The Empty Spool Block

Today, we’re thrilled to welcome our beloved friend and Aurifil Designer, Wendy Sheppard back to Auribuzz. Wendy is a mainstay here on the blog and we relish every opportunity we have to showcase her talents, whether through her thread collections, her cross stitch patterns, her quilt alongs, her thread experimentation, or through Aurifilosophy.

Last month, we introduced Wendy’s brand new collection, Candies, featuring 10 small spools in sweet and versatile colors in 4 different thread weights. She generously shared instructions for a lovely (and full) Aurifil Spool block. She is back to share her instructions for the empty spool, because we’ve all been in that spot of using up every last bit of our favorite go-to color;).

Thanks so much to Wendy! 

Hello Friends– It’s lovely to be back again on Auribuzz to share with you my love of needle and thread! I hope you have put your Aurifil threads —  regardless of the thread weights — to good use! I certainly have, and I never hesitate to share a fun fact that I have used Aurifil threads for almost 15 years!

From my interactions with quilters in various settings, especially when I teach, I find that there are still some who haven’t tried Aurifil because they are intimidated by the different colors on the thread spool bodies! Oftentimes I see the light bulb come on when I explain to them that the colors are immediate shortcuts showing the different weights of thread: red (12wt), grey (28wt), green (40wt), and orange (50wt). And, of course, threads are finer the higher the weight. That’s when quilters really become interested in learning more about the threads. I included all 4 weights in my latest Aurifil thread collection, Candies. Click here to read  how I use them all in my quilting adventures. I have to offer a huge THANK YOU to those who left comments.  I am most honored to have enabled some of you, haha!

I curated Candies for the very purpose of letting quilters conveniently sample the different thread weights Aurifil produces for the enjoyment of quilters! Candies is also a great way for quilt shops/quilt teachers to teach small projects exploring the uses for different thread weights. Look at these fun Candies colors – I love threads like some do candies, and thus the name I chose for this new collection.

Last month, I shared a post about making your own Aurifil thread spool blocks in 8 seams! You can make them featuring your favorite thread weights using different fun prints that you raid from your stash!


You are free to make as many blocks as you wish. The throw quilt layout that I will be making uses a total of thirty-six blocks.

I have made thirty-one thread spool blocks for the weights represented in Candies collection.

I made only 31 because I wanted to save 5 spaces for a few “empty” spool blocks to make up the full thirty-six blocks. I have a feeling I am not the only one who cannot stand to throw away my empty spools. I view my empty spools as my sewing trophies… each empty spool represents productivity in my quilting journey!

Here are my five empty spool blocks! I made an extra orange (50wt) block because that’s the thread weight I use the most.

These empty spools are SO easy to make in just 5 seams!

*use a 1/4″ seam allowance

Step 1.
Cut (2) 3” x 7-1/2” background rectangles and (1) 1-1/2” x 7-1/2” color rectangle that represents your thread weight of choice. Sew the background rectangles to the opposite long sides of the color rectangle.

Step 2. 
Cut (2) 1” x 1-1/2” background rectangles and (1) 1-1/2” x 5-1/2” color rectangle that represents your thread weight of choice. Sew background rectangles to the opposite short sides of the color rectangle.

Step 3. 
Sew the units made in steps 1 & 2 together as shown and you are DONE!

I want to quickly show you how I pin my pieces when piecing a block. I find that doing it this way, I can keep my pins in most of the time, and my machine needle does not hit the pins while sewing!

So, what do you do with your empty spools?

I have this little waste bowl/scissors holder by my machine made with an empty large Aurifil spool that I glued to the an open sugar bowl.  It’s a handy little thing to have!

That’s all from me this time! I hope you have great fun making these blocks.  Next month, I will be back with cutting information for the throw quilt layout I showed you earlier in the post! Till next time – keep sewing!

Thank you SO much to Wendy for sharing these sweet blocks with us. Will you create a throw pillow with only one weight? Or a throw quilt with all of your faves? Don’t forget to tag us (#aurifil) and Wendy (#ivoryspring) as you’re sewing so that we can applaud your work!

10 Small Spools Cotton
Colors included:
50wt: 6730, 2847, 2405, 2886, 2437 (220yds/spool)
40wt: 5008, 6727 (164yds/spool) || 28wt: 2425, 2612 (109yds/spool)
12wt: 5015 (54yds/spool)

QBV03_PieceBlock_12_crop_smallWebsite — 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.


  1. It is always a treat to hear the “Words of Wisdom” from Wendy. She has so much information to share with us. Her inspiration is a guiding force!! Thanks Wendy, Thanks Aurifil!!!! 😊

  2. Amen, JoyceO! Wise words, great patterns and supreme kindness are Wendy Sheppard standards! I started using Aurifil thread several years ago based totally on Wendy’s advice. I’ve had nothing but success! Thanks, Wendy…and thanks Aurifil.

  3. Wendy I love your work, and you keep coming out with more amazing and fun projects. I use Aurifil all the time. Definitely my go to. Thank you so much Wendy and Aurifil.

  4. Candies is a wonderful new Aurifil thread collection perfect for quilting, embroidery & sewing enthusiasts of all levels. I also love your idea of teachers creating classes that show off different projects for all the thread weight. Great idea. Thank you for the beautiful empty spool tutorial too! Such a sweet quilt that would be perfect in my sewing room.

  5. I was looking at your teacup scissors holder and it gave me the idea that you could make a pincushion to surround the spool. I might make something like that.

  6. I pin that way too!!!!!! I try to show people and they just keep pinning by the seam… stop.. take out a pin….sew… stop……………….
    now i have to go back and get the full pattern… missed it.

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