Brilliant by Sue Marsh

Whistlepig Creek Productions founder Sue Marsh is known for her hand-drawn illustrations that reflect a sense of youthfulness, whimsy and fun. She has been creating and sketching characters since 1997 and partnered with RJR Fabrics to give her characters new life. Her fun, lighthearted collections of novelty prints appeal to both kids and the young-at-heart! Her debut Aurifil thread collection, Brilliant, is available in both large and small boxes and coordinates particularly well with Geekery  and Monster Trucks.

12 Large Spools, 50wt (1422yds/spool), 100% Aurifil Cotton
2120 – 1104 – 2250 – 2479 – 2288 – 2540
5017 – 2870 – 1148 – 5005 – 1320 – 2735

10 Small Spools, 50wt (220yds/spool), 100% Aurifil Cotton
2120 – 1104 – 2250 – 2288 – 2540
5017 – 2870 – 5005 – 1320 – 2735

Can you tell us a bit about yourself and how you first got started in the world of sewing and quilting?
I’ve been sewing since I was twelve. I found it to be my medium and the way to express my creativity. I can’t remember not being drawn to it. It was how I celebrated my accomplishments and dealt with life’s lows.

I grew up in Wyoming and moved to Colorado shortly after I graduated from college. I graduated with a degree in Petroleum Engineering about the time the industry took a nosedive. I started sewing and selling items at craft shows to pay my rent. This is when I found that I could make a little money with my skills. There has always been “the next step, the next step, the next step” to come to the point where I am now. It’s been an evolution.

I am married to the most wonderful man on the planet and we have a very happy life in Colorado.

Do you remember your first quilt and how you felt once it was complete?
I clearly remember my first quilt – and I actually finished it!! It was probably the only project I have ever done start to finish with nothing in between.

It was a scrappy variable star. I used muslin for the background fabric, a high loft batting, a brown sheet for the backing and I tied it with yarn. I am quite sure the muslin was the very cheapest I could get and the concept of all cotton was a foreign concept. This was in the days before rotary cutters so I hand cut every piece of that queen size quilt! And, as with many of us, I made this as a gift!!

Who or what has been your greatest creative inspiration?
I am going to say Eleanor Burns. I bought her Log Cabin book, a rotary cutter and mat and actually did a king size quilt in a day. I was forever hooked.

Can you tell us a bit about your style and what inspires your fabric collections for RJR?
I’m going to categorize my style as “silly”. I love bright colors and characters that are a little left of center. What inspires me? Everyday life! I might see a dog riding in the back of a car and wonder to myself “hmm… I think that dog could drive that car” and the next thing you know… dogs driving cars might show up on fabric. Or a documentary on Polar Bears might beg the question… “I wonder what they would look like in sweaters and lederhosen”. It just goes on like that.

What collections are you currently working on and do you have any favorites?
I just wrapped up a collection of Llamas that will show in the fall and another collection for this spring market that is more trendy tribal inspired. Not whimsical, but still in the bright color range. If I look back on all my collections I would have to pick Days of Yore as my favorite. Mostly because of the little soft story book that goes with the line.

Days of Yore Quilt by Sue Marsh

What is your favorite thing to sew or quilt?
Gosh…I don’t think I have a favorite thing. My favorite project is always “the next one”.

Your debut Aurifil thread collection was developed to coordinate with a handful of your fabric collections, including Geekery and Monster Trucks. Do you find that you favor a particular color palette to support your illustrations?
Most certainly! You will find that Brilliant goes really well with the next three lines. Happy Owl O Ween, Pow Wow Wow and Llama Llama Bo Bama!

Do you have a favorite project made with your recent collections that you’d like to share?
You’ll see images of some of the projects made with the recent lines throughout this post. We also have a free pattern made with Monster Trucks for everyone.

Check out all of Sue’s free patterns by clicking here.

When did you first discover Aurifil threads and what do you love most about them? 
I watch the industry closely. I was always seeing Aurifil associated with my favorite fabrics and my favorite designers. I tried it for myself and found the quality as advertised!

Do you have a favorite color/weight and why?
I use an awful lot of Black 50 wt. I love the way the black makes applique pop using a button hole stitch. Many of my fabric lines have black backgrounds with bright color motifs. I love the way black makes the color sing.

If I had to narrow down the colors … Hot Pink 2588, Lime Green 5017, Cyan 5005, and Purple 2540!

How did you go about putting this collection together?
That was easy! I pulled out a couple pieces of fabric and picked the colors that match. I was a wonderful surprise to find out how perfectly they match and how this color collection goes with pretty much all my fabrics.

Can you tell us about the illustrations on your stunning collection labels?
All those characters have been featured in fabric. I did a lottery and the winners got to be on the label!

What top thread tip would you want to share with our readers? 
I keep bobbins loaded with the colors in the thread box. I always use matching thread top and bottom. They are ready to go when I am ready to sew!

What’s coming up for you and where can we find you this year?
I have four lines of fabric coming out this year!! Monster Trucks has shipped and Happy Owl O Ween will ship soon. Followed by Pow Wow Wow and Llama Llama Bo Bama.

Hubby has retired and I am mostly hanging out with him. Happy at home drawing my silly little critters.


To enter-to-win 1 Large Brilliant Thread Collection and one FQ Bundle of Geekery by Sue Marsh for RJR Fabrics, click here to head to the Rafflecopter entry page, or simply click on the image above. You do not have to complete all the options to be entered but the more options you choose, the more entries you have!  Entries will be accepted from now through 11:59pm Eastern Time on Tuesday, March 28! Winner will be randomly selected and announced here on Wednesday, March 29. Good luck!

UPDATE: This giveaway is now closed! Congratulations to our winner, Janet Tyner!!


Though you wouldn’t expect it from the fun, quirky illustrations she is known for, Sue Marsh possesses a background in software engineering. This highly technical background provided her with the ideal skill-set for quilt and pattern design. She decided to make her passionate hobby a full time venture and launched Whistlepig Creek Productions, her pattern design company. Whistlepig Creek has found great success in its 10-year history, with an extensive website and thriving mail-order business. “I use math – especially trigonometry and geometry – more in quilting than in Software Engineering!” Since she was a child, Sue Marsh has always been drawing characters.

Her hand-drawn illustrations reflect a sense of youthfulness, whimsy, and fun. Sue has a background in fabric design, having created two lines of fabric for Marcus Brothers over a period of two years. Sue’s fun, lighthearted collections of novelty prints appeal to both kids and the young-at-heart!

[Bio courtesy of RJR Fabrics, photos courtesy of Sue Marsh and Whistlepig Creek Productions]



  1. I would have her illustrate my family, which includes my pets. She has so much talent. Her color choices are so fun and bright!

  2. What great fabrics and threads but how disappointing. I would have loved to have been entered into the contest but am not on Instagram. That means, not only can I not get the first entry, but none of the other 6 either. No, I am not on Facebook or Twitter either.

  3. Such bright, happy fabrics. By the way, I really like the math symbols quilt. Right down my alley, so to speak.

  4. Oh, I love this bright colours.
    What I want to have illustrated? We need a badge for our sewing meeting – and nobody is talented enough to draw one 🙂

    Greetings, minerva

  5. A pictures of my kitty Zeva & her buddy Bobo. That would be so cute with all the beautiful colors she has done.

  6. I would say illustrate a child in a boat catching a fish. I just think you could do that so many ways, sweet, or comical. I think it would make a cute boys quilt but my granddaughters and I fish too!

  7. Cute. I don’t think I can add any designs. She seems to have lots of her own ideas.

  8. I would say bears for my granddaughter, because we call her Claire Bear. I just love Sue’s designs & bright colors!

  9. I love what she has created already. Since we now live in Tuscaloosa, AL, I think I would have her draw an elephant for the University of Alabama — maybe draw Big Al.

  10. Love the blackish Hexi quilt shown. I have a piece of fabric that I liked, but did not know what to do with; a pattern that was somewhat the same idea and that was on my list; and a couple charm packs I was unsure of; but your quilt helped put some ideas together! It won’t be exactly like yours, but at least you helped me to combine items I didn’t know what to do with into something creative. Thank you!!

  11. I would have her illustrate my garden in the spring, when everything is bursting with color. Her work so fun.

  12. What a great collection of fabrics and threads – they would be outstanding for the children’s quilts that I make for our guild’s community quilts efforts (for adults and children in crisis).

  13. I would love for her to illustrate airplanes. My husband and I own a small plane and our young granddaughters love to fly with their Papa.

  14. I’d love to see A whole group of forest animals, colorful of course, sitting at the edge of town waiting for the sidewalks to be rolled up; Oh can you tell l’ve been living out here too long LOL We don’t have any bears here but many of our quilting friends do but we do have deer, raccoons, squirrels, armadillos, possums, snakes and skunks. And the tamer bunch, like ducks and other fowl but that’s for another day.

  15. My cat! He’s pretty funny and it would be a hoot to have Sue illustrate some of the crazy things he does.

  16. Love the happy brilliant colours – great collection. My daughter loves llamas so I expect I’ll be increasing my stash when the llama collection is in the shops. An animal? A piglet, a fox and a parrot leaps into my imagination.

  17. I love animals of all kinds, especially wildlife. So I would love animal illustrations, especially foxes.

  18. I love Sue’s Geekery line. So I’d love for her to create more science themed fabrics. (Can’t wait to see the new owl line “in person”. Excited!)

  19. What delightful fabric, illustrations, and of course thread! I would love to see some undersea creatures (maybe mermaids?) in Sue’s style.

  20. I don’t have an IG account but I adore all that you do. You bring color and joy to my life. Thank-you.

  21. Would love to see illustrations of dogs!!!! I have followed Can’t enter the Give-away because I don’t have an Instagram account. I have followed along her website and blog for a long time and love her work.

  22. I’ve always loved those “maps” that start in one city and show everything to the opposite coast. I’ll bet Sue could have a field day doing something like that.

  23. Bright, Whimsical, goofy flowers would be a fun illustration to see. Love Sue’s designs and colors.

  24. Love all Sue’s bright colors and designs. A garden theme would be wonderful, bugs, butterflies, birds and flowers!!

  25. Those thread colors are amazing, playful, and must have! I love all of her fabric lines. Barnyard always catch my eye. Fashionista lines are popular with my grand daughter.

  26. Please, oh please, illustrate my silly cat, Mary Alyce. She makes me laugh EVERY single day.

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