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HK
Heidi Kaisand
0:00
Good morning and welcome to create with Heidi. I'm Heidi Kaisand, owner of Hen and chicks studio in Conrad, Iowa and lover of all things creative. Each week here on create with Heidi, we like to cover topics that educate and inspire you about how people are being creative, whether it's quilting, scrapbooking food wall, or just hanging out with others who seem to have their creative Mojo groovin. In all the right directions, we are excited to share these things with you. Each week, I like to start with a quote. And that is, I will say around our topic. And this is kind of a couple of sentences, but a quote from it's just the first name of Natalie. To me, the beauty of a quilt or address lies within the stitches and the thought of the person who made them. When you spend time making something with your two hands, you impart love in a way that buying never can. That was by Natalie, and I loved that quote, for many reasons. But specifically today, when it says that the beauty of a quilt lies within the stitches, it made me immediately think about how important the thread is that we use to quilt and to make things because it's going to hold together everything about that quilt. And today, my guest is Annie Smith, and she is a quilter and you're gonna learn more about her. But she is a an I'm gonna have to say this. And aurifilosopher. And aurifil is a type of thread that we sell at hen and chick studio. And Annie is an or a philosopher, I have to kind of stop and say that. So good morning, Annie. How are you today?
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Annie Smith
1:56
I'm great. Heidi, thank you so much for taking the time to talk with me.
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Heidi Kaisand
2:01
Oh, absolutely. Well, we we buy, we sell a lot of thread, we buy a lot of thread. thread is an important part of every single thing that we make. And it and it's just, it's one of those things. I think sometimes people think it's an afterthought, when really, it should be the first thought. Because just like in this quote, it's it's the beauty, it lies within the stitches, it has to hold together everything that we're making.
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Annie Smith
2:33
I agree 100%. You know, it's so funny because we spend so much time choosing our fabrics just the right way. And we do I think think of thread as an afterthought. But if we didn't have the thread, you know, like you said nothing would hold together. So it really is the finishing beauty in whatever it is we make.
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Heidi Kaisand
2:59
Absolutely. So let's it let's step back a second. And tell me a little bit about you, Annie. We're relatively new friends and acquaintances in the quilting world. So I you know, I know my listeners would like to know more about you. But tell us a little bit about your quilting. And you know what you do and how you've gotten to be to be where you are today.
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Annie Smith
3:24
Okay, so I started quilting in 1980. My first quilt was a baby quilt for my first child. And in 1984. I started teaching classes at a local quilt shop. And so I always kept my hand in teaching a class one night a week or on a weekend even though I worked full time in Silicon Valley. And in during the.com burst. I didn't have a job anymore because my job went over to India. And there were there was nothing that I could do using my skills. And I thought oh my gosh, what am I going to do for work? And because I had always kept my hand in teaching. I had a quilt in a local quilt shop. And within months, I had eight students semester full class. And so I started off teaching the sampler from the quilt quilt quilt book, which is like a staple in our industry. I mean everybody looks at that quilt goes, Oh, I know exactly where that is. And I'm still teaching that quilt today. Online as it were. But soon I was teaching 40 hours a week. It's because people were just after 911 wanting to do things that they had never had an opportunity to do. And quilting was one of them. It brought them peace it brought them sense community in quilting with other quilters, and so many people in those classes became such good friends that they would go on trips together. And, you know, it was an amazing thing to witness that. So, I used to live in California. Now I live in Fort Worth, we followed our kids here to Fort Worth. And in 2006, I went to my first quilt market as a vendor. And because of my students encouragement, I started designing my own patterns. And I'm a CMP, author of two books. Actually, in 2005, I started the first podcast for closers, called closing stash, and I did it consecutively for a lifetime. And then I stood back because life changes happen. And so I do it now, not as a scheduled, but just when the mood strikes me to do one. And so I just when it's not COVID, I travel and teach all over this country. And, but I'm really thankful for the last year actually, because it brought us to a place where we could actually reach people, you know, over the Internet, and use zoom to teach classes. And I've always been a believer in online learning, because that's one of the things I did in my full time job. And you bet, right?
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Heidi Kaisand
6:38
Yeah, as I say this, you have, you have so much teaching experience. And that is awesome, because people are always wanting, wanting to learn while I'm loving getting to know more about you, Annie. And we're gonna take a quick commercial break. And when we come back, I want to know what your expertise is in. So we'll come back after this commercial break, and we'll talk more Welcome back to create with Heidi, this is Heidi Kaisand, from Hen and chick studio in Conrad, Iowa. And today I'm talking with Annie Smith from Texas. And she's been talking about all of the great teaching opportunities and and experience she's had over the years. And I love that because people we never stop learning, do we, Annie? It's there's always, always something more to learn in quilting. I you know, I've been quilting, you know, I daresay, over 40 years. And, and every day, I learned something different because there's a different different angle, a different product a different you know, something, there's always something that is new to learn.
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Annie Smith
7:43
Right?
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Heidi Kaisand
7:45
Yes. Well, one of the things that when I was reading a little bit about your your bio, there were there were two things that it listed your expertise as. And what's interesting is that the first one, which was color and fabric selection, is something that our oh my gosh, I just think our customers are constantly challenged by and, and I would love to know more about about your thoughts about how a new quilter might might we don't pick out fabrics and stuff. And then I have to say that the second thing that listed as your expertise was in machine applique. And yeah, I definitely again, that's an area that, that I know people kind of don't go to so I want to I want to dive in a little bit more. So let's first talk about color and fabric selection. You know, tell me how do you know if a if a quilter is coming into your class and they're new? What are you how are you suggesting for them to get started and and to pick out colors.
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Annie Smith
8:54
Okay, so I have a really simple method Heidi, and that is to choose a focus fabric. And a focus Fabric is a beautiful print, or a boutique event that has the colors in it that you want to use as your color palette. It is not the fabric that you're going to use most in your quilt, or a background fabric like a monochromatic print. It has to have color in it. So if the colors are pink, orange, green and yellow. What you do is take each of those colors separately, and then choose supporting fabrics that you'll use in your quilt from light to dark. So with orange, the very lightest orange and it can even be a white or a green background with an orange, crisp detail in it to a very dark orange that might even be rough. But you want to have a gradation of those values the lightness and dark Have your fabric representing each of your colors so that your colors are represented in the quilt, that there's enough difference trapped between the lights and the darks, that you don't lose the design of the quilts that you're wanting to me, because the, the biggest problem that we have is that 75% of the fabric that we are given to buy from the manufacturers is medium value fabric, it falls in the realm of medium light, medium, and medium dark, and then 10% light, and then 15% dark, is what we have to pull the rest of our fabric with. So because there is little contrast in that medium light to medium dark range when when we put use them, and they seem allowances touch, they blend into each other, and the crispness of our designs just go away. Yes. Yes. So I think that is the key to choosing fabric. And so the class that I teach is called color sense. And everybody needs to develop their own sense of understanding color, but also, not just color, but our fabrics, because fabric is our medium, as quilters because we are really artists weird. We don't just make quilts, you know, as a static kind of thing.
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Heidi Kaisand
11:35
Yeah. And, and as a shop owner, when I see customers come in and pick out you know, try to pick up fabrics and are struggling. It's so interesting, because so often I'll say Okay, so what is show me Show me the quilt that is inspired you. And when I look at, like particular quilt that in the other day, a customer brought in a quilt, it was extremely high contrast. It was orange and lime, green, and white, white and black. Okay. And so I, you know, I'm, I know that there's a lot of different ways to bring color into that and, and not have to be orange and you know, green. Right, you're going for the high contrast. And what's interesting with her immediate colors went to this whole blended, she's like, I like these colors, and I started pulling out. And I could see, it wasn't the quilt, it wasn't going to translate to the quilt pattern that she was inspired by. And, you know, and it's hard sometimes to show Pete, you know, to try to show people and she's like, well, I like all of these, but is that gonna look good in this? Well, I take out took out the light I took she had a whole, like we were talking about the whole spectrum like orange or whatever, like she had the whole spectrum of blue. And I said, Well, if we drop out the lights, and we drop off the darks, and we use those, you know, the ones in the middle that are dark, you know, their medium, medium darks, then place them with a black and white, you're going to get more of a high contrast, but you start adding in these lights and the you know what I mean? It's interesting to watch people, you know, not necessarily understanding, like how you're saying like that the fabrics are going to start to blend together. Or that if you you know, too many things that are, are similar. Maybe it's the right look for a particular quilt. But it might also not be it might not get you the result of a bit if you're following a particular pattern. It's always it's always interesting, isn't it?
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Annie Smith
13:42
It is because you know what the thing is, Heidi is that they don't have confidence in their choices. Correct. And that's, you know, through a series of exercise, that's what they need to learn. And, you know, when they come to somebody for advice, you know, they can either take it or leave it. But when you talk to somebody for advice, it's a good idea, you know, especially a shop owner or somebody who works in a shop that has that experience to for them to be able to say, Okay, I'll try this and see what happens.
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Heidi Kaisand
14:16
Right? And if the quote would have been beautiful, if she'd use the the range of it would have just been different than the pattern that she was showing me. And so I was trying to diagnose is that the pattern she wants to make? Or is it the call you're gonna mean like, which which direction and it's hard because at the end of the day, it's their quilt. And Rob, you know, and so it again, it would have been a it was gonna be a beautiful quilt either way. It's just a matter of which way she wanted to take that. Well do bring it back full circle here to threads for a second. So when you're picking out colors of fabric for a quilt like we're talking about, do you know what kinds of thread colors do you see? Adjust for people when they are making I have my own opinion, but I want to know what yours is or your thought process is. So when you want to piece these quilts together, are you matching the threads? Are you blending? Are there certain colors that you always go to for piecing?
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Annie Smith
15:16
Actually for piecing, I always use a neutral, light gray or beige, unless I am doing a black background or a white background. And in that case, I will use for a white background or use white for black background or use black. Because no matter how darker gray Yes, it's still going to show up as a light with black.
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Heidi Kaisand
15:41
Absolutely, absolutely. Well, that go My gosh, then I have to I love the grays and the tope colors for piecing and those are those are beautiful. Well, we are just having so much fun chatting Our time is going quickly, we're gonna take another commercial break, and we'll be back right after this. Welcome back to create with Heidi, this is Heidi Kaisand. And we're having a fun conversation with Annie Smith, about quilting and fabric colors and thread colors and all those kinds of things. We could we could go on and on. But I would love to know a little bit more about machine applique any and and how you approach that.
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Annie Smith
16:23
Okay, so for machine applicants totally different than two things. And that is I met the thread color to all of the different colors that I use in my applique because I do machine quilting, and or sorry, machine applique. And I use a decorative blanket stitch on top of all of my applique. And so I have a rainbow of thread that looks like my fabric stash
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Heidi Kaisand
16:58
by the state is that like code is rainbow of thread? Is that a code for you have a thread fetish and have a few few spools.
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Annie Smith
17:09
Thank you Heidi, it's exactly that.
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Heidi Kaisand
17:12
I like it, I like it, you can collect you can collect thread, just like you collect fabric, or notions or those kinds of things. So
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Annie Smith
17:20
true. True. But you know what, I when I when I very first saw my first school aurifil thread, it was gray in a quilt shop. And it was before rfl became really noticed in the United States. And I remember the first time I went to market was the first time or sale at their booth and and a presence of market. And they were in a little one space booth. So 10 by 10. And now you know of course their displays up market are like three booths. Yeah. Why? Well, with all the information that, you know, they started out with the 50 weight thread. And then I noticed that they came out with a 28 rate thread. And so the lower the number, the thicker the thread is. And so 28 weights red is really like what the Mettler 50 weight thread used to look like when it was required. And so it's gorgeous colors. But the thing that attracted me to the aurifil 28 weights red was the sheen that it has, I mean, he just has gorgeous, picks up light in a beautiful way. And so I love embellishing all of my machine applique with the thread that is just it frames it, and it decorates it and it's just so beautiful.
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Heidi Kaisand
18:59
So for for some of our listeners who might be as we start talking about weights and different things, we're not talking about like putting the spool of thread on a scale and weighing it, it is considered the thickness, it somehow has to do with, say thickness or the weight of that thread, but a 50 weight thread that you mentioned, that is what we would piece with typically correct.
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Annie Smith
19:26
Yes, absolutely.
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Heidi Kaisand
19:28
It so so we sell mostly 50 weight in our store. And so that's what we sell. But and again, would you repeat the lower the number, the thick Is it the thick, the thicker the thread?
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Annie Smith
19:42
That's exactly right. So 80 weight thread is thinner than 50 weight thread. The 28 rates read is thicker than 50 weights.
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Heidi Kaisand
19:52
So if I were so you're talking about machine applique where you want the stitches to show so your piano You're picking a thicker thread a 28 wait thread, in order to show those threads. I do know that there's a 12 weight that some hand embroidery people enjoy using, because it's it's more along the lines of a pearl cotton thickness. Right, the 12 wait. So now if you go, like 80 Wait, is that what I would use? If I were doing hand applique? And like a needle turn applique. And I wanted my threads to literally be hidden.
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Annie Smith
20:33
Yeah. And it's used a lot also for machine quilting. Oh, it has it does have a use with hand stitching as well, especially with applique.
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Heidi Kaisand
20:46
Okay, so So when you say machine quilting, so if I were wanting to excuse me putting up the layers together, excuse me. If I were putting the layers of my quilt together, the top the batting and the backing in you would use like an 80 weight to add, I'm gonna say that texture to your quilt, but the thread would be pretty thin and would not be I'm gonna say shown so much.
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Annie Smith
21:13
correct? That's correct.
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Heidi Kaisand
21:15
Oh, interesting. I'm learning a lot. See, we never are done. You're teaching me right now. I'm never done learning. Yes. And so when you're so do you, I assume you teach machine applique classes too.
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Annie Smith
21:28
I do. As a matter of fact, and you know, Heidi, so many people are just so afraid of the a word, you know, applique Oh, I'm not going to touch that with anything. And it's because in the past, they tried it. And I would assume that it was hand applique because I started out as a hand applicator. And I didn't like what it looked like, because I couldn't get smooth corners or pointy points. And it just looked like a hot mess. But when I learned how to do machine applique it's so forgiving. And it's so exact. And it's so easy to stitch around curves, and get those points just so exact, and like really acute points and curves and have them stay that shape without making a mess out of it. And we're so many quilters who just don't understand how much easier machine applique is because it's got a very shallow learning curve.
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Heidi Kaisand
22:31
Realigning text with audio
Absolutely. Well, Annie Our time has gone by so quickly because you have been just a great teacher to us, teaching us all sorts of little facts and, and suggestions and I love it and I hope we'll be able to have you back again. And in the meantime, we encourage everybody to go to hen and chicks studio