dad inside joke with friendThe other day I had an Air Force Veteran sitting at my dining room table. I’m listening to this woman tell how she helped a couple of younger women in her charge through some of the bombing in Iraq. I looked at her, she was no longer my younger sister. Here sits this Veteran, with a spine, taking care of business. It was part of our childhood that got her through this tour in Iraq, roller skating. White roller skates with pink pom poms. You’ll have to imagine this soldier in full fatigues, with helmet, goggles, wearing the aforementioned skates and grooving like only a child of the 80’s can.
I’m thankful she is home.

This picture is my dad, who served in the Air Force in the 60’s from sometime after his high school graduation until sometime after I was born. I can’t thank him in person any more.
A couple of my high school classmates are still active duty military, and quite ranking from what I’ve seen on fb. Another classmate, also active military, keeps us up on his whereabouts.

Thank you all, all of you veterans, thank you for your service to our Country.


CAM00841Okay, I’m totally taking a conversation with the comments to heart and brain and in quilt-teacher fashion addressing the larger group of students as the information is pertinent to all.uhw wrought iron fence and gate

Where do I begin?
How do I decide what motifs to use? How do I choose what weight and color thread? What batting do I use? What backing?

At the end of the beginner free motion quilting class, if students bring in quilts we’ll take a little bit of time to talk about the possibilities. It’s all about the ideas, not so much directions to quilt it. A “here’s what I might do” and “here’s what thread I might use”. I approach the conversation with “might do/use” rather than “will do/use” as I might change some component when I sit a the machine to quilt.

Where do I begin?

If it’s a patchwork quilt (as opposed to a whole cloth quilt) do the stitch in the ditch work. This is good work to do, even if,  you are not entering the quilt in a competition. It’s more hours under the needle. You’ve been working with the fabrics already, however, as your stitching take note of the motifs you seen in the fabrics. Make a list for motifs you can choose from, note the ones you like and don’t like. From this list you like choose a couple to audition either on a sheet of vinyl with an erasable marker or use a printed photo of one of the blocks, draw the design on there. It’s practice either way.

How do I choose what thread weight?

Thread weight is as simple as asking, “do I want the quilting to really show or go into the background?” If the answer is “really show” go with a heavier weight thread, ie 4o wt and lower number; if the answer is “go to the background” then use a finer thread, ie 50 wt and higher number. The higher the number the finer the thread, the lower the number the heavier the thread.

How do I choose thread color?
In order to answer this with some clarity I’ll talk about why I chose certain threads and patterns for Tilde.


Tilde tilde border close upWhat are the colors in the quilt? Do I want the quilting to pop or fade to the background? Do I want to use a single thread across the surface?

So here’s a close up of Tilde.
Colors: red, orange, yellow, black, gray, white. There are shades of several colors and the background behind the tilde shapes is a reflective metallic.

I had a King Tut variegated orange/red/yellow that I used on the black and white circles on the right.

On the metallic I used two a variegated and blue metallic around the orange tildes. Notice two that I have different motifs on the right and left side. Both offer visual texture.

Tilde border

Tilde border

When I got to these borders, I chose Twist. Twist has a color tone change every quarter inch, so very close. On the two fabrics it looks different however it’s cohesive enough to work. It stands out just enough but isn’t so present that it screams, “look at me! look at me!”

Tilde pebbles

Tilde pebbles

In the center of the quilt I chose a motif, bananas, and a thread color, red, that would pop.  Around the center I chose to do some dense pebbling and swirling feathers. The pebble shape inspiration came directly from the fabrics that Keith chose.

Most of the color chosen for the quilting is taken directly from the quilt.

Having a simple explanation of how to use color helps when choosing color. I love Joen Wolfrom’s Color Wheel Poster from C&T Publishing.  While this seems a bit complicated and a bit of a fuss, this basic understanding of how to use color made a huge difference early on in the quilting. It allowed me to make bolder choices, knowing that the color wouldn’t look awful.

Let the quilt do the work for you. Ask for suggestions. Asking gives clues and insight as to what works for you And what doesn’t.

The most important thing, seriously, is to give yourself permission to play with color, weight and motifs. If you don’t like it you can always take it out. While that Feels like a huge waste of time it’s not, as it give you quilting experience and information about what works for you.

Happy Quilting!




Gratuitous photo of Jesse

One of my friends taught me how to ride a two wheeler when I  was a kid. It was a red bicycle. I can see in my minds eye the struggle getting my feet on the pedals while balancing. I’d get one on, then try the other. The first foot would land on the sidewalk. I’d go back and forth like this for a bit. After a while I’d get both feet on the pedals and ride for a bit, then I’d remember where I was and what I was doing and lose confidence in myself, the feet would, once again land on the ground.

Eventually I got the whole bike riding thing, except for hills. I don’t like flying down a hill. No. Just. No. Now, I’m not opposed to roller coasters. all buckled in and such.

Similar memories come flooding forward when I think about learning to machine quilt. The thing is, like learning to ride a bike, there were lots of awkward moments. There were lots of moments when I wanted to give up. And even as a woman of a certain age left the room with frustration welling up in my eyes.

I’m still learning how to quilt.







free motion machine quilt

thank you

there’s a distinct difference between this piece

tomorrow (as I write) marks the one month anniversary of working with MSQC. And I am just one year with Generation Q Magazine. I’m still learning the new job and figure I have months before I really get a handle on it, however I can see changes already. I’m still learning what it means to be an associate editor.

The thing about being open to learning, to admitting that you’re learning is that the possibilities are then endless. Permission is granted to learn from mis-takes. Mercy is extended to oneself and therefore to others. It’s taking the language from “I can’t”, “I’ll never” to “I can do this”, “I’m getting better”, “I can see improvement”. And honestly sometimes the stuff I quilt is simply awful. It’s a good thing.

Moon Set copy

and this piece

Side note, I was having a moment the other day where I was calling myself an idiot for something. And while my behavior was sub-par (and there is something behind the behavior while it mitigates it to a degree, it does not excuse it completely) I am not an idiot. Then I had a stern talk with myself about both the behavior and the verbal abuse I was giving myself. I’ve seen quilter after quilter do this. WE belittle ourselves because we’re still learning. WE are so hard on ourselves and sometimes we’re downright mean.

I’m still learning how-to. . .

Happy Quilting!


dupioni whole cloth playtime my brain on quilting“What do you do  with your practice pieces?” is one of those FAQ that comes up now and again.

A variation on the question presented itself the other day. Okay, an actual person asked, “do you do warm-up sessions before you start quilting a quilt?” I did answer said quilter directly and as a teacher I thought hey this is good info for the blog

Per usual it’s not a straight line answer.

There are always practice pieces (quilt sandwiches that have some to a lot of stitching over the surface) hanging around the sewing room that have been there forever. Some end up coming with me when I teach as I want my students to see that I practice and do some pretty yucky quilting sometimes. Some pieces get made into tote bags (note to self, it’s time for a new pocket book). One practice piece travels with me as a completed quilt. A friend made it wmy brain on quiltinghen we did the Hoffman Challenge, then I quilted it to test thread and batting.

And that’s another thing, I practice when I’m testing new batting and thread. I like to see what will happen when I this batting or that thread in the quilt. Practicing gives me great information including a rough tension setting, perhaps a needle change.

Practicing teaches me to slow down, be mindful of what I’m doing, listen to the machine. Watch the needle area for potential harm to the quilt (batting being pulled up). Stop and check for tension troubles.

Practicing reminds me of what I want to do, it helps me develop that eye, hand and foot coordination that needed to stitch out the motifs I want, and fit them in the space allotted. And practicing get’s me toward that 10,000 hours toward mastery. One day I will master this skill.

So, practicing offers more than just time at the machine, there is much information that is useful on the next quilt and the one after that and then there’s the one after that.

zen tangle

But then there’s this. This is practice. Mindful doodling I call it. Pen, pencil, marker, paper and time in the car, watching the ball game. It’s amazing what this kind of practice does.

feather tutorial paper 7


now I need you to know that I have stitched and doodled a lot of crap. But that crap has given me incredibly valuable information: like how to change tension, when to change tension, or what needle to use when I’m seeing skipped stitches and ooh I could speak forever but not so much today.

Today I have words to write in other places. And I get to see Debby Brown and Melissa K with GenQ.


#bernina #b780 #quilt #patchwork

A photo posted by Teri Lucas (@terilucas) on

This is what forty-one 4 patches looks like at the beginning of the day. Well almost, later in the day I added a charm pack of dots that I had sitting around.

Stitch after glorious stitch

Happiness is..

A photo posted by Teri Lucas (@terilucas) on

alternating with the gray and the white, not quite sure where I’m going or what’s going to become of said 4 patches

Happiness is..

A photo posted by Teri Lucas (@terilucas) on

each one was pressed. Pretty soon I’m going to have the fabulous Joan Hawley guest blog on the importance of pressing. I was reminded of a very important thing yesterday, and because of the fb posts it’ll be a two-fer: 1) it’s important to plug in the iron, this is courtesy of all the fb comments and 2) it’s important to set the iron to a heat setting.

For tough pressing situations I use a combination of distilled water and vodka. If I had an essential oil I’d add a bit of lavender. However I’ve been loving Flatter it smells lovely and has a fine spray.

Forty-one 4-patch blocks pieced. Love my #b780 and 97D #bernina #berninalove

A photo posted by Teri Lucas (@terilucas) on

And here they all are. I’m not sure if they will all be in one quilt or if it’ll be two.

Going back to basics is often a good way to reinvigorate the love of quilt making. Reminding us (me) of what we fell in love with in the first place. There is something wonderfully cathartic stitching simple blocks. I’m thinking there will be more of this in my immediate future.

Happy Mother’s Day!

Happy Quilting,


Happy Saturday Quilterly Peeps! Yes I have promised you pictures of the Somers Quilt show and I will get there. Now that I have my laptop back. This is one happy quilter. I’ve been grateful to have one of the older laptops to use for work, but…it’s older and slower. It’ll be kept around as a back up and I need to use it to finish up some work.

quantum leap on machineI’m actively looking for a local place to teach machine quilting classes. As soon as I have that buttoned up I’ll let you know where and any dates that I have set. In the meantime I’ve updated the teaching gigs page. I’m going to Clamshell in CT and Warwick Valley in June, all in the space of one week. I love that part.

Last night my sweetie and I had a date night, with something of a purpose. I’m looking for a desk, a stand up desk. My sweetie found a table that had potential, so off we went. Now, one thing to NOT do in the greater NY City area is leave at the time of day, on a Friday when everyone else is heading home. Meaning, out of the City. Silly us. As the driver on this adventure there were times I would listen to the GPS and times I followed my own advice. I have a feeling that had I listened to the GPS this one time we would have arrived a bit sooner. But *I* knew better. We arrived at our destination. My sweetie did his shopping and we looked for the “desk” uh nope. Not in stock. This happens and I’m not in a hurry for said desk as my dining room table is perfectly fine at this moment. And…the space for my “office” is currently occupied. So there’s time to look

After getting what we needed we went to El Bandido for dinner. Best mole (sauce) I’ve ever had. And I had ceviche for the first time ever! It was so good. I can hardly wait to have it again. We were sad to learn that the local drive in movie theater has closed. That’s too bad because it was a nice one.

I’m heading up to the sewing room to quilt for a while. See ya latah

Happy Quilting!


@terificreations (twitter)



daiwabo fabricsI’ve deliberately destashed over the last few years letting go of fabrics that were once intended for tote bags. While these fabrics meant something for the tote bags they were not fabrics I’d use in quilts. It was work to be sure and worth the effort. What remains is fabrics I will use in quilts. Solids, hand dyes, Radiance, Batiks and a heavy dose of thread.

hand painted fabricsThis weekend I went on kind of a fabric buying binge and I couldn’t be happier. It all started with a visit to Jane Davila’s booth and these 11 fat quarters of hand painted fabric. Sigh. Oh just sigh. Next I went to Follow That Thread to see Donna Morales-Oemig’s booth. Donna lives in eastern Massachusetts, where they got a little bit, like over 100 inches, in an 8 week period. Bonus! Donna did some snow dyeing.

snow dyed radiance donnaSo, I’m at the booth, looking and staring at these pieces of snow dyed radiance in this glorious orange and shades of pink. I nearly had to get the bib out of the purse because these things are so freaking beautiful. I bought one, I bought the second one. There was one more I had my eye on. Hmm…at this point I’m not coming back to the show. Do I? Don’t I? Um, no…maybe some other time. I come home a happy camper.

Last minute decision Sunday morning. I’m heading back to the quilt show. I’d started playing with fabric for another project and am kind of excited to see where this will go. I’m using Paula Nadelstern’s Fabracadabra line, the idea for the quilt came from her lecture. I have a feeling I’ll need more yardage from this line. Oh darn. Fabric Shopping!!!

And then, oh then. I’m in Pinwheels booth. I love the hand of Daiwabo fabrics. Oh my. So you see that fat quarter tower in the upper left of this post? Yeah. That. Well, I went back to Donna’s booth to talk with her and introduce her to a friend of mine. And there was that piece of snow dyed Radiance next to two pieces of Kona cotton that were snow dyed at the very same time. Yes I bought it. Then a funny thing happened. I met Diana Louie and a friend of hers. Who loved the fabric. I showed her the other two pieces. Yeah, they’re gorgeous but, that Radiance. oh my. So I did the only thing a quilter could do. I let her take it home and I bought one of the pieces of Kona. I do need quilt backing for the Radiance after all.

So a little fabric, and a little thread. In a few days I’ll post pics of a few of the quilts.

Happy Quilting!



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