Sew and Tell – A Visit with Cindy Needham

This past weekend I had the great pleasure of meeting quilting diva Cindy Needham and taking a fabulous machine quilting class from her, on how to quilt heirloom feathers and backgrounds. All photographs were taken by me and shared with Cindy’s permission.

Cindy and Christa

Cindy Needham and Christa Watson at DQN Guild Meeting

Cindy’s specialty is turning vintage heirloom linens into beautifully quilted masterpieces! She is my hero because she find joys in extensively quilting her quilts and encourages others to conquer their fear of free-motion quilting. I love this quote from Cindy, shared on the back of one of her beauties:

Cindy's QuoteIt reads, “Take the time to quilt something beautiful. Your work will speak to generations to come about your passion for quilting, and give your quilt a voice to speak to those who choose to listen…” Isn’t that lovely?

Click on each of the pictures shared below to enlarge and appreciate the details!

Cindy Needham Quilting

Heirloom quilting by Cindy Needham.

Although Cindy’s quilting style is beautifully vintage, with heirloom quality stitches machine quilted on a breathtakingly small scale, I was able to learn so much from her and contemplate how I might apply her techniques to my modern quilts.

Cindy Needham Quilting

Cindy’s quilt sample. Imagine what a beautiful, modern wholecloth this would make!

In fact, during class I kept laughing to myself whenever she would show samples of her “larger scale” designs. I mentioned that her large scale is my small scale. :-) I think that a good way to describe the differences in motif size could be called be “Heirloom Scale” and “Modern Scale” – both equally beautiful and appropriate for their quilting styles.

Cindy's Feathers

Cindy’s Feathers

Cindy reminded us that it was okay to be “consistently inconsistent” and that perfection in quilting is over-rated. Words to live by. The sample below is one of my favorites. I love her nod to asymmetry in this piece! I think it’s a touch modern, don’t you?

Cindy Quilts

Quilting Sample by Cindy Needham

If you ever get a chance to take a class from Cindy, or listen to one of her lectures, I highly recommend it! She also has a couple of machine quilting classes on Craftsy, one of which I reviewed previously on my blog. Now I’m off to doodle… and dream sweet machine quilting dreams….

15 thoughts on “Sew and Tell – A Visit with Cindy Needham

  1. GrandyKandy says:

    This is awesome that you got to meet her! I have been watching her Craftsy class. I still can’t wrap my brain around ESS. Christa, do you quilt ESS? I have been practicing on feathers. I want to love them, but I think they are ugly. Is there a You Tube video you recommend?

    • Christa says:

      Ha ha! I mostly do ESS, more like SSS (Sew Some Seams!)

      It took me years to get the hang of feathers so don’t stress too much. If you are not happy with them, I suggest trying some other simpler designs instead :-) Searching on You Tube is a great idea – though I don’t have any particular recommendations there (I hardly use it, LOL!)

  2. Anne says:

    The quilting is awesome. As a beginner I can only imagine the hours of dedication and practice it takes to reach that stage. I am in awe with both your quilting skills and therefore I follow your blog.

  3. Sandy says:

    Oh!!! I am so jealous!. I would love to take a class in person. I have taken her Craftsy class and it was excellent. I found her when looking for a better thread, and my interest in FMQ took off from there.

  4. treadlemusic says:

    If I could pick just 1 nationally known quilter to spend time with Cindy would be THE one!!! I’ve taken her classes on Craftsy and have used her upcycled linen quilting idea on several ’50’s tablecloths. You are so right……she is an awesome promoter of “you can do it” (FMQ on a DMS) as are you!!!!! I look forward to your future posts with results from her class in your stitching!!!! Uber hugs……………………..(and, yes, I am hugely jealous!!!!!!)

  5. amira says:

    Thank you for shring this Christa. I have always admired Cindy’s work. They are breathtaking! Lucky you get a chance to meet and have a class with her! Have fun quilting!

  6. Bonnie says:

    Last year I went to a meeting here in New Zealand where Cindy was the guest speaker. She had a room full of quilters ogling at her magnificent quilts and the stories to accompany them. How lucky were you to actually take a class!

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