Zip it up Easy Techniques for Zippered Bags a Craftsy class by Joan Hawley of Lazy Girl Designs – A Review by Yours Truly
bendy bag the other sideI’ve known of Joan in the quilting scene for years and had the pleasure of meeting her. She’s sweet. Just a sweet person. After making a Bendy Bag, which is by the way the cutest bag ever. Joan and I had bit of a chat about pressing (and ahem, following directions). I’ll admit that that I’m not the best at following directions. Once I get what’s happening I’ll move forward. I do know that following the directions does make a difference. Joan speaks a lot about pressing along the way and it does make a difference. She has even developed some great tools to aid in pressing.
Well, now Joan has a Craftsy class on zipper techniques. She goes beyond the zipper techniques to explaining and showing the pressing techniques. It’s all in the details quilters, it’s all in the details. What I love is that not only does Joan make the techniques look easy, they are! Her directions are so good that I did everything but the pressing to do the Bendy Bag here. Learning the zipper techniques is priceless. Joan adds great details as she goes along. There’s nothing fancy in anything she does, it’s all about the process.
As I write a lot of Craftsy classes are $19.99, talk about value for money.
As a free-motion machine quilter I get the details and the process. I do the details in the process. I teach the details and techniques in the process. So…go get lazy…take Joan’s class and make some great bags!

Happy Quilting!


daiwabo fabricsThe other night my friend and I had a discussion about value. Color value. She is an artist who takes actual classes, paints, quilts, plays viola, you get the drift. Part of the conversation drifted to the new job and one component that I am struggling with, less and less, but still struggling. There is a learning curve with every new thing we take on, this is mine at this moment.
While I don’t have formal training as an artist I get color intuitively, I know the basics: the color wheel, how to use it, how to show others how to use it; I know what works for me and how to help new quilters select fabric and thread for quilts. This is what’s irritating about this particular struggle, I feel like I *should* get this, easily. Surprise! I don’t.
After a bit of conversation over dinner what I’m having a difficult time with is separating out the value. So we have a solution that I’m going to try out soon. The fascinating thing though is that while I’m struggling with this it’s what I’m working on right now for the book. And the funny things is that I get it! So you can see why this makes no sense. Ha!
Aside: we had dinner at The Bayou in Mt. Vernon, such good Cajun food!

I’m off to work for the day at the day job. Have a quilterly day!

quill valori wells twisted stackIt usually means there has been a lot of work going on behind the scenes. This is certainly the case. I just finished a big project – that encompassed several smaller but detailed projects. As they become public I’ll share with you.
And I have permanently added Go With the Flow as a new class.  It’s a fun class to teach. If I teach locally I bring a good bit of my thread stash for students to play with.

Have a great day!


rock in burr grinderAs a quilter I know it’s important to listen to the needs of the quilts as I’m working piecing and quilting them. It takes time to learn how to listen and trust that the quilt is giving us good information. Reality is it’s learning and informing our brains to know what works and what doesn’t, a good bit of this is subjective (our own personal taste) and some is objective (developing and applying an understanding of color and other principles of art).
One of the simplest things is using the fabrics in the quilt, the shapes, textures, and colors to select colors and patterns for the quilting. I say it’s simple because it’s what I do. It’s what I showed quilters when they asked for help in the quilt shop. It’s what I share when I teach free motion machine quilting. The fabric designers have done some serious work and we can take what they’ve done and let it inspire us.

One of my biggest goals to listen to and meet the needs of my students and write this book.  As I’m listening to the members of the Clamshell Quilt Guild and the Warwick Valley Quilt Guild I’m hearing a lot that is informing how I move forward as a teacher and with this book. Earlier this year I put the book on hold for a few reasons, as I write this I’m beginning to see that I needed several experiences and conversations to wrap my head around a few concepts that were niggling at the back of my head and have recently become clear. As I’m writing this morning I’m having a strong urge to take a red pen to my introduction. Words that I thought were important are becoming less so.
JOURNEYAnd I’m going to be honest here: there is a level of fear. Kind of like entering my first quilt show and doing my first lecture and teaching my first machine quilting classes. Screwing this up is a total possibility and it’s a risk i’m going to move forward with taking. This morning my mind is reeling with possibilities in part because of the two lectures and class I just taught. I’m going to have that same class, with some tweaking with  the Warwick Guild.
I can not thank these quilters enough for allowing me to be part of their journey. More importantly I’m grateful for you all being part of my quilting journey. I love quilting and teaching and writing so much.

Happy Quilting!



coffee mugsOne might think I have a love affair with coffee, and one would be right. I love me some good coffee from grinding the beans to sipping slowly as I wake up. A few weeks ago I had to leave the house pre-coffee and stopped at Starbucks on my way home. They had something unusual that caught my attention. Instead of the usual big batch brew this was ground fresh and hot water poured over the grounds, so worth the wait. Must get back to a Starbucks. Oooo Monday morning on my way to work.

I’ve shared before of early morning coffee mishaps as evidenced the links above. Well. I’ve never had this happen before.

rock in burr grinderDo you see this?
There is a rock in the burr grinder. It brought all coffee happiness to a grinding halt. And by halt I mean the burr grinder ceased to function.
Now when this happened I stopped, dumped the beans in the hopper into a bowl, and stared incredulously at the rock. I mean, what else does one do when this sort of thing happens? I then proceeded to look high and low for the other coffee grinder we have. I even took out the ladder to look on the shelf over the cabinet, knocking my head on the light fixture as I turned to look on the other cabinet. Geeeesh!
I looked in the cabinet under the microwave stand. I looked where we keep odd things. Nope.
When my sweetie made his way downstairs I asked him to come into the kitchen. He saved the day! He knew the location of the other grinder. Yay! The burr grinder may be done for, not quite sure yet. But, we have coffee.

Mmmmm Coffee.bad ass coffee mug

And later this morning this mug will be filled with coffee and brought up to the sewing room.


Clamshell Quilt Guild Visit

Wednesday I drove to Waterford CT to visit with the Clamshell Quilt Guild. What a great group of quilters. I knew a few from facebook and one I’d met in person years ago. We’d been friends on the old Alex Anderson Message Board years ago. This evening they selected their new board, had quite a number of charity quilts shown during show & tell and an all around good time. Class on Thursday started on the sidewalk. The gal who was supposed to open the space forgot that we were there (these things happen, not complaining at all). Whoops! So, we moved from the main entrance to a couple of benches and the sidewalk. Kim and Karyn held up my Joen Wolfrom color-wheel poster while I talked about color basics. By the time I got to the end of needle and thread pairings we were let in to the space.
I had some really great students who really embraced the Go With the Flow of it all. For several of the students, their needs were a bit different so I had them do a little something else.
And I learned from my students, and for that I’m grateful. One of the best things about driving to a guild gig is being able to bring my machine, in the car went my B 780. Not only did I demo on the machine I had one of the quilters stitch on it for the class. One of the neatest things…one of the gals needed some help with her machine, an older Husky. This was so cool, is a left threaded machine! I showed her how to lower the feed dogs (it’s in an unusual spot) and to thread it up the correct way and got her started.

Tuesday I’m headed to Warwick Valley Quilters Guild.

Happy Quilting!


I’ve shared some about this quilt here and here and probably here.
49 pieces of chocolate stretched outSomeone asked about the density of quilting, determining how much quilting is enough. She’s discovering that her quilts end up a little stiff. More than likely there are rules written somewhere, in a Quilting 101 type of book, written by a member of the Quilt Police, we’d have to ask Megan if she knows anything or has seen the official documents.
For this quilter, it all depends on the end use of the quilt and how quickly it needs to be completed and I’m going to add that it all depends on the personal style of the quilt-maker involved. A way back when I quilted for a shop owner she kept telling me to keep it simple. Her idea of simple and my idea of simple were, and probably still are, two entirely different things. Simple changes over time.
ny-beauty-full-quilt-april-08Remember as you read, these are my opinions based on what I would and do as a quilter.

If it’s a kids quilt, a quilt for an animal shelter, a mug rug, place-mat, an all over stipple/meander or pattern of some type is great. This is a quilt that’s going to be used and loved and washed over and over again. This is enough to hold the layers together and keep the batting from shifting when being washed. I’m going to offer that these quilts are the perfect place to try out new-to-you motifs and develop the eye/hand coordination for stitching them out on other projects.

double-irish-chain-full-viewA quilt for a bed, a lot would depend on the pattern and what the quilt is saying that it needs. When I hand quilted Bob’s quilt I planned for a lot of hand quilting in the white squares. It’s not densely quilted, it’s appropriately quilted. Any more and this quilt would be stiff and I’d still be quilting it.

Sometimes the most appropriate type of quilting is stitch in the ditch or a simple meander, so not a lot of quilting. This is the place to start having some fun with the quilting. I’ve heard that, no one will see this but me as a reason to do very simple quilting on a bed quilt. But, um aren’t you worth it? Don’t we quilt for our own sanity and pleasure?

Now I’ll say, I don’t want a bed quilt to be quilted within an inch of it’s life however, it can be fairly densely quilted. This is where an understanding of thread weight comes into play, with a finer thread the possibility exists for a lot of stitching without adding a lot of weight or making the quilt too stiff. On a quilt where I want to do this I’d use threads like Aurifil 50 wt. Mako (cotton), Superior MasterPiece, Kimono Silk or SewFine! 60 wt polyester, or 100 wt silk to do a lot of dense quilting on a bed quilt. If I want the quilting to be present but don’t want to do a lot of quilting I’ll use a heavier weight thread and not a lot of stitching.

Much of the “how much do I need to stitch” is dependent upon the size of the blocks, whether the quilt is stitched in the ditch, and the batting used. The batting is a key component to knowing how much or how little stitching is *needed* then you can go for how much is wanted. Read the batting packaging or visit the website of the manufacturer to understand their recommendations. The quilt above is an prime example of understanding the recommendations. It said quilt up to 5″ apart. Well, that does not mean an entire border can be left without any stitching. Lesson learned.Lucas Moon Over Manhattan 39 x 34

Onto show quilts. That, in my opinion, is a different story. Show quilts can be quilted much more densely than other quilts. The thing is, it needs to complement the quilt and the density needs to be consistent across the surface of the quilt. Look at 49 Pieces of Chocolat, When Alex and Jinny met in NY, Beauty Happened, and Moon Over Manhattan the density of quilting is different on each quilt. 49 Pieces clearly needs more quilting to be consistent across the surface. There is a noticeable difference in When Alex and Jinny met. The quilting is much more consistent across the surface. And yes, Moon Over Manhattan is a while cloth quilt. The stitching is the component of the quilt but it is consistent across the surface. Anything not quilted is part of the overall design.

its bigger than i thought

One final quilt before wrapping this up. This is It’s Bigger Than I Thought pieced by Cheryl. I quilted this quilt rather densely. I was developing eye/hand coordination for stitching out feathers. The quilting is consistent. The stitching gets better as I go. I chose a thread I wanted to learn more about and I had fun.

So here are questions I ask:
what is the intended use?
what batting am I using?
what thread am I using?
what motifs do I want/need to learn?
So if it’s a bed quilt that I want to be comfortable under then a medium amount of quilting that complements what’s happening in the blocks, in a color that works for the quilt (blends) or myself (stands out) is just perfect. Motifs can be scaled (sized up or down) to fit the size of the blocks. If it’s a kids quilt the minimal amount of quilting is perfect. If it’s a show quilt…that’s a blog for a different day.

Happy Quilting,


and to my dear friend Earthtones girl…I will answer your question in another blog and talk about these same quilts.


JOURNEYWaking up at 4 a.m. because my face hurts from this silly summer cold I have is ridiculous. And I knew it was time to get up because my mind was thinking about the things I need to do. I have a book review to do for Generation Q Magazine that needs photographs to demo technique. What I’d like to do is take pics of a friend using the technique. I’ll bet I can make that happen pretty quickly here. Then there is the work for MSQC and this and that and I’m making pillows for my sister.

One more round of stitching and this one is yours

A photo posted by Teri Lucas (@terilucas) on


My word of the year is Journey. While I’ve been writing more on my other blog about the Journey of it all I thought I’d take a moment and write here. The journey of quilting is something akin to a quilter puddling thread onto a quilt top to see how it looks. We pull several yards off and let it fall where it may. It gives us a sense of how the color will look on our quilts with no straight line in sight. Bliss. Sometimes we think we’re not moving forward however in all reality we’re backtracking to create beautiful feathery designs. Sometimes we think we’re moving forward and out comes our friend the seam ripper. Something goes haywire and out have those must come. It’s a bang head here moment and while it feels frustrating there is often something beautiful that comes from it…better stitching, a better understanding of tension, better color choices, better needle selection.

The quilting journey is the life I love to lead. I love to see what happens when I thread up the machine and just go. Last week I made. I need to finish the directions and a couple of diagrams to go with it.

Next week the quilting Journey takes me to the Clamshell Quilt Guild; the following week the Warwick Valley Quilt Guild. I’m thrilled to bits that I get to talk about quilting and teach. Did I mention that I love to teach? Next weeks class is “Go with the Flow”. Yep. Hopefully I’ll remember to bring my camera and take pictures. I’m giggling already because it rarely happens that I take pictures during class.

I’m loving this quilting journey! I love that I get to quilt, teach, write, edit, buy fabric (as a job), be a BERNINA Ambassador and get to know so many amazing quilters. I love that I get to learn something from them and add their wisdom and experience to what I know/teach/do.

Happy Quilting!



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,505 other followers