I thoroughly enjoyed taking “Design It, Quilt It“, a free-motion quilting (FMQ) class with Cindy Needham, on Craftsy. It is a perfect class for anyone interested in learning FMQ, as well as those with experience that want to broaden their skillset. I learned so many designs and techniques, in that class, and thoroughly love Cindy’s approach to teach FMQ. As soon as I learned about her “Machine Quilting Wholecloth Quilts” class, also with Craftsy, I knew I wanted to take it too! And I have just completed this class, making this a perfect time to share insights with you today. For those of you who may have already taken either of these classes with Cindy on Craftsy, I invite you to share your insights, by leaving a comment on this post. To clarify, both classes are excellent and they have completely different lesson plans and class samples.
While the class title shows “wholecloth quilting”, I think this class is appropriate for anyone interested in expanding their free-motion quilting skills, as you’ll learn a variety of beautiful FMQ designs, tips for working with stencils, and, of course, you’ll be inspired by many stunning wholecloth quilts and Vintage Linen quilts and you will learn how to make them too!
Cindy is a well known teacher who travels around the world teaching free-motion quilting, wholecloth quilting and Vintage Linen quilting. She can take the most complex FMQ designs, as well as large areas of open space to “divide and conquer” to create beautiful quilts. And she can teach even a beginner, as well as quilters of all levels, how to stitch beautiful FMQ.
This amazing woman is also an author of many handbooks (aka e:books), on many aspects pertaining to free-motion quilting, which offer an amazing value to quilters. I definitely recommend all of Cindy’s handbooks, as they are well written, with great insights, and they are very reasonably priced given the quality and content provided in each book. Plus, when you purchase her “Complete Collection” you automatically will receive annual updates for free. These updates are not just additional pages, but completely updated versions of these books. And Cindy works super hard to update these books each year, providing new tips, tricks, and more value, thus making the Complete Collection a treasure, that I certainly love and look forward to receive her amazing annual updates. For more info on these ebooks: : http://www.cindyneedham.com/handbooks.html
While I highly encourage you to take a class with Cindy at a quilt show, or attend a retreat that she hosts in Northern California, I realize that may not be possible. Thus, you may want to talk to your local quilt guild events coordinator and/or your local quilt shop, to have them schedule Cindy to teach in your area. I’m sure you’ll be delighted. But, I have another recommendation for you that I think will work for anyone interested in learning/improving your FMQ skills, no matter where you live, or what your schedule may be like. And, it is a very reasonable price option, that offers a great value too!
Take a class with Cindy on Craftsy!
Her “Machine Quilting Wholecloth Quilts” is a great class for anyone who wants to take their FMQ skills to another level, learn new designs and techniques. You can apply what you learn to your pieced or applique’ quilts, as well as use what you learn to create stunning wholecloth quilts and/or Vintange Linen Quilts. And like all Craftsy classes, once you sign up for a class you can take it at your leisure and repeat it as often as you wish.
Here is my summary of this class, with insights on each chapter:
Cindy has provided a downloadable class handout that has templates that you can print to enlarge and use to mark some stencil designs on optional class projects. Of course, these designs would also be stunning on other projects, as well. She shows tips for marking your quilts using stencils, using her techniques for keeping everything precise and easy to stitch, to create amazing FMQ.
Machine Quilting Wholecloth Quilts is broken into sections that are easy to follow, start/stop at any point. Cindy is a very organized person who has the gift of breaking things down to be easy to follow (and learn) steps. While her free-motion quilting is spectacular, she loves to teach beginners to do FMQ and they quickly learn to create beautiful FMQ with her as a teacher!
Wholecloth quilting focuses on working on quilting one piece of fabric (no piecing), but there are many techniques and designs that are taught in this class that will be of interest to anyone interested in improving their free-motion quilting skills.
LESSON 1: FABRIC SELECTION (13:13)
Cindy shares tips for fabric and thread selection, incorporating old linens into your wholecloth quilts, cleaning old linens, amazing stabilizing tips,as well as many other tips in this lesson.
LESSON 2: PREPARING YOUR WHOLECLOTH QUILT (17:52)
In this lesson, Cindy shares tips for laying out a wholecloth quilt whether it is on regular cotton or with vintage linen, her “divide and conquer” approach, how to start, marking techniques,
A Medallion Stencil is used to show how you can select portions of a stencil design. This particular stencil can be purchased from QuiltingCreations.com, but class materials also provides this design that you can enlarge and print on demand to use for marking your fabric.
You can see how Cindy chose not to use the rope or center part of this stencil design, as she plans to create other FMQ designs in those areas, using her approach to divide and conquer this open space.
She also shares tips for taking designs from books and other sources, that may not be available in a stencil, to be able to use those designs in your quilts.
Cindy has great tips for basting, how to deal with “puckers” when you baste, to eliminate any excess fabric in an area of your quilt.
LESSON 3: MEDALLION AND BORDER DESIGNS (26:40)
This lesson is all about Medallion and borders designs on Vintage Linen and Wholecloth quilts, but what you learn can also help you quilt pieced and applique’ quilts too! Cindy goes over the four elements of design and shares inspirational wholecloth quilts, as well as Vintage Linen quilts, while she shares oodles of tips.
Great tips for auditioning thread choices on your projects, including use of beautiful Razzle Dazzle, Glitter, Kimono Silk and many others, all from Superior Threads. You also learn ways to layout your borders, mark and stitch while also being able to create over vs under designs (eg. does your feather border tuck under your Medallion or lay on top of it). Cindy even shares very helpful tips for incorporating beautiful Razzle Dazzle threads in your projects, teaching how to use this thread in your bobbin and apply on your project to cove up your travel lines (or apply in general).
When Cindy shared tips for adding a border to a Vintage Linen Wholecloth quilt, we also learned that we want to showcase the original designers work (creator of the linen), complimenting it with how we finish quilting it. In the sample shown, Cindy added the beautiful feathered borders surrounding the original Vintage Linen. I also enjoyed learning how to stitch her Cathedral Windows background design, as well as seeing a variety of her quilts that incorporate this design, as well as other stunning designs she teaches in this class.
Cindy goes over the four main elements of design, to encourage students to keep this in mind when designing our own quilts. She also shares insights on thread selection, how to use your stencil to mark a wholecloth design.
LESSON 4: ALL OVER DESIGNS (18:00)
This lesson is broken into three core segments: Templates for overall designs, Using Shapes for Designs, and Large Print Fabric Design.
I loved how Cindy showed how to repeat two stencils (downloadable copies are provided in the course materials), to create an overall design. This was an excellent trick that can be applied to endless possibilities. Her class samples were inspirational and she showed how beautiful these designs were when set on point, as well as using only one stencil to showcase in a more traditional row. There was even an inspirational sample shared showing one stencil design place on a diagonal, as well as lovely samples using Vintage Linens.
Tips for Divide and Conquer, to incorporate a variety of designs to fill negative space with all over designs and shares some great exercise options that are fun to use, to help you build your skills with this technique, to create stunning quilts.
Lastly, she shared how to use a large print fabric to use to stitch designs on your project, where the back of your quilt becomes the top, showing off stunning free-motion quilting.
LESSON 5: FILLERS AND FEATHERS (31:20)
In this lesson, Cindy starts off sharing tips for placement of your hands and positioning of your body, to be able to relax and enjoy will quilting. But the emphasis of this lesson is filling negative space, with a variety of designs under a major category of Fillers and Feathers. This lesson alone, would be worth the cost of this class!
LESSON 6: BLOCKING (9:11)
I don’t recall having an FMQ Expert ever talk about blocking a quilt. Cindy does a great job showing examples of quilts that have been heavily quilted, but not blocked, so that we won’t fret when a warping might occur. She shared an easy to follow method for blocking a quilt, to remove any warping, to ensure your quilt lays flat and square. A great technique for many quilts, but definitely helpful when dealing with heavily quilted projects, particularly wholecloth quilts.
LESSON 7: SPECIAL TECHNIQUES (22:56)
While throughout the class, Cindy shares inspirational project samples of Vintage Linen Quilts and Wholecloth quilts, in this lesson she shares loads of tips for such projects. For example, using lace on your projects can add a lot of interest in Vintage Linen Quilts, as well as wholecloth quilts. But you’ll just have to take the class to learn about all of the amazing tips that Cindy shared in this lesson (as well as in the class).
Ok, I will share that she has some great ways to finish the bacs of your quilts, with special touches for creating hanging sleeves, to ways to add a signature and much, much more!
If you are are taking this class on Craftsy and/or have taken other classes with Cindy, I’d love to hear what you thought and if you’d recommend such classes to others interested in FMQ. I am passionate about Craftsy and what they offer to quilters and other creative people, world-wide. Cindy’s class at Craftsy, any class you can take with Cindy Needham, and Cindy’s e:books too! And, I hope you enjoy Craftsy and learning from Cindy as much as I have.
You can find Cindy Needham at:
You can find Craftsy at: