UK Designer Spotlight

One of our favorite events of the Summer year after year is the Festival of Quilts, in Birmingham, UK. It’s our chance to reconnect with industry partners, shop owners, and designers. This Summer, we desperately missed walking the show, taking in the beauty of the quilt exhibits, making all of those new discoveries… We wanted to do something to bring a bit of the magic home.

This week, we’ll be highlighting some of Aurifil’s amazingly talented UK-based Designers. We’ll share free patterns & tutorials and showcase quilts via our social media outlets and we’ll tell the stories behind the makers. Perhaps you’ll discover someone new, or fall a bit more in love with a long time favorite. Whatever the case, we hope that you’ll have some fun with it all and that it’s a bit of joy that carries you through these wild times.

We’ve partnered with some of our beloved UK-based shops to stock collections from these featured designers so that as you’re learning more, plotting new projects, and making grand plans for the Fall, you know exactly where to go to purchase what you need. To find the featured collections (listed below) visit one of the shops found on this handy map (make sure to check on in COVID-19 updates to determine whether a shop is open for in-person shopping or online only).



Jo AveryModern Crewel Work
Jo Avery’s third Aurifil collection, Modern Crewel Work, is a vibrant lineup of 10 small spools of Aurifil Wool 12wt. The collection promises to bring a whole new look to your hand-stitched creations.

In Jo’s words:
I’ve always loved the look of traditional crewel work. My mother-in-law was very skilled at Jacobean crewel work and created these beautiful bell pulls that she’d hang all over her house. Then, a few years back I was part of a group that made one of the panels in the Great Tapestry of Scotland. This was an ambitious project to tell the story of Scotland through stitches. Over 150 panels were created by more than 1000 stitchers. I have been meaning to try crewel work again ever since.

Sheena NorquayThe Cottage Garden
Renowned Scottish textile artist Sheena Norquay pays tribute to the spring colors of her late mother’s garden with her latest collection release. Featuring 10 spools of Aurifil’s incomparable 6-strand floss, The Cottage Garden gives stitchers of all levels the tools to cultivate their own hand-stitched gardens.

Kaffe Fassett & Liza Lucy — Glorious Kantha 2
Kantha is one of Kaffe Fassett’s go-to quilting techniques and he collaborates with designer Liza Lucy on many a quilt. They’ve loved working with Aurifil 12wt, in a wide range of rich and bold colors and it’s been a delight to watch the progress. For this second Kantha collection, they selected 20 colours to coordinate with the rich colors in the fabrics of The Kaffe Collective, all available on small spools. The collection is truly a must-have for anyone interested in hand-quilting with Kaffe’s fabrics.

In Kaffe’s words:
If I do hand quilting, I like the thread to show – it’s half the effect. That textured veil over your quilt. These good strong colours work well for this effect.

In Liza’s words:
For the past for years I have become more and more interested in doing “slow stitching” for effect. Kantha, the Indian traditional running stitch style of quilting, really appeals to me. I like its imperfection and simplicity. The Aurifil 12wt is perfect for doing this kind of primitive quilting. It is thin enough to pull through a quilt “sandwich” and thick enough to be an embellishment that is easily seen.

Nicholas BallInspiring Improv
In August of 2019, we collaborated with Nicholas Ball on a curated thread collection to accompany his debut book release, Inspiring Improv. The set is a delightfully cheery range of Aurifil 50wt, destined to become a new favorite for quilters, sewists, and makers alike.

In Nicholas’s words:
When I began quilting some seven years ago, I had no idea about quality materials. My fabric was cheap, my thread was cheap, and the results were the the proof of such thriftiness. I received a small spool of 50wt in a goody bag when I attended my first quilting retreat. I have to admit to thinking that it was just going to be like any other thread I’d tried previously. How wrong I was! Think about it, thread is literally holding our quilts together. Why would you want to compromise on quality? For me, Aurifil is the only choice for my quilt making now. It’s strong and makes seams lie beautifully flat. The choice of colours and weights makes it perfect what ever look you’re going for.

Sarah AshfordGreat British Quilter: Back to Basics
UK-based Designer Sarah Ashford released her second Aurifil collection in the Summer of 2019. Designed to coordinate with her debut fabric collection with Dashwood  Studio, the box is a literal burst of sunshine, featuring 20 happy colors of Aurifil’s 12wt thread.

In Sarah’s words:
I’m so proud of the colour palette that we’ve created and I just knew that it would make a perfect thread collection. I have always loved the Aurifil 12wt, not just for hand quilting but for embroidery too, which is my second love after quilting. It’s a really versatile thread and I can’t wait to see how people use it in their work.

Karen LewisWayside
Epic screen printer Karen Lewis released a new collection last year to coordinate with her range of shimmering neutral fabrics with Robert Kaufman. The box presents 10 small spools of 50wt, with colours that are more like a whisper than a shout… muted and subtle, perfect for piecing and subtly quilted accents.

In Karen’s words:
I’m so delighted with how the collection looks and hope it will be a great addition to everyone’s thread stash. I selected the colours based on the colours of Wayside, picking out the neutrals, the metallics, and throwing in a couple of variegated to round things out.

Liberty London FabricsThe English Garden
This custom designed box is everything we want out of a Liberty collaboration. A sweet signature floral wrapped around a bespoke style box opens to reveal 12 large spools of Aurifil’s versatile 50wt thread. While the spools were selected to partner with Liberty’s first line of quilting cottons, The English Garden, they are intended to coordinate with a wide range of Liberty fabrics, from the classic Tana Lawn™ cottons to luxurious silks; corduroys and soft jerseys to wool. This is a collector’s piece, representing pure class partnered with upscale utility.

Want to learn more? Make sure to keep a close eye on our Facebook & IG accounts this week! And if you’re in the UK and looking to grab these collections, click here to find a shop near you!

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