Last week, I had the pleasure of visiting with Nancy Judd, creative designer and owner of Nancy’s Nimble Needle, a custom quilting studio in Harker Heights.
Judd became interested in quilting when she and her husband, Jim, both active-duty military, were stationed in Hawaii in 1982 and her husband was working weekends.
“It started off as just something to do,” Nancy said. “It was a rainy weekend and we only had four (TV) channels at that time, but one of them was the education channel and Penny McMorris was on doing a quilting show. So I sat there watching it and I thought, ‘Hmm, this is something I can do!’”
An avid sewer since first grade, quilting filled a sewing void for her.
“When you’re in the Army and you wear uniforms all the time, and then you’re in Hawaii and you’re wearing nothing but flip-flops and shorts and T-shirts, you didn’t have anything to sew for,” Judd said.
So quilting became a way for her to sew and create something. She started out with simple designs and then moved on to more difficult quilting.
“You first start out with the regular, normal, run-of-the-mill Nine Patch and all that kind of stuff, but it doesn’t take too long before you get kind of tired of that,” Judd said. “And then you start wanting to make your own blocks and drafting your own patterns, and then all the different colors that you can use. So it gets very creative, even for a beginner you can still be creative.”
After working on her own for a few months, she took a class and learned hand-quilting techniques. When Judd and her husband prepared to move to Harker Heights in 1985, she learned about the Crossroads To Texas Quilt Guild in a quilting newsletter. She immediately joined the local quilting group and was excited by the prospect of having the support of a guild.
“I wrote them a letter (from) Hawaii telling them I was coming,” she said.
Twenty-seven years later, she remains a member of the guild and participates in many of its functions.
For Judd, taking the step from hobby quilter to professional helped her cope with her mother’s death. Still struggling a year after the loss, her friend and fellow quilter Karen Bacon stepped in and encouraged her to make the substantial financial investment in a professional long-arm quilting machine.
“She was the one who pushed me off the couch and said ‘You need to be doing something, and we need a quilter,’” Judd said.
Nancy’s Nimble Needle offers quilters a wide variety of custom quilting designs, along with binding and other finishing techniques. One of the aspects Judd enjoys the most in her work is seeing lots of different kinds of quilts.
“Everything from Nine Patch all the way up to beautiful pictorial ones. It’s just interesting to see what other people are doing.”
Currently, Judd is focusing on art quilts, which challenge her to expand her technical skills and to stretch her imagination to new levels.
For information on Nancy’s Nimble Needle, call (254) 680-5260.
Ruth Murphy is a quilter and correspondent for the Harker Heights Herald. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.