Solstice by Fourth and Sixth Designs

Solstice is the gorgeous new collection by Barbara and Mary of Fourth and Sixth Designs for Island Batik. It was introduced at Spring Quilt Market earlier this year and is just now shipping to stores. We’ve been entranced since the introduction, largely due to the magnificent Block of the Month that was launched to feature the collection. The program is available to shops and Barbara and Mary have created a fantastic series of videos to help participants with new techniques along the way.

Solstice Block of the Month by Fourth and Sixth Designs

Beyond the projects created with these stunning batiks, we’re fairly smitten with the color palette. A good part of our US team is moving swiftly into Winter, rapidly approaching Winter Solstice. These colors speak of Winter walks in the woods, nights by the fire, clean and crisp evergreens, and woodland animals. It makes us feel festive and cozy, everything we want right around this time of year!

We were thrilled to partner with Barbara and Mary on a thread collection to coordinate with the fabrics. They selected 12 gorgeous spools of 40wt thread, the exact colors that they used for the piecing, appliqué, and quilting on their gorgeous quilts.

100% Aurifil Cotton, 12 Large Spools, 40wt (1094yds/spool)
Colors included:
2260, 2692, 2630, 2625, 2021, 5024
4012, 2975, 2335, 1158, 6726, 2370

To view this info on our website, click here. For purchasing, please contact your local Aurifil Dealer.

What first drew you to the world of sewing and quilting? 

Our mother was our first teacher. We are from a family with six children, five girls and one boy. We were each taught to use the sewing machine when we turned ten. Our mother made all of our clothing back then and she was always sewing. If she wasn’t sewing for us she was sewing for an event at school. It has always been in our lives.

Spiced Pears by Fourth and Sixth Designs

Who or what has been your greatest creative inspiration? 
Nature and beautiful bright batik fabrics.

Night Owl by Teri Tope of Tope Creative

When did you first start working together and was it exciting to have the opportunity to collaborate as sisters?
Mary was the owner of a quilt shop and in need of someone to sew shop samples. Barbara didn’t so much as volunteer as she was coerced into the job! The rule was that she could make anything she wanted but she only had a week to complete the project. Customers began requesting the instructions for the things we were making so Mary began jotting down some directions. In a very short time we realized that we were a pattern company. Our name reflects our birth order, Fourth (Barbara) & Sixth ( Mary) Designs.

Snowfall by Fourth and Sixth Designs

What would you say are your individual strengths within the business – have you settled into particular roles? 
We both design. Each one of us may start a project but it’s never truly complete without collaboration. Barbara is the exclusive longarm quilter. Mary is the technical writer. She is also the shipping department because Barbara still quilts for clients full time. We both answer email but phone calls go to Barbara. Piecing projects falls on whomever has the most time in their schedule.

Mod Owl by Sew Kind of Wonderful

Tell us about Solstice. What inspired the designs? 
Living in the Northern hemisphere, Winter solstice marks the shortest day and the longest night of the year. Winter is officially upon us and snow will soon follow. It means outdoor activities like sledding, skiing and snow tubing.

How did the Solstice BOM come together? 
It is based on photographs taken in Barbara’s back yard. The quilt was designed by both  of us.

Do you have a favorite block in the BOM? 
Probably the Geese block because it was the first to be finished and had been an image we wanted to make a quilt out of for a long time.

What do you love most about the design? 
The final composition — we often go through many variations before feeling like we “got it right”. Also, being able to design the batiks for this project made it possible to get exactly the look we wanted.

Barbara with the Solstice BOM quilt in Aurifil’s booth at Houston Quilt Market 2017

Do you have any tips for participants looking to get started? 
Watch our YouTube videos. We show you exactly how to use our appliqué technique and how to do the edge coloring with the Aurifil thread. It is a technique that any quilter can do.

(stay tuned for a series of posts talking about these videos and how to ultilize them — coming in January 2018.)

How did you go about selecting colors for the coordinating Solstice thread collection and what excites you most about releasing the collection to the world? 
All of the thread in this collection was chosen because the colors matched the fabrics perfectly and each thread is used for the appliqué and quilting of this quilt.  One of the many things we love about Aurifil is that you can always find the exact color you need.  We choose a 40wt thread for how beautifully it layers and covers the edges of the appliqué.


To enter-to-win Fourth & Sixth Design’s Solstice thread collection, a bundle of Solstice Fabric by Fourth & Sixth Designs for Island Batik, and a Solstice BOM pattern, click here to head to the Rafflecopter entry page. 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 Thursday, December 14! Winner will be randomly selected and announced here on Friday, December 15. Good luck!

Website — Blog — Facebook — YouTube — Pinterest
Barbara_Mary1-300x199Barbara and Mary are award winning quilt artists and their quilts have been published in many quilting magazines and have been featured in Keepsake Quilting and Clotilde. They were born the fourth and sixth children in a close knit family in south Jersey. Their mother taught these Jersey girls garment sewing at the young age of ten. Skilled in all areas of sewing, Barbara began quilting in 1983 during the long New England winters while her husband attended the University of New Hampshire. She moved to Pennsylvania in 1990 and continued quilting as a hobby. In 2000 she left the corporate world to start her long arm quilting business, Quilted Heirlooms. Mary began quilting in 1992 when she moved to upstate New York. As a stay at home mom, she needed a creative outlet and immediately knew quilting was the answer she was looking for. She began teaching quilting classes in 1993 and eventually opened a quilt shop in 1999. Despite living 300 miles apart, Barbara and Mary began collaborating shortly after the start of their own businesses. This collaboration quickly became a partnership which has grown into the pattern and design company, Fourth & Sixth Designs. In 2008, C&T Publishing released their first book, StrataVarious Quilts. And in 2013 became fabric designers for Island Batik.

Website — Blog — Facebook — Pinterest — Twitter — Instagram
Island Batik is a manufacturer, importer and distributor of cotton batik, rayon batik and hand-printed cotton from Indonesia. Originally established in 1997, Island Batik’s mission is to share the ancient cultural art of batik and hand-dyed fabric with our many valued customers around the world.

*Photos courtesy of Island Batik.


  1. OMGosh, this quilt so speaks to me! I have not previously participated in a block of the month program.

  2. I loved this the first time I saw it. It’s like looking out my back door, and I want to make it to appreciate winter when it’s 100 degrees next summer .

  3. These fabrics are striking! This is a BOM that I would love to do as I am a New Englander myself and love the winter scenes.

  4. I have never done a BOM, but have done mysteries that were clue each month. I love the colors and images in the fabric, and the matching threads.

  5. oh my goodness, these quilts are gorgeous. I have participated in BOM from blogs. Loved them. This is a great interview

  6. I have done a couple block of the months sponsored at a quilt shop. I am definitely in to try this one online. This may be a New England design but living in Minnesota, it looks just the same. Thanks for the chance to win.

  7. I believe that I did 3 BOM’s earlier in my quilting career, done at local quilt shops in NW PA. Thanks for the giveaway!

  8. i have done many BOMs; i really like the ones where you have fabric choices so the finished is unique to you, not the same as everyone elses.

  9. This is such a wonderful collection of fabric, patterns, and thread! I love them! This is one I truly would love to win. So beautiful!!!

  10. Yes I have done some Boms and I count them as part of my treasures. This quilt has been on my wish list since I saw the pattern at the quilt store but the fabric for it! It is wonderful! The log just stands out and the snow! Thank you for the opportunity to hope.

  11. Yes, I have participated in many BOMs. It’s a great way to stay interested in a project and get it completed.

  12. Wow, I love that quilt and the beautiful combination of fabrics! I have never done a BOM but am very tempted to do that one.

  13. HI, no I have not done a BOM; always think I’m too busy>but that’s just an excuse! Must do one! Thanks for sharing!

  14. Oh. My. Gosh. I want to win this so bad. It looks like my backyard right now. We are getting a rare southern snowstorm. Yes, I have made several BOM’s, but none as pretty as this. Thank you for this great giveaway. Merry Christmas.

  15. No BOMs for me yet. I always have too many quilts in progress to devote adequate time to a BOM, but this pattern has my attention. It has every element my mom loves – the geese, the cardinals, and especially her memories of escaping to the outdoors to split some firewood on a cold winter day to escape 5 rowdy little girls who were driving her bonkers indoors!

  16. No I haven’t done any BOM, but would really love to do this one & gift it to my MIL. Reminds me of her late mother’s lake cabin up in northern Minnesota. And another bonus is batiks are absolutely gorgeous.

  17. Wow! Those are gorgeous quilts! I have never done an online BOM, but I have done several through my LQS. Thanks for sharing the awesome giveaway!

  18. Such gorgeous thread and fabric! Love, love the thread colors!! Love the quilts! I have not done a BOM because I want to work on it when I want to work on it. If I have to wait a month for the next block, I will lose interest.

  19. I did one BOM with my local quilt shop and it was so much fun! I looked forward to visiting them every month to collect my new block pattern. It was a social event!

  20. I did a block of the month this year and really enjoyed learning new techniques, definitely doing it again!

  21. This quilt is stunning and each block reminds me of winter memories, especially the Adirondack chairs. I love the gorgeous Solstice fabric and thread collection which make the quilt truly stunning. I have completed several BOMs.

  22. The only BOM programs I have done were wall hanging series. I would love to do this one. I will be on the lookout for a shop selling this one.

  23. The BOM quilt is a beauty. I feed a family of cardinal birds. They grace me with their presence every year and they look spectacular against the winter snow. i have participated in one BOM so far.

    tushay3 (at) yahoo (dot) com

  24. I have started a few, but haven’t finished any of them. Partly because life got in the way, and partly because instructions were not thorough enough for me.

  25. I have participated in a couple of BOM but have only finished one (and that’s not quilted yet!!)….

  26. I’ve done one BOM through my local quilt shop. Though I completed every block, I was not motivated to put them together in the quilt. Now they’re all “orphan” blocks.

  27. This is so pretty. I’ve started a few BOM quilts but haven’t finished any yet. That’s next year’s goal.

  28. I learned how to piece and make quilt tops by participating in BOM’s at one of my local quilt shops.
    It was great to do the BOM’s with two BFF’s .Ten years later we’re still quilting and having fun together:)

  29. I have never done a block of the month club, but now I’m really inspired to. Solstice is so beautiful. Thanks for the opportunity to win this beautiful fabric and thread.

  30. I have done several BOMs in the past but took a break when the LQS stopped hosting one. I still have to get the last blocks in to a top, though. Love the pace of a BOM and seeing the finished project in the end.

  31. I enjoy BOMs, they keep you going as you want to be ready when the next surprise block shows up. This one is beautiful.

  32. Yes, I have participated in several Block of the Month quilt projects online through blogs. I find them to be very fun and especially like seeing what others are doing.

  33. Years ago I did a BOM, long story short the person died half way through and I was stuck with half a quilt. Of course we all felt terrible for the person who died so much so a bunch of us combined our half finished blocks and sent them to her children. Somehow that ruined me on BOM. I love your fabric and quilts. Not my usual colors but they are beautiful.

  34. My BOM list is long, but Solstice has to go to the top! Love the pattern, love the fabrics, and love the idea of videos to help with the quilting and thread painting.

  35. What a great prize. Thank you for the chance to win. I participated in 3 BOMs this year and 2 last year. I enjoy a small project that I can get dne each month. Just have to figure out when to find the time to finish them off completely.

  36. I have done a half dozen or so and really liked them. I’d love to do this one. Each of the different blocks could be a stand-alone quilt as well.

  37. No, I’ve never participated in a block of the month, but I have a kit for one that I hope to make soon. Your Solstice block of the month is absolutely gorgeous!

  38. My first block of the month was actually a block of the day with the 100 blocks, 100 days challenge on IG.

  39. I love the idea of a BOM and have subscribed to and purchased several, but I’ve never actually completed one. This one, though, really speaks to me, and I know I’d make it!

  40. Love the vignettes and color scheme! Also appreciate seeing other designers’ quilts made with the same fabric

  41. I started a couple block of the months but did not finish them all. One of my favorites is a Christmas Block of the Month. Alot of Applique on that one.

  42. I have done three blocks of the month, and so enjoyed learning some quilting skills. I’ve sewed for 50 years but never quilted!

  43. I have only done one BOM and when it was completed, I didn’t like it. It was not nearly as beautiful as these are. I did finish it and donated it to a charity.

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