Today, we are so thrilled to hand Auribuzz over to two of our favorite free motion quilters, Karen Miller of Redbird Quilt Co. and Wendy Sheppard of Ivory Spring. If you’re not already familiar with these two remarkable women, we’d encourage you to check them out via any of the social links at the bottom of this post. Their work is inspiring, their words encouraging, and their kindness abounds.
Thanks to these two artists for sharing a bit of their magic!
Two Creative Minds – One Quilt Along
Friends who quilt together stay together…
Wendy: Karen and I consider each other old and fast friends. We connected years ago through our mutual love of domestic machine quilting — we found each other’s blogs and communicated via emails.
Karen: Truth be told Wendy has been my quilting mentor for years but Wendy’s much too modest to admit that! We finally met in person at International Quilt Market back in 2017. Here we are celebrating Aurifil USA’s 10 Year Anniversary!
While I was busy sharing my love of quilting on my blog and through my books, Karen emerged as a designer, tutorial writer, and machine quilting teacher, connecting with quilters who were excited to learn and share in the joy of domestic machine quilting.
Karen: Subsequently, at the urging of friends, Wendy compiled her domestic machine quilting blog posts to create an amazingly inspirational and instructional Free Motion Quilting book, Stitching Pathways. I love sharing it with my students so Wendy can participate in my travels by proxy! That’s what friends do — they take their friends along (or their friend’s book) on trips to share the fun!
Wendy: Both Karen and I are Aurifil thread enthusiasts, designers, and Aurifilosophers! I’ve used Aurifil threads exclusively since 2006, and Karen began shortly after. We both do our best share our love of threads with Shops, Guilds, and Groups near and far.
Karen: Over the years, I’ve honed my quilting skills — and encourage others to do the same — by free motion quilting panels. So many of my favorites are from World of Suzybee. Panels are an excellent way to practice and learn machine quilting because there is minimal construction involved. A quilt sandwich is easily prepared, layered, and basted, allowing anxious quilters to get right to the quilting.
Wendy: So, when friends get together, they talk! When Karen and I finally met at Market, the idea of hosting a joint quilt-along was born. We thought, wouldn’t it be really fun to do a quilt-along on each other’s blogs, using a whimsical Suzybee panel, doing our best to inspire and instruct with references to Stitching Pathways? The twist: Karen and I wouldn’t disclose to each other how we would quilt the panel until the designated post days throughout the quilt along, thus adding a mysterious flavor to the quilt-along. Oh, the suspense!!
Karen: Over the last 3 months, Wendy and I have taken quilting friends on this quilt along journey from prepping to binding. It’s been so much fun! You can find a few images of my finished quilt below, but if you’re curious to follow along with the progress I made, check out my blog. You’ll find some tips & tricks along the way, too!
Wendy: I loved watching the quilts unfold and know that Karen and I both had so much fun with the revealing nature of each post. You can check out finished images of my quilt below. To see more detail about my progress and grab more of my tips, check out my blog.
Aurifil has been so kind and supportive and they know that we relish an opportunity to share our love and knowledge of domestic machine quilting. They asked us to each share 2 tips/tricks with you:
- If you’re stumped trying to decide what to quilt, let the fabric inspire you! Are there swirls or waves or pebbles in the fabric? Give them consideration for a quilting motif.
- Be kind to yourself while learning to free motion quilt and avoid comparing your work to the work of others. We all learn and grow at a different pace. I guarantee if you stitch for a few minutes each day your quilting will improve with time. Practice, practice, practice – not perfection!
- Never say never — always give room to try out something new in the quilting world. You might not end up liking the technique, but you MIGHT like it so much you dream about it when you sleep at night.
- Use Aurifil 50wt threads to start out if you are beginner. It is true, threads make all the difference!
Thanks so much for joining us today to learn more about the Mystery Quilt Along! We hope you have enjoyed getting a glimpse at how we express our love of threads through our friendship. And you KNOW we do really love our threads, our Aurifil threads!
We’ve got a pretty amazing giveaway for those who participate in the Mystery Quilt Along project. If you’re curious and would like to join in, click HERE for more details.
Just hearing of the Quilt Along and Giveaway? You have until May 3rd to submit your entry and be eligible to win wonderful prizes from a variety of sponsors.
HUGE thanks to Wendy and Karen for sharing their love of thread and quilting with us. <3 Stay tuned to Wendy and Karen’s blogs for announcement of future collaborations. You may even find them teaching under the same roof one day!
Karen L. Miller is the owner of Redbird Quilt Co., launched to share her love of wool and cotton applique and to demonstrate how free motion quilting (on a home machine) can bring fabric to life! At Redbird Quilt Co., the Northern Cardinal takes center stage in many of the designs. The entire Miller family enjoys feeding, observing, and photographing the many Songbirds that grace the North East USA landscape and therefore Songbirds are often found in Karen’s designs.
Karen lives in the Finger Lakes Region of New York where there is a fantastic array of forests, lakes, farmland, and families. She and her husband share their home with one crazy Yellow Nape Amazon “Cayman”. Their children are grown and they are blessed with 8 special little grandchildren of which the 3 girls LOVE to sew with “Gramma Karen”.
The Subtle Sampler
Karen is a master at quilting with all weights of Aurifil thread. Her goal when creating The Subtle Sampler was to enable you to try each weight too. You’ll love experimenting with the subtle 12wt, 28wt, 40wt and 50wt threads in the collection. Don’t miss her tutorial for The Subtle Tree right here on Auribuzz.
12 Large Spools
Clear Monofilament, Smoke Monofilament
12wt: 6722, 6723 || 28wt: 2430, 2130, 2880
40wt: 2530, 5017, 5006 || 50wt: 2312, 2000
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.
Wendy got tired of just machine quilting with beige, white, cream and light brown a few years ago. So, she started experimenting with subtle contrast in quilting and came up with her favorite colors for that purpose.
12 Large Spools of 50wt
2310 – 2847 – 4060 – 2130 – 2715 – 5021
2210 – 2510 – 2886 – 2326 – 2423 – 5014
Wendy does a lot of machine work, but many don’t know her passion is in handwork! She does hand embroidery, cross-stitching, hand applique and smocking in her spare time.
10 Small Spools of Aurifloss
5002 – 5006 – 2865 – 2330 – 2530
2135 – 2860 – 1320 – 5017 – 2225
Song of Williamsburg
Wendy’s latest thread adventure involves machine quilting with Aurifil’s newest addition to their product line: the 80 wt. She loves the 80wt because they quilt like melted butter
10 Small Spools of 80wt:
2310 – 2600 – 2410 – 5007 – 2105
2375 – 2886 – 2835 – 5022 – 2620