September 2018

My store will be closed from September 10 through October 8. I will be in Elk Rapids for our annual Holly Girls Quilt Retreats!

We have had a beautiful summer in Michigan. I am ready for fall, my favorite season of the year! My sister, Pat Holly and I are packing for our Fall Retreats. We are excited about this years retreat and are looking forward to our 5th year at White Birch Lodge! We will announce next years topic at this years retreat and all information on the 2019 retreats will be on my website October 1st. We will take new registrations starting on October 15th. We hope you will attend our retreats in 2019! September in Northern Michigan is lovely and our retreats are a time for relaxation and learning with the two of us!   

We had a wonderful "Quilt Seminars at Sea" Alaska Cruise in May! I am excited to announce that I am teaching on the cruise from San Diego to Hawaii in February, 2019. My classes were just announced- so please go to to find out more information! This is a very popular cruise and spots are filling fast. I am also teaching on a 2nd Cruise in 2019- The Northern Isles Cruise will begin in Copenhagen and we will visit Scotland, Ireland, France, Amsterdam and Oslo.. Please join me on one or both of these great cruises!  

Holly Girls Quilt Retreat 2017 was a great success! We had 4 beautiful weeks at White Birch Lodge with enthusiastic quilters who created wonderful "Tree, Basket and Bloom" projects. Registration is open to new attendees for 2018. Please go to the 2018 Retreat Tab for detailed information on the retreat theme and registration information. Weeks two, three and four are now full! We will take names on a waiting list if you want to attend one of the full weeks. We still have room in the first week of October (week one) for new attendees. This is a perfect week to visit northern Michigan, beautiful fall colors and great fall weather- please join us in 2018!

I am now booking for 2020! Please let me know if your group has scheduled me to teach and you don't see it entered on my updated schedule- please note- I will be updating my schedule this month to add many dates.  


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Free Motion Quilting

Free Motion Quilting

I am pleased to announce my latest Creativebug class, Free Motion Quilting, has just come out. In this three part class I'll show you how to transfer a traditional Amish quilt top using free-motion quilting techniques. If you are new to Creativebug you can get a free 30-day trial when you sign up and use code: SUE.

Sign up for my class here.

Part 1: Create Your Own Quilting Design

In Part 1, you will learn how to design your own quilting patterns and create custom templates. Using an already-pieced quilt top, I'll demonstrate how to create a design concept and sketch patterns. All of the basics are covered here, including how to design patterns using rulers, how to cut out your own template plastic, and how to create a cable pattern using a paper folding technique. I'll also shows you how to draw my signature feather motif and turn it into a circular template. Once you have completed this class, you will be ready to move on to marking your quilt.

Part 2: Marking and Basting

Once you have designed your quilting motif, the next step is to mark your quilt top. I teach several methods for transferring your pattern to fabric, including tracing patterns using a lightbox, freehand drawing, tracing plastic templates and using rulers as guides to create geometric patterns. Finally, I'll cover basting your quilt sandwich to prepare it for machine quilting.

Part 3: Machine Quilting Like a Pro

Now for the fun part-machine quilting! In this part I teach you all about the quilting process. You'll learn how to work with a large quilt and use free-motion quilting techniques to create feathers, straight-line geometric shapes, scallops, and cables. You will be amazed at what you can do with a sewing machine and a darning foot.



Bernina Brand Ambassador







5th annual Holly Girls Quilt Retreats information: The retreats are held at the lovely 100 year old White Birch Lodge. Nestled in the woods along the shores of Elk Lake, you will be right in the heart of Northern Michigan's resort area. The town of Elk Rapids is a charming small town with nice restaurants and shopping. The topic for 2018 is "Trip Around the World". 

My sister, Pat Holly, and I are excited to continue the tradition our good friend Gwen Marston started with her Beaver Island Quilt Retreats over 30 years ago. Please go to the Retreat Tab to find out more. we hope to see you in beautiful northern Michigan next fall!  



am pleased that my book, "Fabulous Feathers & Fillers",  is still available. Please go to my store to order.


Fabulous Feathers & Fillers




My sister, Pat Holly and I are thrilled to announce that our quilt "Two of Us" won Best Home Machine Workmanship at the 2014 American Quilters Society Show in Paducah.  The quilt was the 2013 Block of the Month on The Quilt with Ricky Tims and Alex Anderson. The quilt will now be part of the permanent collection of the National Quilt Museum in Paducah, Kentucky.  




Sue NickelsMy blog is on a hiatus- I am hoping later this year to have time to revive it!

My workshops page will be updated soon and I hope to add a few new workshops and reitre a few old ones. Please check these out and if you have any questions let me know. My supply lists are also up to date. I have included information on the workshops page for students and groups to help make your workshop experience the best. Please read this helpful information section with my workshops! My biography and fees and requirements have minor updates. 

I continue to use a camera and projector in the classroom for demos and it is a fabulous teaching aid. Because of this I have a few extra requirements in the classroom, please be sure to read this under classroom requirements. I have achieved my goal of having my lectures in power point. So for all my lectures, I will bring my own projector and computer and present my images using power point!

My Store has a few of my books- AQS has stopped publishing and I have just a linited number of my machine quilting books avaialble. My patterns are still available. I also carry some of the quilting items I use and sell when I am on the road teaching. My thread line- King Tut “Tone on Tones” from Superior Threads is available from- I am not currently selling these threads on my website.

I am still using a paper backed fusible web product called Soft Fuse from Shades Textiles for my technique of machine appliqué and I am selling this at my website store. I love this product- it is easy to use and never separates from the paper!!! My favorite marking pencil- Quilter Choice by Roxanne’s is for sale with the pencil sharpener that works best with it. I have also added to the store my favorite small scissors that I use for appliqué.

Please visit my Gallery of Quilts page which features a sampling of my quilts. I have the quilt my sister, Pat Holly and I collaborated on called “Tea at Tenby”. It won many awards - the most exciting was “Best of Show” at the 2009 Festival of Quilts in Birmingham England! I have included information about some of our other award winning quilts- “The Beatles Quilt” and “The Space Quilt” as I am often asked to explain the details of these collaborative quilts. My sister, Pat has been creating beautiful miniature quilts- look for her page in the “Gallery of Quilts” that showcases some of her work.

I am working on my next goal of creating new quilts in the next year, so look for these soon!   

I am enjoying being a Grandma! My granddaughter, Stella is 7 years old and our granddaughter Mabel is 4 years old! I will soon have new classroom and travel photos in my travel photos.

I hope to see you on the road this year, doing what I love to do- teaching machine quilting and machine appliqué. Thank you for visiting my website and please come back soon…


Sue Nickels