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.
THREAD COLLECTION DETAILS
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!
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]