March Aurifil Designer of the Month Carole Lyles Shaw

I’m Designer, Author, and your host for this program, Pat Sloan.  This year we challenged each designer to create a block inspired by our Aurifil Color Builders’ collectionI assigned each month a color/city and the Designer can work their magic using either the City, the colors or both! Each designer has their box + matching Kona Cotton Solids from Robert Kaufman in the shades of the thread. I also gave each designer a charcoal linen from Robert Kaufman for them to use if they like.

For March we take a trip to the lush green of the Dolomite mountains. The intensity and variety of shades of green inspire quilters and our Aurifil Dolomite Thread box and 3 yummy shades.

I was so excited to have the incredible Carole Lyles Shaw take on the brilliant greens of March for us. Carole is an incredible modern quilt artist. See her work https://www.carolelylesshaw.com/ She loves color and put an wonder twist into her designs, You will love her block!

Listen to our chat on Modern quilts HERE

Missed a month from previous years? CLICK FOR PRIOR DESIGNER interviews

We have a Challenge portion of our Designer of the Month interview. Each month we select one random winner to receive a 3 boxes from our Color Builder series.

All you have to do is making the challenge block that you download below and share it at the link! Details at the end plus last month’s winner!

Let’s get to know Carole!

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

I am originally from Baltimore MD and will always consider it to be home. (How about those O’s, Hon!) Now, I live in Bradenton FL, which is an area just north of Sarasota FL. This entire region is known for lovely beaches and sunsets. But, we also have great small theater companies, wonderful concert venues and many locally owned restaurants catering to all budgets and cuisines. We even have several vegan or vegetarian forward restaurants. Recently, my husband and I took a food tour of downtown Sarasota and discovered some new places to explore in the future. Here’s a photo of me playing tourist in my home town.

Do you have a GREAT tip on either storage, organization, sewing, stitching, find a tip that works for you.

My first great tip is that I organize my fat quarters and yardage fabric by color and type in see through medium size plastic bins. This is fabric that is for future projects—not for projects that I’m currently working on. I prefer bins that measure about 19 x 15 x 7 inches or around 13 x 16 x 6 inches. I have a few larger bins but I’m slowly destashing so that I can empty these out and donate the bins to others. There are several reasons that I prefer smaller bins.

First of all, I can sort into smaller groups of the same type of fabric—in a large bin, I might be tempted to mix all blues and greens together which wastes time when I just need blue fabric. Secondly, the smaller bins aren’t as heavy to move around. This is important because I stack the bins in a closet or against a wall in a spare bedroom, and sometimes the bin I want is on the bottom of the stack.

The other tip is related to the bins –I wrap my fabric on acid free comic book boards. You can buy these very inexpensively on Amazon. The boards are made of cardboard and should not harm your fabric if you store long term. Wrapping fabric on the boards keeps it neat on my shelves and in the bins. I can also see what’s in the bin more easily than if it is all folded up.

Have you had a ‘light bulb’ moment in making

My light bulb moment came when I realized that starching the fabric before cutting and piecing really made a difference in how quickly I can work. The starch keeps the fabric stable and I spend less time ripping out and re-sewing when I’m doing precision work. Also, sometimes, I am using very thin strips (from 1 inch down to less than 3/4-inch) and I want them to be straight and even in the finished block. Starching has been a life saver.

Carole what have you learned recently about your work?

When I decided to focus on modern quilt design, I found myself working with white, off-white and gray background fabrics. This was (and still is) a dominant palette chosen by many modern quilters. I enjoyed learning about modern quilting using this palette. However, after a couple of years, I was missing rich color, so I started using colors like deep yellow, blue and green as my background fabric.

I declared that I am a ‘maximalist’ modern quilter. I was returning to the style that I explored for years as an artquilter. Then, in later 2018 and into 2019, I also returned to incorporating African wax print fabrics in my quilts. I call this new style ‘Afromodern’ and I’ll be publishing more about this in 2020. Today, I feel energized because I know that I am working in my own unique, true style. I am one of a growing number of contemporary quilters who are continuing to explore, experiment and discover new ways of working and quilting modern.

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

My studio is a small bedroom—I’m fortunate to have dedicated space with two walls for design wall. I put in Ikea shelves for fabric storage. This is mostly fabric that I’m using on current projects. I keep other fabric in a closet in another bedroom. I love having natural light next to me sewing machine. Usually, the floor is rather cluttered with fabric but I’m getting better at cleaning up. The main changes I would make would be to have a really BIG room – 15’ x 20’ with one long design wall and 9 foot ceilings with lots of daylight fluorescent AND overhead video lights!!

What is on your playlist?

Podcasts: true stories; history; science; the arts; the business of craft. Audio books: fictional murder mysteries from all over the world. Music: vintage folk; blues; a bit of contemporary stuff and ‘old time’ rock & roll.

What is your Favorite Movie?

It’s a 3 way tie: Elf (Santaaaa!!!!); Fast & Furious (pick a number) and Silverado.

Elf is the only Christmas movie that I can watch any time of year.

The Fast & Furious franchise broke so many barriers—it was the first action movie series that featured a very diverse cast in critical roles, including African American men who were technology wizards and kickass smart women. F&F is now widely imitated for that breakthrough.

Silverado is a modern western that is a bit tongue in cheek while paying homage to the great western movies of the mid 20th century. And, it also had a diverse cast that played strong roles.

What else is new?

In 2020, I’ll finally fulfill my promise to create an online class on my unique approach to improvisational curved piecing—it’s a modern take on traditional drunkards path blocks with lots of guidance on improvisational design. Both traditional and modern quilters have been asking me for this online version of my workshop for quite awhile. The course will cover basic curved piecing techniques; advanced improvisational techniques and using unusual fabrics such as ombres and African wax prints.

Tell us how you used the Dolomites Green for your block

My inspiration region are the Dolomites and my color palette is green. The Dolomites are rocky snow covered mountains and green alpine meadows that blossom in the spring and summer. I decided to use the triangle as my basic shape. I design using EQ8 software which gave me a lot of freedom to make variations on this block. I started with 3 triangles representing mountains. Then I drew lines that broke these shapes into multiple layers. It’s a simple paper pieced pattern—although a quilter could make the block improvisationally using my block for inspiration.

After I was satisfied with the drawing, I hit a brick wall. I struggled for a few days with the block because none of the colorways seemed correct. Then, I finally realized that I was making the mountains green! When I looked at the photos of this region, I realized that the mountains are rocky gray and the meadows are green or other colors as the seasons change. My final block represents the mountains in spring with a blue sky, snow capped mountains, green meadows and a deep blue lake.

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See Carole’s Tutoria video at the end of her postl at https://www.carolelylesshaw.com/aurifil-dom-march-2020-block/

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Visit Carole at:

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

CLICK TO MY Website for a few tips on how I approached this block

Enter your block BELOW by April 14, 2019 to be in the running to win a SET of 3 Aurifil Color Builder Thread BOXs!

An InLinkz Link-up

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

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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 Carla A’s  block! You’ve been emailed

CLICK to see all the great versions for last month HERE

4 comments

  1. I love the contrasting colors and the angles used in you quilting. I might try this in some of my projects.

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