One Room Schoolhouse by Brenda Ratliff


As Spring days draw near, we find ourselves thinking more and more about bright colors, blooming flowers, and days filled with sunshine, punctuated with blue skies and warm breezes. Can’t you just picture it? One Room Schoolhouse by Brenda Ratliff for RJR Fabrics brings this image to mind. It is a collection that heralds the shift to Spring, featuring a lovely combination of bright blenders, florals, and text prints. Brenda’s coordinating thread collection features 12 stunning colors of our 50wt, selected for perfect piecing, binding, quilting, and appliqué. One Room Schoolhouse has us simply buzzing with project possibilities!

One Room Schoolhouse
12 Large Spools, 50wt (1422yds/spool), 100% Aurifil Cotton
1135 – 1147 – 1148 – 2135 – 2220 – 2225
2615 – 2625 – 2630 – 2887 – 4093 – 5006


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 and quilting?
I am definitely one of those lucky people who grew up with a sewing machine in my house.  My mom made clothes for us when we were little and I was always around “crafty” things.  I didn’t start sewing for myself until I was much older but I loved to cross stitch and my grandma taught me how to knit.  After my son was born I had no job for the first time since I was 16.  I dusted off my sewing machine and decided I was going to finally learn how to really sew.  I was never really interested in quilting until I saw a friend of mine post her first quilt on Facebook.  I was like, “wow!  I’ve never seen a quilt like that before!  It’s so cool!”  It was modern and geometric.  So different than the quilts I saw in antique shops or at our house that were all vintage.  I learned everything I could about modern quilting after that!

Chevron Quilt by Brenda Ratliff - Featured in the Fall 2016 edition of Modern Patchwork
Chevron Quilt by Brenda Ratliff – Featured in the Fall 2016 edition of Modern Patchwork

Did you have another career prior to this one?
Before my quilting career I was in sales.  I studied Sociology and Marketing in college.  I worked a lot of waitressing jobs in school and then helped a friend run his small business.  I learned a lot about how tough it is to own your own business and that sometimes even a good business doesn’t work out.   I did mortgages for a while after that before being accepted into a business incubator in Detroit.  I think I’ve always wanted to be an entrepreneur.  I spent a few years in the incubator working on some other businesses.  But the things I learned there helped me to start a fabric store.  I really wanted those modern fabrics that I saw in the quilts online but couldn’t find them locally or very easily at the time.

Gate Keeper Quilt by AnneMarie Chany
Gate Keeper Quilt by AnneMarie Chany

Do you remember the process of making your first quilt and how you felt once it was complete?
I’m sure I had no idea what I was doing when I made my first quilt.  My seams were definitely not all 1/4” !  I started with a baby quilt and it ended up being more of a trapezoid than a rectangle.  I was already addicted to quilting before the end.  I’m pretty sure I had 2 more quilts ready to start at that point.

Sparkling Cider Quilt by All Washed Up Quilts
Sparkling Cider Quilt by All Washed Up Quilts

Who or what has been your greatest creative inspiration?
SO many people have inspired me over the years.  The first designer that I loved was Tula Pink.  I know I’m not the only one who loves Tula’s fabric.  It’s just so cool.  I love the hidden designs that she draws into the prints.  And she just knows what to design.  She knows it will work in a quilt because she has that same passion.  And I think that translates into her fabrics.  Back in the days of Google Reader I had over 200 quilting blogs that I read regularly. Now Instagram and Pinterest feed my inspiration these days.  I also love everything that Carolyn Friedlander and Alison Glass have done.  They are so talented!

How long have you been running Pink Castle Fabrics?
I can’t believe it’s been 6 years now that we have had Pink Castle.  It really doesn’t seem like that long ago!

Lovestruck Quilt by Schlosser Designs
Lovestruck Quilt by Schlosser Designs

What do you love most about being an online shop owner?
I really love buying!  Seeing all the fabrics and machines and threads and notions and then I get to pick what to carry in the shop.  I can see things to make out of the fabric when I look at it.  If I had unlimited sewing time…  It’s really cool when I love a fabric and then my customers love it too.

Grab Some Grub by ByAnnie
Grab Some Grub by ByAnnie

How does your role as shop owner help to direct you within other areas, like designing, hosting retreats, etc.?
Being a shop owner really helps with designing fabric.  I know what sells well in my shop and what doesn’t.  I also hear what the customers who walk into the shop are asking for frequently.  So if there’s something that folks ask for that just isn’t on the market, I can design something to fill that need.  I’ve also learned a lot about the way fabric is designed and printed so it helps me as a shop owner to educate my customers.

It’s sort of the same with hosting the retreats.  I can hear from customers what they liked and didn’t like about another retreat that they went to.  Then I can customize our Stitchalot retreats to give the attendees the best experience!  It also helps that I can supply kits and notions to the attendees as a shop owner.  I can have a pop up shop with things like thread and extra needles to make it easy on the campers who might have used theirs up or forgotten them.

Pattern design too. It’s really invaluable to get that direct one on one feedback from the customer.  As much as I might love something, it doesn’t mean that it’s going to sell or that customers are looking for it!  Business is all about filling a need and I’m hoping to do that for my customers.

What inspired the creation of One Room Schoolhouse and what did you love most about putting the collection together?
Maybe the cold here in Michigan was getting to me when I was thinking about One Room Schoolhouse.  I kept thinking about late Spring when choosing colors.  I have a collection of vintage fabrics and I use them for a lot of inspiration for my fabrics.  I love modern fabrics and colors but I also grew up learning to love the vintage quilts.  The quilts from the 1930s and 1940s are so great, especially the quilts made with a lot of scrap fabrics.  I draw a lot of inspiration from those designs when I’m thinking about the size of the prints.  Like,  “What would go well in this type of quilt pattern?”  I want to take those vintage ideas and bring them up to date with new colors.  I am always thinking about my collections try to make sure that the prints are ones that can be used with other fabrics.  Really stash workhorse prints.  It’s nice to have customers like your fabrics but it’s even better to see them using the fabrics and liking the way they work in the project.

Do you have a favorite project made with the fabrics & threads?
I use Aurifil 50wt in color #2024 for all my piecing.  Every once in a while I mix it up and use color #2600 or #2021.  The thread is thin and strong and I love having really flat quilt blocks.  I really loved the Sunset Strip quilt that I made with the One Room Schoolhouse collection.  It’s a really simple pattern and quick to put together but it looks so nice.  It’s scrappy but the blue strips in between calm everything down.

Sunset Strips Quilt by Brenda Ratliff
Sunset Strips Quilt by Brenda Ratliff

What is your favorite quilting technique and why?
I love strip piecing.    Anything that saves me time!  I have to make quilts sometimes on a tight deadline so I am always trying to find the most efficient way to make a quilt.  I’ve got quite a collection of Accuquilt dies to help make piecing faster as well.  With strip piecing you do all the sewing in long lines and then subcut your blocks.  It’s fast.  Much faster and much less tedious than cutting out smaller pieces.

Tipsy Quilt by Sharon McConnell
Tipsy Quilt by Sharon McConnell

When did you first discover Aurifil threads and what do you love most about them
When I first started to get into quilting I went into a local quilt shop.  They handed me a spool of Aurifil 50 wt and explained a little bit about the quality of the thread and why it matters.  I really loved it.  I was still a beginner but I could see that it was making a difference in my sewing.  The blocks were laying more flat when I pressed and the thread wasn’t linting up my machine as much.  Over the years I’ve learned about the different weights and when to use them and I’ve learned a lot more about the process of making thread and what things like “mercerization” mean.   It really solidified my love for Aurifil.  I know the care and quality put into the threads are going to help my quilts stay together over time.


Do you have a favorite color/weight and why?
#2024 50 wt!   I have it on all the Janome machines on the floor at Pink Castle too!  It just blends right in!  I’ve even used the white color when I’m hand binding a quilt and you can barely see it.   Even if the fabric color is really dark!  I use the same color and weight for English Paper Piecing as well.  I buy it in packs of 6 for my sewing room!

How did you go about selecting threads for your latest Aurifil collection?
I wanted to choose colors of threads that would blend in best for any hand binding, applique or quilting.  The Aurifil color card is really handy for this.  The colors from the collection blend in flawlessly!

The Perception Quilt by Nydia Kehnle
The Perception Quilt by Nydia Kehnle

What’s in store for 2017? Where can we find you throughout year?
Lots of new projects for this year!  We have two Stitchalot retreats already scheduled (you can get tickets and info at, one in June and one in November.  Those are always a highlight for me!  I have a new black and white text fabric collection called Fine Print that will be shown at Spring Quilt Market in May (in shops July 2017) and I’m finishing up another collection for RJR that you can see hopefully this Fall!

I’m also a  part of the Aurifil Design Team this year!  I’m really excited about my block.  I’m hoping to quilt along and make the whole rainbow of blocks.  My month is August!

I’m working on another Sew Pro convention with my friend Sara Lawson and we hope to be announcing that in a few months.  We had such a good time last year at our inaugural event!

Personally, I have a reading goal of one book a month.  So far I’m ahead of my goal.  I love to read and I’m glad that I’m making more time for it.  I’ve also started taking Karate lessons this year.  It’s something I’ve always wanted to do and I’m glad that I found a great Dojo in town.  I’m feeling a lot better about myself now that I’m scheduling time to work out.

It’s a lot of great stuff but I love being busy!  I’m sure I will make time for sewing too !  You can find me most days at Pink Castle Fabrics or on social media!



To enter-to-win 1 Large One Room Schoolhouse Thread Collection and one FQ Bundle of One Room Schoolhouse by Brenda Ratliff for RJR 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 Friday, March 10! Winner will be randomly selected and announced here on Saturday, March 11. Good luck!

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brendaratliff-profileBrenda Ratliff is the proud owner of Pink Castle Fabrics (  She also coordinates the popular Camp Stitchalot retreats (, Sew Pro ( and designs fabrics for RJR.  Keep up to date with Brenda at her blog



  1. Love the colors – I’d make a quilt for my niece & her family – she’d love the colors too. Thanks.

  2. I would like to make a lap quilt and some table toppers with this fabric. The prints and colors would be cheerful to look at every day. It would just make the whole house seem more lively.

  3. What beautiful quilts and fabric and thread!! This inspires me to make bigger quilts. I have only done lap quilts so far. Good luck everyone in the giveaway!! angielovesgary2 atgmail dotcom

  4. Love the Sparkling Cider Quilt and especially the fabrics. Thanks for the opportunity to win this fabric line and aurifil thread collection. I now use only Aurifil !!

  5. My father and my Uncle who is the man who really raised me both had surgery on the day, last Tuesday, and both were diagnosed with different cancers. I want to make quilts for both of them. My father likes dark colors and I have something in mind for him, it soothes him, but these fabrics would be PERFECT for my Uncle, he loves everything bright and colorful and his house is full of color and his disposition matches it, cheery and happy. So his quilt should be the same. So that is what I would love to do with these. Kellie in Oklahoma,

  6. I would like to make quilts as well. The colors are happy and would bring comfort to recipients struggling with illnesses. Thank you for this opportunity.

  7. What a gorgeous box of thread candy! Love the colors. I think I’m inspired to start my ‘Sew Many Colors’ Mini Quilt now!!

  8. I’m drawn to The Perception Quilt! I love the beautiful and bright colors. Thank you for the chance to win!

  9. Love the colors of the fabrics and the timeless prints. I love scrap quilts and vintage prints- they make great quilts. That’s what I’d make.

  10. Such great colors! I love the Perception quilt, and the stars too. I’d make a lap size quilt. Those are such fun to use watching a movie on Saturday night! Great to learn more about Brenda and Pink Castle.

  11. i would love to make the sunset strips quilt for my niece for her birthday. thanks for the chance to win. i love aurifil thread!

  12. There are endless possibilities! The fabric line is so sweet! I love it! Thanks for the chance to win

  13. I like your style of quilting and fabric designs. I always piece with Aurifil #2600. It was recommended to me over 10 years ago. I buy the large cones which seem to last forever. I love Aurifil colors for quilting my quilts. I have a number of colors.

  14. Time to start a new wall quilt in luscious spring colors! Can’t wait to jump in and get ti going…..thinking beautiful bulb flowers….mmmmm!

  15. Hi there,
    I’d definitely make a sweet baby layette with this bundle. Just love the semi-vintage prints!
    Quilty Huggs!

  16. I’d be making a modern quilt, maybe a drunkards path in various sizes.. Love the clear colors in this fabric line. Would be absolutely fun to pick the best neutral for the background of a modern quilt.

  17. I would love to win this great giveaway so I could to try my hand at a modern quilt. Thanks for the opportunity!

  18. What lovely fabric. I like how there is a good mix of dark and light colors. Thanks for the chance to win.

  19. I really love your fabric collections, and it’s so nice to read about a designer and how they started in the industry.

  20. Great interview — beautiful fabric for a quilt – and of course, the suburb Aurifil thread.
    A wonderful giveaway.

  21. I really like the colors used on all quilts. But especially like background fabrics. Gives me permission to use something other than white or beige as background. So vibrant.

  22. I really like the colors in the quilts — they are soothing. I would make the Sparkling Cider quilt!

  23. When I think of the days of one room schoolhouses, I think of a time when people had to make do with what they had. That may have included making quilts from leftover or used pieces of fabric. So that inspires me to make scrap quilts!

  24. I love watching her work on vintage embroidery. I would work on felt embroidery(for to-go projects) and also a quilt. Thank you for a lovely giveaway.

  25. I think the One Room School House fabric line would inspire me to make a sun bonnet sue quilt. This fabric line screams sun bonnet sue, to me. These colors look as if you’re see vintage fabric, back when it was first made the color all vibrant and new.

  26. I love these fabrics,so bright and cheery! I have a new grand baby on the way so I am inspired to make a baby quilt.

  27. All these quilts inspire me to do something bright and cheerful. The combination of colors works so well together and definitely wouldn’t have been colors I thought would work. I am so happy I was wrong!

  28. Love all the colors. Perhaps, I’ll make a cheery quilt to be auctioned off at my school’s annual fund raiser.

  29. Love the fabrics! Tipsy definitely caught my eye. Will be making more strip quilts too now! 😃

  30. So pretty. My great-nieces would love some dresses in these colors, and I love the star quilt. Thanks.

  31. I would love to try and make your Sunset Striped Quilt. I’m a kind of good beginner and I think I would be able to make this one. I really like your color combo with the material and thread. Thank Yo

  32. The One Room Schoolhouse inspires me to make any of the projects in this article. I especially like Sparkling Cider & Sunset Strips quilts.

  33. I think this fabric would be great in a jellyroll race type quilt! Quick strips are my favorite.

  34. Love One Room Schoolhouse, bright pretty fabrics and awesome Aurifil threads. I would make a quilt for one of my granddaughters.

  35. What a delight these fabrics and threads would be to play with! I love using my Aurifil threads for machine and hand stitching.Thank you for this chance your give away. Happy Stitching.

  36. Oh My!! Some new placemats and a table runner for summer. Beautiful fabrics and awesome threat, winning combination.

  37. A beautiful new School House Quilt. Have wanted to make one for a couple years now, this would bring it to life.

  38. It makes me long for summer picnics and reading outside in the sun, all on a comfy quilt!

  39. Love the simplicity of the quilts. They make me want to sit down and work with simple patterns again!

  40. I loved reading this post! Thanks for sharing this. This fabric inspires me to create a quilt to drape over the rocker in my bedroom. Maybe a log cabin or a disappearing nine patch.

  41. I would love to make a cute little table runner out of this fabric. It is just adorable! Love the aqua and coral colors.

  42. I didn’t attend a one room school, but my husband did, as he lived in the country. Nice grouping of fabrics?

  43. I’m inspired to use brighter fabrics in my quilts. Your quilts are beautiful! Thanks for the giveaway!

  44. I love the name, “One Room School House”. You have inspired me to create a quilt block to match the name:)

  45. I love the colors of this collection. I’m using them in a mystery block of the month quilt this year.

  46. Love Love LOOOOOVE this fabric!!! I would definitely love to make the “Sparkling Cider” Quilt!!! These fabrics are Gorgeous & DO SPARKLE in this Pattern!! Would make a Sunset Strip one too… giggle (Did I say I LOOOOOOVE this fabric line?)

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

  47. We have a niece who is moving to a new house soon and I’d love to make her a quilt out of these cheery fabrics!

  48. Fabric baskets for every room in my house in the teals/turquoises and coral/peachy prints. Thank you.

  49. I love these bright colors! My guild is asking for baby quilts that stimulate baby’s senses. So, a chance to be creative with great fabrics!

  50. Wonderful, happy colors! I’m inspired to make the Sparkling Cider Quilt. These would also be perfect in scrappy quilts using HSQs. Thanks for the generous giveaway 🙂

  51. A quilt, and I have plenty of great patterns to choose from. Thanks for featuring this collection.

  52. As always, thanks for doing the giveaway. I think these colors are over the top! Very modern but I’ll bet they’d look good in a traditional quilt too.

  53. For sure, it would have to be a quilt, in a mix of vintage and modern feel. I really like the Gatekeeper quilt. Thanks for the chance to win!

  54. Ooh, I loved those potholder. It would be fun to make those and other quilted home projects, table runner, wall hanging…

  55. The colors in One Room School House are just wonderful…. I can find the right word because they have a calmness to them but yet bold. Thanks for sharing. I’m going to look for this collection.

  56. I’d like to create something fun and vintage-y with this fabric. A schoolhouse makes me think of children, so it needs to be “fun.” And a one-room schoolhouse is, of course, historic, so I’d like to use a historic pattern.

  57. These colors bring to mind a wallhanging of pinwheels, on our entry hall wall they would make me feel Spring every time I come in & out of the house. I love this collection, thank you Brenda!

  58. Such a great interview. I toy a lot with making a modern quilt using some of the more current fabrics (rather than older stash fabrics). This fabric line is so full of spring colors (which is something I really need right now) and it would be a real lift to work with them right now. Thanks for the opportunity.

  59. I’m inspired to create a beautiful quilt for a little girl. I loved Laura Ingalls Wilder growing up and this collection reminds me both of the books and the TV series.

  60. Beautiful fabrics, this is sending me back to my sewing room. Would love to make these into a quilt.

  61. I’m definitely inspired to make more every day items, like hot pads. Just because something is useful doesn’t mean it can’t be pretty.

  62. I love the fabrics and the thread colors. I would love to make a quilt or 2 with them.

  63. One Room Schoolhouse has inspired me to make lots of lap quilts for my family — the colors are beautiful.

  64. I would love to make a little backpack and lunch bag for my 2-year-old with this line. And of course I’d have enough left over to make something for myself!

  65. I was just thinking about all the massive blanket forts we made in doors when it was a rainy day outside. The kids would read and play in their blanket forts for hours. This lovely sunny fabric would be a perfect quilt to bright the day and chase away the gloom of a dark rainy day.

  66. I just retired after 30 years of teaching kindergarten and I am ready to start using my time to make some lovely home accessories like pillows, curtains and towels. Thank you for such pretty fabric.

  67. Actually, I’m working on a scrappy quilt right now, using Brenda’s beautiful One Room Schoolhouse fabric!! I fell in love with it when I was in Pink Castle last week! (*Yes!!* I’m SO happy that I am only a 90 minute drive
    away! I can order on line and drive down to pick up my choices! I don’t need to do that, but I especially love to be there, seeing and touching(!) Brenda’s wonderful fabrics!! Brenda has an amazing eye, and esthetic, and has curated a fantastic collection!!)
    Thank you for a great interview and giveaway!
    Pat T.

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