It often feels as though Kitty Wilkin of Night Quilter is the actual embodiment of a rainbow. <3 Yes, partly due to her proclivity for bright rainbow hues, but also because she is a sunny, creative, and passionate collaborative partner. We’ve officially worked with Kitty for about 3 years, both as an Aurifil Artisan and as one of our treasured photographers, but she has been a lover of Aurifil for much longer than that.
From her bold beautiful quilts to her teeny tiny samplers, her epic EPP to her #1yearofstitches embroidery, Kitty is always working on something new, pushing the boundaries of what is possible with needle and thread. While she certainly gravitates toward our 50wt, she’s played around with nearly every weight available, touting the benefits, testing the limits, leaving us with adoring heart eyes every single time.
We proposed the idea of a collection nearly a year ago and we’ve been waiting for that perfect moment. Then came the new year, a new pattern release for Kitty, and a perfectly curated selection of Kitty’s go-to colors was born.
The collection released on February 1, but makes its true debut this weekend at QuiltCon. From there… well, probably quilty world peace. We’re thrilled to present Color Crush and simply can’t wait to see how you use it to kick start your own year of rainbow-hued stitchy excellence.
THREAD COLLECTION DETAILS
12 Large Spools, 50wt (1422yds/spool), 100% Aurifil Cotton
5002, 1154, 5015, 1231, 2884, 1148
2810, 2535, 4020, 2021, 2600, 1246
Welcome back to Auribuzz, Kitty! For our readers who may be meeting you for the first time, can you tell us a bit about how you got started in this industry?
Thank you so much for having me! I first found quilting as a much-needed creative escape as a new mom. As family life began and I had less and less control over my everyday life (you don’t choose a baby’s disposition, when they get sick, are teething, or a toddler’s melt downs, naps, and “helpful” mischief, etc.), I found myself needing that precision and colorful control that I found in my sewing space. Through blogging, I was able to connect with others in the same stage of life as I was–a new parent, quilting for sanity, finding community, commiseration, and support through creativity. It helped ground me in a very new and isolating time in my life. As a full time, stay home mom of eventually three kids, I didn’t get out much, so those friendships and connections I made through quilting were (and are!) soul filling.
After discovering my love of and need for this creative outlet, I took off running. As I blogged about my creations, I found that others wanted the patterns, which got me into pattern writing. As I photographed my own makes and process, others asked if I could photograph theirs. The business of Night Quilter grew organically as I followed my passions and looked for opportunities to share them with the world, and as my children grew older and I had more time to dedicate to the business side of this creative endeavor, I found myself in the industry.
Now I’m happy to travel a bit to teach at guilds, shops, and conferences, have a growing pattern library including a wide range of techniques–foundation paper pieced, English paper pieced, and traditionally pieced–from year-long projects to quilts you can sew in a day, and am honored to work with the Quilter’s Planner as their Social Media Manager and Photographer, in addition to other freelance photography gigs.
Who or what has been your greatest creative inspiration?
Wow, this is tough. My kids certainly inspire me to get creative and stay inquisitive, and I pull a lot of inspiration from the beauty of the world around me. I’ve always been in awe of the intricate beauty, color play, and fine details found in the natural world if you only take the time to look reallly really closely and SEE what’s there, and I think that translates to my quilting. I’m a fan of meticulous cutting (often called fussy cutting), and am very intentional with my fabric choices, color arrangement, and the tiny details. A desire to share these details with others inspires me to create daily and share my process.
We’ve been hoping to do a collection with you for a while — what made you want to take the leap?
Anyone who knows me knows how smitten I am with a bright, saturated, tertiary-heavy rainbow, but for some reason I’ve been waiting to “outgrow” my love of rainbows and move onto a more “mature” color palette. Note that this is my mean voice talking, and I’ve decided to tell that mean voice to pipe down, because rainbows bring me joy! It’s impossible to look upon a gorgeously arranged spread of colors without feeling a bit happier. As I began working on my newest pattern, Staggered, and realized that once again I was using the same spools of thread I’ve been using for years, I decided it was a great time to share them with the world. Paired with a little lull in my work schedule, since I planned to attend QuiltCon purely for fun this year rather than applying to teach, I figured it would be a fun addition to my trip, and a chance to share the rainbow Aurilove in person!
How does this collection fit into your overall design aesthetic?
OMG how does it not!? In looking at my big projects over the past few years, these threads embody my design aesthetic to a T. I used these colors in my Pollinate EPP pattern, my 100 Days of Sew Smaller project including 100 tiny mostly foundation paper pieced blocks finishing at 1 1/4″ square, my Sew Tiny Sampler, my most recent quilt pattern Staggered, and surely more!
I curated this collection based on threads I have in my own stash, and the ones that I pull the most often. I used them almost exclusively for hand stitching my Pollinate EPP quilt, in which I used every single thread included in Color Crush. I love using coordinating colors when stitching for EPP, since then your stitches coordinate perfectly and you don’t have to worry as much about stitches showing.
The 2021-Natural White is a great choice for hand stitching low volumes, and between that and 2600-Dove, all lighter fabric stitching was gold. The 1246-Grey was perfect for stitching the dark grey contrasting bits together, or for any darker pairs. 2600-Dove lives in my machine for most piecing, and I love to quilt using coordinating thread as well, so I used nearly all of these threads in quilting my Staggered quilt. I love the vibrancy of Alison Glass fabrics and often use them in my projects, and these threads naturally coordinate quilt well. I’ve found that even in projects where I’m not working in a full spectrum of color, I am drawing from these same spools of thread. If you had to convey my design aesthetic in a single collection of threads, this would be it!
What did you love most about putting this collection together?
Once I decided to put this collection together, it was fun to sit down and really question myself and the threads I so often used, making sure it felt “complete”. It also made me think about each individual color and why it was included, which was a fun process I hadn’t really done before. Usually, I just grab the color that feels right, or matches my project best without too much deep thought. Putting Color Crush together helped me look at the value and need for each color in a very intentional way. For example, my favorite color family is the teal/turquoise range.
For those of you who have worked with teal and turquoise fabrics, you’ll know how incredibly different they are! Color Crush includes both a teal and a turquoise thread so that you’ll always have the perfect coordinating thread for piecing or quilting your teal/turquoise projects! Including both did mean leaving out a “true” blue, which is a point I debated for a while. When I looked back at my projects, though, I discovered that with my love of teal and turquoise, there’s not as much true blue included in my projects, which justified the choices. I had the same internal debate about the neutrals and whether I needed all 3 that I included. Ultimately, I accepted that it wouldn’t feel complete without all three, since each neutral fills a very specific need in my making. Taking the time to reflect on the colors of thread I use and why was a fun process that taught me a lot about my own making, and one I most likely would not have done without putting together this collection to share with the world.
Do you have any tips for our readers on using our 50wt thread?
Tips? Hmm…. explore the world of color!! It can be easy to get into the lull of just using the same neutral for everything, especially when Aurifil 50wt thread is so smooth and strong, but experimenting with using coordinating or contrasting colors can really spice up a project. I love 50wt for hand piecing, and using a coordinating color thread means I can relax more while stitching, with less ‘worry” about perfection. I’ve come to learn that seeing the stitches I’ve carefully added one by one is part of the art of the process and what sets hand-made creations apart from those stitched by machines, so I don’t innately worry about seeing my stitches, but using coordinating thread while stitching also helps ease my mind and quiet the voice of my more particular side. When machine quilting, along the same vein, try coordinating colors of threads! Or for a fun pop, use a highly contrasting color as an added design element. Live in color!
When did you first discover Aurifil Thread and why is it your go-to?
Back when I was first getting into quilting and beginning to blog about my process, using the old thread passed down to me from grandparents’ sewing kits and an occasional new spool of whatever thread I saw at Joann Fabrics, I saw a tweet by Alex Veronelli about a project a quilt blogger had made with the thread he had sent her, and I boldly tweeted a reply: “If Aurifil is ever looking for another quilter-blogger to supply with gorgeous colors of thread, I’m your gal!” Much to my surprise, Alex DMed me asking for my address and sent me my very first Aurifil thread and color card. (I blogged about it here back in 2014! Not only did the thread feel luxurious compared to the 20+ year old thread I had been using (not to mention wayyyyy less lintier in my machine and countless other ways it was clearly superior), but receiving the thread when I was a lone blogger with probably 10 readers before the time of Instagram and other social media was a much needed boost to my own feelings of worth. I felt like Alex believed in my potential, and in that simple gesture he opened a door into the quilting world that before that moment I didn’t even know existed. I’ve been using Aurifil since and it’s never let me down. Not only is the quality and diversity of thread offerings from Aurifil stellar, but the business and people behind it are generous and kind as well.
Do you have a favorite weight or color?
This is a tough question, because as you can probably tell from Color Crush, I love ALL the colors. However, if I have to choose just one, I’d have to say 50wt 2600-Dove is my go-to weight and color. I call it my panacea thread since it blends with everything for piecing and hand-stitching, and always seems to work as a quilting choice, too! Of course there’s a spool of Dove in Color Crush, since every good rainbow needs some neutral background to make it pop!
What’s coming up for you this year? Where will we find you?
This year I’m focusing on finishing up and releasing some patterns I’ve been wanting to get out there, so keep an eye on my blog and my social media @nightquilter (see below for links) to stay in the loop. I’m also excited to be traveling to Santa Barbara, CA in early June to teach and lecture at the Coastal Quilters Guild. I have some teaching availability in the fall of 2020, so I’m seeing what opportunities come my way. I’ll be working with the Quilter’s Planner for the 5th year, and am looking forward to hopefully finishing some big projects that have found themselves on the back burner after a particularly busy year in 2019. You will also find me running and hiking often, inspired by my 2020 Miles Quilt, in which I’m tracking how many miles I run or hike this year.
It’s all part of my overall goal to interweave the fibers of life so that quilting inspires living life to its fullest and healthiest, and that those resulting activities in turn inspire more quilting. Positive feedback loops for the win! You’ll always be able to find me on Instagram @nightquilter and can join my email list HERE.
QUILTCON SPECIAL ROUND:
How many QuiltCons have you attended?
This will be my 5th QuiltCon and will bring it full circle, since my first ever QuiltCon was in Austin as well.
Which one has been your favorite and why?
Wow, tough question! Each QuiltCon has been special in its own way. My first ever QuiltCon in 2015, I was pregnant with my youngest and stayed with my close friend Stephanie (of the Quilter’s Planner), meeting her in person for the first time. We are sewing soul sisters, living parallel lives thousands of miles apart, and despite our distance, we talk daily. That first QuiltCon was my first time meeting many fellow quilting bloggers with whom I had been building friendships for years, and began a tumble into the modern quilt world and industry in a way I never imagined was possible, so that one certainly stands out.
Savannah in 2017 was also special because my husband and then 1 year old baby came too, since I was still nursing, so it was fun to be able to share the energy and QuiltCon experience with them, while affirming their support of my participation in the quilting world.
In 2018 in Pasadena, that was my first year teaching at QuiltCon, so it stands out as both terrifying and amazingly exhilarating as my jitters were transformed by the overwhelmingly positive feedback we received after each workshop (I co-taught with my quilty photographer friend Michelle Bartholomew).
Nashville last year was also fun, and teaching continued to be a joy. So here we are in Austin again for 2020, and maybe this one will be my favorite one yet! I hope you don’t mind that I got out of having to make that decision by choosing them all! Who can play favorites, after all!?
What classes are you teaching?
I opted not to teach this year! Last year Christa Watson planted the seed of the idea in my head as I was talking with her toward the end of Nashville’s show, and she mentioned that she planned to go to QuiltCon just for fun this year. With quite a bit of traveling for teaching and lecturing at guilds on my calendar already, I decided that I would do the same! It’s quite exciting to be going as a student!
Where can we find you while in Austin?
I will be wandering the quilt floor quite a bit this year, I hope! I’m excited to have two meet-and-greet signings scheduled to celebrate the release of my Color Crush thread collection, too, and there will be a limited number of Color Crush thread collections there for purchase–get them while they’re hot! The first one is on Friday, Feb 20th, at 12:30pm at the Aurifil booth, booth #910, facilitated by Private Source Quilting. On Saturday, Feb 21st, at 3pm I’ll be at the Homestead Hearth/Designs by Sarah J booth, booth #404. My patterns will be available for sale at the Homestead Hearth/Designs by Sarah J booth (#404), too, and I am very much looking forward to seeing everyone! I have a feeling QuiltCon is going to be a blast!
Other Auribuzz Articles about/by Kitty:
- Photography by Kitty Wilkin of Night Quilter
- Sew Tiny Sampler
- Tips for Cutting & Using an Aurifil Color Card (w/ Yvonne Fuchs)
Kitty is a stay at home mom of three littles, wife, sewist of quilts and other beautiful things, runner, gardener, yogi, and all in all lover of life. With three little kids, her only sewing time is after bedtime. Thus the night quilter was born. Kitty dreams of the day when someone will pay her to quilt! To learn more about Kitty in her own words, visit this post on her blog.
**All images by Kitty Wilkin.