Glorious Handwork

Part two of our Kaffe Collective thread series features two incredibly creative and artistic women, Liza Prior Lucy and Kim McLean.

The two live on opposite sides of the world, Liza in Pennslyvania and Kim in New South Wales, Australia. While they did get to meet in New York years ago, theirs is a friendship that has grown and blossomed from afar. It is remarkable to see how well two people who live so far apart can work together. Liza and Kim reached out to introduce themselves back in 2017. Both were curious about our newly launched 80wt thread, eager to test it for EPP and needle-turn applique. The initial feedback that we got was glowing… that the 80wt was just what they had both been looking for in a thread for both of their go-to techniques. We started discussing a collection and the rest is history!

Kim’s Glorious Garden, the first quilt that Liza sent as an example of Kim’s work. Made with fabric by Kaffe Fassett for Free Spirit + Aurifil Threads.

We launched Glorious Handwork in November of 2018, a celebration of EPP & hand applique in an explosion of rich colors and neutrals perfect for working with the fabrics of The Kaffe Collective.

We couldn’t be more pleased and we are thrilled to share some of the work of these two strong and amazing women with you here today.

**Kim and Liza worked on Glorious Hexagons together and from afar, not seeing what the other was doing with the same set of templates. It was based on Katja Marek’s book, “The New Hexagon.”

What first drew you to this wonderful world of textiles?

Liza: I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t drawn to textiles.  When I was a kid I was constantly making potholders, clothing for my Barbie doll and looping yarn over nails in a spool to make “snakes”.  As I got to be a teen, I did a lot of embroidery on blue jeans. Although I went to college and grad school to become a clinical psychologist, my textile hobbies led me to open a needlepoint and yarn store.

Kim: I’ve always been a crafty person even when I was young. My mother had these bits of goodies such as beads, embroidery threads and fabrics in a cupboard. She hated sewing — she had to do that during the war to get food for herself and her father who was under the Japanese occupation. She used to tell me that I would go blind doing stitching!

Who or what has been your greatest creative inspiration?
Liza: Legions of anonymous women who made sweaters and quilts and tapestries and Kaffe Fassett, of course.

Kim: My inspiration is gleaned from the many needlework books that I’ve bought, be it embroidery, knitting, tapestries or quilting. Also the fabrics and yarns that are available now.

Trees of the Four Seasons by Kim McLean

What about this world of design brings you joy?
Liza: Color.  It is always color that comes first with me.  When I put together a pile of fabric that grabs my attention, a design idea will follow.   Once in a while it is an antique quilt that appeals and I want to re-color it my way.

Kim: It’s rather fun chopping up fabrics and stitching the pieces onto another to create something entirely new! My IT lady who I call up to sort out my computer can’t understand why I do that! 😉

Broken Star by Kim McLean

Tell us a bit about your process… is there a particular technique (or techniques) that are your go-tos?
Liza: I sew traditional (mostly) quilts by machine which goes relatively quickly.  But my real love is slow stitching by hand.  Applique or English Paper Piecing, that is what I prefer to do. I like the quiet aspect.  Get me an audiobook or put an old movie on TV and I am happy to sit and sew.


Bold Hexagons by Kaffe Fassett and Liza Prior Lucy

Kim: I have a note book in which I write / draw a quilt I want to do. There are so many of them, I don’t think I’ll get them all done in my lifetime. As soon as I’m done with the applique of a quilt, I’ll be doing the drafting of the next one on the computer.

After the drafting on the computer, I move onto drawing and then the tracing of the shapes to the freezer paper… then transferring the design onto the background fabric and then the fun part – cutting up the fabrics for the shapes and sorting them into ziplock bags. I then baste the shapes and sit down and applique in front of the TV! Its lovely!

The Village by Kim McLean

Tell us about your latest fabrics. Do you have any favorite projects that showcase the fabrics?
Liza: I have been fussy cutting Kaffe’s fabrics a lot for hexagons.  I like the kaleidoscopic effects it produces.

Kim: My latest fabric is whenever the latest batch of Kaffe Fassett Collective fabrics are released and get sent to me in Australia. I only use a few fabrics that aren’t from the Kaffe Fassett Collective — those that have bene in my stash for decades.

Coleus Columns by Liza Prior Lucy

When did you first discover Aurifil Threads and what do you love most about working with them?
Liza: I don’t know when I first discovered Aurifil but I do know the first spool was 50 wt and I was delighted with how it sewed on my machine. It was smooth and silky and strong.  I have completely switched over to Aurifil for machine sewing.  I saw that Aurifil was coming out with an 80 wt and got a sample 2 years ago. I tried it for EPP and applique and was very pleased that I could thread a size 11 straw needle (my favorite) easily and I could make tiny invisible stitches.  Up until then my go to thread was silk size 100 which I still love but it is much trickier to use as it is very slippery.

Kim: I bought the entire collection of Aurifil 50wt years ago when they became available in Australia. It all came in a case. I was using them for applique in addition to the YLI silk.

Then, I heard that Aurifil started producing the 80wt which would be close to the YLI silk without being too slippery. Liza and I were given a number of spools to try out and found them to be excellent for both applique and paper piecing. They are very fine and strong… easier to manage than the silks, which were quite slippery.

I did the Levens Hall quilt using this thread, it was great.

A Salute to Levens Hall by Kim McLean

How did you go about selecting threads for Glorious Handwork? 
Liza: It was hard work!  I wanted them all.  Kim and I each selected the ones that we thought would work best and combined our lists and then did some editing.

Kim: It was hard, I wanted to have all the colours, but in the end we had to choose those that would work well with the Kaffe Fassett Collection fabrics.

Do you have any tips for use with the 80wt, particularly with hand applique and EPP? 
Liza: Just the usual tips. Don’t use a length greater than 18″. ( I prefer shorter) Thread the needle with the end that comes off the spool, not the newly cut end.  Don’t tug on your stitches, just pull gently

Kim: I run the thread through the beeswax first, then cut the thread on an angle so it is pointy enough to go through the eye of the #10/#11 needle.

Liza and Kim have each created a unique project to share using fabrics from The Kaffe Collective + thread from their Glorious Handwork collection. We’ll be sharing these free projects here on the blog over the next few months, so stay tuned!


To enter-to-win one of THREE Kaffe Collective Prize Packages, click here or on the image above 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 Sunday, February 17! Three winners (receiving one thread collection each) will be randomly selected and announced here on Monday, February 18. Good luck!

Kaffe Fassett & Liza Lucy
The Kaffe Collective

100% Aurifil 50wt Cotton, 12 Large Spools
1104 – 2588 – 2520 – 5005 – 2135 – 2860 – 1231 – 2725 – 6736 – 2610 – 5021 – 2600

Glorious Kantha
100% Aurifil 12wt, 20 Small Spools
2260 – 2395 – 1104 – 2235 – 2145 – 2120 – 5022 – 2479 – 2530 – 4020
2892 – 4093 – 2860 – 1231 – 2535 – 2520 – 2805 – 1320 – 2725 – 2780

Liza Lucy & Kim McLean
Glorious Handwork
100% Aurifil 80wt, 20 Small Spools
4241 – 2026 – 2315 – 2340 – 2360 – 2615 – 2610 – 5004 – 2783 – 2725
2805 – 2810 – 2890 – 1231 – 5022 – 1135 – 1154 – 2479 – 2260 – 1243

To view these collections on our website, click on the images above. For purchasing, please contact your local Aurifil Dealer.


CreativeBug produced a gorgeous video all about the amazing Liza Lucy. We felt it made sense to let her tell her story in her own words.


Kim became a ‘quilter’ as soon as she did her first beginner class at the Quilting Bee in Sydney in the early 1990’s. She was hooked from the start! Before that, however, she was always a craft-oriented person, dabbling in needlepoint, cross stitch, beading, knitting, crochet and smocking little girls’ Liberty dresses. She still does all of that now (except for the smocking as her ‘little girl’ is not so little anymore!), but her main passion is now quilting.

In the early days, Kim designed and made quite a few quilts based on the antique ones she saw, using the reproduction fabrics available at the time. That all changed when she discovered the Kaffe Fassett Collective fabrics. Although her quilt designs still have an antique feel to them, they are done in bright, cheery, happy fabrics that she loves. Kim’s quilts now are mostly applique and mainly primitive in style.

**Images & text courtesy of Liza Lucy & Kim McLean
** Liza Lucy bio video by CreativeBug


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