Vintage 30s – Ruby’s Treasures by Barbara Eikmeier


Introducing Vintage 30s – Ruby’s Treasures by Barbara J. Eikmeier for Paintbrush Studios. It was created in conjunction with McKim Studios and pairs popular 30s-style prints with the embroidery designs of Ruby Short McKim. Barbara selected 10 different colors of our Aurifloss for her coordinating Aurifil Thread Collection.

Vintage 30s – Ruby’s Treasures

10 Small Spools – 100% Aurifil Cotton Aurifloss, 18yds each
Colors included:
1135 – 2720 – 2860 – 2479 – 2515 – 2372 – 3770 – 4661 – 4660 – 5003


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

What first drew you to the quilting world?
I learned to sew in 4-H at the age of 9 and got my first sewing machine when I was 14, so you could say I’ve been a sewer most of my life. I was drawn to quilting by an article by Jean Ray Laurey that I found in one of my mom’s Better Homes and Garden’s magazines – in 1976! I made three or four quilts while still in high school but didn’t really start to quilt for real until after my marriage in 1984 when my neighbor Sue Alwine invited me to join a quilting class at the Salinas Adult Education Center in Salinas, CA. I was 24 years old.

Do you remember the process of creating your first quilt and how you felt once it was finished?
When I was 15, I got my own bedroom and had the walls painted yellow. At our local Ben Franklin store I bought fabric and batting to make a quilt for my bed. It was a Rail Fence block arranged in a Streak of Lightning pattern made in solid red, solid yellow, and red and yellow calico print. The magazine article showed how to enlarge a design with a graph paper grid. But I figured I could do it on my own. I added a 5/8” seam allowance (customary in dressmaking) and made the pattern on tissue paper because everything I had sewn up to that point was dresses and the pattern was always tissue paper. There is hardly a seam that meets in the whole quilt!! I sewed the top right sides together with the backing and turned it with the batting inside and tied it with embroidery floss. It went on my bed and I slept under it for many years. I was proud of my accomplishment but I don’t remember a warm glow or anything special about it. I had set out to make a quilt for my new bedroom and I did it. I still have the quilt. The workmanship is awful – for many years I wouldn’t even show it to anyone. But recently I have had it out and have enjoyed showing it because although the workmanship is dreadful (and what was I thinking with those colors?), the design feels contemporary. I posted the story on my blog here.


Who or what has been your greatest creative inspiration?
I love traditional quilts so turn to antique quilts for my inspiration. I have great admiration for pioneer women who made beautiful quilts with little access to fabric, thread, and tools.

What is your favorite part about the process of quilting and why?
The best part of making a quilt is selecting the fabrics and pattern. I find it stimulating to dig in my fabric bins and find just the right colors to get started. I work from my stash a lot but almost always combine new fabrics with what I have on hand – it seems like the new fabrics really make the quilt come to life and it keeps my same old stash from feeling stale.

Pinwheel Garden Quilt

How did you first connect with Fabri-Quilt and Paintbrush Studios?
I had talked to two other fabric companies about designing fabrics and was in the process of preparing a proposal for one of them when a friend introduced me to the design team at Paintbrush Studio. As it turned out they were looking for someone to design reproduction fabrics. Their offices are located in Kansas City, just 25 minutes from my home. I really like that they are local, family owned, and Kansas friendly.

Crazy Quilt with Fabric & Thread from the Vintage 30s - Ruby's Treasures collections
Crazy Quilt with Fabric & Thread from the Vintage 30s – Ruby’s Treasures collections

What was the inspiration behind your Vintage 30s collection and how did the collection come to be?
Each collection has a special story and the Vintage 30’s collection is all about Ruby Short McKim a popular quilt designer from the 1920s and 30s. Ruby had a cottage industry selling patterns, kits and finished tops and quilts. She was also a columnist for Better Homes and Gardens and published a book of quilt patterns. 2016 is the 100th anniversary of publication of Ruby’s first quilt pattern. I met her granddaughter, Merrily, who runs McKim Studios Revival, and worked with her to write a few magazine articles to help spread the word about the 100th anniversary. In the course of our meetings a reproduction fabric collection came up so I brought a proposal to Paintbrush Studio which resulted in the Vintage 30s Ruby’s Treasures fabrics. Most of the fabrics in Merrily’s collection were solids although there are three prints in the group that are reproduced from Ruby’s fabrics. The rest of the prints came from antique fabric scrap bags I have purchased over the years and a few were parts of two different yo-yo quilts.

Whirligig Quilt

What did you love most about developing the collection?
The best part about creating Ruby’s Treasures was that Merrily gave me access to Ruby’s actual archives where we found scraps of solids bundled in little packages that had been stored since the mid 1930s.By starting with those solids I felt like Ruby herself selected the color palette for this collection. A customer said, “That pink doesn’t really seem like 30s to me.” And yet it is, according to the treasures left from Ruby’s cottage industry! I had two goals for my 30s collection, that the prints were pretty (many 30s prints aren’t really that pretty!) and that they worked well together.

Ruby's Treasures Quilt - Click for Free Pattern
Ruby’s Treasures Quilt – Click for Free Pattern

Do you have a favorite project that was created using this collection?
The collection plus the solids go together nicely and I have enjoyed every project I’ve sewn with it but I think my favorite is the Garden of Nine quilt that I created to showcase the Aurifloss threads. All of the fabrics are used in small amounts and since the thread is matched to the fabric it all worked out beautifully. Denise Mariano’s quilting was done with 50 wt Aurifil which finishes the project with finesse.

Garden of Nine by Barbara Eikmeier
Garden of Nine by Barbara Eikmeier

When did you first discover Aurifil threads and what do you love most about them?
I discovered Aurifil thread at a quilt show in Lancaster, PA – it must have been in 2003. There was a vendor who had a big beautiful display of thread and excellent samples in her booth. I bought a thread chart and one spool of neutral colored thread to try it. She promised me I would be back for more. I loved it – the thread was so silky and there was so much less lint in my machine! But I had a hard time finding it in the US – initially it was only available at large shows – internet buying was still young then. The next time I saw it was at the quilt show in Paducah where I found a booth selling small spools – at the time the small spools were the cone from the large spools minus the base. They were like tubes of thread! That booth had these little plastic boxes and a bin of spools where I could fill the box with my own color selections – in hindsight I guess you could say that was my first Aurifil thread collection! The long fibers and fine thread make the 50 wt excellent for appliqué as it doesn’t tangle or break and I don’t need to use beeswax with it as I do with other finer weight brands.

Barbara's Original Spools of Aurifil Thread
Barbara’s Original Spools of Aurifil Thread
Barbara's original Aurifil Color Card
Barbara’s original Aurifil Color Card

Do you have a favorite weight/color?
50 wt. And I have two favorite colors 2310 for my piecing. I now buy it in the great big 6000 yard cones. And 2890 for appliqué – I do a lot of floral designs with green leaves and this green works well with many fabrics! I’ve just learned that there is a new 80 wt thread coming out and am eager to try it for appliqué. I also like the 12 wt for woolwork appliqué. It stitches up beautifully in a hand blanket stitch. And the Aurifloss is great for embroidery – I’m now addicted to 6 strand embroidery floss wound on a spool. My local quilt shop carries Aurifil in many colors and weights so I no longer have to fuss about where I’m going to buy it!


How did you go about selecting colors for this collection?
I went back to those solids from Ruby’s archives for the initial selection of colors. Then I compared them to the new solids we were marketing with Ruby’s Treasures (which are super close to the originals). I was originally going to select 12 wt threads for the packet but when I received the updated thread chart and sample threads from Italy there was a spool of the Aurifloss and I totally changed my mind! After all McKim Studios had licensed two of Ruby’s original embroidery patterns in preprinted panels that we were releasing with the fabric collection so embroidery floss was a perfect fit. I selected a few of the variegated threads because it was hard to choose just 10 colors! In hand embroidery you have the option of using the section of color off the variegated spool for a particular place in the design so by including some variegated I felt like I increased the number of colors in the collection. I especially love the variegated blue.



To enter-to-win 1 Small Aurifil Thread Collection and 1 Paintbrush Studios FQ Bundle for Vintage 30s – Ruby’s Treasures, 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 Thursday, October 20! Winner will be randomly selected and announced here on Friday, October 21. Good luck!

UPDATE: This giveaway is now closed — Congratulations to our winner, Diane Rose! 

WebsiteFacebookInstagram — Pinterest
barb-headshot-4Barbara J. Eikmeier lives in Kansas and she writes.  Both her children write, her daughter-in-law writes and her husband writes. Her two dogs and two cats don’t write but they wish they could because there are things they would like to say. Her nine fish do not wish to write, they like their secret underwater lives.

Barbara also quilts, gardens and bakes pies. Sometimes she has writing deadlines and has to put quilting and baking aside (except for Thanksgiving pies). When pushing a deadline the perennial flower beds take care of themselves – with a little help from her husband.

If it’s between May and Sept and she’s not at the computer, sewing, baking or in the garden, check at Lake Perry, she might be sailing. It’s her other favorite activity.

To learn more about Barb and her adventures, make sure to pop by her website!


  1. Feels like I’ve always known about aurifil. It’s been 10 years or more. I’m sure I first saw it at a quilt show, tried it and won’t use anything else for piecing. Also love the 12 wt for embroidery/big stitch projects.

  2. I first found Aurifil at the East Cobb Quilters Guild Quilt Show in Marietta, Ga way way back (in time) in their vendors mall. Loved that it was so lint free in my machine!!! I swear by it for piecing and machine quilting!!! Love the new wts that they have – can’t wait to try the 80wt!!!

  3. I think it was when I took a free motion quilting class from Maureen Noble about 15 years ago. I love that it rarely breaks and there is hardly any lint when I use it.

  4. I discovered aurifil thread about five years ago. I don’t remember exactly where, but it was probably on a quilter’s blog.

  5. Since I started quilting I’ve heard about Aurifil everywhere. I finally tried some, and yes, I like it.

  6. I don’t remember who’s, but it was on someone’s blog and then I started seeing it on other peoples’ blogs.

  7. The first I used Aurifil was when I purchased a kit from Pacific Quilts maybe 10 years ago. I know I was aware of it before that.

  8. I first heard of Aurifil when I started reading Wendy Sheppard’s Ivory Spring blog and Yvonne Fuchs’ Quilting Jet Girl blog. They sang Aurifil’s praises, and I was curious but didn’t find Aurifil at my local quilt shop. Last winter I won a spool of 2310 Mako 50 wt from Wendy, and my love affair with Aurifil began. Now I try to order it whenever I can and use it almost exclusively. Now I’m wanting to try Aurifloss!

  9. I started quilting about 5 years ago, and it seems like I have been aware of Aurifil from the beginning, most likely from reading blogs.

  10. A friend had been raving about how wonderful Aurifil is. Next time I was in a quilt shop, I bought a 4 pack of 50 wt neutrals. I have never bought any other brand since.

  11. I don’t remember when I first heard about Aurifil, but I am sure it was on one of the quilting blogs.

  12. I first heard of Aurifil on some of the US blogs I read – it seemed ages before I actually found some here in the UK!

  13. When I was accepted into Pat Sloans group on Facebook, I kept hearing about Aurifil threads. I ordered a spool to try out and my machine and I love it!

  14. I have known about Aurifil threads for about 10 years now. There are so many colors available. The luster of the thread is simply stunning.

  15. I heard of aurifil in 2012 when I had a friend use it to handquilt a baby quilt and she raved about the color options and weight.

  16. I first learned about Aurifil many years ago at my local quilt shop, Colorz for Quilts. They ran a special so we would be encouraged to give it a try and I’ve been using it ever since!

  17. I learned about Aurafil when I started quilting as regular thing after retirement last year. As I sew I listen to podcasts in which quilters often mention Aurafil. Also many bloggers site Aurafil as their go-to thread. It’s what I always look for when I shop.

  18. First heard about Aurifil from YOUTUBE quilting videos. Everyone thinks SO highly of these threads. Have not tried the embroidery floss but it looks fantastic and the colors of beautiful.

  19. I first discover Aurifil threads about 5 years ago when I was given a spool as part of a birthday gift. I’ve been hooked ever since!

  20. First heard about Aurifil thread, reading Quilty Blogs! 🙂 Have seen used on You Tube too. Thank you for chance to win your Give-a-way! 🙂

  21. Aurifil are mentioned on almost every blog I read. I’ve tried them and they are as advertised. Thanks for the chance to win this great give-a-way.

  22. I discovered Aurifil thread just this year after hearing so many people on the blogs I follow talk about it I ordered a spool and boom I am now an Aurifil groupie!!

  23. I’ve only recently become acquainted with Aurifil threads. I’m a huge fan and can’t understand what took me so long to use them for my quilting!

  24. In 2012 we decided to downsize and move from Illinois to Alabama to be near our oldest daughter and her family. At the same time I decided to stop doing fashion sewing and heirloom sewing, and concentrate on quilt making. About that time I started following quilt blogs. We moved June of 2013. I first learned about Arufil threads from reading those blogs.

  25. I have been using aurifil thread for over 8 years so can’t remember who introduced them to me

  26. I found out about Aurifil thread several years ago, but just used it for the first time last month. I used it when I was quilting some table runners and my machine loved it!

  27. I first discovered Aurfil thread several years ago. I think I must have read about it online. I used it to quilt my husband’s quilt and loved how the thread just blended into the fabric. I’m not a great quilter, so that quality made me very happy! LOL

  28. I can’t remember when, but it was through Facebook. Someone commented on Aurifil’s page, and there was a contest, and I got 3 spools of thread to try, and was hooked. I was even happier to discover my LQS sold some of the colors. I’m pretty sure it was more than 5 years ago.

  29. I think it was about one year ago that I first heard about Aurifil thread and how much everyone loved it. It seemed so magical that I had to buy some online. Now I love it too and wish I had every color, and every weight!

  30. A few years ago, first on a blog, not sure which one, and then in my local quilt store. I love the colors and the quality.

  31. I discovered Aurifil when I went to a quilt shop to look for thread for machine quilting. The shop owner recommended Aurifl.

  32. I first discovered Aurifil threads when I read about them repeatedly on blogs. Where I live they aren’t available in any shops but I can get them online easily enough. I love how soft they are, and that they never tangle. x

  33. Oh… I love this collection!! Making a 30’s collection quilt is on my Bucket List! How wonderful it would be to have the beautiful Aurifil thread collection to match.

  34. Your 30’s style quilts are pretty. I love the embroidery. I have used Aurifil threads for about 5 years. The colors are almost endless.

  35. I started using Aurifil about 3 years ago, have been quilting 25 years. I love that Aurifil has less lint and less breakage!

  36. I can’t remember exactly when I first discovered Aurifil, but it was the best thread for my sewing machine!!! No more thread issues… whew!

  37. I’m not sure when I first learned about Aurifil thread, but I have been using it for several years.

  38. I learnt about Aurifil a couple of years ago, when I started reading blogs, but it only recently arrived in NZ, and I struggle to get most colours I want. I drive a couple of hours to my closest stockist in Wellington to buy it.

  39. I discovered the brand when I started reading blogs. I actually won a spool in a small giveaway and LOVED it. I need more!!! Thanks!

  40. I first bought some Aurifil thread by accident at a local quilt shop. I was a fairly new quilter and was looking for a large cone of thread and bought the first one I saw. Quite a while later I looked at the label and was pleasantly surprised to see that it was Aurifil! Thanks!

  41. Leah Day uses it and I bought from her I think! what a difference – so much better than what I had been using. I don’t have to fill the bobbin as often and the machine stays cleaner too.

  42. I started following the lot of quilters online who raved about aurifil thread, so I bought some in a neutral to try about 3 or 4 years ago. It’s not available at all my local shops, but I have quite a collection now and use it regularly for both piecing and quilting, and it’s fantastic as a bobbin thread for free motion quilting in my domestic machine.

  43. I’m sure I first heard about Aurifil from reading blogs. It took a long time for me to buy a spool and then I had it for probably a year before I used it. It is really wonderful and I rarely use anything else.

  44. Years and years ago when I first started lacemaking in colour. Then I refound sewing and raided the lacemaking threads, found they worked really well and there was no turning back

  45. I don’t remember when I first discovered Aurifil threads, but I do know I can’t imagine myself quilting without them!

  46. I discovered aurifil about 3 years ago at my local quilt shop when Alex gave his speech, trunk show etc. and we received free thread packs!
    The only threads I buy since then!!!
    Thank you.!

  47. Thank goodness shortly after I started sewing, my MIL gave me her old threads some of them all the way from Australia and over 30 yrs old, they did not work so well with my machine, then I won a contest for making something with AGF fabrics and they sent me a small box of threads, I haven’t gone back to anything else.

  48. I don’t remember exactly when, but I have probably been using it for about 4 years. I used to cringe at the price, but it is well worth it!

  49. I friend recently told me how much she loved the thread. I did buy a spool but have yet to start my winter projects and try it.

  50. When I first started quilting, some 20plus years ago, I was lucky enough to have some very quilt savvy friends who introduced me to Aurifil thread. We still quilt together and still love our Aurifil!

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