Sarah Thomas makes us smile. She has mad quilting skills, is extraordinarily creative, a forward thinker, a remarkable collaborative marketer, and she sparkles and dances at Quilt Market. How could we possibly resist?
We’ve been working with Sarah for a few years and relish every opportunity to showcase her work. Her debut collection with Aurifil was released a few years back, a rainbow array of 50wt and one of the first of our collections to feature an added spool of our clear monofilament.
It was a go-to palette, featuring colors she used while working with the bold and bright colors of Hoffman’s Indah Batiks. Her Neoteric quilt was one of our favorites and was shown as a featured quilt in our booth at Quilt Market.
We’d been waiting for our next opportunity and were so thrilled when Sarah announced her debut fabric collection with Hoffman California Fabrics.
Paradigm released at Spring Quilt Market, bursting onto the scene with a parade of stunning projects, an event organized by Sarah, populated by some of our favorite industry makers. The projects highlight the collection’s versatility, featuring quilts, bags, EPP projects, apparel, and more.
Sarah’s coordinating thread set is a gorgeous box of 12 Large Spools, colors perfectly matched to Paradigm, weights including 50wt, 40wt, and 28wt — her absolute favorites for machine work.
THREAD COLLECTION DETAILS
12 Large Spools, 100% Cotton
40wt: 4250, 4660, 3840, 3770, 4651, 3920, 3320, 4654, 4663
50wt: 2600 || 28wt: 2423, 4644
What first inspired you to start sewing?
When I was about 5 or 6 years old, I was enrolled in a summer enrichment program (code for “parents wanted me out of their hair,” I think. Hahaha!) and I vaguely recall making a quilt. Granted, it was an extremely large 9-patch quilt that we used fabric paints to draw and color on a few of the patches. All I really remember was that it was plum and cream colors, and I drew my mom as a dentist with me in her exam chair getting a cleaning. I’m positive it was creative genius! Hah! But honestly, I’ve always been involved with crafts from a very young age – from straight stitch sewing to crochet to cross-stitch to beading and wirework.
What is your absolute favorite thing that you’ve ever made?
This question scared me at first, but then it hit me…I know EXACTLY which quilt is my favorite ever! I did a quilt a couple years ago using April Rhodes’ Observer collection. The bulk of the quilt was denim with all sorts of flying geese…playing with my affection for math and geometry. I incorporated lace doilies – some of which my Gramma Dittman tatted herself – and gold metallic stitching. Of all the quilts I’ve ever made…this one is the true definition of me and who I am: lace, denim, math, and a little bit of sparkle! It’s also, coincidentally, the premise of the designs I used and incorporated into my first fabric collection, Paradigm.
Do you have a favorite technique?
Nope! I can honestly say that I appreciate everything I’ve tried thus far. I love the precision and slowness that English Paper Piecing and hand stitching allow – both great practices to focus and meditate on the process. Of course, I adore free motion quilting and ruler work on the longarm! Pattern designing is a lot of fun for me because I get to be totally creative and pull together ideas I dream up and create my artwork translation. Even raw edge appliqué is enjoyable for me from time to time!
What do you love most about the practice of free motion quilting?
It’s so liberating to translate shapes and designs I envision into reality on someone’s quilt top. To know that I’ve been entrusted to add my “SARIDITTY” touch and signature, in essence, to someone’s cherished work of art means the world to me and doesn’t get done lightly at all. I invest myself into each and every quilt top to make sure I’m adding to the forever finished piece’s story.
While Paradigm is your first collection as a designer for Hoffman Fabrics, you’ve been working with them for years. What do you love most about them as a company?
For anyone who’s ever been involved with Hoffman California Fabrics, you’ll quickly agree with me that they are just a class act company. They’ve been in this business for nearly 100 years, and it is apparent to anyone how invested they are as a whole to maintaining the family feel and camaraderie within their establishment. I’ve been nothing but thankful for the relationship with them since Day 1!
Tell us about your fabric collection and why you think we’ll love it!
Paradigm is my first collection with Hoffman, and it’s just plain happiness! I pulled together a color palette that makes me think of Sweet Tarts candy, or sorbet scoops…it’s a very colorful palette but not the typical or “expected” rainbow one might think I’d use. It’s hard to say I have a favorite print within the collection, but there are definitely two bolts that are more a direct reflection of “me” and “my inner self” than the rest. I’ll leave that up to y’all to figure out! ;o)
Being digitally printed on the cotton, we were able to condense 23 prints into only 7 bolts of fabric. I love this because it eliminates bulk and space on shop shelving, and it also allows for a few cool design elements should the quilter choose. Two of the bolts are what we call Designer Bolts – a 2-yard panel yields 8 fat quarters. These 8 fat quarters were designed with continuous print in mind as the fat quarters change from color to color…so one could truly cut 2yd strips to include numerous fabrics that look seamed but aren’t. Hello, sashing and binding! Two bolts are called Half Bolts, where the print is the same all over, but down the center (between selvedges) there is a color change…warm vs. cool, if you will. All the patterns I’ve been working on and have for Paradigm take into consideration this printing process and are designed to maximize use of the fabric cuts. (check out the full collection right HERE via Hoffman.)
Do you have a favorite project made with the collection?
Ohhhhh, this is a hard question! So many makers came together to create gorgeous pieces for Paradigm’s debut at Spring Market. And I honestly love different elements of each one. I feel like you’re asking a mother which child is her favorite! Haha! And since I know my mother loves all three of her daughters equally, we all know which daughter is the most fun to hang out with… (I’m just going to say it’s me. HAHA!)
So, I think the most fun piece that was done for Paradigm’s coming out party was……the double-sided Strip Tease quilt I made using both Paradigm prints on one side and the coordinating Indah Batiks bundle on the reverse side. But the “Surf’s Up” quilt by Nicholas Ball (@quiltsfromtheattic) was a close second – mimicking surfboards for Hoffman’s surf–rich history was genius!!
Your coordinating thread collection was released at Spring Market — how did you go about selecting colors and weights?
I really, really, really love this collection! Once again, it’s a rainbow palette, BUT nothing like what you’d anticipate for a ROY G BIV color display.
At first I was wary of selecting variegated threads for this collection, but then I quickly realized that tone-on-tone variegated was the best option to really blend with the fabric palette. Nine of the spools are 40wt tonal variegated that span the rainbow really well. In fact, one color, in particular, is officially my new favorite Go-To color for quilting – it just blends effortlessly with absolutely everything…from warm to cool to neutral! The 40wt, for me, is truly an ideal, all-around quilting weight. It’s heavy enough to make itself known but not so dense that it takes center stage…if that makes sense.
Two of the spools are solid color 28wt – I love 28wt for quilting when you really want it to add a little extra punch of “now ya see me?!” I chose the pale pink and denim blue colors since those are essentially the main colors throughout the collection. I’m actually shaking my head right now…I swore growing up in a house full of pink and blue that I’d NEVER follow in my mother’s design footsteps. So while my house isn’t necessarily decorated in pinks and blues, gosh dang it, I just did that with my fabric collection! Hahahahaha Go figure!
The final spool is my favorite and yours…Dove Grey – No. 2600 – in a 50wt….ideal for alllllllll the piecing you’ll want to do!
When did you first discover Aurifil thread and why is it your go-to as a quilter and designer?
Early on in my “quilt life” (sooooo, about 4-5 years ago), I saw online images of the Aurifil spools. I had NO clue what quality thread was at the time…I just knew I loved those adorable spools and how they looked. So I got ahold a couple to try. That’s when I learned about thread weights and what’s used for what…and which is best in certain situations and so on. In life, I’m very down to earth and embrace natural and holistic approaches to things (yes, I still take medicine and see a Dr and eat processed foods…so sue me!), so the simple fact that Aurifil is 100% pure, natural cotton is a winner in my eyes. Then to stitch with it in piecing, quilting, embellishment….you name it!…I just love everything it does for me and my quilts! Winner, winner, chicken dinner!
While the collection features our 40wt, it also includes 28wt and 50wt. As an educator, what would you tell your students about working with various thread weights?
First and foremost, don’t ever, ever, ever tell me (or anyone else…or yourself) that you can’t use “that” thread because your “machine doesn’t like it.” I always ask my students if your machine doesn’t like “that” thread, does it also share its innermost secrets with you, or do you braid each other’s hair? No. We are all smarter than our machines, and therefore can use pretty much whatever thread we want. As long as we take a few moments to educate ourselves on thread weights and what’s happening with each weight, then we are 99% of the time capable of using any thread we want on our machines. Aside from the dry, super-technical-but-highly-educational info that goes along with that, know this… I curated my Paradigm thread collection to offer ideal thread weights and colors for piecing, quilting, top-stitching, and embellishment all the while blending perfectly with the Paradigm fabric collection and numerous other fabric collections available to the sewist.
You’ve also released a coordinating floss collection, currently available exclusively through you at SARIDITTY. Why was it important to you to feature the floss and what have you loved most about how it partners with Paradigm?
As I mentioned earlier, I love what slow stitching offers the maker. The ability to sit back and focus on, meditate on, and breathe in the project. Having the AuriFloss option is key for me in my current life – I’m really trying to take more time to focus on me and what’s going on around me more versus constantly standing in the middle of, what seems like, a whirlwind of activity. That being said, I did actually design one of the prints in Paradigm to specifically be used as a pre-printed template for embroidery and other hand stitching. Check out the Off-White yardage…it’s meant to mimic doilies, much like those in the favorite denim quilt I made.
What’s next for you? Where can we find you this year?
There is soooooo much to share!! And a few things that are still lip-zipped too ;o) Here we go, in a nutshell….!
I’ll be teaching at Paducah in September! I’ve got a lineup of 7 quilting classes, only a couple still have a few remaining spots, so be sure to jump on those if you’re interested! We’ll be on the BERNINA Q20 in the classroom…so it’s great for both the domestic quilter and longarmer.
Throughout the rest of 2019, I’ll be all over the U.S. teaching Creative Quilting events – from Tucson to Dallas to Illinois to upper New York. You’ll also be able to find me at Quilt Market in Houston in the Hoffman booth…be sure to stop by to see some new and exciting things! Then I think I’ll just sit back and sip my Christmas wassail and enjoy a few weeks of quiet after all that has gone on this year! Which, trust me, you’ll want in on my wassail recipe so be sure to watch social media posts for that…it’s heaven in a mug!
We launched a giveaway in partner with Sarah, Hoffman California Fabrics, and Oliso earlier this week. To learn more and enter to win, click on the image below to hear to our Instagram share. Good luck!
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We love a good party! 🥳🎉💃 So we are over the moon to be a part of #AurifilDesigner @sariditty's Birthday Celebration Giveaway! Together we're giving away some fabulous prizes including swag from Sarah, #ParadigmFabric from @hoffmanfabrics, an @olisohome Mini iron, and Sarah's Paradigm #Aurifil thread collection! . . What thread weight is your favorite out of 28wt, 40wt, & 50wt? We love that Sarah's collection includes all three!! . . Giveaway is open until Sarah's birthday on September 11th when she'll pull 4 random winners. Just follow all four accounts and answer the question at each profile to enter. 🥳 Happy Birthday Sarah! ________________________________________ #AurifilThread #Aurifil #ThreadMatters #EveryStitchCounts #Colorful #ColorfulThread #ThreadCollection #CreateEveryday #Hoffman #HoffmanFabrics #CreateWithOliso #OlisoMini #Quilting #Sewing
Sarah is a licensed (and retired?) commercial pilot. She graduated from Purdue University with a B.S. in Aviation Technology, where she then went on as the chief pilot of an engineering firm in the Midwest for a couple of years. Once she married a military man, however, she was whisked away from her land of corn and soybeans to start the next chapter in her life. Many moves meant that she had to figure out a career that worked for a lady-on-the-run! Thank goodness for her geeky affection for algebra & geometry and a keen eye for design & color.
Sarah is so very thankful that her Gramma and mom taught her to enjoy crafts and handwork from a young age. She learned to crochet around age 4; she played with beadwork and wire art from age 5 or 6; cross-stitch was second nature by the time she was in 2nd grade; and her school notebooks were always filled to brim with doodles. It’s only fitting that she discovered the quilting world – where art meets math & magic happens!
By chance, Sarah learned that she had a knack for free motion quilting. Basing her style of FMQ on the doodles that forever filled her notebooks, she’s classified her personal FMQ style as Sketchbook Quilting.