FB_IMG_13812779448808075Working for a couple of hours on a Gen Q project, then some of my own stuff.
Including this beauty, which has been neglected.
And there are blogs for Gen Q, prep for Steve’s Sew & Vac and BU prep.
Oh dearie me! I am so HAPPY!

Catch ya later!


PS watch this space I have a special announcement for my New York City peeps

PS version 2 I have added a class at Hartsdale on Saturday August 23rd

Quilt Expo bookmarkWell, last night was something of a surprise.  Jeanie Sumrall-Ajero tagged me in a facebook post letting me know that our quilt, Feather Zone, was chosen as the quilt on the bookmark for Quilt Expo in September. This is so cool. So.stinkin’.cool. Feather Zone will most likely be at Quilt Expo with Jeanie in the Kaleidoscope Collections booth. We had no idea this would happen.  Thank you Wisconsin Public Television and Quilt Expo!

tilde-competition-overall-3.jpegAnd then I got a text from Keith letting me know that at the Tucson Quilters Guild Annual Show  Tilde won a First place ribbon in the “Two person Piecing/Applique” category and Exemplary Machine Applique. Woohoo! Way to go Keith. Cristy Fincher (Sharon Schambers daughter) posted a photo on Instagram (follow me at terilucas). You may remember that the central motif is from Sharon Schambers “Fresno”. I love it when something I’ve quilted brings other people great joy.

You all know that teaching machine quilting is one of my very favorite things in life aside from quilting itself. I love that moment when I see everything coming together, the quilters body relaxes, the machine slows down and the quilting just happens. Those are indeed magical moments. I love too helping quilters figure out how to problems solve what’s going on with their machine.
I’m also happy to share with you that I’m scheduled to teach Free Motion Machine Quilting at Brooklyn General February 15th and 22nd. I’d love to have you as a student if you’re in the area!

I’m also teaching at the Minnesota Quilt Show June 12 – 14. Looking at the faculty list I’m really excited.  This is a new to me show and I’m looking forward to it and meeting up with friends and quilters!

I’m working on one day guild event in NJ.

Happy Quilting!




CAM00677Well, I’ll be quiet here until about November 18th.  I am in the middle of quilting the quilt pictured here which will take every free moment I have between now and then.  I’m quilting Quantum Leap (pieced by Jeanie Sumrall-Ajero)
There will be lots and lots of bubbles – I can tell you the stitch count on the machine is somewhere between 5500 and 6000 per 1 x 7″ section.  I’m enjoying watching the stitch count on the machine go up! up! up!

I can tell you that I learned something truly fascinating about the 7 Series the other day.  I needed to have a board replaced because of a hum – I thought the crickets were particularly loud this summer and didn’t realize the hum until after I closed the windows.  CAM00649 I saved settings so that when the machine booted up I would be able to just get stitching.  (see the yellow highlighting around the disc) As you can see I have a photo of the settings so what mattered to me was getting the board replaced, not so much information.  The tech called me to the work room and asked me about this because when he went to do the straight stitch this is what came up.

(Isn’t it cool that the screen shows the foot, needle down, the tension setting, the presser foot pressure and that the feed dogs are up!)  Well even though he had to replace one board, my settings were saved in another area of the computer part of the machine!  Better quilting through technology!  Okay, maybe not better quilting…I’m still in control of that but certainly easier!
I’ll be back soon!Happy Quilting,TeriPS I’ll be coming back with a couple of tutorials…so stay tuned!

CAM00513Sing it with me now, “Tiny Bubbles
I’m still stitching tiny bubbles.
Tiny Bubbles here, tiny bubbles there.
Tiny Bubbles


CAM00650I’m stitching tiny bubbles.  And occasionally checking in on my stitch count.  It’s fun to stitch for a while and watch the stitch count go up.  As of the time of this post I’m 3,000 stitches shy of 350,000 stitches.  More than likely by the end of this quilt I’ll be very close to if not over 1 Million stitches.

CAM00649And then there’s this feature that I love so very much.

By pressing the “i” this screen comes up.

I can then press the “save” button and save the stitch that I’m working on right now allowing me to turn the machine off, go away for a very long time, turn the machine on and have my settings stay right where I need them.

This is stinkin’ cool!!!

Happy Quilting!


CAM00240One of the Friars used to say, “Blessed are the Surprise-able for they shall be surprised”.  As quilters I think we’re among the surprise-able when we work on our quilts no matter how much we plan there is always a level of surprise when the quilt is complete. There is always something that happens along the way that I don’t expect.  Oh wait, the whole process is a bit of a surprise for me because I don’t really plan much along the way.  It’s kind of freeing to work this way.

Every once in a while I need to do a bit more planning….mmm planning is the wrong word.  I need to see what the thread looks like on a quilt to get a sense for the overall effect.  Thankfully this time I have a practice piece to play with thank you Jeanie!  This quilt is special, really, really special.  A bit of background, when Jeanie and I won a first place ribbon for Feather Zone I sent her some Robert Kaufman Radiance – turns out it’s prepared for dying which means that Jeanie can put it through the printer to get whatever color she wants.  And it’s pretty, really pretty.




2 – pink


3 – orangy red


4 – blue (teal)

See, Oops I’m not really giving you enough to see the whole thing. Oh I’m a tease, I know.  I can’t quite help it.  Until I’m a bit closer to being done I don’t want to share the whole quilt.  Jeanie and I emailed and phoned to talk about the next step.  Our arrangement is this: Jeanie comes up with the concept, and pieces and I choose the batting, thread and stitching design.  Along the way we check in with each other to affirm where we’re going.  Sometimes the emails fly back and forth.  This time it’s all about the color.  The quilting will be dense but will be mostly in the background of the quilt.  I’m bubbling away here.  Bubbles, bubbles everywhere.  I love quilting bubbles.  I needed to know how the colors would play on the surface before starting the stitching so here are 3 of the 4 colors I tried out before settling on the blue.  I thought the orangy red would work well, uhm not so much.  I liked the pink but it started overwhelming the dots. So we’re going with. . . the teal blue and the green in 1.  The colors head more toward the background.  Originally planned to use the teal in number 4 for the border however that’s changed and I’m going to use Twist that will fade to the background.

Having a piece to play on has been priceless it means a little less flying blind.  The rest of the quilt remains a bit of a mystery and i like it.  With quilting I like a few surprises.

Happy Quilting!


gray radiance 001Road tripping is always a delight.  Road tripping with 3 friends is priceless.  Our first stop: Ladyfingers Sewing in Oley PA.  Well our first “stop” was Wegmans for provisions, ie chocolate and fruit.  I just missed Gail, however I did not miss one of my very favorite fabric lines, Robert Kaufmans Radiance.  I picked up these beautiful gray pieces.  I have plans, plans I say.  I may pair them with the cheddar orange dupioni silk and I may not.  We’ll just have to see what happens.  The color choices may seem odd for this quilter however I’m planning thread play on each one of the pieces of gray that I have.  I’m not sure of size yet, that will come later.

Arriving at the quilt show I was delighted to see Jan Magee, the Editor of  The Quilt Life.  The Quilt Life is quite refreshing for a quilt magazine and, I think, is leading the way in encouraging quilters to really grow their skills as quilt makers.  I’ve written a couple of times for them and plan to submit again soon.  Unfortunately I didn’t get a photo with Jan.

AQS Lancaster 002I did get a photo with Alex Anderson.

Alex has been part of my quilting  journey nearly from the beginning.  Now that she and Ricky have The Quilt Show.  We get to see more of her joy and exuberance in personality.  I really love how different The Quilt Show is compared to SQ.

One of the gals brought home a new Bernina 350 Special Edition with the cool skin on the front.  Alex signed it.  How cool is that?

lime and gray yarn 001Before heading over to the show on Saturday we stopped at Kitchen Kettle Village to shop at The Olde Country Store, Zooks and the Village Shops.  My first stop: the Lancaster Yarn Shop.  Oh my!!  This shop is delightful, friendly staff and lots of beautiful yarn.  First of all how can you go wrong when the shopping bags are lime green with metallic purple writing?  So stinkin’ cute!  And then I picked up this lime green and gray kettle dyed yarn.  And this time I have a plan.  A friend showed me a herringbone infinity scarf.  I can’t wait to start stitching this.  I want to finish a couple of other projects first though.

AQS Lancaster 016When I saw this quilt the first time I stopped in my tracks and had to take a photo.

Then saw the artist, Sue Reno.

Sue and I have been friends on facebook for a few years and the last couple of AQS shows we stand on line and chat while waiting to pick up our quilts.  This year was, delightfully, a bit different.  We talked for a bit, went to see her quilt and Sue shared the process a bit with a family admiring her quilt.  The silk used comes from a particular town in India where Sue studied in the 1970’s and again on a recent visit.  The ornamental ginger leaf is dyed using a cyanotype process (a type of  light reactive dye – left in the sun for a period of time for the desired effect).  The family asked great questions about how Sue put the quilt together.

Sue and I talked a bit more about her quilt after the family left.  I really love the groundedness and freedom of this quilt.  It speaks to roots and growth.  At least in my mind.

I am once again grateful to see Tilde hanging in a show.  I have a few more shows to enter Tilde into before shipping her off to Keith as he AQS Lancaster 003has a couple of shows to enter into.  Thank you John Anderson for taking this photo.   John also took the photo of Alex & me.

I was able to share with quilters about the making of this quilt a few different times, which is always a pleasure.

Tilde is one of my favorite quilts to date.

Jeanie Sumrall-Ajero and I did the great quilt hand off with a long conversation at the Superior Threads booth.  I can share that the quilt Jeanie pieces is off the hook gorgeous uses Radiance as well as some commercial batiks.  I know roughly how many hours she has invested in the quilt so far and know I’ll probably meet her in hours quilting.   We won’t know until later when we’ll be able to share the quilt, it just depends on when I get it finished and which show we decide to enter first.   A very special thank you to Gina Reddin who spent a good 20 minutes with us offering a few great suggestions.

Happy Quilting!







Feather ZoneQuilting a kaleidoscope is one of the very best ways to practice machine quilting.

There are a variety of ways Jennie quilt floating triangleto figure out the stitching path and to quilt them.  The variety ends up being infinite.  It’s a great way to figure out how to make the quilting show or have it fade to the background.

When I quilted “Feather Zone” this was the first time I was able to stitch up one side and down the other of the feathers.  With a few more hours of practice I would be able to do this with the muscle memory developed by stitching and stitching and stitching.

Having the shapes printed out like this and making my usual on the fly decisions regarding how I wanted the center spines to look made the process easier.  This is why many quilters like stencils (by hand or on a domestic) and pantos (on a long arm) because the stitching path is clearly defined, being careful to follow the stitching path is essential to an overall well stitched quilt.  One of my students asked me to quilt her Stack & Whack quilt some time ago and I love going back to look at this quilt.  It always makes me happy in part because she was happy with the end result of the quilt.  By stitching the S&W hexagons as though they were kaleidoscope images I had a lot of fun with the quilt.  Each block is quilted uniquely and I was able to use the ditch to easily move from one block to the next.  The butternut/interlocking circles is one of my favorite designs.  I like the effect on the black next to the very straight geometric lines of the hexagons.  I used a chalk powder and a stencil to accomplish that look.

kaleidoscope bang 1As so often happens in a post I digress.  Last night I installed Kaleidoscope Kreator 3 along with the filigree, Feathers and Snowflakes Template Packs.


It didn’t take long before I uploaded a photo of a the stitching on a recent quilt.kal bang 5 kal bang 6 With just a simple change of how many wedges are in a particular shape the image changes completely.  The two Kaleidoscope on the right and left of this text are the same section of stitching with a simple change of the number of wedges in the “lace” template.  While they are quite similar there are clear differences.




kal feather tilde 1I took an image of Tilde and started playing with one of the Feather templates.

Printing something like this out the adding machine stitching not only around the feathers but in the feathers, creating more detail is no only a great way to practice quilting but create beautiful one of a kind pieces for gift giving.

Seeing the kaleidoscopes above gets me thinking about how I can figure out how to stitch new shapes leaving negative space here and there.  I can see something like these being printed on card stock and stitched through with an empty needle.  A little chalk powder and a machine stitching template is born.  With the image saved on my computer I have a road map for color placement and knowing where I’d have stops and starts.

The possibilities are just mind boggling.

Happy Quilting!



it’s been an entire year to the day,  the actual date is Friday, since I had the hysterectomy.  I can not tell you how much better I feel overall.  So many quilters were so amazingly encouraging and supportive through the process.  A few were interviewed or wrote blogs for me including Maggie, Janet-Lee, Jake,  Lisa, Rayna and Jeanie.  And I can not express my gratitude enough to each of these amazing quilters.  I have plans at some point to do a few more interviews.

The following weeks were challenging as I could not sit at the machine and stitch.  I remember posting on facebook at some point between naps that quilting is a full contact sport, and I meant it.   It was an entire 8 weeks before I could get to my sewing room.  As a result I needed something creative to do and drawing/zentangling became a daily event.  I focused for a period of time on creating one of a kind coffee cups.  I love these coffee cups, they are bright and cheery and fun.  Regena of the Distracted Domestic asked me if she might use one of my cups as an embroidery design.  Of course!  How fun would that be?

create caffe 001

Last week Regena posted a photo of the completed hand embroidered design.  It’s gorgeous and then on top of it all she sent it to me!!!  Look what’s now living on the door to my studio!  THANK YOU!!!!

I love this.  I never cease to be surprised by the generosity and support of quilters and people in the creative community.

And now I’m off to finish quilting the quilt that’s due next week.  A couple of hours of quilting, binding, sleeve & label and I’m good to go!

Happy Quilting,


Just a quick reminder I’m teaching at the New England Quilt Festival, Manchester, NH in April.  I’d love to see you there!

As a quilting instructor/pro quilter/award winner it’s hard sometimes to complain about the process of a quilt in progress.   I have guild members and friends but the blog, the blog takes a different tone.  Everything goes all  Miss Merry Sunshine when it sometimes it feels all  Little Shop of Horrors.

And this is one of those quilts with a hard deadline, due in 11 days (yes I’ll get it done) and I have to wait to share it with you.  However there are a couple of things I can share with you now that are principle based rather than specifically about this quilt.

Marking transfers sometimes happen in places they’re not wanted.  The original design was drafted on paper, including some of the quilting thoughts.  I used a Sharpie pen on the design paper the design being completed 2 days prior to marking the top.  As I transferred the design some of the ink bled through to the surface.  It’s minor, I can cover it up with stitching.  This was step one in this particular quilts alternate title being earned.

debby brown 004Trouble happens even on well planned, well basted quilts.  So I’m stitching along with a particular thread and it breaks.  This happens occasionally I was a bit surprised because I’d done a lot of stitching with this thread.  I clip, bury and get ready to start stitching again.  Stitch 18″ and it happens again, this time I notice that the thread is wrapping up around the needle.  It’s  bit odd so I go through the diagnosis process: rethread the machine, clean it out, drop of oil, make sure the tension isn’t too tight.  Get started stitching and find that I need my “bang head here” mug rug that I gave to Debby Brown when I saw her for 3 minutes in Houston.

I get started stitching again and 18″ in the same thing happens: thread shreds, wrapped up around the needle and I see a bit further up the thread path that the thread is un-twisting.  Hmm.  I check for burrs in the stitch plate, I change machines and once again…

Now, because this particular color is essential to the design and it’s a serious thing I take steps to remedy this.  Customer Service with this particular company is off the hook amazing!  Now comes a plan change as all of this thread has to get sent back.

Renee has thread I might be able to use, it’s similar in color. Thank you Renee!  I stitch, stitch, stitch and break.  Rinse, repeat.  Now I have to change plans entirely.  I start stitching with a different color and the thread breaks 8″ in and now I’m wondering if there’s something wrong with me, my machine, the weather, my hair color, batting, fabric.  I grab my favorite quilting tool, my seam ripper, take out the stitching, get started with another color and voila it’s all good.

As evidenced by the uber-talented Lisa Sipes  you can quilt that out (Cathy Miller, You can Quilt that Out). Well a bubble developed right over there —>  Yes, it can be quilted out, it can look fine but really?! Seriously?!  There in a conspicuous part of the quilt/design.  Really?  Well obviously yes, and with some patience it can be quilted out.  I really didn’t want to be patient.  Not really, I wanted this to just stitch beautifully and go easily well.

thumb 001Using the wrong size needle if the tension is balanced will produce pokies on the back of the quilt.  HINT use the correct needle for the thread as laziness will bring out the seam ripper.  Did I mention the deadline and the really dense quilting?  Why yes, I did.  Rule of thumb: don’t be lazy on any quilt, it’s not worth the time ripping it out.

Over the last few days I’ve been moaning and groaning to Jeanie Sumrall-Ajero and another friend cause I’ve needed to express my frustration with what’s happening with this quilt.  The quilt is really fine, really.  Jeanie said, “Don’t think ‘strange’ – think ‘epic’! Here’s to pushing ourselves outside our creative comfort zone and emerging stronger for it on the other side.”  I’m changing the thought process from “unruly” which has a clearly negative connotation to “EPIC” which stresses the beauty of the process and the quilt.

Listen to the quilt.  I’ve learned with my quilts that I must listen to them.  When I don’t there’s trouble.  The quilt needed something here and there and the quilt is going from causing me grief to working itself out.  Sigh.  Truly I know that I need to listen sometimes I just don’t know what the quilt is saying.  It’s hard to listen when I’ve got a lot of territory to cover in a short amount of time.  Well the quilt gave me a time out – I broke 5 titanium coated in less than 20 minutes.  I walked away for the rest of the day – which felt very unproductive and yet I know that the time away is essential when inspiration comes and I can continue in a way that I wasn’t planning. I know that in a few areas I need to use warmer colors and change things up a bit.  I’m finally hearing the quilt.

I frequently express gratitude for my sweetie I’m heading up to quilt shortly and he’ll take care of the meals today.  He’ll encourage me though out the day and perhaps even make coffee for me once again.  I can not thank him enough.

A final note: all quilters whether well practiced or newbies have issues with quilts.  With any art it takes time to learn the process, it takes a willingness to make mistakes and figure out how to fix them.  Asking for help is important – even when we don’t know how to phrase the question to get the help we need.  The answers given to the question will get a quilter thinking and working on problem solving in a way that will prove highly effective.  We can not get around the process.

Happy Quilting!






it takes 50 hours to become comfortable with machine quilting

it takes 500 hours to become proficient in machine quilting

it takes 10,000 hours to become a master machine quilter

While the principle comes from a work of fiction (Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell) the essence of the truth remains the more one practices machine quilting well, the more a quilting will improve.  When I teach I break this down into 50 = one work week; 500 hours = ten work weeks and 10,000 hours =well right now we won’t go there.  I’ve noticed that quilters (frequently including myself) seem daunted by the time it takes to build good skill and master the technique.  While I think this is more complicated than I have the wherewithal to cover in this blog I’m going to attempt to share some of my experience on my way to one day mastering machine quilting.

Saying:  How do you get to Paducah/Houston? Practice, Practice, Practice.

Benartex, Paula Nadelstern, Patternista

Practice is essential and there is no way to get around this.  Each quilt we make takes us through a learning process that allows us to learn along the way.  I’m going to focus on machine quilting as this is the skill I’m working on mastering.  Notice my language: working on mastering.  I haven’t mastered machine quilting though I’d say I’m rather adept at it.  The current quilt I’m working on has made it clear I’m not in charge, not just yet.

Challenge#1 – the need for a basic understanding of the mechanics of machine quilting.  I started learning at home without the benefit of a class.  While this isn’t necessarily a problem having an understanding of the mechanics would have helped the process along as I would have had the foundation in place to correct problems as the happened.  Having some experience while taking the beginner class helped an awful lot as I wasn’t particularly concerned about making mistakes in class.

Challenge #2 – a fear of making mistakes.  I did and still do have a fear of making mistakes.  Oh sure, I’ve embraced my seam ripper and sing it’s praises well.  One might say I like my seam ripper a little too much.  Well maybe not.  So what I’ve learned is that mistakes happen.  Sometimes we can work around them and sometimes not.  When I can’t work around them I can either put the project away til later or take out the seam ripper.

There came a moment where I chose to build enough skill to compete.  While choosing to compete is my choice and focused my effort on mastering machine quilting as quilters we can work on improving our skill.  The first step in this is to stop comparing our quilting to other peoples quilting.  Developing an appreciation for their work will help change our focus to something good.  By changing how we look at other quilters work we won’t be quite so daunted by he learning process.

zen tangle

Challenge #3 – figuring out how to build skill and by that I mean practice.  This actually took a while and some commitment on my part.

I have several ways I practice including practicing motifs with paper and pen with both dominant and non-dominant hand. Paper and pen is effective as it creates muscle memory and aids in figuring out a path of stitching that works for me as a quilter.  This stitching path may be different for you.  As a little aid I mocked up a paper version of two different types of feathers which can be viewed on the December Free-motion Quilting Challenge Bonus Tutorial.

Then there are border & kaleidoscope prints that offer great stitching paths.  Stitching the lines on these gives me time at the machine and lines to follow.  These can then be used to make totes, table toppers and wall hangings.

Jeanie Summrall-Ajero’s Kaleidoscope Kreator has so many options for creating stitching paths that a quilter can grow by leaps and bounds.

One block wonder quilts are an endless source of stitching path and offer enough ditch path that allows for ease of movement from block to block.

Get some solid colors, make 8″ quilt sandwiches and stitch for 20 minutes a day as warm up exercises.  Use stencils and grid lines at first then just go for it.

Bottom Line: there is no improvement without practice.

Remember we work 6″ from our quilting so we see everything and I do mean everything!

Practice effectively.

Seek advice when needed.

Be confident and don’t make excuses for your work.

Take photos and look for perspective – it really helps!

Just the other day I emailed a friend of mine for advice and not only heard what I needed to hear but got encouragement to keep going, that and a deadline will do it for me.  I still have a lot of hours to put in towards mastery but it sure is fun!

Have fun!

Happy Quilting!



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