I rarely share personal insights, but this story needs some background......
A few years back, I set off investigating how much one could learn on free-motion quilting (FMQ) in a year. I read a variety of books, watched a number of DVDs and signed up for every class I could. I even registered for a class with Diane Gaudynski at Asilomar (Empty Spools) which was to be the "capstone" to my year of researching FMQ. And, I did everything I could possibly do to get ready for that class with Diane, realizing it was my opportunity to learn from an amazing FMQ Expert.
All of the students in Diane's class were able to create beautiful FMQ and had been stitching FMQ for far longer than I had. One of those "students" was Cindy Needham, also an FMQ Expert, but like many FMQ Experts continues to push herself to learn and improve her skills. I also quickly realized Cindy was not only an FMQ Expert, Teacher, Author, but she is also an amazing woman with a really big heart. Needless to say, I was immediately drawn to Cindy and knew I wanted to establish a friendship with her, as well as take more FMQ classes with her.
Cindy teaches at major quilt shows around the world and her classes are always a sell out. And she enjoys teaching at Quilt Guilds and Quilt Shops too! And she hosts a variety of workshops in Northern California that quilters come from all over the world to attend.
This amazing woman is also an author of many handbooks (aka e:books), on many subjects, which offer an amazing value to quilters. Those that participated in the 2012 FMQ Challenge certainly enjoyed Cindy's detail in providing excellent tutorial, with wonderful documentation with great visuals that helped many learn/improve their FMQ skills. SewCalGal definitely recommends all of Cindy's handbooks, as they are well written, with great insights, and they are very reasonably priced. 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, s it is a very reasonable price option, that offers a great value too!
Cindy is now teaching a FMQ class with Craftsy! Yes, you too can take a class with Cindy Needham and learn to create beautiful free-motion quilting, in the comfort of your own home, at your leisure.
Cindy Needham's class at Crafty is called Design It, Quilt It and it is a Free-Form Quilting Techniques class that you can can take at your leisure and repeat as often as you like. The filming for this class is exceptional, all in HD video with details that show off Cindy's intricate free-motion quilting. Cindy and the Craftsy team obviously did a great deal of prep and planning for this wonderful class.
Design It, Quilt It 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!
LESSON 1: INTRO (10:51)
Cindy shares insights on her personal background, how she fell in love with quilting, how she became a teacher and why she absolutely loves teaching. She also does a great job setting the stage for this free-motion quilting class on Craftsy, encourages students to share photos in the class. And, encourages everyone to download tutorial documentation that she provided (and Cindy does a great job providing document and writing e:books).
LESSON 2: PIN BASTING (35:09)
This lesson is packed full of tips that include insights on how to baste large quilts on a small table, clamp selection, basting tools and more. This is the best lesson SewCalGal has ever seen on basting! Excellent! Cindy also shared tips on batting selection, including insights on blending cotton and wool batting. And, she shares great insights for securing your quilt with straight basting techniques on your machine, to stabilize your quilt, before you start any free-motion quilting.
Cindy created an excellent hand out for this lesson, where she talks about the fabulous four: thread delivery, tension, bobbin, needle and how you can get any thread to work in your machine. Insights are shared on changing bobbin tension, thread shopping (how to select one thread over another), using decorative threads in your bobbin and more!
LESSON 4: TECHNIQUES & TOOLS
This is a great lesson to help you learn how to setup your sewing space, to listen to your machine to find that perfect humm-purr sound, along with insights on some great tools for free-motion quilting. I also enjoy how Craftsy has a Q&A section for every lesson. You can easily post your questions and get a timely response from Cindy, as well as chat with fellow students. Reading the Q&A is also a great learning opportunity as there are many tips shared along the way.
LESSON 5: STENCILS (13.53)
Wow, does Cindy have a wonderful collection of beautiful stencils. Great insights on marking tips with a stencil, but also how to incorporate designs from different stencils into one design. You'll develop skills to take one or more stencils to create a design that becomes your own! And she shares insights on oodles of tools (e.g. rulers, fabric marking tools, etc.).
LESSON 6: MEDALLIONS (24:32)
Learn how to spot inspiration for creating beautiful free-motion quilting designs from items you may see in your home, in restaurants, in fabric and more! Cindy shares insights on how to create a focal point, movement, dimension, as well as sunshine and shadow in your design for whole cloth quilts, as well as for pieced quilts.SewCalGal views this lesson alone is worth 10 times the cost of this entire class! Excellent lesson!
LESSON 7: DESIGN BASICS (16:48)
Cindy teaches how to use a basic four corner stencil to create a whole cloth design, as well as using stencils on pieced quilts. And, you'll learn FMQ techniques for scribbling, pebbling and more.
LESSON 8: THE BASIC THREE (22:50)
Cindy has studied free-motion quilting designs and broken them down in three categories: repetitive line, circles and s-curves. And, how you can create beautiful pearl designs and use them as fillers in the spine of a feather. Absolutely stunning FMQ designs.
LESSON 9: FEATHERS (47:26)
Cindy is an excellent teacher to learn how to create beautiful FMQ feathers. She categorizes feathers in two basic categories: Free-formed feathers and stenciled feathers and, in this lesson, you'll learn how to create both and more!
You'll also hear an inspirational story about the Nun's quilt.
LESSON 10: BACKGROUNDS (34:58)
Excellent lesson where Cindy shares insights on background designs and how to make them you own. And, how background designs can really make the difference in your quilting to make a design pop or become sunshine. She also shares insights on: scribbling vs stippling, clamshells, gridwork designs, sunshine vs shadow designs, pearls & swirls, blob shapes filled with beautiful FMQ that you can make your own and more!
Cindy shares insights on the mathematical way to make borders fit, as well as creative ways. Tips are shared on how to mark your borders for placement of your FMQ designs, select a design, use stencils for borders and more!
Can you see why SewCalGal loves taking any/all classes with Cindy Needham? And, how her class on Craftsy is an amazing value? This class is offered at a regular price of $39.99 which is an amazing value. And, periodically, Craftsy runs specials. But, regardless of getting this class for the regular price or on a special, SewCalGal definitely recommends anyone interested in learning/improving their FMQ skills to take Cindy's class on Craftsy.
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. SewCalGal definitely recommends Craftsy, 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.