Stitching Pathways

Happy Sunday! We’re excited to feature beloved Aurifil Designer Wendy Sheppard here on Auribuzz today in celebration of her new book, Stitching Pathways. We adore Wendy and are ever in awe of her machine quilting prowess. This new book of hers is absolutely wonderful and promises to be a tremendous guide for new and experienced quilters alike. We hope that you enjoy the sneak peek! Don’t forget to enter into the giveaway at the end of the post! You could be the proud recipient of Wendy’s book + her Aurifil 50wt Collection, Subtle Strings.

Thank you, Wendy!

Hello my fellow Aurifil thread lovers!  I hope you have been well, and have been creating amazing things with the your favorite Aurifil threads!

I began using Aurifil threads about 11 years ago when I started delving into domestic machine quilting.  Back then, I used exclusively the Mako 50wt cotton threads.  I can honestly say, if it weren’t for Aurifil, I wouldn’t have enjoyed domestic machine quilting as much as I have all these years  — experience and results.

I started sharing my tips and tricks for working on a domestic machine early in my quilting journey, and they are known as Thread Talks on my blog.  I am always thrilled to hear from quilters how a trick or tip I shared helps them in their own quilting journey.

Over the years, various quilting friends have asked me to publish my Thread Talk posts as a book.  Many friends expressed that, “It would be nice to not have to go search for a particular post on your blog and just have a book where everything is that I can browse through.”

I am incredibly happy to share with you that such a book is now available — meet my 3rd book published by Landauer Publishing/Fox Chapel Publishing, Stitching Pathways.

A few fun facts about my book:

1. Stitching Pathways won the Silver Winner in the Craft category in Foreword’s 2017 INDIES awards. The INDIES honors the best in independent publishing.  Since this is a friend-to-friend book, this win also goes to all my quilting friends.

2. Though projects are included, this book is not instructional in nature. It is a friend-to-friend book, with a quilty flavor.  I was insistent that this book take on an informal tone in style and layout. A sweet quilting friend recently wrote and told me the book read like a novel.

There is a sprinkling of “My 2 cents” all over the book with just a little blurb about something that might spark a lightbulb moment for the reader, or a trick that might solve a source of frustration in the quilting experience.

3. This book addresses a very commonly asked question of “how do I know where to go when I am just doing this free-motion-quilting on the fly?” I think sometimes quilters have this impression that once they are quilting at their machine, they just have to keep going and going.  My answer is always, if you aren’t sure where to go next, just take a breather.

In my book showing the stitching pathways (thus the name) of my various go-to quilting motifs (more than 25 of them!), breathing points are introduced!  So, you would do quilt and stop briefly at the breathing points, and breath and survey, before moving on to the next pathway.  I think that takes away much of the stress for a beginning domestic machine quilter. I have found the breathing points to be revolutionary in my own quilting journey.

4. In this book, I also share a never-shared-before trick on how to get started drawing/quilting feather plumes! If you have known me for any length of time, you know I love feathers.  It was the sole reason that I pushed myself to learn to quilt on my home machine years ago.  It’s a bit strange, I know… I learned how to quilt feathers first, and then went back to learn to quilt the other motifs.

As I mentioned before, using Aurifil threads made me a very happy machine quilter! What thread you use REALLY does matter!  I highly recommend that beginners start with the 50wt.  In fact, I curated a collection of my go-to colors that I use in quilting my own quilts.  A few years ago, I started experiementing quilting with subtle colors on my quilts — because I got tired of just using white, beige, and light brown to quilt when there are so many other more exciting colors out there!  To that end, my Subtle Strings collection was introduced.

A free quilt-along project using my Subtle Strings threads is offered on Auribuzz — Thread Journey. You can easily follow along and make and quilt this quilt!

It’s been so fun to talk machine quilting with you.  There’s more to come in 2019!  So stay tuned.  Meanwhile, the more you quilt, the better you will get!


To enter-to-win a copy of Wendy’s Stitching Pathways AND her Subtle Strings collection, please leave us a comment on this post letting us know quilting techniques you’re most excited to work on. Entry will close at 11:59pm on Saturday, September 29 and a winner will be announced here on Monday, October 1. This giveaway is open to all of our International friends!

QBV03_PieceBlock_12_crop_smallWebsite — Instagram
Originally from Southeast Asia, Wendy came to the US for her tertiary education.  After her degrees in Chemical Engineering, she worked in research in a wind tunnel for a spell.  Nowadays, she is a stay/work-at-home Mom to a 7 year old.  Wendy’s designs have been featured in major quilting publications, both home and abroad.  She is also an author for Landauer Publishing, as well as an online quilting instructor.  She is passionate about encouraging quilters to enjoy their quilting journey.  During her free time, she loves to read history, and indulges in hand needlework.

ABOUT SUBTLE STRINGS: (Wendy’s 2015 Aurifil Thread Collection)

12 Large Spools of 100% Aurifil Cotton, 50wt
Colors included:
2310 – 2847 – 4060 – 2130 – 2715 – 5021
2210 – 2510 – 2886 – 2326 – 2423 – 5014


  1. I love machine quilting, and would really like to learn more creative ways to fill in backgrounds. I have gotten into a rut of always using the same old deigns. I would also love to be able to make the beautiful feathers pictured here.

  2. Wendy’s “Stitching Pathways” is a winner!! There is “sew” much info loaded into one publication. Wendy is a wonderful teacher and an inspiration to all. 😊❤️

  3. I finally buttoned up my skills on doing free motion designs of all kinds, but when I went to do smaller fillers I struggled a little. So I am working on that right now. I guess I was focused more on mastering the the designs themselves and my free motion skills but they where just larger scale. I don’t know why I am struggling to do tiny fillers but I am. Maybe it’s my thread?

  4. It is always a gift to share ideas and learn from others. Have been long arm quilting for 25 yrs and want to fine tune and expand on domestic sit down quilting skills.

  5. THis book looks excellent. I still need help with feathers ! Thank you for the chance to win a copy.

  6. I am so happy to see the publication of this book. Wendy is such an inspiration to me. I love her quilts and her quilting.

  7. Where do I start? LOL! I would love to get more comfortable with quilting on my domestic machine and introduce colors! This book would be perfect!

  8. Wendy is an amazing designer, and Master freemotion quilter, not to mention an excellent teacher and author. I have learned a lot from her books, classes, as well as tips she shares on her delightful and inspirational blog. I still want to pursue learning more from her FMQ teachings, as well as practice FMQ with 12 wt Aurifil on my Bernina.

  9. Where do I start? LOL! I would love to get more comfortable with quilting on my domestic machine and introduce colors! This book would be perfect! It would make my heart happy to win.

  10. I am just starting to quilt using my machine, so I would love to learn how to do the pebbles and circles. I can see them being very useful!

  11. I enjoy FMQ but I need to practice more between projects. When FMQ is going well it is so rewarding but when things start going wrong it can be very stressful.

  12. I have always hand quilted my quilts, and have only done the very simplest machine quilting. I would love to learn more about machine quilting so I could do more of it.

  13. I love machine quilting! It’s so relaxing to me. I am usually so excited to finish piecing to get to the actual quilting. I would love to learn more and to get better at it!

  14. Such beautiful colours! Seriously, I really need to move beyond the ditch and cross-hatching. This book is exactly what I need!

  15. I have attempted free motion quilting but got frustrated. I do use my walking foot and do straight lines and a few curves. Would love to have Wendy’s book to try FMQ again. Love her designs!

  16. I saw this project somewhere else. Don’t remember where or when but would love to make it. Also do want this collection of threads. Thanks for the opportunity!!

  17. What an AWESOME book!! LOVE the Quilts & quilting Wendy does! (Her Blog is Awesome a follower of hers…) I am new to FMQ & need all the help I can get lol..specially with nerves!! giggle… & to learn to make leaves & flowers! I would love to win her book & thread collection…thank you for the chance!!

  18. Thanks for such a great giveaway. I have not been brave enough to try free motion yet so love the idea of breathing spots. Seems silly to be excited about a place to stop but… 🙂

  19. Like Windy I started with feathers, then I went on to paisleys and spirals. Now I’d like to branch into merging all of this effortlessly into mctavishing.

  20. Right now I only do in the ditch and some echo quilting. I’m looking forward to trying anything else above that! This would be a great book to learn from. Thanks for the opportunity!

  21. I want to learn to be a better free motion quilter. I love all the different spirals. I also like walking foot quilting.

  22. Your feathers are amazing! I need more instruction and lots of practice. Maybe learning a few tricks would help. I do use Auriful thread, have for years. Great thread!

  23. I’ve never attempted feathers, but would someday (maybe soon) love to give those a try. In the meantime, I’m working on variations of orange peels, my favorite quilting design. I love how they are both modern and trad, and seem to be adaptable to so many quilts.

  24. I usually stick in the ditch or make Xs in square blocks. I do basic free motion but I want to learn to make more uniform designs like feathers.

  25. I’ve been working on “quilting” on my domestic machine for the past few months and I’ve been having fun, however, the feathers are the most difficult for me. This book looks like it would be very helpful in my new adventure!

  26. I want to do more than straight line quilting but I need to learn and practice more. This book is a winner, just what I need.

  27. I really want to learn new skills with machine quilting in my domestic home machine! I would love to learn how to do feathers and other motifs.

  28. I would love to improve my machine quilting. I have followed Wendy since the first of her blog. I have learnt a lot from her. Her daughter is very cute also.

  29. I would love to become comfortable with any quilting that isn’t a straight line! ;0) This looks like a lovely book and the threads are of course divine!!

  30. I am very interested in Wendy’s heavy quilting to bring out a shape from the background, like the cat and the bunny. First, I need to practice those kind of feathers and pepples.

  31. I just want to get over the hurdle to try free motion quilting on my home machine. I know I just need to make some quick quilt sandwiches and start practicing, but I just haven’t done it. I think reading Wendy’s book will give me the inspiration and push that I need.

  32. This looks like an excellent book for we who quilt on our domestic machines. The concept of breathing points is terrific! Going to go read more from Wendy.

  33. I love Aurifil thread too. I am not very good at machine quilting but I have to admit I want get right to the quilt and bypass all the practicing. Your book may be the direction I need to improve.

  34. I’m new to FMQ. I’d like to learn how to make swirls – in & out. I’m not a huge fan of feathers. This book looks wonderful.

  35. Book looks wonderful. I am a very long term aurifil user and love the thread in all it’s glorious options. I do need more practice on background fillers and how to transition between motifs. Practice makes progress, on I go.

  36. OMG, love everything about Wendy’s quilting, from the patterns to her choice of treads. Would love to win; so excited to be able to enter. Aurifil is my favourite thread, too.

  37. Feathers and fills on a domestic. I have a long arm, but when I make small wall hanging-sized quilts it would be simpler, really, to quilt those on my domestic machine. Wendy’s work is impeccable and I love her blog. She is gracious and sharing!

  38. Wendy’s work is vibrant, my kind of quilter. And I just adore using Aurifil for all my stiching. Aurifil always.

    So, I must learn how to breathe during FMQ. And, where to go next. I just never think of taking a break; just too nervous.

  39. My next quilting challenge is to try an easy way to get a trapunto look. I kind of have a plan but I’ll bet Wendy’s book has some tips. I love the fine texture of aurifil thread. Wendy’s designs are fantastic❗️❗️

  40. The only quilting I’ve done on my machine is using the quilting foot, so everything was straight lines – nothing difficult. I haven’t made a whole lot of quilts, but I continue to work on them and will definitely give machine quilting on my home machine a try! Thanks so much for the inspiration!

  41. I want to achieve smooth looking curves and circles, then echo and, of course, the feathers!!! Thank you!!
    Aurifil has given me confidence!!!

  42. Oh I always have loved stitching feathers and swirls so they are my go to design. I have been following Wendy’s journey for a long time. She is always so inspiring and encouraging!

  43. I am open to any and all techniques. I am just now able to relax and not be concerned about how my free motion quilting turns out – even if I mess up – it’s going to turn out according to where I am at this moment according to my experience and technique. I am always open to learning from others.

  44. I am always looking to figure out “what’s next?” I am always challenged to come up with what to quilt and where. I love the look of Wendy’s new book. Thanks for sharing the great giveaway too!

  45. I usually use walkingfoot for quilting so mostly there are straihgt lines. Just recently I began to practice FMQ but there is a long way in front of me to reach confidence and move from practice to using FMQ for finishing a quilt. Wendy’s book looks fantastic and would be a great help to achive my goals as a quilter.

  46. I would love to learn to have more confidence to do feathers, circles and finish my own quilts. I love the subtle colors!

  47. Congrats on the newest book, Wendy! Always loved your quilting motifs and how-to. It would be great to have this book. Thanks for the chance to win. I am stuck when it comes to feathers and sometimes traveling betrween blocks.

  48. I’ve never taken ANY classes on FMQ. I would like to! Been doing it via YouTube for 5 years now. Got to get a copy of this book, no question, love Wendy’s work-period!

  49. Your book looks very informative, Wendy! I love feathers, but haven’t quite mastered them. Maybe your book will help! Thanks for the opportunity to win!

  50. I tend to do leaves, swirls, stars, and other simple shapes like that, because my little domestic doesn’t like bigger quilts. Jadahlgr at Yahoo dot Com

  51. This book looks like it could be a wonderful go to for inspiration for any level of quilting experience.

  52. The technique that I’m interested in learning is the “stop and breathe!” I’ve never done that – just tried to keep moving. That is the best FMQ advice I’ve ever seen!

  53. Wend’s book sounds like my kind of book. Like a friend giving helpful encouraging advice! Love to learn feathers and any unique motifs. What a wonderful giveaway! Thank you!

  54. I would love to learn more background fillers and how to perfect my feathers. This book would certainly help me with both of those things and so much more! Congratulations 🎉 🎉 on your new book, it’s beautiful!!

  55. So far I have resisted machine quilting, but your blog is about to change my mind. I would love to read your new book, and possibly start to quilt. Looks more realistically doable this way.

  56. It is a pleasure to meet Wendy. My quilt journey is taking me to art quilting and wool appliqué. Yes, they are different worlds, but each day has a new challenge. Using thread to make the work sing is what they have in common and this is where my learning will grow.

  57. I look forward to learning more about feathers and adding to my very limited free motion quilting patterns. I enjoy Wendy’s quilt patterns and her blog so I know her book will be wonderful!

  58. I would love to make the flower with all the circles. I am just starting to machine quilt. I’m very excited to learn.

  59. I have been following Wendy’s blog for my quilting journey and have learned so much. She is sew generous with her tips and free patterns to help us learn FMQ. Thread talk was invaluable to my progress FMQ. Thanks Wendy:) Now feathers are my specialty and my next big project will be a wholecloth to showcase the quilting.

  60. Your work is amazing. The colors are beautiful. I would so love to free motion quilt feathers. I think quilting in color would be gorgeous .

  61. Oh I am going to have to cross my fingers really hard for this one. I have admired your designs and your abilities for a long long time and would love to have this book. I guess, realistically, I should write a letter to Santa, as you are likely to have lots and lots of people who feel the same way.

  62. I like your statement on taking a breather, I’m one of those that think I have to just keep going to finish, one reason why I only do my own quilting on placemats and runners. Excited to try something bigger.

  63. Congratulations on your new book Wendy. Your quilts and beautiful quilting are an inspiration to me. I would love to learn more about quilting feathers.

  64. All of my Free Motion Quilting needs work. I know they say practice, practice practice but really at some point shoudn’t one get better?

  65. Wendy’s quilting is beautiful! I am a 50wt Aurifil fan but am always interested in learning new tips and techniques!

  66. Wendy has been one of my wuilting heroes for years. Her background fills intrigue me, and I would like to learn them.

  67. I actually would love to learn free motion quilting on my domestic machine. So far, I have only quilted using straight lines – stitch in the ditch or cross hatching. Thanks!

  68. I have tried feathers a few times but not very successfully so would love to become more proficient. Thank you for the chance to win. Wendy’s work is truly amazing and inspirational

  69. I love Wendy’s work – she has been such an inspiration. I continue to improve on my feather stitching. Congratulations, Wendy, on a beautiful book!

  70. I so want to learn how to quilt on my machine. So far we do not communicate at all. Even the stitch in the ditch needs help.

  71. Wendy’s quilting is awesome! I’ve learned so much from her. I want to make feathers and background filling. Aurifil threads are my favorites now.

  72. This looks like an awesome book! I get very intimidated when it comes the quilting part and tend to stay with a straight stitch or stitch in the ditch – this looks like it would be a big help. I love Aurifil threads! Thanks so much for the chance to win 🙂

  73. Wendy is so creative! I just love her work and I am especially envious of that awesome Cat – wow Pebbling is one of those free motion skills I haven’t mastered well enough but that Cat is just so pretty I may have to try again!!! Thanks Wendy for such great inspiration!!!

  74. Your book looks like just the ticket to get out of the rut of straight stitching and stitch in the ditch. So inspiring. Thanks for opportunity to win.

  75. I would love to focus more on FMQ on my domestic machine. I can do simple things but a cohesive, detailed quilt is beyond me – especially feathers and repetive designs (like a panto but on my own).

  76. I have only used straight lines and sticht in a dicht, i would love to learn more techniques. Thank for giveaway.

  77. I am a beginning level quilter, so I need to work on all my quilting techniques. I am inspired by her quilting and her showing the path in her quilting diagrams.

  78. I am new to machine quilting, and don’t quite know where to begin. This book looks amazing, and very user friendly. I read Wendy’s blog periodically, and enjoy seeing what her current projects are.

  79. Wendy Sheppard is amazing. I love her work and would really make good use of her new book. As a beginner quilter I need all the advice that I can get and Wendy is fantastic in sharing her knowledge. What an exciting book to be able to own!

  80. I love the look of feathers but am not yet proficient at creating them. Wendy’s comments about breathing points while quilting are very interesting…I want to know more! I can’t leave a comment without mentioning Aurifil…my machine and I love it!

  81. I have been working on precision in my piecing – trying for less cut-off points. Next up has to be quilting my own quilts on my domestic machine- I have plenty of books but I need to add this one——and I love Aurifil thread!!!!!

  82. Still practicing my Free Motion quilting on scraps…..I love Wendy’s Feathers Plumes so much. Perhaps I’ll keep practicing on those. Thank you so much for the insight. Congrats on the Silver Win…… that’s outstanding!

  83. I’m a beginning free motion machine quilter and I’d love to be successful at quilting feathers that look like Wendy’s!

  84. I also love feathers so would love to get started making them in my free motion quilting. I am fairly new at free motion quilting so the idea of breathing points is a very useful one.

  85. Any design or shape that is fmq. I too, really enjoy incorporating the thread/color of the stitching. Really working on circles/pebbles and feathers. Practice, practice, practice!

  86. I’m always interested in new ways to accomplish lovely machine quilting — and boy, do I always need help! I adore feathers, and I’ve recently also developed an interest in using rulers in machine quilting. I’m constantly puzzled about what sorts of fillers to use in which spaces, all of which tells me your book would be very helpful!

  87. I’d really like to try echo quilting with a trapunto like effect – where the center (shape) appears to be raised.

  88. Wendy’s feather plumes are absolutely gorgeous! This is the technique I would most like to work on. Thanks for a beautiful and inspiring post!

  89. Want to learn to do feathers that are cleaner and neater!!! This book looks like a real winner for home quilters!

  90. I mostly do straight line quilting (with aurifil of course), I love the effect. I’m discouraged by my attempts at freemotion quilting and I could sure use the tips and tricks in this book😍

  91. I enjoy the freedom of free-motion but I am always stuck on what design should be used. I love Wendy’s inspiration!

  92. Wendy is a true artist! Would love to work on feathers and curves. Maybe more natural type motifs. Wonderful giveaway both her new book and her threads are luscious!

  93. Learning each individual motif is still something I’m working on but when I look at a quilt I often wonder how do I pull it all together, that is something I’m still trying to figure out and since the topic is so subjective it’s a hard concept to grasp!

  94. I need to work on something that can’t be described as meander and loop! I would be really excited to master feathers of any sort.

  95. I’m pretty new at quilting and I’ve only machine quilted one quilt so far. I did all straight lines because I’m not too sure how to do anything else. I’d love to win Wendy’s book to help me move on to something other than straight line quilting.

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