If you’ve been hanging with us here at Aurifil for a while, chances are that you’ve visited our website a few times. We’ve had the same images featured on our site for years — perhaps 5 or more — so we decided it was a good year for a bit of a makeover! We’re still fixing up a few areas of the site, but are so incredibly pleased to have launched a new series of images on both our main page and our individual thread product pages. Check us out, here!
The process began earlier this year, with a search for the perfect photographer. From the beginning, we set our sights on Aurifil Artisan Kitty Wilkin of Night Quilter. We’ve officially worked with Kitty for 2 years, but she has been a dedicated Aurifil user much longer than that, working with a variety of thread weights in a wide range of creative projects.
Kitty has a very distinct photography style and we’ve always loved scrolling through her Instagram feed. Her images are clear and natural, captured with a careful eye for detail and all of the beauties of life in between.
She’s been photographing projects for the Quilter’s Planner and recently started up a quilt photography business, so we knew that the time was right. We asked and Kitty graciously accepted and we all did a little happy dance. 😉
From there, we had a handful of team meetings to discuss colors and themes and sent Kitty the largest, most fabulous box of thread that anyone anywhere has probably ever received. Aurifil’s Creative Director, Erin Sampson met with Kitty for a planning session (they share a home state!) at a wonderful quilt shop called Alewives Fabrics in Nobleboro, ME (Thanks, Rhea!) and then Kitty was off and running. She handled props, themes, and styling and completely rocked it.
Images were delivered in July and we couldn’t have been more thrilled. Kitty knocked it out of the park and now that we can see the images in action, we feel about 100x more classy than we did a week ago. We have to offer our sincere thanks to Kitty for her beautiful work! 🙂
We also got to chat with her a bit about her love for Aurifil, her foray into creative photography, and her love of photographing in the wild!
How did you first discover Aurifil and what makes you such an Aurifil fan?
Back when I was first getting into quilting and beginning to blog about my process, using the old thread passed down to me from grandparents and an occasional new spool of whatever thread I saw at Joann Fabrics, I saw a tweet by Alex Veronelli about a project a quilt blogger had made with the thread he had sent her, and I boldly tweeted a reply: “If Aurifil is ever looking for another quilter-blogger to supply with gorgeous colors of thread, I’m your gal!” Much to my surprise, Alex DMed me asking for my address and sent me my very first Aurifil thread and color card. (I blogged about it here back in 2014!) Not only did the thread feel luxurious compared to the 20+ year old thread I had been using (not to mention wayyyyy less lintier in my machine and countless other ways it was clearly superior), but receiving the thread when I was a lone blogger with probably 10 readers before the time of Instagram and other social media was a much needed boost to my own feelings of worth. I felt like Alex believed in my potential, and in that simple gesture he opened a door into the quilting world that before that moment I didn’t even know existed. I’ve been using Aurifil since and it’s never let me down. Not only is the quality and diversity of thread offerings from Aurifil stellar, but the business and people behind it are generous and kind as well.
What is your go-to weight and color?
I’d have to say 50wt 2600-Dove is my go-to weight and color. I call it my panacea thread since it blends with everything for piecing and hand-stitching, and always seems to work as a quilting choice, too!
Do you have particular threads that you tend to use for your favorite techniques?
I use 50wt threads for piecing: nearly always in 2600-Dove on my machine for general piecing, and in coordinating colors for hand stitched English paper piecing. I love how there always seems to be a perfect thread color match for every project. I use 12wt threads for embroidery since I love the substantial, silky look of the stitches. I also use 12wt thread for hand quilting. I don’t make bags or pouches often, but I like to use 40wt or 28wt thread for finishing details to give the stitches a bit of an extra pop. I’ve also been known to throw 40wt and 28wt thread into the quilting mix when quilting a quilt, too!
When did you first dive into creative photography and how does it complement your textile craft?
As long as I can remember, I’ve loved photography. I’ve always been the one left behind on hiking trails because I’m on my belly photographing some tiny mushrooms or flowers, or capturing the light filtering through the tree branches. When I first began quilting, my blog was a perfect way to connect with the quilting community, so I began photographing my process as well as the small details of my makes to share in my blog posts. I always tried to share a look at my project from varied perspectives, trying to showcase specific details with the photos. Naturally, the beauty of nature worked its way into my photos, both because without a gorgeous indoor studio space, full quilt photos always needed to happen outside, but also because I often found quilt inspiration in the colors and beauty in nature, and what better way to present the resulting creation than out in the wild? When the opportunity presented itself for me to combine my love of nature photography with my love of quilting by photographing all of the quilts whose patterns were included in the 2017 Quilter’s Planner in the wilds of Maine, I dove even deeper into finding the perfect natural location for a variety of quilts and quilted projects and began my quilt photography business. It’s a fun challenge to try to find a location in nature that helps complement a particular color, texture, vibe, or geometric design in each different quilty project. I think that combining quilts with the wild beauty of the natural world can help the tie the world of textile craft in with its origins. Plus, how can you go wrong with gorgeous quilts surrounded by gorgeous nature?
Do you have any favorite locations for outdoor photography?
This is a bit of a tricky question, since a lot of times a particular quilt “asks” for a particular location or aesthetic, and whenever I find that perfect match, that location is my current favorite! That said, I have found some gorgeous spots around Acadia National Park, and the Barred Island Preserve in Stonington, Maine is one of my new favorite spots for just about anything! Two of the projects included in the 2019 Quilter’s Planner were photographed there, so you can see for yourself !
What did you love most about this particular assignment — photographing Aurifil threads for a bit of a re-brand?
This assignment was particularly fun because I got to focus on a much smaller scale than when I’m photographing a full sized quilt. Detail shots have always been my favorites, especially when playing with depth and balance, and making sure the spools of thread were the focus of the photo while creating different moods and complementary surrounding vibes was quite fun. I also was able to pull in a lot of nature’s beauty from my yard and gardens, while still maintaining the crisp clean overall aesthetic of the white background. Talk about the best of all worlds!
Do you have a favorite prop or layout of spools?
Oooooh gosh! That’s a tough one! I am a big fan of monochromatic colors, so I quite like the 40wt blue and Lana wool pink photos and their layouts, but I also had a fun time with the steampunk-inspired monofilament photo! As for favorite props, the white ceramic unicorn bookend and triangular planter were new additions to my props for this assignment, and I’m really loving the whimsical yet sophisticated vibe they add! Similarly to my answer for my favorite photo shoot location for full quilt photos, my favorite prop is the one that best jives with the subject of the photo and makes the composition sing!
For others looking for fabulous product photography, are you taking on new jobs and how can interested parties find you?
I am taking on new jobs, so interested parties can see my work at nightquilter.com or on social media (mostly Instagram) @nightquilter or can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you SO much, Kitty! We just adore working with you! <3