Aurifil 2019 November Designer of the Month Jenni Smith

I’m Designer, Author, an your host for this program, Pat Sloan.  

This year we challenged each designer to create a block inspired by ‘A tradition’ and I asked them to use  red & white fabrics  with just a splash of a color of their choice.

I’m delighted you will get to know my friend Jenni Smith this month! When we became friends I learned so much. She is a garment designer, quilter, film producer, and now an author.

Many of the projects that Jenni works on have depth and a special meaning to them. Like the block in the photo above.  She designed this block for my Splendid Sampler II book.  (read about the block here)... her story behind it is amazing

CLICK to Listen to our chat about Liberty fabric, it was a lot of fun!

Missed a month? CLICK FOR PRIOR DESIGNER interviews

Remember we have a Challenge portion of our Designer of the Month interview. Each month we select one random winner to receive a 12 LARGE spool BOX of Aurifil thread for just making the challenge block and sharing it! Details at the end plus last month’s winner!

Let’s get to know Jenni!

Where do you live and what is your favorite spot there?

I like in Ilkley, a town in Yorkshire in the North of England.

It has beautiful moorland where I love walking and observing the changing colours of the seasons.

When was your FIRST quilt sighting?

I spent a year in Toronto in 2006 and caught the quilting bug when I walked into a local shop and saw all the beautiful fabrics and quilts on display. I made some basic blocks and appliquéd motifs on a very colourful quilt for my baby son Harry, and I’ve never stopped since then.

Have you had a ‘light bulb’ moment in making?

I love a quilt that tells a story and so for me having the confidence to dream up the idea of a project and then figure a way to make it happen was really exciting and liberating. I always try to encourage people to put a little bit of their personal story into a project, even a tiny scrap of a fabric with meaning makes all the difference.

Do you have a favorite quilt you made?

The quilt I sleep beneath each night has a special place in my heart and a lovely backstory. It’s a combination of Liberty fabrics, bed linen and remnants from my wedding dress.

The full story is here:

Do you collect anything?

In the past few years I have started to collect pincushions to decorate my sewing studio. I love my Frida Kahlo and David Hockney ceramic ones by Katch Skinner, and I also bought two beauties by Deborah @fishmuseum on my trip to QuiltCon in Nashville earlier this year.

Do you have a Favorite Quote?

“Cherish the past. Adorn the present. Create for the future.”

When I quilt I do feel connected to the many generations of women who have gone before, and the past is an incredible resource and teacher. My dream is to inspire a new generation of people to engage with this wonderful craft, and to make it relevant so this quote always inspires me to keep up my mission.

What is your favorite movie?

I have happy memories of sitting with my mum and nan watching Pride and Prejudice with Lawrence Olivier as Mr Darcy. I also love Doris Day, especially when I can sing along.

When out of town guests visit, where do you like to take them?

The famous literary heroines Emily, Charlotte and Ann Bronte lived very close to my town in Haworth, and you can visit their home. They were very accomplished with a needle and thread and there are quilts, embroidery and lace to drool over, as well as a walk on the moors they described with such passion in novels such as Wuthering Heights.

(Photo: Jenni and her beautiful Family)

What does your studio look like, and what would you change in it?

I built my dream studio in the garden 3 years ago, so that I can be flexible working around the children and not create too much chaos in the house.

It is so light and cosy, and I love it when my sewing friends come round for tea, cake and a bit of stitching.

I converted a vintage Singer sewing machine into a sink unit. My daughter also has her drum kit in there, so all creativity is encouraged.

My friend Nicky is a landscape architect and she designed the surrounding planting for my 40th birthday gift, and I love watching the flowers grow.

What else is new?

Next Spring my first book Quilting with Liberty Fabrics will be published, and I am so happy and excited. Liberty has an incredible heritage and I have designed 15 quilts which take the reader through their 145 year history, using Tana Lawn and their Lasenby Quilting Cottons. I have collected their prints since I was a child and love visiting the haberdashery in London, so working with the archive and the Design Studio has been a dream come true.

This year I have also launched my Just One Quilt campaign, with Aurifil and Janome.

I am producing 52 short films talking with designers and makers and learning all about their motivations and feelings for this wonderful craft. It has been incredibly inspiring so far.

About your block – What Tradition are you celebrating?

The red and white colour scheme, and the month of November made me instantly think of remembrance day, when we wear paper poppies and think of all those who have fought for our country in war. I always feel very fortunate that my immediate family have not lived through war like my older relatives, and we always observe a minute’s silence on the eleventh hour, of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. Poppies are also beautiful flowers, and I look forward to seeing them in my neighbour’s garden each year.


DOWNLOAD Jenn’s Aurifil Poppy Directions


Visit Jenni at:

Each year I make the Aurifil blocks in a totally different set of fabrics.

CLICK TO MY Website to see the thimble Jenni gave me

Pat sloan thread kitEnter your block BELOW by Dec 14, 2019 to be in the running to win a BOX of Aurifil

And  JOIN my fantastic online quilt group with the most incredible  quilt show each day… I’d love to meet you!

1 Watermak-Needle-Black

******* JOIN our Aurifil Family  *******

EACH MONTH we will pick one random winner that has made a block.. that person will receive a special Aurifil thread prize! Winners are all contacted email

random number picker selected Susan’s  block! You’ve been emailed

CLICK to see all the great versions for last month HERE


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