Sarah J. Maxwell‘s Dandy Days for Studio 37/Marcus Fabrics grew out of the joy and inspiration found in simple dandelions. Her colorful mix of low-volume prints and three Centennial Solids come together perfectly for her BOM quilt top, with two cool and relaxing greys as background options. Sarah’s coordinating thread collection offers both LG and SM boxes with a versatile combination of 50wt, 28wt and 80wt threads.
THREAD COLLECTION DETAILS
12 Large Spools, 100% Aurifil Cotton
2435 – 5004 – 1320 – 2535 – 1148
2600 – 2525 – 2520 – 2588 (50wt, 1422yds/spool)
4660 – 4663 (28wt, 820yds/spool)
10 Small Spools, 100% Aurifil Cotton
2435 – 1320 – 1148 – 2600 – 2520 – 2588 – 2105 (50wt, 200yds/spool)
5004 – 2606 – 2600 (80wt, 300yds/spool)
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?
My love affair with quilting began in college—when I got my first apartment I didn’t have a lot of money to furnish it. My mom said I could take anything I needed from home and I found a pink dogwood applique quilt in the closet made by an aunt. It was a classic kit quilt from the 1930s. Dogwood trees were always the first sign of spring at the Lake of the Ozarks where I grew up so I knew it would be the perfect reminder of home while I was away. I used that quilt for 3 years, not understanding that it was a vintage treasure. As it began to show lots of wear and tear, I put it back in the closet always thinking I would make my own quilt someday.
Do you remember the process of making your first quilt and how you felt once it was complete?
While pregnant with my daughter, Megan, I got a serious nesting instinct and wanted to make something for her nursery. I bought an inexpensive sewing machine and a “teach yourself to quilt” book and cut out my first quilt with scissors and cardboard templates. With a full-time job and a new baby, I didn’t have much time to sew, but I kept the machine set up on a corner of our kitchen table, working a few minutes here and there. When I finally completed that baby quilt I knew I had found a life-time craft.
Who or what has been your greatest creative inspiration?
As a long-time traditional quilter who spent years making super-scrappy, intricately pieced quilts, my greatest source of inspiration for original work has been my daughters, Megan and Shannen. Like most kids, they didn’t fully understand or “get” what mom did as a quilter. They definitely didn’t appreciate the Civil War style or palette that I worked with for many years.
Once they left home, I wanted to send my quilts with them. The desire to create quilts that they would want in their own homes sparked a new creative journey for me and my entire Designs by Sarah J business. Stepping back and reassessing my entire creative process and trying new styles, new colors and new techniques has me excited about quilting all over again.
How did you first connect with Marcus and what do you love most about working with them?
I connected with Marcus initially because of my interest in Civil War reproduction fabrics and quilts. I had an idea for a book and wanted fabric that would allow me to create the quilt in my head. Stephanie Dell’Olio and Pati Violick met with me and embraced the idea of producing fabric to bring that vision to life. We spent several years collaborating on historic projects. Then, a couple of years ago, Stephanie asked me what I would create if I had no limitations. This was about the same time I had the whole epiphany that my daughters didn’t want a single one of my reproduction quilts and that the industry was changing.
So, Designs by Sarah J was born and a whole creative journey exploring brighter colors, simpler fabric designs and new techniques is underway. I still love super-scrappy quilts and intricate piecing, but I always pause after creating a new design now & think about how it could be simpler or cleaner or less fussy or what adding a few solids into the fabric mix would do to the overall design.
The best thing about working with Marcus Fabrics and their Studio 37 imprint is that they truly let me embrace my inner-ADD personality. I’ve always loved having multiple projects underway and I’ve always loved lots of fabric styles. If you could peek into my messy, chaotic, overwhelming sewing room you would find a little bit of everything and every color. Marcus lets me design cotton prints, woven plaids, batiks and they let me experiment with palettes—they don’t make me adhere to a given “look” which I would find boring and stifling.
What inspired Dandy Days?
Dandy Days is all about lazy summer days full of bright sunshine where the possibilities are endless. A gentle breeze can lift a kite in the wind or spin the blades of a pinwheel or carry a dandelion seed across the yard. I know some people view dandelions as pesky weeds—I view them as possibility—a gust of wind can result in bright pops of color everywhere.
Do you have a favorite project made with the collection?
My favorite project from Dandy Days is currently a tie:
With Supernova. I added several solids to a limited group of prints from the collection and created a quilt with a strong graphic impact. The quilt uses large blocks—24” square so it’s also a fast finish.
With Trippy Traps, I experimented with deconstructing an English paper piecing project. I worked with Paper Pieces on an acrylic template suitable for EPP or rotary cutting and machine piecing. Because I sometimes like to see instant results, I decided to play with piecing some units & then appliquing them on a background. The quilt captures the overall statement of Dandy Days—a summer day full of color & pinwheels. It also gave me a chance to really try out the 80 wt thread and I can assure people that it’s perfect for both English paper piecing and applique.
What is your favorite thing to make?
Large, bed-sized quilts have always been my favorite. There’s nothing like seeing something you made on your bed.
When did you first discover Aurifil threads and what do you love most about them?
I discovered Aurifil about 8 years ago. I was doing a lot of professional sewing for magazines and for Marcus. I was SO tired of cleaning out mountains of lint from my bobbin case and a friend suggested I try Aurifil. I bought a spool & never looked back. As I’ve expanded beyond traditional machine piecing, I love the variety of weights and the rainbow of color that allows me to create all the ideas whirling around in my head.
Do you have a favorite color/weight and why?
50 wt color 2324 is my all-time go-to for piecing. I buy the large-cones and there’s always one on a thread stand next to my machine and a backup in a drawer so I never run out while I’m staring down a deadline.
Recently, I’ve fallen in love with the 80 wt thread. My appliqué and English paper piecing stitches are invisible with this thread.
To enter-to-win 1 Large Dandy Days Thread Collection and one Fat Quarter Bundle of Dandy Days by Sarah Maxwell for Marcus 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, May 17! Winner will be randomly selected and announced here on Thursday, May 18. Good luck!
Sarah’s love of quilting stems from her college days, when her mom sent her pink dogwood quilt to grace the bed in her first apartment. The quilt was a comforting reminder of her home in the Lake of the Ozarks, where the dogwood blossoms always signaled the start of spring.
A few years later, married and expecting her first child, Sarah caught the nesting bug. Inspired by the treasured dogwood quilt, she bought a Teach Yourself to Quilt book and crafted her first quilt. She continued to improve her skills through classes at local quilt guilds, as well as learning from gifted teachers throughout the United States, fully taking advantage of modern conveniences, such as rotary cutting and computer design, as they became available.
Today, Sarah is a fabric and pattern designer for Studio 37 Fabrics, a division of Marcus Fabrics, with countless quilts to her credit. Her work has been featured regularly in both McCall’s Quilting and McCall’s Quick Quilts for the past several years. Additionally, Sarah’s quilts have appeared in Make Modern, Simply Moderne, American Patchwork & Quilting, and Quilts & More, as well as many other magazines.