Saturday, January 14, 2017

Cindy Needham, creator of wholecloth linen quilts

I lost my autographed copy of Wholecloth Linen Quilts in the forest fire
that took our acreage, home and my professional quilting studio in 2013.
I've been looking for a replacement of the book ever since, which has been
difficult since it is out of print. Recently, I found one, and Cindy signed
 my second copy today. Blessings restored.
I met up with Cindy Needham again today at a workshop my guild provided. I initially met her in 2009 at a guild in another state, where I bought her book Wholecloth Linen Quilts after her lecture, which she autographed.

She is an incredibly talented designer and teacher, highly respected and awarded in the quilting world. I've been a Needham groupie since I began my longarm quilting business.  Those of you who know of Cindy's techniques may think that's a bit odd: being a longarmer and pulling design implementation from one who uses a domestic machine to create a wholecloth, which Cindy does. But I've found her designs universally adaptable toward any quilting process, which I believe is the test for truly great design.  

One of Cindy's creations at class today.
Cindy's quilted linen.

Cindy has been a quilter for more than 45 years - with the first 25 devoted to her first love of hand quilting she began in the 8th grade - and the last to her passion for machine quilting, when she couldn't keep up with all her quilt tops. Her book, Wholecloth Linen Quilts, published in 2007 by AQS, contains her own wholecloth patterns and designs.

Another of Cindy's creations.

Cindy says, In the late 90's I became a bit bored quilting on "regular" pieced quilt tops and decided to try my hand at quilting a tattered linen that was on my night stand. I marked it with a beautiful design, put it in my machine, and created the world's very first linen wholecloth quilt. It was a moment that changed my life forever. Not only had I created something fabulous out of an ordinary linen but it justified my huge linen stash! Now I had to make more of them!  

Cindy's wholecloth linen.

Passing on her love of quilting through teaching is a dream come true. In what Cindy calls a "Leap of Faith", in 2005 she left her full time job in the medical field to start teaching nationally for Superior Threads. She has written articles for Quilters Newsletter Magazine, American Quilter, Machine Quilting Unlimited, The Quilter and Machine Quilting.  Cindy received the national Machine Quilting Teacher of the Year award at MQX in April, 2011.

Blog followers know I have a passion for antique quilts. After purchasing Cindy's book, I discovered I could actually quilt vintage linens! I still purchased vintage quilt tops, but now I could also search for linens, with Wholecloth Linen Quilts being one of my 'go-to's' for quilting inspiration. I've written several posts on wholecloth quilting from the longarm perspective. Look through my blog archive, specifically the August, 2015 blog post The Vintage Tablecloth seen as a Wholecloth, featuring my quilt, at left.

Another of my vintage longarm quilted linens, inspired by Cindy Needham.

To learn more about Cindy, watch videos, purchase products or view her gallery of stunning wholecloth linen quilts, go to And there's hope for the discontinued book I've featured today: Cindy now sells ebook downloadables, as well as updates :).

I was so happy to meet up with Cindy again! I just wish we could've had more time.  Perhaps another time!