We’ve been following along with the gorgeous cross stitch by Susan Ache for years. She has a remarkable eye for color and makes those tiny little stitches seem effortless in their perfection. She details her process on her well-loved Instagram account, with over twenty thousand followers looking for beauty and inspiration. We were lucky enough to meet her years ago and were beyond thrilled when she expressed interest in working with us to help inspire stitchers around the world to embrace the practice that she so adores.
Susan’s debut collection features 10 small spools of Aurifil’s 6-strand 100% Cotton floss in a lovely range of holiday colors. She charted up a gorgeous Christmas sampler, available to all who purchase her threads via a QR code on the label. We are so excited to see these samplers pop up here and there as we draw closer to this new holiday season and are so grateful to have such a fine floss champion in Susan!
THREAD COLLECTION DETAILS
Little Quaker Christmas
100% Aurifil Cotton, 10 Large Spools, Aurifloss (18yds/spool)
1231 – 2886 – 1147 – 5016 – 2140
2420 – 5002 – 2255 – 2270 – 2250
What first drew you to to the world of sewing and quilting?
My very first quilt was a Christmas gift to my mother, I didn’t have a pattern, I knew I wanted red and white and I knew I wanted embroidery. I spent months embroidering red fruits and pies onto white muslin and then went to my local quilt shop to see if they could reach in my brain for the rest of what I wanted this quilt to look like. I had the vision, but, just didn’t have the knowledge to go about getting to the end. Low and behold, my mother still uses the quilt on her kitchen table just like I pictured it in my mind. Not perfect by any stretch, but, it is exactly what I wanted it to be!
Who or what has been your greatest creative inspiration?
Inspiration comes from everywhere for me. I have often said that my best vacations are on islands and I am sure it’s because I am drawn to those washed out soft vintage colors. I collect coffee table books of places and things I love and often refer to them when coming up with color plans for anything I do. I have been known to take fabric in for color matches at my local paint store. I love to collect paint chips, and give me a couple of hours at the hardware store and I have bundles of “future” color projects all stacked up.
One of my favorite places to go is the farmers market, the colors of fruits and vegetables get me every single time. I know the most vendors don’t plan their color placement of cartons of fruits and vegetables, but sometime the colors side by side will stop me in my tracks. I also take random pictures just of a color and what it is next to so that I can remember that it was a cool combination that I probably would not have thought of had I not been in that spot. And, never underestimate the power of social media. Just one picture can stop me in my tracks and it doesn’t even have to be fabric or stitching related. Pretty pictures of anything can be inspirations for everything.
What first drew you to the practice of cross stitch?
Cross Stitch has been a part of my life for about a million years. I started when it Aida cloth was just about the only fabric offered……that lasted for years. At some point, cross stitch just took a back seat and then years ago I was re-introduced to it using linen, over dyed floss and not using a hoop. Since it had been so long between, it was like learning a craft from the very beginning. Not using a hoop allows me to actually stitch faster since I am using more of a sewing technique.
My very first Quaker Sampler was “Mary Wigham” I feel in love with those motifs and couldn’t stop thinking of them and how I would love to make one to match my house. I think that was the first time I went off the grid for changing colors in all things cross stitch. My thinking was, I spend so much time stitching these, I certainly want to be able to use them in my personal space. From that moment on, I was hooked on Quaker Samplers and going rebel with my color choices.
When did you first discover Aurifil threads and what do you love most about them?
I remember the exact moment I saw Aurifil threads, it was for sewing. My friend said that I would use this and never go back to anything else, that was a ton of years ago and I haven’t ever gone back to anything else. And, then one day, I saw for the first time, embroidery floss on a spool, say what??!?!?! Are you kidding me, it was the greatest invention EVER. No more big wadded pile of floss to have to dig through and I hadn’t at that time even tried the floss. I just was hooked on the idea of the spools. So, I found a great little online shop right out of Georgia, her name is Jean and it is Pumpkinvine Corner. She carries all of the colors and I went through and made a $50.00 order and got a personal thank you and she shipped just as fast as I hit the pay button. She is my forever go to floss enabler….not only for service but for having all of the colors….one stop shopping! The moment I tried my new colors, I was hooked, there wasn’t any shredding, pilling, or that weird tangling that usually happens with floss. I have never looked back, the only supplements I add now are silk threads and if Aurifil made those, I would never buy another brand again.
Then, there was the Alex touring Florida. Oh man, that was like going to meet a Rock Star. I looked to see what the closest speaking engagement to my house was and it happened to be in the town my aunt lived, so I grabbed my mother for the long drive, so she could visit and I could meet Alex. If there is one thing that every needleworker should do is go and see Alex and his presentation. I learned more about threads in one day than I have ever known in my lifetime. And, the samples he had were tremendous….to see how the different threads worked on different textures of fabric was just incredible to me. I noticed right then and there that there wasn’t one sample with cross stitch. I felt at that moment that cross stitchers were being cheated out of how cool it is to work with these threads. By this time I had used exclusively Aurifil in all of my projects and was posting on Instagram and getting questions about them all the time. I made a little project bag of all of the threads suitable for cross stitch and sent it to Alex to be used in his presentations. To this day, I still don’t think people realize how many colors and flosses are available to use in cross stitch projects. I could go on and on about the flosses and how wonderful they are, but the most important advice I could give is for people to buy some of their favorite colors either in the wool, 12 wt or the embroidery and just start stitching.
Have you worked with other techniques of which you’re particularly fond?
I consider cross stitch my nighttime sport, and quilting is my daytime sport, and when I really feel like doing something different, I will pull out the light box and trace some embroidery. I need to concentrate more on that tho, and it isn’t as relaxing to me while watching tv as cross stitch only because I have to be more aware of my stitching lines. And, even with embroidery, I love a fun sampler, it’s the whole idea of changing patterns.
What excites you most about this collection?
This collection is what I think of when I think of Christmas and stitching. I love having ranges of colors while I stitch so that I can make choices. All of these colors are so very pretty by themselves but, as a group they certainly give you a holiday feeling. Auditioning colors was the best part and in the end, I do what I love to do and that is go to my fabrics and start a matching process of colors. Narrowing down the colors was the hardest and I think that the end result does say Merry Christmas and that’s really what I wanted this collection to say and make people happy with one box for any kind of holiday stitching.
To enter-to-win the Little Quaker Christmas Collection, including free Little Quaker Christmas Sampler, 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! The Giveaway will run from now until 11:59pm on Saturday, August 4 and we’ll select one random winner per week for a total of 4 winners! Good luck!
Instagram — Susan’s Book
A love of color, makes it is easy for Susan to grab inspiration from her native Florida surroundings. With no idea other than knowing she wanted embroidery and nine patches in her first quilt, a new world opened up to this mom of now five grown children. Self taught and many hours of reading about the makings of a quilt and quilt blocks has made this an a lifelong passion. Susan is always searching for new and fun ways to show off as many colors as she can in a quilt. Most of her quilts are a creative impulse from trips to the garden center, a photograph, or browsing through paint chip selections. “I really never see just the quilt, I seem to see the quilt in the room that it belongs in”. Working in a quilt store for years helped to pursue that passion of color and the fabric inspired life she enjoys while she constantly striving to make her next favorite quilt.