We were introduced to the gorgeous designs of Tamara Kate earlier this year, shortly before the release of her debut Aurifil collection, Frolic. We instantly fell in love with her style and have been coveting her fabrics ever since. Frolic was inspired by a Mexican Fiesta, featuring hand-painted critters cavorting in a whimsical flower garden. The designs are sweet, bright, and playful and we could think of about 100 different things that we’d like to make with them! The collection features 19 Cottons + 9 Knits — so much possibility!
Tamara’s coordinating thread collection is a beautiful and bright display of 50wt threads. Versatile and classic, the threads ensure you’ll have everything you need to make any project that your heart desires. There are even TWO spools of our classic white (#2024) for all of your piecing needs!
THREAD COLLECTION DETAILS
100% Aurifil Cotton, 12 Large Spools, 50wt (1422yds/spool)
4020 – 2805 – 6737 – 2865 – 2024 – 2479
2150 – 2277 – 3770 – 2730 – 2780 – 2024
What first drew you to to the world of sewing and quilting?
I learned to sew at a very young age as I grew up with a mom who made most of our clothes. I would love sitting in her room while she sewed, looking through the patterned fabrics or ribbons or button box she kept in her sewing table. She had a collection of vintage lace from my grandmother and great aunts whose designs enthralled me as a child. She dabbled from time to time in most of the needle arts, so I was exposed to embroidery, quilting, needlepoint, applique, etc. throughout my childhood. I was always a pretty creative kid, so I naturally picked up on her passions. It’s a hereditary thing in our family, as my mom learned from her mom and my children, in their turn have both shown an interest in sewing.
Who or what has been your greatest creative inspiration?
While I could list loads of names of creatives from multiple disciplines, I would say that what gets my juices flowing the most is Mother Nature. My eyes are always alert to little details in my surroundings when outdoors… the shapes of leaves, the particular blends of colors in flowers, the fanciful wings of butterflies & plumage of birds. While my memory is pretty poor for most things, I can recall loads of specific details of my natural environment during childhood in Trinidad, from the multitude of types of fern leaves, to the vibrantly colored birds and flowers, to the beautiful (and dangerous) particular hue of pinky-purple of a portuguese man of war washed up on the beach. So many of those younger memories influence what I design today. Especially insects. For whatever reason, I have a thing with bugs.
How did you first connect with Michael Miller and what do you love most about working with them?
I had been designing fabric on Spoonflower for a year when I entered their annual contest to win a contract with a fabric house. I placed third in the contest, but that was enough to have attention drawn to my work (the power of the internet at play) and I received an email from Kathy Miller the following week asking if I’d like to design for them. Michael Miller Fabrics is a dream company to work with. They are very supportive of their licensed designers, are open to our ideas, both from a creative and a business perspective, and they give us the flexibility to produce collections through them as frequently or infrequently as we are able. There is definitely a feeling of family and connectedness there that I love.
Tell us about Frolic. What inspired the designs?
Frolic was inspired by a Mexican fiesta. I wanted to create a whimsical collection that is sweet, bright, happy and playful. Frolic’s main feature, I think, is its saturated colors. The bluest of blues are paired with clear oranges, pinks and greens and are all balanced with a fair dose of clean white that adds lots of fresh air to the mix. Hand-painted critters cavort in a fantasy flower garden where blossoms replace the spines on the back of a hedgehog, where the air is full of petals and where love abounds. The collection includes 19 cottons (including a double border print) and my first lovely, soft knits, 9 in total.
Do you have a favorite project or projects made with the collection?
This is always a tough question for me. I get attached to most projects I sew pretty easily. If I had to choose, I would say it would be the most colorful Frolic project I created, the Over the Mountain Quilt. While it is a very simple, straightforward sew, I love the dynamic visual element created by the use of color and the simple, yet strong inverted “V” formation in the layout. It also made for some fun fussy cutting, highlighting lots of cute creatures.
When did you first discover Aurifil threads and what do you love most about them?
In all honesty, I had never used Aurifil threads before my Frolic collection. All my quilting friends swear by them, but I am almost always sewing to a deadline and need to get projects done in such a short timespan that I usually just run to the closest fabric store and grab a few spools of the appropriate color of whatever polyester thread they have on hand. I really always thought thread was just thread and could not conceive of how a company could do anything to make it better than another. That has all changed. Hands-down, I am a convert. The lustre that Aurifil threads have that I’ve not seen elsewhere is just gorgeous. Even though it is cotton, it looks and feels a bit like silk. I think my favorite quality though is the fact that when I am hand stitching my quilt bindings, the thread does not get twisted and knotted like all that other thread always did. It is truly a lovely product to work with and will always be on my machine from here on in.
How did you go about selecting colors for Frolic and what excites you most about releasing the collection to the world?
Choosing thread colors for Frolic was a no-brainer. I just went with all the rich grounds in the fabric collection, so there are the deepest of blues, through lighter tones to juicy citrus oranges, leafy greens and floral pinks. One variegated softer blue spool adds a little something extra-special and I added 2 spools of white to the collection as there are lots of prints on white grounds in the group and they are an obvious basic that will be quickly used. While the colors are, of course, specific to the Frolic fabric collection, they are also basic colors that will be used frequently by all those who love sewing with full-on color.
What’s next for you?
I am excited to have 2 additional fabric collections for 2017. Words of Wisdom, a small but special collection, largely highlights colors that are used in the Frolic collection, so my thread kit plays double duty. Joy debuted at Fall Quilt Market and will ship to shops in February. This all means I spent most of the year happily sewing away in my studio, something that will continue through the New Year and beyond! You can keep track of my creative happenings on on my blog and on Instagram.
To enter-to-win Tamara’s Frolic thread collection, a bundle of Frolic fabrics by Tamara Kate for Michael Miller, 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 Tuesday, December 12! Winner will be randomly selected and announced here on Wednesday, December 13. Good luck!
Tamara is a quilter, surface designer, illustrator and licensed fabric designer, residing in Montreal. Having spent her youth in the Caribbean plays a large part in Tamara’s design aesthetic. She is greatly inspired by nature, color and pattern and plays on a combination of her children’s current fascinations and her own childhood memories to tell stories through design. She creates work that is fresh, joyous and youthful with a touch of whimsy. Tamara enjoys teaching sewing and design projects, large and small, through both online sources and in-person workshops.
Visit www.kayajoydesigns.com to see her work and latest projects.
** Images, biographical text and interview text by Tamara Serrao