We’ve always been entranced by Amy Friend’s (During Quiet Time) use of color in partner with her repeating patterns. She is a masterful paper-piecer and it’s hard not to look at her quilts with a total sense of awe.
Amy has been in AuriLove for nearly 10 years and we’d consider her to be a master in 50wt;). She can attest to its virtues, particularly in the paper-piecing world, where flat seams can make or break a quilt. She swears by 50wt for her quilting as well, creating perfect pebbles or understated lines.
Our first collaboration with Amy was a tribute to her love of Improv piecing… Her threads complemented both a fabric collection with Benartex & her book, Improv Paper Piecing (Lucky Spool). We loved the partnership so much that we knew we wanted to do something new. Along came Petal + Stem (Lucky Spool), a perfectly glorious and colorful tribute to Amy’s other creative love — gardening. (Seriously — peek at her IG… her gardens are amazing.)
Her Petal + Stem thread collection includes everything you’ll need to create your very own pieced garden.
THREAD COLLECTION DETAILS
Petal + Stem
10 Small Spools, 50wt (220yds/spool), 100% Aurifil Cotton
2150, 2260, 2530, 2515, 2588
5018, 2888, 5017, 5005, 2120
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?
I graduated from college with a degree in Art, focusing on Art History. I went on to graduate school for the same and then worked as a museum curator for several years. I absolutely loved my last job, working at Wheaton College and caring for their art collection. I was able to work there for three years following the birth of my son but when my daughter was born, the daycare/work balance wasn’t working anymore. I had always hoped to stay home with my children while they were growing up, so that’s the choice that we made.
While at home, I started exploring my creative passions during nap-time. I was doing a lot of block printing at first. However, when a toddler wakes up from nap and you have wet ink everywhere, you quickly realize that it’s not a good match! I started sewing more instead. I already had the necessary skills thanks to my mom and grandmother. At first, I sewed clothes for the kids and curtains, etc. Around that time, modern quilting blogs were popping up and I started following them because the aesthetic appealed to me in a way that the traditional aesthetic never had.
I started to teach myself to quilt from tutorials. Once I learned paper piecing, I was hooked! I started my blog, During Quiet Time, while I was pregnant with my third child, about ten years ago. My work was discovered by various companies which allowed me to develop some excellent collaborative partnerships. I designed patterns for BasicGrey and created tutorials for Sizzix, Art Gallery, and ThermOWeb, among others. My followers increased as a result and I started focusing more on my own work, especially once my daughter entered kindergarten. That’s when I started working on my first book with Lucky Spool, Intentional Piecing.
I started teaching slowly and as my children have gotten older and travel is a little bit easier, I have increased my teaching schedule to visit a number of guilds every year across the US. It’s been really nice for me to be able to stay home with the kids but also continue to work.
Who or what has been your greatest creative inspiration?
Nature has always been my greatest creative inspiration. I remember sketching flowers in my mom’s garden as a child. So many of my quilt designs have been inspired by nature directly, a particular flower or leaf, etc., or while walking in nature on my daily walks.
We’re so excited about your latest book release, Petal & Stem (Lucky Spool)! Can you tell us a bit more about the book and what might find within?
Me too! Thank you! Petal + Stem combines my love of flowers, modern quilting, and paper pieced design. It couldn’t be more “me.” I designed 40 different flower and/or stem and leaf blocks that can be mixed and matched. These blocks are paper pieced and have a modern look to them.
I then share a bag pattern and six quilt layouts along with a few alternate layouts for each. You can take any one of these quilt layouts and make it your own by choosing different blocks from the mix and match collection. Some of the blocks are simple, others will challenge you to grown in your piecing skills. The layouts are modern with alternate gridwork and negative space so they are unique and interesting! As the back cover of the book reads, “Design the garden of your dreams, without getting your nails dirty.”
Do you have a favorite pattern?
I honestly do not. It’s like choosing between my kids! I never put a pattern in a book that I don’t really want to make. I like all of them for different reasons!
Your coordinating thread collection (Petal + Stem) is a stunning lineup of floral inspired colors. How did you use these colors in your blocks?
One of the things that’s so great about flowers is that they come in so many colors, and their leaves do too! I tried to explore all of these colors in my book, using many different shades of green for foliage and varying my color choices for blooms. I sewed flowers that were all the colors of the spectrum so I made sure to include those colors in my thread collection, as well as three shades of green for foliage. If I could have kept adding, I would have included a mint green and a shade of peach too!
Do you have any tips for our readers on using our 50wt thread?
I love using 50wt thread because I paper piece. When I switched to Aurifil, quite a few years ago now, I noticed that my paper pieced seams were truly flatter! I often use it for quilting too when I want the piecing to really show and the quilting to be beautiful, but not the first thing that you see. I like to use a size 80 needle for quilting with 50wt thread.
When did you first discover Aurifil Thread and why is it your go-to?
I first tried Aurifil in 2011 when you sent me some to try. When I noticed the difference in my seams (as I mentioned in the last response), and saw how beautiful my quilted stitches look, I made a switch and haven’t used anything else in the last 9 years!
Do you have a favorite weight or color?
My favorite weight is 50 and my favorite color is whatever is the perfect match! I do use 2600, a light gray, on a daily basis for piecing. From this collection, I love 2888 because it’s one of my favorite shades of green.
What’s coming up for you this year? Where will we find you?
This year, I will be busy promoting my new book! I plan to sew some new versions of some of the quilts to show the variety that is possible. I am planning a sew along for the Whimsy Garden Quilt, found in the book. It’s a modern row quilt with an alternate grid layout and tons of choices for mixing and matching your flower and stem block choices! Look for announcements in the next month or so! It’s going to be a free sew along. All you need is the book to participate. I am also running a block of the month program called Next Door. Each month a new block is released so that will continue throughout 2020. You can join at any time!
I will be traveling to a number of guilds and shops this year to teach paper piecing including Q.U.I.L.T., Inc., Silver City Quilt Guild, Yankee Quilter, LA MQG, Great Lakes MQG, Cyprus Creek Quilt Guild, Central CT MQG, Twin States MQG, Lancaster MQG and more!
QUILTCON SPECIAL ROUND
How many QuiltCons have you attended?
This will be my third QuiltCon. I taught in Savannah, Nashville and now Austin.
Which one has been your favorite and why?
Savannah was pretty exciting because my Improv Paper Piecing book launched at QuiltCon that year.
Will this be your first time in Austin?
Yes, this will be my first time in Austin!
What classes are you teaching?
I am teaching two full day classes from the book, Piecing an Alt Grid Garden and On Point Paper Piecing. I am also teaching two half day sessions of Alt. Grid Design, a no sew class.
Where can we find you while in Austin?
I will be in the classroom most of the time so the best way to catch me is in my classroom just prior to class, during the break, or immediately following! I will be in the Lucky Spool booth on Friday at 12:30pm for a book signing and in the Aurifil booth on Saturday at 12:30 to sign thread collections.
When Amy was a little girl, she said she wanted to grow up to be a mommy and an artist. She’d like to think that she is just that!
Amy is the mother to three children. Previously, she studied art history and worked as a museum collections curator. She made the choice to say home with her children when her second child was born. Amy now expresses her creative side through sewing and pattern design.
Early on, Amy found time for this “during quiet time” when the kids were napping or at least enjoying some quiet in their rooms. Nowadays, she sews while they are at school.
**All images by Amy Friend.