This story begins with my very first rotary cutter that I handed over to the TSA on a flight back from Minnesota Quilts after a way fab teaching trip. I miss that rotary cutter. A lot. Okay not so much really, but it was my first 28mm rotary cutter. And it is with this rotary cutter that our tale begins.

cutting winding ways fossil fernsI began collecting solid color fabrics to make a quilt for my Sweetie on a really fun road trip in 1994. Sometime in early 1995 I decided that I’d make a Double Irish Chain in Amish Colors ala Eleanor Burns. My supplies: an 18″ x 24″ self-healing mat, fat quarters and 1/3 yard cuts (I have since learned how to purchase fabric differently), the rotary cutter and my Nancy Crow 3″ x 24″ ruler*.
Easy peasy, cut 3 1/2″ strips, stitch them together, cut them apart, stitch them back together into blocks and make a quilt. Simple right.

Finally I have some time to work on the quilt. The supplies are out on the table. I’ve “read” the pattern to know what I’m doing. I get started cutting and for a while it’s going well-ish. Let’s just say that liberties were taken in the cutting of this quilt. I remember thinking that I’d remember that this strip was cut a bit short. Well, then it happened.
I place the fabric down, lined it up, put the ruler down, line it up. Placed my hand down to anchor said 3″ wide ruler. Set the rotary cutter, blade exposed to cut the fabric. And in true quilterly fashion zipped the rotary cutter along the size of the ruler at blazing speed. And then the stars shone so brightly.

The forefinger of my left hand was not quite where it was supposed to be, safely away from the edge of the ruler. Nope, it was over the edge of the ruler. Twas in seeing the stars that I realized that it hurt. I ran to the kitchen sink. Since my sweetie was gone for the weekend my mind started thing what happens if…will I need to go to the ER? It’s right around the corner. Will I need stitches? Where is my insurance card and id? Can I get them quickly? Thankfully I didn’t need to find these thing, nor did I need to get to the ER.

The quilting supplies were put away for a couple of months while my finger healed.

And there ends the tale of The Great Rotary Cutting Incident of 1995.

And now, I’m off to quilt.

Well, think about quilting.


PS – it’s a great cautionary when working with new students. I don’t have to say much, quilters have vivid imaginations.

happy days 121For months and months I’ve been thinking about my home office. Remember this post? I talked about the colors for that space. Well, this girls, dream is coming true! My Sweetie painted the Behr Marquee Showstopper Purple


Showstopper Purple during the day

A photo posted by Teri Lucas (@terilucas) on

We have commitments over the next little bit so it’ll be next week before he’ll be able to paint the rest of the room. I’m so flipping happy. I’ve been imagining how this would look for months! and it’s even better than I thought.
I’m still going to paint one wall in my studio pumpkin orange. I just saw a Sunset color on the Behr website that I’m excited about.imaginative stitching

The other day I had an idea for a new class – Liberated Free Motion Quilting. More than once my forehead and either the front of the sewing machine or the nearest wall met in sheer frustration. There’s a reason that, “a seam ripper is a quilters’ best friend is my motto” and, I have more than one, and I have a favorite. Getting to where I am with free motion stitching is hard-won.

But with every single one of those frustrations there is a bonus of getting something that I can share with my friends, quilters, and students. Like needle and thread pairings, and an understanding of tension. I may have shared this before so, if you’ve read this bear with me.

When I first tried machine quilting on my BERNINA 1080, I’d just figured out one component of tension. Feel free to laugh because I do now. The numbers actually mean something. Duh! A higher number is a tighter tension, a lower number is a looser tension. There is something that I had to learn through experience, or someone might have shared this tasty tidbit of information, the tension will not change unless the presser foot lift is in the highest position. One afternoon while I  was quilting, I’m thinking this tension changing this is a lot of horse poop because no matter what I did NOTHING Changed! I was still getting pokies on the top of my quilt. Bleep! Now I make sure I offer this bit of information to most of the classes I teach. (The 7 Series and 8 Series the tension can be changed on the fly.)

So this new class will have some reminders of the basics and we’ll move on into some serious stitching. I’m also thinking this is the class that has retreat potential. This and Go With the Flow. Its that place to take the time to explore free motion quilting and take on those bits and pieces that completely freak you out. I can help because at one time, they completely freaked me out. I’ll have thread and suggestions and most importantly I’ll have a calming, you can do this presence. Because you can. Because you have an imagination. You can see quilterly things. Like I saw how awesome the Showstopper Purple and Pistachio would be in my office.

So, quilters, take me up on this class and let’s get stitching.

Happy Quilting!


This is the end result for me.  Yep after all that tidying up when I get creative...watch out...the level of stuff left over is astounding.

This is the end result for me. Yep after all that tidying up when I get creative…watch out…the level of stuff left over is astounding.

I’m tidying up my quilt room.
Pray for me friends.
If I’m not out by the end of the day please send my Sweetie in, because more than likely I’m buried under magazines and books. Yes, you read that correctly, magazines and books not fabric.
I woke up thinking about my gorgeous shelving unit and how to better utilize it, some things that can be passed onto a few places.

I’ll let you know when I come out on the other side of this.

Happy Quilting!


who needs to quilt!

Lisa Calle OCQ eventIn a rare time opportunity I watched Lisa Calle’s episode on The Quilt Show, #1703, what a great episode. Lisa’s Divide & Design class and technique does something really special, it shows the quilting decision making process like no other. While the process for the show goes to the bare bones of it all, Lisa does talk about the back and forth of trying things out, seeing if they’ll work, and trying something different. She may come back to an early part of the process and may not. Lisa keeps all of the quilt designs in tubes in her quilt studio. working with Lisas rulers

She points out that Divide & Design takes time, particularly when drawing in the feathers and fills. The layers of tracing paper serve a great purpose. Lisa uses her rulers throughout the design process, just as she would on a quilt. In this quilters view this serves two purposes 1) figuring out the design, and 2) practicing for use on the long arm or sewing machine.
On her website Lisa has a calendar with her teaching schedule. Head on over and check it out. I’ve heard that there are a few really exciting things ahead. Go Lisa!

Oh and check out her blog. The top story right now is that Lisa is teaching at Quilt Festival in Houston. Click here for Lisa’s interview.

Happy Quilting!


dance bang head 1948I read “Compared to. . .” by Seth Godin and said, “there’s a quilt related blog if I’ve ever read one.” More than likely there were different words and it’s barely 6 AM here, and I’m just taking my very first sips of my morning Joe I seek your indulgence for a few moments.

Comparison is, as a human being, rather natural. A mom of a toddler aged boy shared the story of her boy and another same aged boy comparing anatomical differences at 3. Comparisons start early in life, and probably continue through until our days of dwelling in the local bone orchard. There are places where comparing is good, comparing thread is good. I like comparing thread. There are quilters who do not agree with my thread choices and that’s okay. I know why prefer the threads I prefer. Because I’ve compared them, on the machines I use and they work. And the threads I don’t prefer, some people do prefer them. Because they’ve compared them, on their machines and they work, for them.


This is my preferred thimble. Because it was my Gramma’s. That is all

Comparing thread, machines, needles, rulers, cutting mats, storage ideas is great. These are useful TOOLS. They are inanimate objects where some comparison is necessary. In the quilt world this comparison has something of a subjective air about it, and it’s important that it does, as what we are doing is highly personal. I like my current cutting mats and have been eyeing another brand but seriously do not want to invest money in a new cutting mat right now so there will be no cutting mat comparisons anytime soon. Though I want to compare them. And Rulers. I’ve been flirting with new rulers for a long time. Again, the investment for comparison is higher than I’d like at the moment, so no comparison there. I have compared seam rippers and know my preferred brands. Yes, brands.

In an effort to find a particular blog post I found “I figure I’m about 1/2 way there” and had an idea for a quilt at the same time. And in my mind flashed a quilt I’ve been working on and why it’s working. And “You are enough” is whispered in my ear.

The thing about comparing is learning to know what to compare and when to compare it. Remember too, that Masters were once Novices. A novice comparing themselves to a Master is a good thing only when they are looking for the places to improve their own skill, looking for the right questions to ask, seeking direction. A Master will not compare their work to a Novices, they will be reminded of the learning curve, how hard things were at one time, and how they learned along the way. The Master will offer insight and encourage.

There is a further level to this, if we want to acknowledge clear differences between our work and a Master’s work, that’s fine. This is an appreciation of hard work, and skill, that is not in any way to diminish our own work. Acknowledging someone’s hard work, and effort, that’s good. Saying our work is crap because it doesn’t meet the skill level we see, eh, not so much. Wanna compare time invested in developing said skill? Great! I’m all for it. Time invested is objective, not subjective.

trees needle 1

The quilting I did 6 years ago is very different from the quilting I do now. I can compare my work and appreciate how different the quilting is now. I can see growth and changes. I can see the quilting taking a direction.

Where were you 5 years ago?
How has your quilting changed?
Is there anything that surprises you?
What’s the most significant change?
Write yourself a note to take stock of your work and see how it’s changed.
And give yourself the reminder that comparisons belong to the things we use, not our person.

Happy Quilting,


B790_StandardThe B 790 and all its amazing features will be adorning my sewing table sometime this weekend.
There are New Features to explore, such as the stitch creator, and that new bobbin system.

There is a new stitch count to raise.

And, she needs a name.

Stay tuned!

Happy Quilting!


PS – Now you all know that I love working with rulers on my home sewing machine. I’ve seen their potential in the domestic sewing machine world for years.
There’s been a lot of chatter about the BERNINA Ruler Foot, #96. BERNINA is not officially releasing it yet, they are redesigning it for the home sewing machine user. There’s a problem with the height of the foot and potential for the needle bar to hit it, with some force, when the foot is in the highest position. If you’re like me, and I know a lot of you are, instead of using the hand wheel to drop the needle into the quilt to pick up the thread, I tap the heel of the foot pedal. This sends the needle down with some force, that has the potential to cause some damage. This damage will not be covered under warranty.
It’s for this reason that I, personally, wouldn’t purchase and use an aftermarket foot for the machine.
The further chatter has included the question, “why would BERNINA be worried about my machine?” Well there are so many reasons. The one I’m going to focus on for now is two-fold: one on the business end, the other on the consumer relationship end. First the business end: they know that the consumer is wanting to use rulers on the home sewing machine and they have taken the time to do the testing with the foot for all possible outcomes. The possibility for real damage to the machine exists and BERNINA, therefore is taking the proactive approach to saying we don’t recommend this, and here’s why.
The second part is relational, if BERNINA chose not to make us aware of the potential damage to the machine, we then, as the consumers would be really ticked off with the company should a whole lot of us purchase the Ruler Foot, use it and then, in some weird, freakish way, damage the machine. As much as they can, BERNINA wants to maintain a good relationship with its consumer base.
It’s never easy for any business to maintain a good relationship with its consumer base however, in this case the company is trying to do so. I have to give them kudos for taking the time to do the testing before hand. For my part as the consumer, this little bit of education and a little personal experience are going a long way to Waiting for a ruler foot that will work with the domestic sewing machines. The personal experience comes in the form of sitting at my machine and going through the steps to bring the bobbin thread up. I had the #24 foot attached, and used the hand wheel to drop the needle down to pick up the bobbin thread. I did this on purpose to see where the needle bar stops and why there would be any concern at all. With the foot was in the highest position, the needle bar comes right to the top of the #24 foot. If I’d used the foot pedal with the #96 foot, the needle bar would have hit the top of the foot with some force.
So, I’m waiting. Impatiently, but I’m waiting.


Big Dave Mifsud made his first quilt. @missouriquiltco

A photo posted by Teri Lucas (@terilucas) on

Creative energy is catching. It’s beautiful to watch and enter into. For two evenings the fabric, thread, sewing machines, and great creativity came out. Step, by careful step these newbie quilters along with Vanessa of Crafty Gemini, and a couple of more experienced quilters, plotted fabric acquisition, patterns, pieced, and quilted small quilts. One of the guys was going a bit bigger, more for a lap size/wall hanging with half square triangles.

Pictured above is Big Dave with his first quilt, he cut all of that fabric by himself, fussy cutting the print to get it to go in a specific direction.

The day before I left for Hamilton I looked all over for my camera case so I could travel with the camera. I’m still looking. It’s here. Somewhere. So photos are limited.


I did get to meet Jenny and chat with her for a bit. The night before this Jenny and her husband biked into town on their recumbent bikes. The last thing I heard was Rob Appell riding one of them.


My cousin, Josh Cook, published a really cool work of fiction, An Exaggerated Murder. This is one intelligently written murder mystery. (If you are easily offended by salty, blue language, walk away from the book) Josh’s command of the English language is stunning. His use of some cool literary tools to achieves the mind racing of his main character, Trike Augustine. One of the best bits of reading in a very long time.


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