Today, we have the distinct pleasure of introducing you to three remarkable women. Two are Aurifil Designers and one is a long time AuriFriend. Lynne Goldsworthy, Karen Lewis, and Jo Avery joined forces in 2016 to form The Thread House… Each had their own area of expertise and experience to bring to the party and had been chatting about bringing something UK based to the quilting community. Individually, they were quite prolific in their fields; Karen with her fabric design and printing; Jo a renowned teacher through her shop My Bearpaw; and Lynne a quilt designer and maker extraordinaire– but together they became an incredibly dynamic trio.
We’re delighted that we get to share their story with you, neatly wrapped up along with a brand new BOM and complementary thread collection! We’re endlessly inspired by them and eager to learn all that we can from them in the coming year.
Thanks Aurifil! Initially the idea behind The Thread House was to bring the sewing community together in rural retreat locations for weekends away from it all, focusing on friends and sewing, learning new skills from the three of us and guest tutors alike.
Alongside the retreats we designed quilt patterns using our unique skills to produce compelling quilts for other makers to stitch and enjoy. These patterns are available in our Payhip shop.
Fast forward to 2020 and everything changed. First, Lynne jumped back on board after a short hiatus. Second, the world was hit by a pandemic which meant that our regular winter and summer Thread House retreats were thrown into jeopardy. We normally hold a winter retreat in the South of England and a summer retreat in the North of England, and it was hard for us to make the decision to postpone the events to some indeterminate date in the future.
Since sewing with friends, sharing tips, and chatting and laughing together is the most fun you can have, we decided to push forward with our retreats but to take them online. Our first was in April 2020 and by the end of 2020 we will have hosted five of these Virtual Retreats. We get together for a weekend of exclusive workshops, sewing, chatting, and laughing together, and always love to see what amazing projects our attendees create from our classes. We will continue these retreats throughout 2021 and hopefully beyond.
The fact that we are no longer limited by travel is a huge benefit and means our retreaters can join us from all around the world. Even if people aren’t free for a whole retreat weekend, they are able to access the included workshops for at least six months following to ensure they have time to work on the projects at their own pace.
The Virtual Retreats were something we had been planning to do for a while, but it took the global lockdown to push us into actually trying them out. Another thing we had on our to-do list was a Thread House BOM Club, but we were struggling with the design. Karen and Jo had a range of block options to choose from, but we couldn’t quite make them work together. When Lynne returned, she brought a new energy to the project along with her quilt design genius.
Soon, we were on a roll and really getting somewhere, sharing ideas on zoom meetings and in our WhatsApp chat group. We took inspiration from all sorts of places for the blocks, from street art to Scandinavian kitchenware, and then fit them all into an asymmetric grid to create this striking modern sampler quilt.
We each chose a different colourway to make our first version of the quilt using different brands of solids fabric. At the same time we started working with stockists from around the world to produce quilt kits. At this point the idea of a matching Aurifil collection slotted into place. The blocks use a range of techniques, from needle-turn applique to FPP, and so we included a variety of thread weights– 2 spools of 80wt for the hand stitching, 6 spools of 50wt for all the piecing, and both a 12wt cotton and a 12wt wool for adding embellished details or feature quilting, either by hand or machine. Click HERE to learn more via Aurifil’s site.
We chose the colour range to match all 3 of the quilts, but it’s such a beautiful palette that it would work with many projects. Obviously, the collection has gone down very well with our Club Members but this would be such a useful collection for any quilter or stitcher, especially those that would like to try out variety of Aurifil threads. Click HERE to check out the collection on our site.
The Thread House Club is about so much more than just the BOM. It’s a real community with the flavour of our weekend retreats. There is a huge list of benefits for members including discounts, priority booking, video tutorials for all the blocks, and an exclusive enamel pin!
It’s not too late to join as we are only working on block 2 of the BOM, so there is very little to catch up to do. Check out our website for all the info and join us for a year of friendship, fun and the Folk Dance Quilt! Click HERE to subscribe!
HUGE thanks to Lynne, Karen,& Jo for giving us all the details. We’re so excited about this collections and can’t wait to see all of the stunning quilts created! Stitching along? Don’t forget to tag @threadhouseuk so that the gals can cheer you on!
Jo Avery: Jo spent most of her childhood sewing and making things and made her first quilt over 30 years ago. Her love of intricate techniques such as needle-turn appliqué and embroidery combined with a passion for colourful improv piecing allows her to embrace both traditional and modern aesthetics. She is a regular contributor to a number of quilt publications and her first solo book ‘New Patchwork and Quilting Basics’ was published by Stash Books in early 2020. She is proud to be one of the first UK based Aurifilosophers.
Karen Lewis: Karen is a screen printer, fabric designer, author and quilter. Her work is regularly seen in Love Patchwork and Quilting and Today’s Quilter magazines. As well as running workshops at her home in Leeds, she has taught at the Fat Quarterly Retreat and around the UK, as well as in Denmark, at Quiltcon in the US and at Sewtopia. Karen is the author of Screen Printing at Home and Wabi Sabi Sewing. She has designed four fabric collections for Robert Kaufman.
Lynne Goldsworthy: Lynne is a quilt designer, teacher and author. She has designed quilts for various fabric companies worldwide and currently designs for Makower in the UK. She has contributed to many books and magazines as well as co-writing two books and being sole author of Quick and Easy Quilting. She has taught across the UK and also in France as well as organising quilting retreats in the UK. She was one of the members of Fat Quarterly, an online quilting magazine which also hosted a number of big London quilting retreats.