How Heather got her Hatness Back by Heather Costaras, aka Hat. It all started way back when I read a blog post Heather wrote claiming herself back. Heading back to that fun, vibrant, creative person she left behind as she tried to meet the expectations of others in her life.
It’s very possible that Tracy Mooney shared the original post on fb and when I read it well, you know I responded. I’ve been following Heather. I just love how she found her “self” as an artist. I love how she’s taken the risk to write, draw, paint, create poetry and publish her book. She. Published. Her. Book.

Heather’s artwork is fabulous as she depicts the events that happened, and how she chose to change. The pages are at first vibrant, then monotone as she gives into the “I need to conform to what others say I should be” kind of thinking, then vibrant once again as she finds, nurtures and grows her own self.
staten Island sunset 003What Hat shares in the pages, how she shares it. how she is discovering her self is the way my brain thinks about quilting. We are all unique. We are all drawn to quilt making for some reason or another. We all come to quilting making with a list of “shoulds”, the most prevalent is that a quilt “should” look like this, or a quilt “should” be that. The only thing a quilt “should be” is three layers, a top, batting, and a back. Beyond that, it’s up to you. There are so many techniques to discover, so much thread, so much fabric. Yes, the choices at moments can be overwhelming, however when we begin to choose the things we love our quilterly path will become clear. More than likely it will not be a straight line from here to there. Each quilt, fabric, quilt-maker, technique, sunset, sunrise, autumn leaf, winter snowfall, will become part of who we are, influence our quilt making. As we discover who we are as quilt makers and embrace that we will add to the world of quilt making. We will add our own unique voice. We will add that little something different that makes the whole of quilt making vibrant and real.



If you are a quilter who makes quilt tops and just love doing that, great! I know a lot of quilters who love quilting and find quilting tops for others life-giving.
If you are that quilter who loves paper-piecing. Well then paper-piece to your heart’s content.
If you’re the quilter who loves hand stitching bindings to your quilts! Great, let me know I’m happy to hire you because…machine stitching them down makes me giddy.
If you’re the quilter who really enjoys making art, great, go for it. I enjoy your work. You inspire me.
If you’re the quilter who is a leader in our industry, thank you!
If you’re the quilter who finds great joy in…
Keep finding joy in your quilt making.
Please be fully advised that finding the joy also means there will be struggles along the way, because that’s where the joy comes from.

Now, please, go enjoy How Heather got her Hatness Back. Buy it.

And I once wrote on a quilt I made for a friend, “Journaling is a journey to the Heart”, “Quilt Making is a Journey of Heart/Art”

Happy Quilting!


I watched this:
Elizabeth Gilbert it touched me deeply.
While trying to listen to her, and not let my mind go searching for all future quilt-related blog posts based on what she has to say, there were so many thoughts running through my head. So many quilt-related thoughts. I’m a quilter. I’ve landed in quilting. It is part of my passion, teaching and building-up are the other part. These, to me are part of the same. When I look a little deeper, writing is a component of that.
For a long time the phrase, “quilting is a beautiful and complicated art” existed as my tag line, which felt somewhat right and not so much. Then “giving quilters permission since 2009” my favorite without a doubt. The other day I changed that to “practicing quilting since 1993”. I don’t have quilting just right yet. I can’t quite get to where I want to and yet, I’m having fun. I’m learning. I know what I love to do as a quilt maker. Finishing quilts is not a high priority. Shocking I know. I like to explore, to try new things, to figure out how and why they work or don’t work. Then take that knowledge and pass it on in some form.
imaginative stitchingLiz’s talk got me thinking about something deeper though, where are the moments when my passion for quilting and teaching have left others experiencing a sense of being “less-than” when I’ve commented negatively on what they do as quilt makers. (I go through this kind of personal soul searching regularly.) How do I, as a quilt teacher help you as a student, friend, fellow-quilter experience the deeper sense of your own worth as a quilter of whatever flavor you are. You are precious no matter where you are in your quilt journey.
Journey. Yes, yes, that’s it. We’re all on a quilt journey, discovering that thing about quilting that gets us excited, that brings us peace and has us happy dancing down the aisles of the local quilt show. Or making that, “will this ever be perfect” face in the local quilt shop. As an aside, no it won’t ever be perfect, however do it any way.
Moon SetOur experiences, our life experiences have an effect on us as quilters. Our experiences influence what we do as quilt makers. I’m a fly by the seat of my pants kind of quilter. Quilting is where I find the greatest freedom. I don’t see rules, I see suggestions, hints, and tips. Some quilters need very, very clear directions. Don’t get me wrong, there are things I do because they work: pressing, burying my thread a particular way, choose particular colors, thread, batting, and fabrics because I like them. The rest of it is fluid for me, because there is still so much to see, and do, and explore! I haven’t really delved into the whole “art quilting” component. I’ll get there some day. I think. Maybe.
More importantly, and ultimately the point of this post: enjoy whatever you’re doing in quilt-making, where you are, in this moment. I just ask one favor, please quilters, please refrain from comparing yourself to other quilters. You’re different, unique, an individual.

Happy Quilting!


lunar eclipse blood moonI think about quilts all the time. How can I take an image, an impression, a word, add fabric, batting, and thread to create something beautiful. I think about what thread will look best, what size will this be, how do I make the most of the what I have.
And I think about this year in quilting. It’s been a wild ride, not nearly as productive as I would have liked. The “have-to’s” have occupied my time in unexpected ways. It’s been a gift in a way, as the ideas flow and fly.
???????????????????????????????There have been quilty trips, dinner with friends, connections made, goals achieved, living up, letting down, and letting go. It’s all part of life.
2016 is proving to be a full year already. I’m looking forward to teaching at HMQS, a guild upstate, writing a book, and doing my best at the quilt shop where I work – I get to teach people how to use their machines! There is something oddly exciting about this.

I’m still working on some “Prep work Posts”.

drawing at the machines

Teaching Quilting is the Best

Here’s to a Happy Healthy 2016,


At some point in my quilting journey I knew that teaching was a next step. How did I know? Well, another quilter asked me one day, “Teri, when are you going to start teaching?” Well, I guess . .  soon. It took me a bit, but I figured out that I wanted to teach machine quilting. (Shocking I know!)

double-irish-chain-full-viewWhat was the prep work for this? It started with the quilt I made for my bed. A Double Irish Chain in Amish (sort of) colors. What you can’t see in this photo is the machine quilting around the last 10 to 12 inches of blocks and border. This quilt took a really long time, at some point I got fatigued, saying, “I’m done! with! this! thing!” and took it to the sewing machine and just finished. I bring it when I teach locally to show what happens when there problems with tension and speed. It’s a great teaching tool. I love this quilt. I see so much in this quilt that allows me to help new quilters on their journey into quilting.

Next up, come up with a concept.
What style of machine quilting will I teach? What information is so key to what I do as a quilter that my fellow lovers of quilting will appreciate?
What order will the day progress?
How do I develop hand outs? What will my handouts look like? How many pages?
Do I use books and/or other tools that are out there.
What do I do that is different, different enough to invite quilters in to take said class.
What do I want to see at the end of the class?
What do I want my students to leave with?

Side note: at the end of every class I think about what happened, including what can I improve, was there a disconnect between me & my students? Was there anything I could do to change that disconnect?

maine teaching 009The first class, “Beginner Free Motion Machine Quilting” was born. It’s changed a bit over the years. I teach technique, knowing and trusting that you, as my student, will have the tools at the end of class to grow, to expand your machine quilting motif knowledge. It is, by far, my favorite class to teach. I may not remember every student, but you have made a lasting impression on me. From you I’ve learned most importantly to be encouraging, particularly when things are going haywire in class. And they do go all haywire in class. That’s the place for everything to happen.
Partly, what I need you to see is the problem solving process. When I’m in a classroom that provides machines (I am so grateful to the companies that do this!) I have the availability of a machine expert. I don’t always call on them, because sometimes it’s not the machine. I want you to see what I do to problem solve when this stuff happens to me at home. And it does happen to me at home.
I also want to stop short, the negative thought process going through our heads as we learn. Oh.My.Goodness. This hurts my heart so much. I speak ill of my self, to myself. NOT COOL. If I can help stop that, all the better. We all know where the mistakes are. We so desire to be “perfect” that we miss out on the journey, we miss out on our growth. We miss out on the moments when we can take a risk. The classroom is the time to do that! Take a risk.
Our sewing rooms are the place to do that! Take a risk.
I take a risk every time I get up in front of a guild to speak or a group of students to teach. That’s my choice. I do it because this is a risk worth taking. Investing 6 in-person hours with you is the highlight of my time with you. Whispering in your ear that you can do this. Looking directly into your eyes and getting you to refocus on the learning part of it is so amazing. I see something change. I see a shift not only in your quilting, but in you. I notice.

Moon Over Manhattan

My prep work continues with a lot of practice, and experimenting. Dreaming. Taking Pictures. Drawing. Doodling. Trying new threads. Trying new batting. Trying new fabric!

This is where the new class ideas come from, some are still in development. At the moment they are on hold until I get this book finished! This too is a journey, one I’m thrilled to be taking.

I’m off to do some prep work (magazine meeting) but I’ll be back. There’s more to this prep work post!

Happy quilting,


The conversation usually starts this way, “I’m a newbie quilter, and I don’t want to mess this up. Help me, please.” Of course I’ll do what I can to help you. To the best of my ability, I will walk with you through choosing a pattern, fabric, and tools. I will watch you go through the same overwhelming decision making I went though years ago as you choose just the right fabrics, and tools. Some decisions will be made because you like this color, or the person  you are making this quilt for likes this pattern. Some decisions will be made on budget, and because “I’m not sure if I will like this quilting thing.” Quite frankly some decisions will be made because, “I’m not sure if I’m worthy of spending this much money on myself”. You are, but that’s a conversation for another moment, another blog post. Yes, another blog post.

fabric from danaAs you choose fabrics I’m doing my best to give you a crash course on color. “What are the colors you see?” I say. “Yes, this color is in here. What else do you see?” The colors you tell me are the ones you like, giving me a good place to start. As I point to shades of color, outline color, and colors not mentioned, which will all work together in your quilt. Secretly I’m all giddy about this, as I watch your face light up as you see it. We have to move quickly because there are other customers in the store.
Then we talk tools: rotary cutters, self-healing mats, rulers – choosing carefully. Some purchased made because of budget, or space, and some made because of a suggestion I make. You choose rulers after looking through them to see how you see the fabric. Given time I show you how to use the lines on the ruler to cut the fabric. A rotary cutter is chosen after I ask if you have hand or shoulder issues. You also listen very carefully to the time when my finger and the rotary cutter me, line, in person. It’s a cautionary tale, told simply to instill a healthy respect for the power tool. The facial expressions with the minimal words used have the desired effect. I know you’ll be careful. You choose the cutting mat based on your space and budget.

protractorI am very much invested in your quilterly choices. I want you to be successful. I want you to love quilt making as passionately as I do. While I know that ultimately I can’t control this I’m going to walk with you, next to you, whispering in your ear that you can do this. I’m going to help you make choices, but not make them for you.

We choose thread, needles and a few other things that you’ve seen out there on the internet that are necessary for good quilt making and off you go. As you walk out the door I often wonder if I’ll see you again. I do hope that we’ve worked well together.

Coming up: a machine quilting teacher tells all as she does prep work for a class.

Happy Quilting!




I can see it now. I woke up this morning with a solid plan for a quilt that I need to finish. There is a total fabric change. From a Daiwabo to Radiance. I realized the quilt needs the shimmer to meet the shimmer of the metallics and theme of the quilt – the moon. I realized if I’m quilting the sky the feel and mood needs to be different. The batting will change to all wool, the stitch definition will be off the chart, and the two layers will give the depth I need. Seeing how the trees will stitch out – which is what I was stitching upon waking – is off the hook exciting.

#bernina #superiorthreads #b790 my brain on quilting

A photo posted by Teri Lucas (@terilucas) on

So the changes, while seemingly simple, will have an impact that makes me giddy.



Journey is a great word both as a Word of the Year, and a life choice. By choosing Journey as that word I’m embracing something that is a life-long openness to seeing where I’m going; to moving forward; and perhaps doubling back when needed. (See above quilt.) That openness has allowed me to keep plodding along.
2015 is a journey, one that will continue into 2016 and beyond. The path of 2015 felt much like the path of “flying geese” meandering over the surface of @play, daring here and there, on a path of their own choosing. There are things that I didn’t accomplish in 2015 that were part of the plan, however 2016 will be for those accomplishments. This part of the journey has allowed me to make some changes that are good. The good is starting to come from those changes.  That brings me to . . .

the 2016 Word of the Year  . . .Future


This too, is a good word. Like Journey, it holds much promise. We’ll see what it holds. Like 2015 I long to be open to where this goes. I have no expectation at this moment. 2016 has some “must-do’s” but those are really exciting for me. It’s all about the quilting, and the writing. Isn’t that what it’s all about for me? Quilting, and writing.

Perhaps, as I write this, Adventure is a second Word.



Oh, I’m giddy!

Happy Quilting,


I heard something the other day.
And when I heard it I had to stop.

So in order to listen, a bit more completely, I need to tell a story.

I started quilting over 22 years ago. As I started this journey much of the work was to learn to listen and learn. That listening had to be, must be active listening. Listening to, listening for the rules, to learn how to quilt. I needed, wanted, craved knowledge. I subscribed to magazines, I watched Simply Quilts, participated in message boards, and user groups, joined a guild, visited quilt shops. Taking notes along the way for that which spoke to me, whispered, capturing my attention.

044In and among that learning are friends, who quilt, create art, create art quilts and have vivid imaginations. They are bloggers, facebook friends, vendors, editors, other teachers. Listening. Gleaning. Sharing. Each person contributing to and informing my quilting. One teacher’s words are repeated over and over and over again…more on that later. And then one day I “met” then met Linda M. Poole and happened upon her color fixes. And the whispering started.

Teaching started. Trying new things. Experimenting. Trying thread and batting. Listening. Trying new guilds. New magazines. New

Voices. Some voices waxing, others waning and still the whispering is asking me to listen. Seeking my attention but waiting to be heard and yet, the new, different teachers, via all of the different social media vied for my attention. Through all of this the whispering continued.

@berninausa #berninareunion15 #quilting #b790

A photo posted by Teri Lucas (@terilucas) on

The whispering is my own voice. I sift through the other voices to hear my own. It is in tuning out the other voices, perhaps incorporating the wisdom that I can hear my own voice. That my own voice becomes clearer and stronger. As my own voice becomes clearer and stronger my quilting gets better. Mmmm as my quilting gets better my own voice becomes clearer and stronger. And I hear that I am the voice other people hear. And I need to be that voice, a source of encouragement. I’m not paying back or paying forward; giving what was given to me. I’m doing what comes naturally to me.IMG_1041

There will always be noise. It’s just part of life. I am the noise for other quilters. Some to whom I add beauty, some to whom I have not added beauty. The rose above and the sunset speak to how beauty happens. How the noise affects…it creates depth, depth creates beauty.

B 780 back inside of projectEventually the noise settles down and beauty happens. Something is created, new things are learned, new motifs, and yada, yada, yada. (Get it? Yada, oh never mind.)

I’m off to reduce the level of noise a bit, by sitting in front of my sewing machine, cranking up the tunes and stitching.

Happy Quilting!


PS I’m teaching at HMQS this year.

PPS I met Annie Smith but more on that in another blog. Like soon.

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