Today we kick off the  May Linky Party for the 2015 Free-Motion Quilting Challenge.  And this month we showcase Cindy Needham, an amazing Master Free-Motion Quilter!

Quilters of all levels of experience are invited to join these monthly challenges.  We do not judge anyone, but strive to encourage everyone to learn and improve their free-motion quilting skills.  And “everyone” means this event is open to bloggers, non-bloggers, quilters that use any type of machine (domestic, mid-arm, or long-arm), as well as quilters from all over the world! 

If you are not familiar with this challenge, and definitely those that have not participated in any of the prior challenges, please read the main page for this event, as it has been updated to provide information previously shared within these monthly posts.  You can always find the main page by clicking on the links underneath the blog header labeled EVENTS > FREE-MOTION QUILTING – 2015 FMQ CHALLENGE.

2015 fmq challenge badge



Aurifil, Clever Craft Tools/Grip & Stitch Disks, Fabrics N Quilts, Fat Quarter Shop, Gotcha Covered Quilting, Martingale, The Stencil Company, Udderly Smooth, Landauer Publishing and CT Publishing. 

More sponsors will be announced soon, as well as insights on special prizes that will be awarded at the end of this 2015 Challenge. To clarify, while prizes will be awarded for those that participate in specific challenges and complete their project and share during the window the monthly challenge is open, there will also be prizes awarded to participants at the end of the year (e.g. even if you complete a challenge after it is closed, you’ll be able to enter it for a chance to win a prize).


As mentioned, our expert this month is Cindy Needham,  an author, a teacher, and an Expert Free-Motion Quilter!

Cindy Needham (1)

Cindy teaches quilters of all levels to learn and improve their free-motion quilting skills. She makes learning fun and is the most organized teacher I know, allowing her to pack in loads of information in her classes and books, as well as personally get an amazing amount of quilting in for class samples and her personal quilts.  She  is continually learning and this allows students that attend her classes and workshops to happily repeat a class or workshop with Cindy and continue to learn new things, while developing their own spectacular free-motion quilting skills.   To clarify, she is not a teacher where you’ll ever feel you’ve learned all she has to offer.  This woman just doesn’t run on those batteries – hers are unique and just don’t seem to wind down, but run at a smooth and consistent pace.  I think she has her own “hum purr” that makes my heart and quilting sing, when I take a class with her!

She is lives in Northern California in the beautiful town of Redding.  And Cindy travels the world teaching.  You may want to talk with your local quilt shop and/or quilt guild to schedule her to teach in your area.

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.  I definitely recommends all of Cindy’s handbooks, as they are well written, with great insights, and they are very reasonably priced.  She updates them annually and when you purchase the Complete Collection, you will receive her annual updates for life!   For more info on these ebooks: :

Cindy teaches two classes at Crafty, which I can honestly recommend both:

 Design It, Quilt It

Machine Quilting Wholecloth Quilts

She has also developed a new stencil package (2 stencils and instructions, plus a free downloadable document from her website, along with Youtube videos).  This stencil is appropriately called the Ultimate Stencil and love it!!!!  The design possibilities with this stencil collection are endless.


 Here is a message from Cindy:

Hi Everyone!  I’m thrilled to be joining you once again for yet another FMQ challenge.  I thoroughly enjoyed the first one and am looking forward to seeing what you come up with for your projects.  I am trying to post as many of my students’ projects as possible  using The Ultimate Stencils on my Pinterest pageIf you would be interested in having me post YOUR project please send me a photo via email (  You can access my Pinterest page via the home page of my website and be inspired by designs  for your own project.  Thank you and I’m excited to see what you come up with!  Hugs, Cindy 🙂




Create a pillow using Cindy’s new Ultimate Stencil.  This is a very powerful stencil and if you only purchase one stencil this year, this is the stencil that QuiltShopGal recommends as a “must” for anyone interested in free-motion quilting wholecloth quilts, and it can be applied to pieced quilts for full or partial blocks, along with being adaptable to borders.  Let you mind be creative and you’ll quickly see how versatile this stencil is.  I also highly recommend that you watch the Youtube videos that Cindy has created for to share insights on the Ultimate Stencil:

ultimate stencil by cindy needham with blocks

Don’t forget Cindy has a 21-page booklet on these stencils that you can download for free, from her website.ultimate stencil by cindy needham

The Ultimate Stencil can be ordered from Cindy’s website, and many quilt stores are now carrying it.  Of course, if you don’t find it in your favorite store, let them know you’d like them to carry it as they may not be aware of it yet.    I have found it at Nancy’s Notions, Quilt in a Day, Premium Sewing Outlet,  and Cozy Quilt Shop in El Cajon, CA has it in stock too!  note:  I will update this list as I learn of other sources.

I will also share a Sneak Peek into 2016, as I will be hosting another event that will be based on this stencil, that will be another great way for quilters to learn and improve their free-motion quilting skills.


Create a pillow with FMQ using any of the designs and techniques covered in the Craftsy class “Design It Quilt It: Free-Form Techniques”, with Cindy Needham.

Lesson 7 design basics

For more information about this class, check out my review.



Create a pillow using the free tutorial from the 2012 FMQ Challenge, by Cindy Needham.  This is a great learning opportunity where you will learn about Cindy’s approach for “divide and conquer”, S-Curve and more.




While these are still “monthly” challenges, I’ve extended the window of the linky party thru mid-September and I will continue to do so thru all challenges released throughout the summer, allowing participants more time.  Hopefully this may also give participants time to complete more than one option.


1) Entries need to be completed pillows that show free-motion quilting that aligns with the options defined in this monthly challenge. Note:  Other projects that you wish to share can be added to the Flickr group, but do not share them via the link tool.

2) You can enter one completed pillow for any, or all of the options.  Bloggers can do so in one blog post, but to help with the entries, their post needs to show photos and clarify which options they are entering for this monthly challenge.  Non-bloggers need to reflect the same as bloggers, in the comments for the photo they upload to the flickr group for this challenge. Both bloggers and non-bloggers can add one link to the linky tool, for each of the options they wish to enter.  Note, to help with administration, please be sure the photo in the linky tool reflects which of the challenge options you are claiming when you enter/add the link.

Those that want to apply the challenge to projects other than pillows, or those that complete the challenge after the given month, as well as those that may wish to share other FMQ projects are encouraged to share in a Flirk group that has been created specifically for group sharing and inspiration:   To clarify, this group is open to anyone that wishes to share any FMQ project that they created.

3.   In keeping with the spirit of this challenge, I hope in you encourage others to enter this challenge as well as check out all the entries to get inspired.

4.  In the spirit of ~Create ~ Share ~ Inspire ~ #CreativeGoodness, those that wish to share tips and tutorials during any of these monthly challenges will be appreciated.  And, as always, QuiltShopGal will try to do her best to help increase awareness of such.  Collectively, we can create great fun and help others learn/improve their FMQ Skills.


This linky party will be open thru the last day of the month.  You need to have your project completed and linked to enter to win prizes.  Those that may complete this challenge at a different time, as well as those that want to share any FMQ related project, are encouraged to share photos in the Flickr group created for this challenge:

If you are not familiar with how to use a linky click here for a tutorial.


For blogger participants that are interested in posting a badge, the badge code is now on the right hand column of this blog.  Thank you for posting the badge.  The more quilters we have participating, the more fun and inspiration we will all have.  But I need your help to spread the word and encourage others to join, or at least come look and visit all the blogs (and non-bloggers) that share their FMQ projects with us via the Monthly linky parties and the Flicker Group sharing.


Update:  Before recognizing the winners, I want to share how winners are randomly selected. I use the number generator set to the number of entries for the challenge this month (20).  Lucky numbers were:

I then go thru the orders of prizes and match the winner to the prize.  This process doesn’t guarantee that a winner will qualify for the prize (e.g. winner may live outside of an area that the prize is designated for), but any unclaimed prizes, or ineligible prizes, will first be considered for those whose names have been drawn previously, before new names are drawn.

Either way, I hope all the participants view they are winners.  By participating in these challenges you continue to learn and/or improve your FMQ skills, as well as to help inspire others by sharing what you create.  And, hopefully you make a wonderful FMQ Pillow to show off your skills in your home, or give as a gift.

Thus, congratulations to all of the participants, as well as the lucky winners.


Sponsor Prize Winners
Udderly Smooth, by RedEx 65668_10151884614025894_331473606_n  A gift pack of Udderly Smooth products.  Product bundle shipped may not be exactly like what QuiltShopGal is showing.Estimated Retail value $25.  Prize is open to participants living in US/Canada.  Prize #1  winner – #15  LC’s Cottage
Craftsycraftsy-logo One Class of your choice at Craftsy  Prize #2  winner – #3 Geri Richardson
Gotcha Covered Quiltinggotcha covered quilting $25 Gift Certificate to Gotcha Covered Quilting. This prize is open to WW participants, but it is a gift certificate to purchase and ultimately winners will need to pay postage, just as if they had purchased any item online.  Prize #3 winner – #9 Dena @ Living Water Quilter





 If you have questions for this Challenge, please read the FAQ:

Winners will be selected randomly and this post will be updated accordingly, after I send an email to notify the winners.

email QuiltShopGal if you still have questions at Darlene @ quiltshopgal dot com and I will try to respond as fast as I can.


email address for quiltshopgal

Here is a list of previous posts 2015 FMQ Challenge:

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2 comments on “2015 Free-Motion Quilting Challenge – May Challenge with Cindy Needham”

  1. Woohoo ~ Cindy Needham ~ You are a “BIG Dog” quilt teacher in my world! Yes, I saw you on the quilt show 🙂
    Like all previous months, looking forward to this months challenge. I think I might just give my Christmas gift of your stencils a try on this months pillow challenge! Love the book, e-books and your craftsy class too! Thank you for sharing with us once again in another challenge with Quilt Shop Gal.
    Quilt Shop Gal ~ thank you!
    Mary in NH

  2. I ordered -from your blog- the Craftsy class and like last month with Christina’s class, I’m hooked .
    Thank you so much Darlene XXX

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