Love is Spoken Here by Annie Smith

Annie Smith of Simple Arts has been known as the voice of the Quilting Stash podcast since 2005. She is an author, a designer and a Bernina ambassador and presented her debut Aurifil thread collection in September of 2016. Love is Spoken Here is offered in two stunning color ways, Summerset & Winterset. Both are full of Aurifil 28wt, Annie’s favorite for machine appliqué and coordinate with her stunning quilt patterns.

Love is Spoken Here

Love is Spoken Here: Winterset
10 Small Spools, 28wt (109yds/spool), 100% Aurifil Cotton
1231 – 2888 – 5018 – 2545 – 1243
2520 – 2740 – 2730 – 2720 – 2770

Love is Spoken Here: Summerset
10 Small Spools, 28wt (109yds/spool), 100% Aurifil Cotton
2260 – 5002 – 1154 – 2214 – 2135
2130 – 4020 – 2530 – 2479 – 2423

What first drew you to the world of sewing and quilting?
My maternal “Gran”, Gertrude Cantell Smith. She was a master seamstress who made all of the family’s clothes out of necessity. She made suits, coats, hats and I have a pair of brown gloves that she stitched with the tiniest stitches I’ve ever seen.

Can you tell us a bit about your background?
Generally, I’m a fifth generation Californian and San Josean and I’ve only ever lived in the SF Bay Area although I’ve traveled to teach in all but 7 states. I’m the middle child in every way. Happily married for 37 years, three kids and five grandkids and counting. I’m an extrovert and have never been shy one day of my life.

Craft-wise, I started sewing when I was 8 (Girl Scouts) and one of my first jobs in high school was working in a fabric store. I never took a paycheck home back then! I made all of my clothes (except Levi’s). I’d make them on the weekend, wear them to school and take orders from my friends, making clothes for them. Then I started making them for their mothers. That’s how I made my money in college too. I started quilting in 1980 and have never looked back from there.

Did you have a different career prior to this one and how did one lead to the other?
I went into a local quilt shop to buy a BERNINA sewing machine in 1984 and was offered a job, teaching classes for the shop. I was a stay at home mom then and taught casually. In 1988, my husband had a career change so I went to work full time.

I worked in Silicon Valley for twenty years in Call Centers — working my way up from a tech to designing the centers, hard and software, building teams of staff and teaching Customer Service Excellence. I continued to teach classes in the evening and on weekends, to keep my foot in the thing I enjoyed the most. When the dotcom bust hit and the Call Centers moved to India, there was no job left for me. I fell back on what I knew the best and hung a quilt in the local quilt shop. From there, teaching and designing became a full time job for me — and the rest just fell into place.

Who or what has been your greatest creative inspiration?
I have favorite quote about creativity and inspiration that sums it all up:

“The desire to create is one of the deepest yearnings of the human soul. We each have an inherent wish to create something that did not exist before.

The more we trust and rely upon the Spirit, the greater our capacity to create.”
Dieter F. Uchtdorf

When did you first discover Aurifil threads and what do you love most about them?
I discovered that big orange spool of light gray thread at the quilt shop where I was working and bought it immediately. Then, at my first Quilt Market in 2007, I met Ellie in a little single booth and talked with her. I was already hooked on Aurifil by then. I don’t use any other thread unless I’m working on a deadline and don’t have the color I need.

Do you have a favorite color/weight and why?
28 weight is my favorite because it’s perfect for machine appliqué and machine quilting. My favorite colors are still the same today as they were when I was a First Generation Aurifil Designer in 2009.  Orange, Magenta, Green, Turquoise and Purple — and I always use at least three shades of those colors too, when I create any new piece.

Can you tell us a bit more about Love is Spoken Here and how the collection came about?
When I was invited to do the collection, I had to choose what to build it around because I didn’t have a fabric collection yet. I chose the thing that everyone knows me by best — the piece I use for my logo, which I created in 2002 as a border piece for a memory quilt for my Gran. Since creating it, I’ve tried to find the design for the rest of the quilt — which has eluded me.

Quilts on a black background are kind-of my signature thing, so I designed a quilt around the border piece that has all of the love and symbolism of my Gran and our relationship. Each element has something to do with “us”. Using the colors of thread that I love, I chose the Kaufman Kona solids to match — kind-of backwards.

What do you love most about Aurifil 28wt for Machine Applique?
It’s simply the most perfect thread! The thickness and sheen are the perfect complements to frame any appliqué. Then, I love the fact that the 28 weight comes in every color that Aurifil makes, And I can shop for the Thread colors that I need using the Color Card.

What are your top tips for working with 28wt thread?
I used to use an 80/12 needle to stitch, but recently I changed to a 90/14 and I feel like the stitch is smoother. I always use Microtex needles for every project, whether it’s for appliqué, quilting, piecing or threadwork. Aurifil threads are so superior and luxurious that it doesn’t take much additionally to showcase them in every project.

What’s coming up next for you — what can we look forward to?
I just finished taping three new online classes for Annie‘s Publishing, where Aurifil threads were prominently featured. I’m in the process of designing a fabric collection based on the recurring theme of Love Is Spoken Here. And I have several new quilts, appliqué and pieced, that will be showcased at Quilt Market in Houston.

Where can we find you this year?
I’m going to teach a shop owners class about fabric choices at Quilt Market in St. Louis.
In June, I’ll be teaching at John C Campbell Folk School in North Carolina, as well as teaching in Raleigh. In August, I’ll be in Southern California — followed by San Diego, and then teaching in Utah at the Utah Quilt Guild’s Quiltfest in September. Future teaching travel will take me to Nebraska, Texas, Nevada, New Hampshire and Arizona so far.

Thanks so much for letting me share!


To enter-to-win the 2 Small Love is Spoken Here Thread Collections + a pattern for Love is Spoken Here by Annie Smith,  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 Sunday, May 21! Winner will be randomly selected and announced here on Monday, May 22 . Good luck!

Website — Instagram — Shop

Annie Smith is more than just a pretty face. She is a quilter who designs quilt and has her own Pattern Publishing company, SimpleArts. Her quilts have been published in Quilter’s Home and she won Best of Show at the California State Fair for Crazy Quilting. She teaches nationally and internationally to Guilds, Quilt Shops, Quilt show venues, and also online. She is a Bernina Artisan Ambassador, a podcasting Quilter, a C&T Author, an iQuilt Instructor and an Aurifil Designer.

[All images courtesy of Annie Smith]


  1. The thing I love most about applique is the fact that I can change the looks of many things by adding a simple applique or alotta appliques!! I love the Love Is Spoken Here collections!!!!

  2. I love the variety of designs available in applique. I have just taken up wool applique. Fun, fun, fun.

  3. I love these Auriful collections. I love bright bold colors and these fit the bill. Annie’s pattern is fun and will be a great project!

  4. I love appliqué because of all the beautiful designs that are available. I love flowers and vining stems and all the lovely colors!

  5. I love all of the bright colors! I love flowers all unique in their own way. Adding applique always brings a pop to every quilt! Thank you for sharing!!

  6. I love appliqué because it makes quilts interesting. When used with or without patchwork, the results are stunning.

  7. I love the interview. I have not done applique yet. It is on my to learn list for this year. this would be a fun one to start with

  8. I love applique because it allows me to ‘plant’ flowers in winter and carry them with me when I travel.

  9. Am pretty new to am slow at it…but love the way it dresses up a project! 🙂 Is nice to sit and stitch in the evening…unwinds the busy of the day.
    Thank you for chance to win your Give-a-way too 🙂

  10. Beautiful collection!… And great interview!
    Appliqué is so versatile… There’s no limit imposed on the quilter’s creative vision!
    (And, it’s intimate… It immediately takes a work into a higher level of maker-personalization and connectedness!)
    Pat T.

  11. Beautiful colours. I love applique. It gives a wonderful dimension to my quilts. thanks for sharing

  12. Annie’s work is amazing! I love how you can add so much interest & dimension to your projects with appliqué. The possibilities are endless!

  13. I love the look of applique whether it’s needle turn, raw edge, machine or hand applique. I just like the flow of it .

  14. I love auditioning the colors and then seeing the thread work bring the piece to life.
    I am now inspired to find some Aurifil 28 and try it this week.

  15. I love your collections and the bright beautiful colors! Applique is always fun to do and I am going to try the 28wt thread now.

  16. I love the look of applique and the variety of designs and styles that work with it.

  17. I Love Winterset, my colors!! I only started applique last year, but love the beauty of it, thanks
    cork at

  18. I like the look of applique but haven’t done much yet. I’m going to incorporate it in a patchwork quilt this year. Love the collections and am anxious to try the 28wt. which none of my LQS carry.
    Learning more from Annie when she comes to my state this year will be a priority for me!

  19. With applique you can add any shape you want to your quilt. And even if you can’t draw, you could always trace. I love that there is more than one way to add the shapes (fusing, needleturn etc).

  20. What I love about applique is that it is so flexible, you can create anything you want and it doesn’t have to be perfect like piecing. I also love to sit and hand sew vs. sitting at a machine.

  21. I love how you can make an applique piece look unique using your choice of fabrics. I am still learning how to applique and haven’t found my “favorite ” way to do it yet. 🙂

  22. To be honest I’m not very experienced an therefore don’t have a part I ‘like’, other than finishing!!! But I’m really working hard at practicing so I will feel confident at it

  23. I love how the black background really makes the bright vibrant colors pop! So beautiful.

  24. The beauty of applique is that you can make curved designs easily without piecing them, whether it’s something simple or more elaborate. My first applique was a Sunbonnet Sue/Overall Sam quilt in the 1970’s.

  25. I love the look of applique and that it can be done in so many ways – needle-turn, machine, hand, raw edge. I find needle-turn to be relaxing while watching TV, or I can take it with me and work on it where ever I want. I have never used 28 weight thread, but will have to try it on my next machine applique project.

  26. I don’t do a lot of applique, but do like when it adds something fun to a quilt. Great designs! Thanks.

  27. The wonderful thing about applique is that there are no limits — anything you can dream up (or trace!) can be made in applique.

  28. I love the winter collection (well, summer too 🙂 I recently bought several 28 weight Aurifil spools. I’m working on a Hawaiian quilt that called for hand quilting. The 28 weight is perfect!

  29. I love the look of appliqué but I’ve never done it, I’ve heard so many people talk about how great the 28wt aurifil thread is to appliqué’s definitely on my to do list

  30. I love applique and the wonderful variety of colors and designs utilized in applique. I love the way applique can tell a story. 50 wt aurifil is my go to thread for piecing, quilting and now thread painting. After reading this article, I need to try the 28 wt.

  31. Applique is a way to add a very personal and unique touch to a quilt.
    I enjoy the process of creating something new and original or changing
    a printed pattern with different fabrics and colors.

  32. I love the look of applique. It is like a folk painting with another dimension added…the fabric and thread!

  33. Applique can add additional beauty to the look of any quilt. I am enjoying it more each time I see it used on quilts.

    tushay3 (at) yahoo (dot) com

  34. I’m not really sure why I love applique, but I do. So much. Maybe because it has a more “folk” feel to it, artsy and colourful. I just know that it’s gorgeous.

  35. I like that you can take any motif and add it to your quilt and totally make the quilt different than any other.

  36. I’m working on an applique block today. What I like about applique is the way the fabric is raised and stands out in the piece. Annie Smith’s quilt is stunning.

  37. What I love most about applique is that you can applique anything your mind’s imagination can think of – it can be nature, people, land, sea, anything.

  38. I like how you can add a unique touch to simple quilts, so that they look complicated.

  39. I love appliqué because it allows so much personalization–applique can take a nine-patch quilt and make it primitive or floral, can add wording or modern flair. Appliqué is open to brand-new quilters through raw edge or can go all the way to Hawaiian appliqué. There is so much to learn and so many ways to express oneself.

  40. I love the many newer methods for appliqué. I chuckle at the uneven edges and inside bumps I used to do as I did needle turn appliqué.

  41. What I love about applique is that I can do it when I am relaxing while taking care of my 2 granddaughters while they nap. Or while my husband takes a nap. lol

  42. I have not been a big fan of appliqué, but I will soon be doing one for a granddaughter. It will have both hand and machine appliqué. It is nice that it can be so versatile.

  43. I love that I can use any fabric to make any shape I want, then use a colorful thread to give it even more personality when I stitch it down!

  44. I love applique because it’s a great way to add unique design and texture to a quilt. Thanks for the great giveaway!

  45. I love appliqué because of the detail, dimensions and textures it enhances! Thank you.

  46. What I love most about appliqués is the creativity that comes about from working with them!

  47. What I love most avout applique is the freedom to put pieces anywhere I want. What I love most about piecing is that the pieces need to fit together like puzzle pieces.

  48. I was afraid of the “A” word many years ago. But took a class on needle turn and was smitten! I love how you can manipulate the fabric to any shape you want and a multidyed batik can result in an enormous variety-from one piece of fabric. However, what I enjoy the best is the use of many tiny bits of scraps that were paid for are not wasted!

  49. I have a love hate relationship with applique because mine is never quite perfect enough for me. Probably never will be. I am so in love with these colors.

  50. I love that you can add interest different shapes without having to piece them by stitching them into seams.

  51. I love everything about Love Is Spoken Here, the patter, the colors and the threads – just beautiful!
    What I love most about appliqué is its versatility, you can do almost anything.

  52. I love applique, it is relaxing, creative and just fun. You can follow a pattern or make it totally your own by changing colors and layout. Her pattern is gorgeous, would love to win this.

  53. The best part is not doing any math and not losing all the fabric in seam allowances.

  54. I love applique and do needle turn. I have only done a little machine applique but want to do more. Love the color of the threads.

  55. I am not crazy about the process of applique but I sure do love the results! Applique work is always a labor of love for me–and there are SO many patterns I adore.

  56. Annie, nice to read of your journey from Call Center life back to sewing/quilting.
    I love applique for precision or wonkiness (where I can hide my crooked edging under some 28WT Aurifil). Thank you !

  57. My favorite thing about applique is that it is much more forgiving than piecing. I also love how a piece comes alive once the applique “pops” off the background. I love those colors in both the fabrics and threads!

  58. i love the gorgeous designs you can only achieve with applique and especially using wool.

  59. Thank you for a beautiful interview with Annie Smith. I’m not a great hand appliquer but I do love to machine applique. I have yet to try the 28 weight Aurifil thread but I love Aurifil.

  60. I’ve done much applique and what I’ve done was by machine. Great interview and thanks for the chance to win this awesome prize! 🙂

  61. I love being able to sit with my husband and work in detail on a quilt, it’s the best of both worlds.

  62. I love the results: pretty colors and designs that you can copy or alter any way you want!

  63. Applique is my favourite quilting technique. I love it so much because it’s so easy to take my applique work with me. I find it very relaxing, almost meditative. It’s good for my soul!

  64. I adore appliqué, even tho I havent done much of it, I seem to have found a niche for myself…I love the creativity of appliqué and its versatility. I feel like no matter what design you have with appliqué you can make the design speak of your own heart… revealing your true nature… it is an art all in itself.

  65. I absolutely LOVE applique and prefer it to all other methods. I love the look of it and detail that can be achieved with applique. I applique by hand and love to add embroidery details and feeling the fabric and threads in my hands.

  66. I love the colors in this collection! I love using appliqué to make designs that would just be too fussy to piece. I have several quilts planned that will make more extensive use of appliqué, but I didn’t know until now to check out the 28 wt thread. I am a total convert to your 50 wt thread… it works so well in my machine!

  67. I like applique as you can get more realistic effects with it. My preferred method is traditional or needle turn applique.

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