The Tropical Box by McKenna Ryan


Tigerfish is McKenna Ryan‘s latest premier line of Batiks with Robert Kaufman. Featuring a gorgeous range of sweet and bright colors, this collection pulls inspiration from the sea. The coordinating Aurifil Thread Collection, The Tropical Box, features our 50wt thread. Though it was designed to coordinate with Tigerfish, it makes a terrific Summer sewing companion to a variety of prints and solids!

The Tropical Box
100% Aurifil 50wt Cotton, 12 Large Spools
1125 – 2588 – 2435 – 1148 – 2805 – 5005 – 2105 – 3660 – 2884 – 3320 – 1243 – 3840


100% Aurifil 50wt Cotton, 10 Small Spools
1243 – 2805 – 3320 – 3840 – 2884 – 3660 – 2105 – 1148 – 1125 – 2435


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

How did you first discover the world of quilting and what was it that really drew you in?
As a child, my greatest joy and solace came from immersing myself in nature, collecting driftwood, rocks and wildflowers to create natural one-of-a-kind art pieces. I told my family that someday I would live surrounded by mountains, flowers and wildlife, near lakes and streams. Years ago, I found myself immersed in a corporate lifestyle in Boston and made the grand decision to leave it all behind and move to the wilds of Montana. On the way there, I wandered into a quilt shop for the first time. It was mesmerizing and I felt as though time almost stood still. The colors, textures and designs of the quilts moved me beyond words and the seeds were planted.

Mermaid Kisses by McKenna Ryan
Mermaid Kisses by McKenna Ryan
High Tide by McKenna Ryan
High Tide by McKenna Ryan

How did your new surroundings inspire an eventual quilting career?
As I settled into my new community of only 200 residents, I quickly discovered that many of the women spent the wintry months quilting. I took an appliqué quilting class, bought my first sewing machine for $50.00 and found a passion I had never really known before. Living at the edge of Glacier National Park, natural beauty was all around. I wanted to reflect this, in quilts, but at the time there were few nature-inspired patterns, so I started making my own.

What is the process of creating like for you, whether it be for a new fabric collection, a new pattern, or something different entirely?
Over the years, I’ve realized that designs tend to come to me in their own time and I just need to trust the process. Sometimes an entire compilation will just appear in my head and I have to quickly sketch the overall composition. Then, I start pulling fabrics and colors that I know will achieve a certain feel. Next, I go to work on the details, cutting as many as 25 prototypes of a plant or animal before selecting one that best fits with the scale and flow of the entire piece. When I can connect to the creative process as a part of creation itself and let my work fulfill a higher purpose, then I am always pleased when the process is complete. It is not so much that I have created a new design, but participated in it. The better I become at trusting this process, the more I am able to access a certain grace that is inherent in the process. This grace or connection is what I believe makes art come to life. And I believe all great art is alive.

How did you decide to start your own business and what was the process like for you?
As I continued to grow and learn within the practice of quilting, I found a color, balance and design that were uniquely my own, and decided to start my own design company. On one of my long drives through the Rocky Mountains (2.5 hours to the grocery store!) I noticed the beautiful pine forests and claimed the name for my company: Pine Needles. I attended my very first Quilt Market in 1995 and though it was a wonderful experience, I found that my personal success came when I didn’t worry about trends in the marketplace and instead followed my heart. At my second Quilt Market, I introduced “Moose Junction.” I consider it to be one of my big milestones! It had masculine character with feminine appeal, and it was just what the market needed.

Moose Junction by McKenna Ryan
Moose Junction by McKenna Ryan

How would you describe your creative vision and how it infects your work?
My tag line is “Simply Beautiful…Beautifully Simple”. As I’ve grown over the years, I find that I want to challenge myself in capturing more depth and dimension with the use of fabric, while still making it a project that is easy and fun. I love the idea of quilting as a ‘living art.’ When I design, one of the greatest gifts is the awareness that what I create is going to come to life again and again in a myriad of incredible and unique ways. When I started my company, part of my mission statement was that I wanted to somehow touch the lives of others through my art. Since starting, I feel that my designs have touched the lives of many. It is this aspect of my work that truly means the most!

McKenna's Showroom in Historic Milwaukie Oregon
McKenna’s Showroom in Historic Milwaukie Oregon

*Patterns for all quilt projects shown above will be available on McKenna’s website starting in October.




To enter-to-win 1 Tropical Box by McKenna Ryan for Aurifil Thread Collection and one Fat Quarter Bundle of Tigerfish by McKenna Ryan for Robert Kaufman Fabrics,  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 Wednesday, August 10! Winner will be randomly selected and announced here on Thursday, August 11. Good luck!

UPDATE: This giveaway is now closed. Congratulations to our winner, Terry Helms! 

Website — FacebookPinterestInstagramTwitter
WITHBLEED_LARGEAurifil_McKeannaRyan_2016McKenna Ryan’s Art Quilt and Fabric Showroom is nestled in the hamlet of the historic Milwaukie district just South of Portland proper. Her website has become a destination for quilters worldwide. Visit either to truly immerse yourself in McKenna’s world, where hummingbirds hover over brilliant flowers, elk bugle in lush fabric forests, eagles soar across quilted landscapes and smoke rises wistfully from cabins in the woods. Come in, cozy up, and see why McKenna’s quilt artistry has captivated fans across the globe. (see more via McKenna’s Robert Kaufman Designer Page)

**All images and biographical text courtesy of McKenna Ryan Designs.


  1. Inspiration is everywhere! It seems it can hit anywhere, anytime and out of the blue! From a lamp post, the texture of tree bark, to the brilliant colors of the sunset!

  2. Unfortunately my surroundings don’t inspire me to quilt. Wanting to create inspires me.

  3. My inspiration revolves around FMQ patterns…and they are everywhere I look, whether it is on tiles, in nature or even on the tissue boxes in the supermarket.

  4. I live in the country in south Mississippi, I take pics of all the beautiful blooms all year round. One day I hope to make a quilt from a pic I took of a magnolia-just beautiful! Nature inspires me!

  5. Living on the coast, I find inspiration all around me. I enjoy trying different methods & styles of quilting. Quilting challenges me, therefore, I do believe I will never tire of quilting.

  6. I love McKenna’s work. I live on the side of a mountain in the deep woods. The peace and quiet are heavenly. I love looking out the windows of my studio and seeing deer and chipmunks at play. Almost every quilt I yave ever made has green in it. To me, green is Mother Nature’s neutral. I would love to win this prize package. Aurifil is the only thread I use and I love working with batiks.

  7. My inspiration comes from our farm–the colors in the hay meadow with the sky, sunset over the pond, wildflowers, fall leaves and the dry creek bed… I need more time! McKenna ‘s patterns are beautiful, and I have several floral ones. Her thead box is inspiring me to get busy!

  8. McKenna’s creations are breath taking! I love working with batiks and fusing them together to create something beautiful to quilt. I’m inspired by nature and all the beauty we have around us each and every day. Good luck to everyone.

  9. Nature inspires me – I keep seeing flowers and things that would make a great quilt! I also get inspired by geometric structures in buildings and cities.
    thanks! love Tigerfish!

  10. I’m inspired by the beautiful scenery around me, from flower gardens to the beaches. McKenna’s work is beautiful. Thank you for the giveaway.

  11. i have always loved to sew and when i discovered quilting it became my addiction. i love quilting in the hot summers in south texas, inside, in the air conditioning.

  12. Very excited about Tigerfish this is definitely on my must have list
    I find inspiration all over and since moving to Arizona I am surprised at how much color there is in the desert

  13. I love looking out my picture window into my garden — flowers, trees, hummingbirds, squirrels, blue skies — endless inspiration! What a lovely giveaway! Thank you.

  14. Just the fact that I am creating a quilt inspires me. I am so fortunate to be able to sew and to have beautiful fabrics to work with.

  15. I live walking distance to the ocean and this always inspires me, as do the urban deer, the birds and the beautiful trees. I suspect it’s the color of these natural elements that is my creative inspiration.

  16. This collection is beautiful, I love the fresh colours!!! I I live in the heart of the boreal forest and inspiration surrounds me daily every season!

  17. All of nature inspires me, but here in the Rocky Mts. flora+fauna are everywhere>so beautiful ! Thanks for a neat giveaway!

  18. What a great interview, I love her patterns! I live along the Mississippi river and that always inspires me!

  19. I love the texture and colors of fabric – fondling a piece of cloth always inspires me to create something with it! Sometimes my ideas come from nature – some are inspired by other artists work or techniques!

  20. I live in the country in Wisconsin. With farm fields across the street, woods and a reserve around us, and a short walk thru the reserve to the Wisconsin River, I am always inspired.

  21. I live in the high desert where we have lots of interesting colors in the sunrises and sunsets. The mountains change color with the time of day and the seasons of the year.

  22. We live on a farm with cattle, chickens, Border Collies, Great Pyrenees and Barn Cats! This year we had a Red Fox family living on the farm along with lots of other wild life. I love our hard but inspiring farm life. I feel so fortunate to be able to live in these surroundings and enjoy life as a quilter too! Thank you for the fun giveaway! I love those fabrics and threads!

  23. The ocean is my biggest outdoor inspiration and probably the reason I love McKenna’s quilts so much! I think her work is over the moon beautiful and she has such a gift for choosing the exact perfect colors in her quilts…I have loved her work from the very first time I saw one of her kits in my LQS….Thank you McKenna, please continue to create such wonderful pieces for a long time to come….

  24. Living in Iowa where we experience all 4 seasons (the best and worst!), I see all ranges of colors in nature from birds to trees to sky colors! All of this inspires me when I quilt and I think about how nature uses them to create such awesome combinations.

  25. My husband and I split our time living in an RV and living on the lake. The grandeur and beauty of our country, and the small details of what changes around the lake all inspire me. Also, my grandchildren and how they look at the world, what they see through their eyes….how can I recreate that for them.

  26. My inspiration for quilts is colour, in nature, trees in different seasons, landscapes or fabrics that get my imagination running! 😄

  27. I live in the country…beautiful mountains and woods surround my home…I gather inspiration from those surroundings….I also gain inspiration from fabrics as well…..especially these beautiful MK fabrics.

  28. My surroundings really have nothing to do with it – I just love to create things! When I see something someone else made it inspires to me to re-create it in my own way, or a particular fabric that makes me say I have to do something with that! Thanks so much for the chance to win 🙂
    Debby E
    samtaylorcjsmimi at yahoo dot com

  29. While my surroundings cannot possibly match Glacier National Park, it is not possible to do that, my quilting room has a large window looking out on our front garden, There is always something to see there, and year-round beauty. Looking at that and then looking at my fabrics definitely inspires this very new quilter. I can only dream of even attempting some of the awe-inspiring work seen here, wow! I must say those colours look good enough to eat, I love them! They make me smile, thank you.

  30. I am surrounded by fabric and patterns and wonderful sewing machines. These all contribute to my inspiration to get in the studio and get to ‘work’.

  31. Just the peacefulness of nature makes me want to sit down and quilt, pulling in inspiration from all the colors and shading in the flowers, trees, and sky. Makes me want to pull fabrics of the colors and create something beautiful. Thank you for this give away opportunity.

  32. The sounds of nature – birds, water running inspire me to quilt. They calm my brain.

  33. My forest-like backyard inspires me to create. I love watching the birds, squirrels, chipmunks, butterflies, and others as they visit our flowers, feeders, and birdbaths.

  34. Nature, colors and critters, inspire me as well as being with quilting friends. Thank you for a great giveaway opportunity. I simply love these designs and colors.

  35. My sisters inspire me to quilt. The comrade we share when quilting is the best. It takes us back to when we were girls and our mama quilting every chance she had a free moment.

  36. I loved the video – it’s so interesting to see the method. Watching someone else create is inspirational to me, and also helps me get past the fear of trying and failing.

  37. I’m so glad you linked the video. That was so informative and inspiring. I just love the process of quilting. I am inspired by the fabric, or by other’s work, or just nature, the woods where I used to live, and the animals. Thanks.

  38. Nature inspires me, the different greens, flowers, birds….
    Thanks for the giveaway, these are the colors I use most, so I think I should win.

  39. Inspiration can come from so many sources – the outdoors and beautiful flowers or water flowing in streams or lakes, the indoors where one can see all sorts of geometric patterns. Inspiration is everywhere!

  40. Fabric is a big inspiration to me if I see a collection I really like than quilt patterns start dancing in my head and I just have to start a project!

  41. I get inspiration from so many different places but I think my quilting friends inspire me the most. They inspire me to try new (and difficult) patterns, or to work out of my comfort zone with colour choices, or to just into a new project.

  42. McKenna’s work is definitely inspired. What beauty she learned to create. Her fabric and Aurifil Thread are awesome. My family inspires me, and beautiful fabrics inspire me.

  43. I think it may be more about genetics. I come from a line of quilters and actually received 4 quilts for wedding gifts back in 1962. I started sewing when I was 8 and can’t imagine not being able to sew. Most of my life I have making clothing, and began smocking and heirloom sewing when I started having granddaughters. But 3 years ago as we were preparing to move from IL to AL to be near our oldest daughter, I made the decision to limit myself to quilts. So I gave away about $1,000 worth of fashion fabrics and only moved my cotton stash. I have not done much appliqué, but I recently made a wall quilt for our oldest granddaughter who is a senior at the University of Alabama. It a red and white elephant on a grey background. Next I want to do one with horses for her sister who is a junior at Murray State in Kentucky. They are the Racers. I would love to try reproducing some of the pictures we have taken over the years as we have visited 47 of our 50 states. I also wish I knew what kind of fusible was used on the program. The elephant is stiffer than I want the horses to be.

  44. Not only my favorites but my machines as well. It would be a huge honor to win this giveaway.

  45. All the colors of nature and the way they blend perfectly. The sounds of birdsong, the flutter of wings, the sound of trees moving in the wind, rain on the leaves. All these things inspire me!

  46. I live in the country, in Ohio…we have a Peach Orchard & grow produce. I find inspiration everywhere I look…sky, trees, flowers…soooo many shades of colors & the textures all around!! Ahhhh… And then in’s the shadows,bare trees, and stark colors of grays & blues in the Winter sky.

    Thank you for chance to win your Give-a-way too! 😀

  47. I live in a rural area, so lots of wildflowers and birds and wild creatures inspire some of my quilts.

  48. Different flowers that I see on my daily walks. Living in Oregon there is something new blooming all spring and summer long.

  49. The gorgeous afternoon sun from the lone window in my sewing (guest) room inspires me to create…
    I love McKenna Ryan’s batik selections and the yummy Aurifil threads that match!

  50. Nature is a great inspiration, but I also love noticing the patterns in every day items like floors, shelving, manhole covers, etc.

  51. Loads of things are inspiring–from nature to architecture as well as things I see in my local quilt shops help get me going again!

  52. Mckenna Ryan’s quilts are so beautiful. The fabrics and patterns are what inspire me to quilt. Once I started quilting I began to see quilt patterns in things around me and that has also inspired me.

  53. I live out in the country surrounded by trees, birds, bugs and nature. Lots of inspiration for me.

  54. A variety of things inspire me – the scenery, the fabrics I hoard, other people’s work, and the images I see on Instagram.

  55. I love when it’s quiet and peaceful, no one here, and I can go to my sewing machine island to just sew.

  56. The combination of colors inspires me–deep blue sky against green cedar trees, for example. The carefree blending of colors reminds me to be more spontaneous; when I see how many greens there are in my garden I wonder why I stress so much about finding the perfect one, or worry that two different shades don’t “go together”. Life in the country has been very good for my quilting.

  57. I live in a dull part of the country. My inspiration comes from books, u tube and other quilters. My sister and I decided to get her daughters quilting which will be great because they each have a daughter and they are teaching them.

  58. Isn’t she amazing! I live in the country, I would say mother nature really inspires me. Thank you so much for the lovely giveaway.

  59. I live at a small lake in Alberta, and the colors and color combinations that I see out side every day is what inspires me. Thanks!

  60. Inspiration comes from sea glass, star fish and sand, living on the Atlantic. It’s soothing anytime of year. Inspired to sew, quilt, especially when it’s chilly. I always enjoy pretending I”m walking in the sand, picking up the bits of sea glass and shells, and sittiching in my sewing room filled w/the likes of.

  61. I love this quilt, and the thread colors. I use all kinds of things for inspiration. I snap photos with my phone if I see a building/floor/bridge/whatever with interesting patterns. Thanks for the giveaway.

  62. There is no particular thing that inspires me to quilt. It could be something I see on my drive to work, the wild critters that live in our backyard, or the tame critters that live in our house. That’s the great thing about inspiration – it comes from anywhere.
    Thanks for the chance to win.

  63. Anything and everything! Holiday ideas and nature surroundngs-just about anything.
    Thanks for the chance to win this gorgeous bundle and thread!

  64. The people in my life inspire me. When I make a quilt for them I want it to say that I see them and love them. It may be shmultzy, but they really love their quilt. I like to put hidden messages that are quilted into the piece. thanks for a chance to win Ryan’s cheerful fabric and thread!

  65. When I look at the wonderful fabrics I have or want to have and all of the wonderful people in my life, I am inspired, almost compelled to sew and make something for them. I want everyone in my life, family and friends, to have something handmade by me. I set a large goal for myself but I am working towards it day by creative day.

    tushay3 (at) yahoo (dot) com

  66. I’ve always loved your beautiful quilts/fabrics/designs. Nature and travel inspire me. Thanks for the giveaway!

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