Wendy Sheppard of Ivory Spring is one of our all time favorite people. She is thoughtful and kind, creative and talented, and truly a master quilter. Her free motion quilting skills are epic and her quilts never cease to amaze us.
Last year, she took her quilty mastery to a new level, releasing a collection of 10 small spools of our lustrous 80wt thread in partner with a gorgeous free-motion stitched quilt called Song of Williamsburg. We’re thrilled to welcome Wendy to the blog share a bit of the story behind the magic. She’s also offering a free download for the Song of Williamsburg stitching pattern.
Thank you, Wendy! <3
Those who know me know that I fancy myself a historian in my alternate universe. I have loved history ever since I was a kid. In this universe (called reality), a huge part of why I decided to learn to quilt is the historical aspect of quilting. Initially, I was just going to make a couple of quilts, so I could say I had experienced a small part of the incredibly rich heritage of quilting.
Then, I started to make more than just a couple of quilts… and then, I became obsessed with machine quilting and feather quilting. It’s funny, but when I first taught myself to machine quilt on my domestic machine, I started with feather quilting.
One of the very first whole-cloth mini quilts I completed on my machine was called Song of Williamsburg. I designed the quilt myself around a bird motif found on an excavated bird bottle in historic Williamsburg.
You may see an example of a colonial bird bottle HERE.
This was way back in 2006. I quilted with a very fine 100wt thread. I found that the thread left a residue in my machine thread delivery mechanism, something that rather unsettled me. So, that started me on a quest to research other threads available. Shortly after was when I discovered Aurifil threads and I’ve since used Aurifil threads exclusively. So, you can say I have over a decade of Aurifil experience!
In between story:
After I discovered Aurifil 50wt thread, I used it for piecing, appliquéing, and quilting. To say that I love the weight for all my quilting needs is an understatement. Here are just a few examples of what I did with the 50wt.
As much as I love quilting with the 50wt, one thing I couldn’t quite achieve was the fine heirloom quilting look that I created with the 100wt.
I remember all the excitement found on the floor at Quilt Market a couple of years ago when Aurifil introduced their 80wt thread. The word on the street was that it was exactly what hand appliquérs and English paper piecers had been waiting for. And… they came on fancy little wooden spools! I, too, was excited, but I didn’t know how to connect the 80wt to domestic machine quilting UNTIL Aurifil’s very own Bradley showed me that 80wt spools can also be used for machine quilting! That’s when I started to think that maybe I could achieve that fine heirloom quilting again with Aurifil’s 80wt…
Enter Song of Williamsburg version 2!
In version 2, I can see that my feathers have matured over the years. I decided to quilt over the bird multiple times to give it a bit more definition. I quilted over the bird eight times, friends! Eight times and no thread buildup whatsoever!
With the 80wt, I was able to quilt my echoes much closer together, and the lighter weight gives a much finer look. Another plus to quilting with finer threads is that they hide the boo boos very well! The following image shows the scale of quilting compared to a penny.
I absolutely love the colors I selected to go into my Song of Williamsburg thread collection! The intentionally close colors are nice to add subtle effects to wholecloth quilting, as well as colors that will work for most hand appliqué purposes. This makes Song of Williamsburg a great starter pack if you want to start building your own collection of 80wt threads. Also… those wooden spools!!!! <3
One question I get asked frequently is what thread weight I use for the bobbin thread when I quilt with the 80wt. My answer is: 50wt. I haven’t had any issues with using 50wt for the bobbin and 80wt for the top thread.
If you’re interested in stitching up your own Song of Williamsburg mini wholecloth quilt using the 80wt, I am happy to offer the FREE downloadable quilting design. Simply click on the link below, download the pdf, trace onto a neutral piece of fabric, sandwich it, and quilting you go! I used my favorite Hobbs Tuscany Wool Batting to give my quilting a more dimensional / faux trapunto look. Imagine trapunto without the extra work… a Wool batt can do that for you!
It’s been great to chat Song of Williamsburg for you! I hope you get yourself this box of thread candies and play with the threads soon! Till next time, happy quilting!
PS – In case you haven’t heard, the beloved Karen Miller (Redbird Quilt Co.) and I will be teaching free-motion quilting at a quilting retreat this Fall in Hamilton, Missouri! Karen did all the image work. She found what looks like a self-driving van, detailed it with quilting motifs, slapped on the Aurifil bumper sticker… and we are on our way! You can’t quite see it because of the text above the van, but there are quilts piled sky high that we are bringing for our Aurifilosophy lecture and trunk show! Click here for more information. We do hope we will see you there!
HUGE thanks to Wendy for sharing a bit of the Song of Williamsburg story. If you’re stitching up your own version, make sure to share a photo and tag both Wendy and Aurifil so that we can see your beautiful work!
Enter-to-win the threads needed to create your own Song of Williamsburg mini by clicking here or on the image above. This giveaway is open to all of our thread-loving friends, worldwide. We’ll accept entires through 11:59pmEST on Wednesday, June 19. We’ll contact the winner via email. Good luck!
- Wendy’s online Domestic Machine Quilting Tutorials
- Stitching Pathways by Wendy Sheppard
- Ivory Spring
Song of Williamsburg
10 Small Spools Cotton 80wt (300yds/spool)
2310 – 2600 – 2410 – 5007 – 2105
2375 – 2886 – 2835 – 5022 – 2620
ADDITIONAL THREAD COLLECTIONS
Website — 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.