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.
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.
THREAD COLLECTION DETAILS
100% Aurifil Cotton, 12 Large Spools, 40wt (1094yds/spool)
2260, 2692, 2630, 2625, 2021, 5024
4012, 2975, 2335, 1158, 6726, 2370
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.
Who or what has been your greatest creative inspiration?
Nature and beautiful bright batik fabrics.
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.
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.
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.
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!
ABOUT 4TH & 6TH DESIGNS
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Barbara 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.
ABOUT ISLAND BATIK
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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.