Meet Gina Perkes of The Copper Needle

We couldn’t be more excited to kick off another quilt block challenge! Over the course of nine weeks, we will be creating nine blocks, resulting in one beautiful quilt. We are also thrilled to introduce you to the talented Gina Perkes of The Copper Needle. Gina designed the quilt we will make in this challenge and will also serve as the host over the nine weeks, checking in with participants in the challenge Facebook group.

Gina operates her shop, The Copper Needle, an Innova dealership, and training center in Payson, Arizona. In her nearly two decades of quilting, Gina has won awards such as the Best Longarm Machine Workmanship award at the AQS Paducah show, and her Nostalgia quilt is part of the America Quilter’s Society collection displayed at the National Quilt Museum in Kentucky.

If you haven’t signed up for the next quilt block challenge, you can do so here! Each block will be sent via the National Quilters Circle email newsletter. Be sure to connect with Gina on Facebook and Instagram, and visit The Copper Needle website!

National Quilters Circle: How long have you been quilting, and who taught you how to quilt?

Gina Perkes: I’ve been quilting for twenty years. I learned to quilt while pregnant with my second child. He was a summer baby and, living in Arizona, I needed an indoor activity for that last trimester. My mother and I took a beginner piecing class at the local quilt shop. I caught the bug immediately and have been addicted to quilting ever since.

NQC: What was your first quilting project?

GP: What was your first quilting project? My first quilting project was a bed quilt for my daughter. It was a snowball block pattern. When I finished quilting it, I was too terrified to bind it so I added a long ruffle to hang over the sides of the bed. I’ve definitely gained patience and confidence since then.

NQC: Tell us about The Copper Needle.

GP: The Copper Needle is the quilt shop and INNOVA longarm dealership that I own in Payson, AZ. I opened the shop two years ago and have expanded twice in that time. It is very much a destination shop where we have many out of town visitors. Payson is a small, mountain town where Phoenix quilters like to come to escape the heat in the summer time. My shop is always happy, friendly, creative, and colorful. Visitors love the positive energy and cheery fabrics!

NQC: What do you like to do when you’re not quilting?

GP: When I’m not quilting, I like to spend time with my family. We are a very close family starting with my Grandma (who lives across the street) down to my three children. We like to hike, boat, paddleboard, and other outdoor activities.

NQC: What are you currently working on?

GP: I’m currently working on a multitude of projects and ideas. I tend to have many things going on at one time. Organized chaos is a good way to describe my creative process. I’m working on writing book number five (machine quilting with rulers), collaborating on a show quilt with an incredibly talented applique’ artist from Australia, and growing my business.

NQC: What project have you been most proud of?

GP: I am most proud of a quilt that I created in 2014, Nostalgia. It received a purchase award at the AQS Paducah show for the best longarm quilting. It now hangs in the National Quilt Museum. This was a dream of mine that came true. The quilt was very therapeutic for me as I worked on it as I was working through personal difficulties. It parallels the healing process in many areas of its design.

NQC: What’s your sewing room like?

GP: My sewing room is always messy. Always. If I clean it, then I’m immediately inspired to make something new which means making a new mess. My mind tends to jump around quite a bit. I allow my creativity to evolve so this sometimes results in fabric and threads everywhere!

NQC: What kind of sewing machine(s) do you have?

GP: I have two machines – a BERNINA 790 (for home) and a BERNINA 830 (for shop). I quilt with an INNOVA 22” longarm machine.

NQC: If you could create your dream quilting space, what would it be like?

GP: My dream quilting space would be filled with natural light overlooking a lake. I think that having great natural light can be very inspiring and helpful when working. I’d also love for some person to magically appear and create an organized system for my sewing room….I can keep wishing I suppose.

NQC: What’s your favorite type of fabric to work with?

GP: I like to work with fabrics that are solid colored or read as solids. I’m not partial to a particular manufacturer though Michael Miller’s Cotton Couture is pretty awesome. I like to stay focused on the piecing design and machine quilting more than the fabric print.

NQC: What’s a new technique or trick you learned recently?

GP: I recently learned a great way to machine bind both sides of a quilt. I usually hand sew to the back but am quite impressed with the look of the new method my grandma has come up with.

NQC: What quilting tip has changed your life?

GP: Using a fine thread in the bobbin changed my life. This tip mainly applies to machine quilting which I thoroughly enjoy.

NQC: What would you say to someone who’s just getting started in quilting?

GP: To someone who’s just learning to quilt I’d say, always remember to: practice, persevere, and play. These are the three P’s I live and teach by. Many people want to be good the moment they start and become discouraged when they aren’t achieving perfection. It’s important to allow room for error and learning. I love to look back at my first works and see where I’ve grown, progressed, and evolved. I’ve had fun every step of the way which is the most important aspect of quilting.

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88 Responses to “Meet Gina Perkes of The Copper Needle”
  1. Mandy Carroll

    I just joined the nine week block challenge. I have my creative process in hiding for over 20 years due to personal issues which caused me to only seek survival. Being a seamstress since I was 11 from my days in home economics, it was hard to silence that voice. 3 years back in, a move to a small town, and a friend and teacher I am sewing and quilting again. This is a gift from heaven and healing and my voice being heard. Thank you.

  2. mary rucker

    This is my first time to do a block challenge, I work full time and wish I were retired so I could sew all the time.

  3. Chris Graeve

    Met Gina in Houston last November and fell in love with her work. I am enrolled in her NQC class and really learning a lot. I live in Australia and doing online classes and challenges brings the world to my sewing room…looking forward to participating.

  4. Nannett

    Your work is incredibl! I can’t wait to start learn through your block challange

    • Customer Service

      Hi Linda, we will have a supply/fabric list available but you may use whatever fabric you would like. Thank you, Hallie NQC Video Membership

  5. Rose Spike

    WIll you show the way to put blocks together that your Grandmother came up with?

  6. mary barnett

    have not received the email with the fabric requirements as of 11:30am today. where can i find online?

  7. Barbara

    I’m going to be away for most of the period of the challenge but I am anxious to have the patterns for the stars and to make the quilt. I am a star addict.

  8. Billie Jean Queen

    What is the list of fabric . Yardage per color
    What is the list of yardage I need to buy. I am having a hard time finding it.

  9. Sherry

    I like stars and I love color. I hope I can make all the blocks so they will go together and not clash.

  10. Patricia Stiver

    Enjoying the challenge. I do a lot of charity quilts so I am doing two or three of each block

  11. Kathryn A

    Have the directions for the first block been posted? I thought they were being posted 1/11/18. Kathy in Prescott

  12. Deborah Serman

    I am basically a newbie and ordered the teal fabric for the challenge. I am sure of the colors for B,C,D,F,G and H. Can you tell me which colors were for A and E. One is one yard and the other is 1 1/2 yards. I hope this makes sense. Also are the directions for sewing only pictures and if so after the nine weeks do we get instructions to piece it all together.

    • Customer Service

      Hello Deborah,

      Here is a link to the Fabric Requirements. Click on the Full Color Version or the Monochromatic Version to get more information on the colors.

      Becky NQC Video Membership

  13. Julia

    I have signed up for challenge but have not received newsletter with instructions. Getting other emails Help please

  14. Kathy Guard

    Please add me, this is my second attempt to try and sign up, not having much luck receiving the information…help

  15. Cindy McKinley

    I want to do the current block project but can’t find out fabric requirements, how many colors and how many yards each. Is there one somewhere I’m missing? Please help

    • Customer Service

      Hello Lorraine,

      You are not too late to join. The challenge has already started but you can start whenever you would like.

      Becky NQC Video Membership

  16. Amy P

    Did you ever add a monochromatic of Blocks 1 and 2? If so, I haven’t been able to find. Please send them to me. I would like to see is my calculations are correct for these two blocks. Thank you.

  17. Meg Bassani

    I thought I was already signed up for this, but I only have 3 blocks so far so I am worried that something happened.

    • Customer Service

      Hello Meg,

      We are sorry to hear that you are not receiving the emails with the NQC Quilt Block Challenge. Please make sure to check your Junk/Spam folder to see if the emails are going in there. Here is the link to block 4. There are links to the rest of the blocks at the bottom of the post.

      National Quilters Circle Video Membership

  18. Suzanne McIntosh

    Hi Gina. Have seen your beautiful blocks for the past few weeks and would love to create a quilt using them. I know it is almost the end of the challenge but is there any way I can get the instructions. My Mum turns 90 this year and I would love to do it for her. I have joined your facebook page and will definitely join any other challenges you have. Love your work. Thanks a lot. Sue (Australia)

  19. Ann White

    Your quilter challenge block is beautiful. I like the solid colors, blends, and contrasts of each block. I am teaching myself to quilt. I have started a table runner for my first project. It is small enough that I can learn from my design and mistakes as it is pieced together. Sewing has always been a joy. I joined 4-H during 4th grade. We had a city type club, learning how to sew, cook, home economics projects, small yard gardening. We started very simple sewing projects, learning how to make a tea towel hymn, to eventually later in life, I made my wedding gown. I’m starting to quilt a very simple project and work up to a harder one. If my table runner comes out, I’ll send you a picture of it. Thanks for sharing the Quilt Block Challenge. I think I will be able to do it. Time will tell.

  20. Pam Paque

    Can you put out the pattern for the block that is in the first full neutral pink and gray color way that is not lncluded in any of the 9 blocks. The one bottom middle row. Am not good at designing blocks and would like that on. Thank you very much Pam Paque

  21. Gale Sowle

    Are there any finishing instructions? i.e. size of sashing and border fabrics

  22. Gale Sowle

    Are there any finishing instructions? i.e. size of sashing and border fabrics, etc.? Thank you.

  23. Sandy

    Gina, if at all possible, need to have the final mono quilt block sheets for Merope and Alicyone Stars. Would you please arrange to have emailed to me so I can finish my quilt? Noticed that other quilters are needing these mono sheets as well. Thank you for hosting this quilt challenge!


    I would love to be in this quilt challenge. please send to my email account.

    • Customer Service

      Dear Vanessa,

      Thank you for contacting us.

      Sign up link:

      If you have signed up and are not getting the emails I would check Spam and Junk.

      If you have any other concerns, please contact us at 1-855-706-3538, or chat with us on our site.

      We greatly appreciate your business!


      National Quilters Circle Video Membership