70″ x 85″
Commissioned by Aurifil USA, completed January 2017
I designed and created a quilt for Italian thread company, Aurifil, to commemorate and celebrate their tenth anniversary in the United States. The quilt features all 270 current colors of Aurifil’s 50wt thread.
Below is an overview outlining the process of creating 270 Colors. You can also find more information about the quilt on Auribuzz.
After playing with different layouts in Adobe Illustrator and then presenting them to the Aurifil team, we decided to proceed with the layout shown below. The placement of colors mimics the arrangement of how the spools are displayed when the drawers are pulled out in their Full Selection Collection Box.
I started drafting the pattern and testing while I was waiting for materials from Aurifil, Robert Kaufman, and The Warm Company to arrive. It was important to me for the spools to be shown at actual size and proportions once all of the pieces were sewn together. Measuring, making diagrams, and sewing prototypes (and then re-testing) helped achieve this.
Organization was key while making this quilt! I needed to match all 270 colors of thread to corresponding Robert Kaufman Kona® Solids. As soon as the big, beautiful box of Aurifil thread arrived in my studio, I created a spreadsheet in Excel. The color numbers in the spreadsheet are arranged in the same configuration as the thread is in the drawers. Having this tool allowed me to mix and match the thread to the fabric but still be able to return it to its correct location in the box.
Once I was organized, it was time to get down to business — cutting and piecing! Even the scraps were beautiful.
After a very busy month of piecing, I moved on to basting. I used Warm and Natural batting from The Warm Company and LOTS of pins. I tend to use a lot of pins. The process of basting can be tough on my fingers, but using so many pins ensures that all of the layers remain smooth. I rarely have puckers or shifting while quilting.
The piecing and quilting was done on my Juki 2010, with Aurifil 50wt. I used my walking foot to quilt the orange spools (color: 1104) and the background (color: 2024). I free motion quilted the “thread” portions of all 270 using the cross wound pattern found on the actual Aurifil spools as inspiration. Instead of marking, I positioned pins as a guide for each spool. The spreadsheet I had set up also helped me keep on track while quilting. I highlighted each number as it was quilted. It also helped to create some test strips so I could practice my free motion quilting before digging in.
Check out this video clip demonstrating the free motion quilting process:
After a month of quilting, I was in the home stretch. It was down to burying threads, squaring up the quilt, binding, and sewing on a sleeve.
The final quilt measures approximately 70″ x 85″. The spools are the actual size of a large 50wt Aurifil spool and are spaced 2″ apart. The quilt is finished with a binding that matches Aurifil’s iconic orange spool (using Robert Kaufman Kona® Tangerine) and the back matches the blue in Aurifil’s logo (Kona® Water).
Happy 10th Anniversary Aurifil USA! I am honored to have had the opportunity to design and produce this quilt to help you commemorate this big milestone.
Be sure to check out the quilt as it travels to QuiltCon, 2017 Quilt Markets and with Alex when he visits a local quilt shop near you.
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This looks so wonderful 🙂 Can we download the table you made anywhere with the spools and corresponding KONA Cottons?
Hi Ina. Thank you for your comment! I just emailed you a document with the Aurifil to Kona conversions. Happy quilting! Sheri
Hi Sheri! What beautiful work you’ve done! I found your website by searching for a spreadsheet like you mentioned! Any chance you offer that (or your pattern) for sale anywhere?
Thanks so much!
Hi Shauna, Thank you for your kind words! The 270 Colors quilt was a special commission, but I do have another thread themed free pattern on my shop (10 spools in a circle). It is called Sew Many Colors and can be found here: https://shop.wholecirclestudio.com/
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I would LOVE your spreadsheet of threads vs. Kona colors. I’d gladly pay for it! The quilt is BEAUTIFUL!
Hi Lindsay, Thanks for your kind words. Be sure to check out Pile O Fabric… they have a great useful chart listing the closest Aurifil to Kona Cotton equivalent here: https://s3.amazonaws.com/PileOFabric/KonaCottontoAurifil.pdf