For today, Flag Day (in the US) we have the perfect almost-Summer feature… a super fun interview and a little stitchy magic from our absolute favorite cross stitch magician, Susan Ache (@yardgrl60)! If this is your first time meeting Susan, you are in for a treat! Susan’s personal mission is to make every stitchy maker out there fall in love with Aurifloss and we’re pretty sure she is well on her way, sharing bits of magic with each and every chart she creates. She has a special knack for turning our tiny little wooden spools of floss into these remarkable mini masterpieces!
To learn all about Susan and her background, take a peek at her very first interview with us right HERE. Little Quaker Christmas is where our stitchy love affair began and we’ve just been having one big cross-stitch party ever since. Summer Memories is her latest collection, the 6th in a delightful parade of color.
This time around, Susan has teamed up with the folks at It’s Sew Emma. A perfect range of color to see you through a fabulous Summer of stitching, ten flossy hues were selected to perfectly coordinate with the charts & patterns in her book, Summer Memories.
We are delighted to showcase the collection and the colors here today… and to shine an extra bright light on Susan (just like the one she stitches underneath) with a super fun, sometimes silly, good ol’ no fuss chat. Susan truly is the Best!!
Hi Susan! We’re so excited that you’re humoring us with yet another interview. I can’t wait to see what fun things pop up this time! So… Summer kicks off next week. What is one of your favorite Summer traditions?
Oh Erin, thank you for having me here to talk all about threads and summer. How fun is that?
Anytime we can all be together as a family is my favorite time. Making plans and finally getting to see everyone at the same time and place is such a treasure nowadays, and I always hold on to those memories.
Are you a homebody or a travel fiend during these hot summer Floridian months?
Trips aren’t usually planned for summer because my favorite destinations are always the hottest in the summer. I’m perfectly content to enjoy air conditioning for summer months in Florida and do my traveling in the spring or fall.
You’re heading out for a Summer day trip adventure – what are the top 5 things you grab?
Oh, I don’t even think I have 5 things if I’m just gone for the day… sunscreen goes on before I leave the house and I grab a hat and just go. Oh, and a fully charged phone!
With that in mind, do you ever take your stitching on the go, and if so, what tips would you offer?
I have a stitching go bag that I leave in the car at all times. It is simply my thread, a hoop, extra needles, some small scissors, and an already prepared embroidery project. I like the idea of embroidery for a to-go activity because it’s easy to pick up and put down and not have to remember where you left off like in cross stitch. I keep my embroidery projects pretty simple for the car. And, I have been doing this since… well, when I say since I sat in carpool lines… that’s a long time.
In honor of your collection & book title… what is one of your most treasured Summer memories?
My favorite flat out memories are the old family reunions– the ones where you finally see all of the relatives and nobody wants to miss it because it’s only one time of year. My favorite food has always been what I call “funeral food”– sounds morbid, but it’s really just all the different casseroles brought by every single household. Nothing better than casseroles.
What drew you to these lovely hues for this new collection?
As a kid, our summers were filled with family sleepovers. There were all different kinds of activities with tons of kids and I knew that once school was out it was a calendar filled with fun. So, what happens between Memorial Day and Labor Day has always seemed like a red white and blue time of year for me. With my own kids, it always seemed as though their biggest activities were most active during that red, white, and blue time of year. With that in mine, picking colors for this set was a fun and easy choice because I already knew what I loved.
What came first, the colors or the charts?
The charts came really quickly. As I was making the quilts for the book, I was actually laying spools of floss out along with my fabrics so that it would all play together nicely and look cohesive.
Summer Memories features both quilts and cross stitch – how do you combine the two within your own daily practice? Are there times when you turn to quilting over stitching or vice versa?
I sew in the mornings… doesn’t matter how much, even if it’s just to get prepared for projects I want to do or something I want to try. I only stitch at night and on what I call “slug sundays”. “Slug sundays” are when I binge watch and stitch without any sort of time restraints.
Tell us about your love for Quaker samplers, something that informs your cross stitch style – how did that begin and what fuels that love year after year?
My very first Quaker sampler was Mary Wigham. I changed every single color on the chart as I was stitching and realized then just how much fun motif stitching is. There is no better feeling than finishing a small motif and moving on to the next one and before you know it an entire chart has been stitched!
Okay, imagine this… you’re having coffee with a complete cross stitch newbie (it might be me)… what advice do you share?
First off, let’s start with only stitching what you want… If you don’t like the chart, you won’t want to see it finished. Change colors if you want to. Remember it’s your work and you have to love it. It’s not a race– it’s the entire process that makes stitching fun. Even if it’s only a few stitches a day. I would also suggest starting out to stitch without a hoop because it does make the work seem more portable and I feel like it goes faster. Make sure you have a great light and always keep extra needles on hand….
What’s up next? Where can we find you and what will you be up to in this coming year?
I am so excited about what’s coming next with y’all for sure! You can insert whatever hints you want… but mums the word from me right now. I am also in the final stages of finishing a quilting book with Lissa Alexander which has a coordinating cross stitch. Finally… I have made my plans to be at Fall International Quilt Market this year. It’s been so long and I’m excited to see everything and hug everybody!
Will you humor me with one last little funsie?
Favorite Season: Summer for heat, winter for cozy
Favorite Summer Activity: Kayaks
Must-have snack: Gold fish only original
Favorite band: I’m a huge Harry Styles fan but love a great eagles song.
Signature drink: Diet Dr. Pepper. All day every day!
Coveted vacation destination: Anyplace that’s an island
Current binge-worthy show: I’m going through all of the Netflix documentaries right now… give me true crime all the time.
Thank you, THANK YOU for humoring me with all the questions yet again:). We do have some fun don’t we?
I adore playing with you and aurifil. Y’all have always been so welcoming with some of my ideas and last minute thoughts about playing together. Thank you for indulging my “summer memories”.
A love of color makes it easy for Susan to grab inspiration from her native Florida surroundings. With no grand idea other than knowing she wanted embroidery and nine patches in her first quilt, a new world opened up to this mom of now five grown children. Being self taught with many hours of reading about the makings of a quilt and quilt blocks has made this a lifelong passion. Susan is always searching for new and fun ways to show off as many colors as she can in a quilt. Most of her quilts are a creative impulse from trips to the garden center, a photograph, or browsing through paint chip selections. “I really never see just the quilt, I seem to see the quilt in the room that it belongs in”. Working in a quilt store for years helped Susan to pursue that passion of color and the fabric inspired life she enjoys while constantly striving to make her next favorite quilt.