Summer Slice & Stitch: Karen Foster

Today, we’re delighted to introduce our OLFA/Aurifil Summer Slice & Stitch! For the next three months, we’ll introduce you to 3 Aurifil Artisans and 3 OLFA Experts who have been challenged to create and share small, on-the-go projects that could be stitched up on a camping trip, by the pool, on your deck, or in the car… We’re naturally busier in the Summer and it’s sometimes hard to find ways to fit all of the projects in, so why not plan to take the projects along with us!? We challenged each participant to make something fun and new to share with all of you! They were provided with all OLFA tools & Aurifil threads needed to make their projects a success. Wherever you’re headed this Summer, whether it’s overseas, across the country, or simply to the other side of your backyard, these projects will keep you busy along the way.

Karen Foster AND Marcia Izabel Marchiori

Karen and Marcia are our fearless leaders, here to kick off this fabulous Summer series in style. Their projects are unique and innovative and we simply can’t wait to give them a try! You’ll find Karen’s project right here on Auribuzz. For more on OLFA EXPERT’s project, follow the link at the end of this post.

Thanks so much to all of our makers! This is going to be our favorite stitchy Summer yet!

I’m so pleased to kick off the 2022 Slice & Stitch Summer Series! The warm weather makes me want to put my hair up and feel the sun on my face, so of course crafting a few barrettes immediately came to mind.

My first step in getting started was to gather my supplies. I found the perfect thread color palette in Stitching with Wool by Jo Avery. With 10 spools of Aurifil 12wt wool in luscious colors, I knew that I couldn’t go wrong.

Next up was to assemble my needed tools from OLFA. I requested the 45mm OLFA Quick-Change Rotary Cutter and 12” x 18” Double-Sided, Self Healing Rotary Mat in Aqua. Both are not only practical but oh so pretty. I didn’t know how much I would appreciate the no fuss blade change until trying it. My favorite part, though, is how visible the contact area is and the ease of the blade cover.

Additionally, the OLFA stainless steel pinking blade has been a staple in my quilting toolbox, especially useful with wovens that otherwise fray. Be sure to keep your cutting mat as good as new by following the guidelines conveniently printed right there in front of you.  

From there, I thought about my creative direction. In keeping with a laid back spirit of summer, I chose to freeform the designs as inspired by my surroundings. The colorful Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk with the amusement ride shapes paired well with my project and is an iconic symbol of summertime as is Capitola Village, a frequent source of quilty inspiration. 

With all that inspiration in mind, I read up on and used techniques learned from Jo’s new book Modern Crewel Embroidery.

Before taking my project on the road, I carefully considered what was essential to each particular step and left the rest at home. There was a little more flexibility when driving rather than walking to my destination. I didn’t have to worry quite as much if the items were heavy or sharp. I chose to make a fabric basket custom fit to the space between seats in my car. 

The OLFA mat, ruler, and rotary cutter teamed up for the task. The frosted surface on the ruler completely cuts out the glare, which is a game changer! I used a sturdy upholstery fabric, layered over Annie’s Soft and Stable + a backing fabric. My trusty Aurifil Forty3 thread stitched through all 3 layers like butter on the longarm! 

After completing the fabric basket, I pulled together a few more transport-friendly ideas to help keep items from rolling around.

You might recognize the plastic container from the produce department at the grocery store! I figured if it can keep those little tomatoes contained, it can do the same for spools of thread. A metal magnetic tray intended for use with screws and bolts is from the hardware store because the same convenience holds true for scissors and needles.

Throughout the years I’ve acquired a lot of handmade pouches and enjoy using them as a way to carry small tools and supplies while giving me fond memories of friends. The one shown above left was from my guild’s first retreat and has a nice fold over closure while the one on the right is from a recent swap. I love the pod-like shape for easy access to the contents once settled on the sand. 

Once everything was assembled, I was off and running. Using one larger piece of the linen, I just stitched on different areas of the cloth which allowed even more portability and fewer things to keep track of while I was out and about.

Stitching on the go has its benefits. Sitting under the redwood trees in the forest one afternoon and on a bench overlooking the ocean another morning or two was time well spent.   

The texture of Aurifil 12wt wool is so unique and easy to stitch with — I had a blast working through the 3 barrette designs.

Each one has its own personality and the ombre on this one felt so special that it needed to be highlighted. I hand-stitched the strip to a darker piece of linen using Aurifil 80wt.

After completing the barrettes, I found I had quite a bit of leftover thread. Aurifil 12wt wool is way too pretty to waste and I know I’ll get better with experience estimating how much to pull off the spool but for now as a beginner, it’s often that I misjudge. Looking at that pile of bits gave me the idea to use Aurifil variegated thread in my sewing machine to secure them to fabric. A little glue on an upcycled pin and in no time I had a festive accessory, perfectly coordinated with my new barrettes!

Aurifil threads and OLFA tools serve me well no matter the season and I’m glad to have the opportunity to share my Slice & Stitch project. I’m looking forward to wearing my barrettes all Summer and following the Summer Series!

HUGE thanks to Karen for playing along with us this month! We absolutely love her stitched barrettes and can’t wait to try this one out over the Summer.

Head on over to OLFA’s blog to check out Marcia‘s project!


Karen Foster lives in Capitola, California and is a founding member of the South Bay Area MQG, Santa Cruz chapter. She enjoys collaborative projects, swaps and challenges especially those prompted by her amazing #BeeSewcial mates. Karen considers her style eclectic and evolving. Improv is her current creative sweet spot as well as making original designs into reality and working in a series.

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