Their polyester thread works wonderfully on the Gammell Charm!).

  40. Quality first, colors next – in a close race for 1st, but beautiful colors that are poor quality or break automatically strike out. My machine & I heart Aurifil threads.

  41. I love the range of colours and weights, you can always find the right cotton for any project.

  42. What DON’T I love about Aurifil? I use it for everything, now. I love the 50wt, and that it melts in to piecing seams, and looks great quilting. I love how it works in my new and vintage machines, and leaves less lint. I love the 40wt for making garments and for quilting when I want more detail. I’m also trying Aurifil 12wt for hand Sashiko stitching. It’s been great!

  43. I have never tried stitching with it yet, but I love the range of colors and what people have to say about it.

  44. I love the colour range, no matter what I am stitching there is a colour that works with my fabric. Sometimes the hardest part is finding that perfect colour at a shop that’s when buying online become my best friend or thread clubs like Ms Midges because you then get other people’s favourite colour

  45. I love the colours and how my machine handles the Aurifil and in turn it results in a better finished project! I can’t wait to try the other weights!!

  46. There are many things that I love about Aurifil thread including the packaging and the colour choices but what I love most is the amount of thread on the spools! I can get a lot of quilting done with one spool.

  47. There is so many qualities of the Aurifil thread that I love! I love the fine texture of it and how it blends so well with the fabric you are stitching. Also, I love that there is less lint in my sewing machine. I am very spoiled to my 50 wt for all my sewing needs and look forward to trying out the 12 wt for some big stitch quilting.

  48. The quality of your thread is outstanding and you offer so many colors and types to fit any and all projects you happen to be creating.

  49. I think I get less lint with Aurifil and I like the big spools which cost more but seem to last longer, too.

  50. This prize is wonderful, I would so love to win the 12wt as I have been unable to buy it locally at all.

  51. Love the colors of Aurifil threads, the different weight choices, the quality, the way it handles, can use it for piecing or quilting, what is there not to love! Enjoyed the interview with Sarah! Thank you for this giveaway opportunity.

  52. I think I’m going to follow Sarah’s advice and try a small quilt to handstitch. I love how they look!

  53. The colors. It doesn’t matter what I’m making, I can always find the perfect color.

  54. I love aurifil soft yet durable quality! I can’t stand when the thread breaks and tangles during hand sewing, and that doesn’t happen with aurifil! Love Sarah and this brand, match made in heaven!

  55. Love the look of big stitch quilting. Will definitely give it a try!! I found Aurifil a few years ago and it’s my go to thread now. Love everything about it!

  56. I love Aurifil for it’s depth in each color, so true. I love Aurifil for it’s stability, 40 wt, 50 wt and the precision it presents when quilted on any type fabric or quilt sandwich.
    Thank you Sarah for your love of embroidery and quilting. You grew up with it surrounded as did I.

  57. I have never used this thread and haven’t seen it yet in a store. so must search this out. Love, love you big stitch and with the different colors, pretty cool….. thanks for the chance to win some inspiration!

  58. I love all the color choices. Since my stroke, the only hand quilting that I can do is the ” big stitch” quilting. I just can’t do any small stitches any more. I am just so thankful that I can grip a needle! Aurifil is my only choice of thread!

  59. Love all the beautiful colors! Big stitch quilting is my favorite and I hope to become proficient. Practice! Practice! Practice!

  60. I love the variety of weights and colors. I use the 50 wt for piecing and machine quilting. I would love to try the big stitch quilting, as I’m not really fond of machine quilting and regular hand quilting is too slow, plus I really like the look.

  61. I love Aurifil for all my stitching! The 50 wt is perfect for piecing and quilting. I’ve also used it for hexies and I will try the 80 wt when it is introduced for that too!

  62. I love that the beautiful colors come in so many different weights. And 80? Be still my heart!

  63. I use 50 wt for all of my piecing, and I love how it almost disappears and allows the seams to lie flat. Can’t wait to try the 80 wt!

  64. I love the color selection and the strength of Aurifil thread. I use the 50 wt for piecing because it provides nice flat seams and my machine love it!

  65. I love machine quilting with Aurifil. My machine LOVES it. No other thread works as well as Aurifil in my machine. After reading Sarah’s interview, I’ll have to try using Aurifil for hand quilting.

  66. I love all of the different weights that Aurifil offers in so many colors. It’s not like you have just 4-5 choices if you want to use the 12 wt. or the Mako wool.

  67. My favorite thing (s) about Aurifil 50 wt:
    Exponentially improved my accuracy while piecing since it doesn’t add extra thickness to the seam!
    The incredible lack of lint in my machine!!! Oh my heaven!
    Adore Sarah and her work and would be thrilled to win anything! Either way, I’m going to try the 12wt to hand quilt with!

  68. Such beautiful colors!! I had to chuckle when I read that you begged for an 8 wt thread, but conceded when Alex convinced you to try the 12 wt.

  69. I love the colors, I love how Aurifil doesn’t leave flint like other threads I’ve used, and I love all of the different weights.

  70. Wow, I love that quilt. The colors and pattern are dazzling. It has been awhile since I have hand quilted but look forward to trying out this thread. Thank you for the chance to win this wonderful prize.

  71. Aurifil thread is so buttery and yet so strong. I love to quilt with it and my quilts are always better for it.

  72. I love the colours Sarah has chosen but even more for reading about how she chose them.

  73. I love the colours available and I’ve just discovered the gorgeous 12wt which is perfect for hand quilting !! thanks for the chance to win these threads in Sarah’s beautiful colours !

  74. Variety of weights, lots of colors, lint free. I mostly use 50 weight but also have some Lana and want to try the 12 weight.

  75. I’m going to have to try this – I love the way it looks to use the big stitches and heavier thread. And I love Aurifil 50 wt so will look for the heavier.

  76. I love all of the amazing colors of Aurifil and how much I have learned about thread just reading your blog 🙂

  77. I love the colors, quality and the value! At first, I have to admit, I thought it was so expensive! But the ease, beauty and quantity you receive on the spool makes it honestly a wonderful bargain! Love all the weights, but 12 wt is my fave particularly on baby quilts! ❤

  78. I am enjoying incorporating embroidery and bolder stitching on my quilts. I love these colors, and will use them right away. IThank you.

  79. I love the 50wt for piecing. It really does improve accuracy.
    And I would like to try the 80wt – surely that must be ideal for miniature quilts? And Liberty lawns?

  80. I love the amazing colour range and the perfectly even quality of the thread; it never catches in the needle and doesn’t shread.

  81. I love the variety of weights of thread! I use 50wt for piecing and love the 12 wt for hand quilting. Its all great!

  82. My favorite thing about Aurifil thread is that it leaves little lint in my sewing machine while piecing. (Then there is the color variety… )

  83. I absolutely love the colors of your thread it is wonderful to sew with, of course, but I love matching the colors to my projects!

  84. What do I love about auriful????? Just about everything! I love the wide variety of colours, I love the different weights of the threads, I love the way the treads don’t leave fluff in my sewing machine … It’s the only thread I buy now!

  85. Colours so gorgeous, they make my fingers itch for my favourite needle. Great idea for a give away. Aurifil is the onky thread I use.

  86. I love the large range of colors available and the beautiful variegated thread. And my sewing machine loves it!

  87. I have never used this thread before, but would like to try it. I’ve heard great things about it and love these collections I’ve been seeing in your instagram feed.

  88. So far I’ve only used 40 and 50 weight, and I love the colors and how smoothly the threads sew. Can’t even imagine 80 weight–must be like spider’s silk! I would also love to try 12 weight. Not sure how much hand quilting I’ll be doing, but I think I can also use it on my sewing machine with a longer stitch. So much to learn, even after 30 years of sewing and quilting!

  89. Aurifil threads are beautiful in both colours (oh my gosh, the colours 😘) and glide-ability through everything I stitch, whether by hand or machine. They are really aurinspiring!! 😄

  90. I love that it makes beautiful stitches, is almost lint free and comes in amazing colors.

  91. I love that Aurifil is a clean thread to work with and that there is such a wide range of colors.

  92. Gosh! The colors compliment the stitching and stand out so well on the quilted pieces.

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