Shades of Blue, Part 3

The final day of our Shades of Blue event is here! Today, we round out our 3-day celebration of Wendy’s Sheppard’s Blue & White English Transferware inspired Indigo collection with 2 final guest posts– one from Aurifil Designer & Aurifilosopher Karen Miller and one from Wendy herself.

If you’re just joining us, we’d encourage you to check out the first two posts via the buttons below.

To help showcase and celebrate the versatility and beauty of Indigo, Wendy assembled an incredibly talented team of makers. What a treat to learn a little more about designers Susan Ache, Pat Sloan, Lissa Alexander, and Carol Inglis– not to mention get a peek at some pretty stunning projects!

To purchase Indigo via Shop Aurifil or to enter to win in our daily giveaway, follow the links below!


Karen Miller

Hi I’m Karen L. Miller from Redbird Quilt Co. I’m absolutely thrilled to be a part of this amazingly talented group of makers, educators, and designers celebrating Wendy Sheppard’s stunning collection of Indigo threads and floss by Aurifil.  

I began quilting in 2007 when my sister Janet invited me to join her for a Thangles™ BOM at her local shop. Being a business analyst and programmer, I found the process of making my points match a bit tedious and overwhelming. I guess “piecing” wasn’t my thing. However, being that there was so much more to learn about quilting I continued the journey and quickly fell in love with both needle turn and wool appliqué.  

As time went by I began blogging (https://karensquiltscrowscardinals.blogspot.com) and by making small projects and playing with panels, I discovered that free motion quilting on a home sewing machine made my heart sing.  

Enter Wendy… 

Wendy and I have been quilty friends for SO MANY years now it’s hard to count them all! But seriously, being a fellow home machine quilter, I’d followed and admired Wendy’s blog and creations from afar since 2010. I took her advice, learned from her unending tutorials, and was always amazed at how she raised the creativity bar every time she shared something new. Wendy inspired me to learn and grow my quilting skills AND introduced me to Aurifil thread. I thank my lucky stars for her.

In 2013 Wendy encouraged me to use Aurifil 50wt thread and apply “McTavishing” or Wendy’s version of her “Nifty little S’s” on the background of this sweet bird panel. What great advice! Check out Wendy’s tutorial here. Check out my thoughts on the process here.

Early in 2019 Wendy and I joined forces for our first ever Free Motion Quilt Along– Oh what fun!! We had a blast sharing our love of FMQ with friends.  

Late in 2019 we took a larger leap and hosted our first Crazy Quilting Girls FMQ Retreat in Hamilton, MO.   We look forward to doing it again one year soon. 

Here it is 2022 (where has the time gone?) and I must say, I had a blast combining my love of FMQ with a bit of handwork while using the lovely 50wt and Aurifloss colors of Wendy’s newest thread collection.   Although… I wonder if Wendy was trying to torture me knowing that red is my favorite color… What do you think?  Would she do that? <wink – wink>

All kidding aside, playing with the different tones of blue was a joy. Wendy selected such rich colors and in most cases, paired Aurifloss with the same color of Aurifil 50wt.

I chose to combine decorative machine stitches with a bit of handwork and, because I’ve not worked much with Aurifloss, it was a great learning adventure. It was fun making French knots, seed stitches, and big stitches with varying strands of Aurifloss.  

A tip for making the hand stitches with Aurifloss lay down nicely is to begin by separating your strands. On some hand stitches I used 3 strands, so pulling each strand out and smoothing it before adding the next strand really helped the thread look silky and smooth. Because I’m not experienced at using Aurifloss I worked with my Bohin Crewel/Embroidery needles and it went well, although in hindsight, a milliner needle may pull through the layers with a bit more ease.

For the decorative machine stitches and free motion quilting I used the Aurifil 50wt in the bobbin. I love that the color #2310 matched my background fabric perfectly and didn’t fight with the blue tones on top.   Of course no project is complete until we add a little free motion quilting. On my home sewing machine, I used Wendy’s 50wt color #2805 to do just that. With 2 layers of Dream Wool batting, the feather stitching texture came out beautifully.  

I wrapped things up with a few rounds of echo quilting and bound this little piece with some fabric from my sister Janet’s collection (because I don’t collect blues;)). 

SO MUCH FUN!!

Many thanks to Wendy for inviting me to create with Indigo. It was a learning and quilting adventure that was good for my soul. 

 I look forward to our next quilting adventure, my friend. <3 

* Find Karen on the Web, Instagram, Facebook and her Blog.


and last, but not least…

Wendy Sheppard

Hello Everyone! It’s lovely to be back again on Auribuzz… especially for the Shades of Blue Thread Hop celebrating my thread collection Indigo!  

The hop celebrates the love of needle and thread for sure, but more importantly this hop highlights the sweetness of friendship among people who play with needle and thread!  So, a special thank you and shout out to the friends who are part of this hop. I want to be all of these magnificent ladies when I grow up!  

Click HERE if you missed the introductory blog post on Indigo, where I shared my inspiration for this collection, as well as a few tips on starting a thread collection of your own.

MY AURIFIL STORY
I am an Aurifil all the way person when it comes to threads. In 2006, I purchased my first spool of Aurifil 50wt to use for my bobbin thread, and the rest is history. Since then, I have used Aurifil 50wt for just about everything– piecing and quilting, as well as hand and machine appliqué. 

Over time, I have also loved and explored all the other threads Aurifil offers for various techniques. 

And of course, being able to curate a few thread collections for Aurifil has been the highlight of my thread journey. My newest collection, Indigo, is definitely a favorite.

For my Shades of Blue hop project, I used the 50wt spools included in Indigo to highlight the use of 50wt in machine quilting.  

Here are my top 5 reasons why I like to machine quilt with Aurifil’s 50wt thread.

1.  Bobbin wound with 50wt when I machine quilt seem to last forever, and best of all, the 50wt thread doesn’t leave much lint (as with ALL Aurifil’s threads).

2.  I like the Aurifil’s 50wt is fine enough to meld into the fabric when my dense quilting.  

3.  I quilt on a domestic machine, and I tend to quilt micro-scale.  50wt allows me to quilt my motif teeny tiny.

4.  When I need to highlight and accentuate a motif, I simply go over it multiple rounds.  With 50wt, it’s never a problem, and going around a motif multiple times never causes unsightly thread buildup.

5.  50wt is often a game changer for beginning machine quilters as 50wt hides mistakes very well!  I encourage my students to start with 50wt before moving to heavier threads if they prefer their quilting to be more defined.  

I want to thank you again for following the Shades of Blue thread hop this week, and hope you have enjoyed the wonderful projects that have been made using the Indigo threads. And, of course, a huge shout out to the wonderful and ever supportive Aurifil Team! Till next time!

p.s.  If you have loved Aurifil threads as much as I do, and want to make a quick and easy Aurifil Spools quilt, click on the button below for the free pattern! HERE (https://auribuzz.com/2020/04/15/the-spools-quilt/) for the free pattern.


HUGE thanks to Karen & Wendy for sharing their expertise with us today. And to all of our Shades of Blue makers– Susan, Pat, Lissa, Carol, Wendy & Karen– we are in awe of your talent and incredibly grateful that you took the time to share it with our readers! Thank you!!

6 comments

  1. Such exquisite workmanship by both Karen and Wendy. They truly inspire me!

  2. Wendy, your quilting is amazing–so beautiful! I love using Aurifil to quilt on my HQ16. My machine seems to love it too–lol! I’m a total blue person, so I will be looking out for this collection of thread, for sure!

  3. This has been a great hop! I did Karen’s Featherweight FMQ workshop but now seeing the piece here, I want to work on FMQ practice and using the decorative stitches on my vintage Singer 401! Adding embroidery stitches as well will give me some much needed practice with that too.

  4. Thank you for such a very enjoyable hop. Karen, you always seem to outdo yourself, time after time! I love the feathers, and the embroidery stitches really add to the piece. Wendy, I am infatuated with your blue quilted piece. The more I look at it, the more inspiration I find!

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