It’s highly unlikely that the person who said this to me the other day will ever read my blog and telling details will be left out so the conversation won’t be very identifiable.

“You’re lucky I didn’t post this on (insert name of some kind of review type website here)”

I work in an industry where customer service is key. I do my very best to meet the needs of the customers in front of me. I fail sometimes, miserably. This particular situation is awful because there is more involved here than I can share.

I’ll come back to this in a moment. WordPress has a feature called Reader where blogs I like are pulled in and show up in my feed. The blogs I read are quilting, faith, and other things I find interesting. This morning I read Kindness is Taught at Home, then The Bloggess always has something interesting to say, and then I read this blog. The trend I see is kindness. Kindness to others, and as importantly kindness to self. Kindness goes a long, long way and is essentially a healing balm. Kindness smooths the way making a relationship easier.

It is not lost on me in any way that Customer Service is a relationship, often short, sometimes it’s longer depending on the product, or type of store. While I do my best, I know full well that I can not please everyone all the time. Sometimes there is no attempt at kindness, no building I can do that will help the situation. The other person in this relationship (the customer) will not allow it, no matter what the circumstances are in that moment, there’s nothing that I can do that is expected, or right.

I’ve had negative comments written about me on a particular review site. It’s gutting. And I see clearly how that review can have a negative impact on a business. There is always more to the story and that more may be essential to understanding something key going on. Review sites give one side. It’s skewed. And sometimes it’s downright hurtful. So when this person told me that I was lucky that the review didn’t end up on said review site I did have an immediate gut reaction that, thankfully, didn’t make it past my lips.

The entire situation will not make it so any social media outlet that I use, on a daily basis.

What will make it to my social media outlets?

Kindness. Remember that the people who own, and work in any kind of retail business are people. While they may have engaging personalities and can be quite fun, they have limits as well. Sometimes the “person staring at a computer screen ignoring me” is trying desperately to place an order for other customers and doesn’t want anything to slip through her fingers. Perhaps this person working is dealing with some stressful issues and while they don’t want to bring it to work, the stress lives right below the surface and sometimes it bubbles up. Perhaps the person working needs to use the facilities, or eat. I could go on.

Kindness flows both ways.
Kindness is the light that allows us to see there is more there, even though we don’t know the details.
Kindness allows us to see that the store is busy and we may not get the personalized attention that we may feel we deserve.
Kindness is a balm that soothes rough relationships.

Happy Quilting!

I’m going to start this blog post in something of a strange place. Ready?
I’ve been thinking a lot about learning style. At some point down the road that thinking will end up as an article for Generation Q Magazine. Intrigued? Stay tuned, I’ll let you know when that happens.

I doodle a lot. So much so that ever since the beginning of teaching free motion machine quilting I’ve had a doodling class. Doodling complements the work of quilting like butter complements toasted bread. Add cinnamon and sugar, or a favorite jam, or oh! lemon curd and the toast goes from okay, to sublime.

When I teach And now what?! or Doodling Your Way to Better Quilting we start with what looks like a quilt block on paper, chat about what might look good and what you, as the quilter, might want to stitch out. We talk about this as a group as there is something really cool that happens – Jane might stitch out stippling on a 9-patch, while Melissa might want to do Baptist Fans, and Debby might play with some Ribbon Candy, well that gives Amy the thought that she might like to stitch clamshells, while Adam might starts thinking about nautilus shells, and Teri, well she thinks about champagne bubbles because, tiny bubbles.zen tangle

We then spend about 4 – 6 minutes drawing those ideas out on the quilt block. The doodling needs to just be there. Four to six minutes doesn’t seem like a lot of time right now, however, it can seem like a lot when you’re plotting the perfect quilting for the quilt you have in mind. Because we all have that one show quilt in mind.

If the quilters are comfortable we share what they doodled. Every quilter does something a bit different. Every quilter chooses different colors – to represent a color of thread they might use for stitching. As we share faces over the room start showing that “oh, that looks cool I’m going to have to remember that!”

There are a couple of blocks that I ask the quilters what they see, what is their first impression. One that I do this with is based on a fabric that I practiced quilting on a long time ago – it’s a long rectangle with offset one inch dots. I used that fabric to learn how to make swirls in a defined space. What’s fascinating is how the students see the possibilities, and then what is doodled might be completely different from the chat, because by the time we get to this block the creative energy is starting to flow. Quilters are using multiple colors to fill in the space, and the room gets really quiet. I think this is one of my favorite blocks to watch happen.

One of the things that I found important as a I practice machine quilting on paper is to use my non-dominant hand. It’s a hot mess! But doodling with my left hand helps develop the eye/hand coordination needed for machine quilting. I have to Think through the design, give thought to how I will move my hands, and at what speed.

I’ll show you how I will stitch out any motif and in some cases I’ll show you both right and left handed.

Join me on Friday November 11th at Pinwheels and Friends in Sturbridge, MA at the Sturbridge Host hotel for Doodle Your Way to Better Quilting. I’m bringing all the supplies for class, you just get to show up and doodle with me. There are going to be some amazing teachers at this event run by Maria Tamaoka of Pinwheels – think Daiwabo Taupes and Oakshott Cottons, and teachers: Debby Brown, Sue Pelland, Karen Altabef (tatting! – her designs will lead to some great quilting motifs!), click here for a complete list and here for the vendors.

Happy Quilting!




UPDATE: The Random Number Generator selected #52 – Alison in Alabama! Congratulations! I’ll be in contact in the next few days.

It’s been a while since I’ve participated in a blog tour on TerifiCreations, as I write most of the Generation Q Magazine book tours. This one is kind of special because a friend, John Kubiniec, wrote the book. Over the last couple of years I’ve watched John work on this book. I’ve watched him struggle, grow, become, move, write, and name quilts. And here his is, A New Spin on Drunkards Path is ready for you to run to your local quilt shop and get it.



I was surprised to learn that John uses 3 pins to stitch these curves the placement is key to how well this works. I must admit that when I saw it I did the whole *facepalm* why didn’t I think of that! And. . . it makes so very much sense. I so want to tell you this trade secret but book, it’s all about buying the book, and this tip is worth it.


Test Pattern

Then there’s the patterns, the spins or to have a little fun, the hacks on this block are fun. Having fun with a curved pieced block yields this:


Beach Balls

A dynamic, beach ready quilt. And yes, go ahead, take the quilt to beach.



Nightfall is one of the most dynamic looking quilts in the entire book. It looks so difficult. But nope. John adds half-square triangles to the corners, spends a little time getting the placement right by alternating the curve of the drunkards path block and the results are stunning. I may even make this one, when I have some time for quilting.

Okay so what you really need to know is that I’m really proud of John. While he doesn’t exactly say it out loud in the book there is a sense of play, and permission to do what you want. Here’s the technique, here’s a great pattern, and go.

So I get to give away a copy of the book! In the US it’ll be a softcover copy; outside the US an e-book. Ya gotta comment and tell me something fun that you’re working on. I’ll draw a winner on or about October 4th.

UPDATE – Congratulations comment #53 Ramona! You’re the winner of a copy of John’s book. I’ve sent you an email.

There are more opportunities to win! Check out:

September 26, 2016
Jenifer Dick
C&T Publishing

September 27, 2016
Sara Lawson
Heather Kojan

September 28, 2016
Bill Volckening
McCall’s Quilting 

September 29, 2016
Teri Lucas – that’s me
Bonnie Hunter

September 30, 2016
made by ChrissieD
LoveBug Studios

October 1, 2016
Kathy Patterson
Teresa Coates

October 2, 2016
Carl Hentsch

October 3, 2016
Generation Q Magazine – Melissa Kanovsky’s writing this one!
Lisa Calle

October 4, 2016
Linzi Upton
Nicole Daksiewicz 

October 5, 2016
Marti Michell
Debby Brown

October 6, 2016
Melody Crust
Kim Niedzwiecki 

October 7, 2016
Patrick Lose
John Kubiniec

When words become inadequate, actions take front and center.

interview picQuilters have a great capacity for being community for one another. We are stitched together with fabric, needle, and thread. Quilt shops are our classrooms, our places for learning, gathering, and growing as quilters, and as friends. As we wander about a quilt shop we often strike up a conversation with the shop staff or other customers about how to choose fabrics, thread, quilting patterns, batting and patterns. Our early ventures into the quilt shops or quilt guilds we feel like strangers and outsiders until we get to know the lingo, the people, and the different styles of quilting.

Over time, we learn the lingo, we earn our PhD (Projects half done) and graduate to purchasing 4 – 9 yards depending on how much we love a fabric and see the potential. We take classes and get to know people, we find similar styles, interests, or different styles but really cool people anyway. Seeing their differences allows us to appreciate our own style. We get to know the gal in the shop who loves thread, who will wax poetic about needles.

Michelle Muskas bookThe shop or guild hosts charity events, let’s the guilds meet there, if they can they’ll donate batting, thread, or classroom time. When tragedy strikes, tsunamis, hurricanes, fires, floods, national tragedies…quilters head to their stashes and then the shops to mae quilts for oh so many causes. The outpouring of love knows no boundaries. Quilters respond with the one thing they do best, the offer through their time and talent, a little bit of comfort to those who are deeply hurting. When quilters are in need they respond by donating part of their stashes, notions and hard earned cash to help meet the needs of the other members of the community, whether they know them or not.

And there it is, whether they know them or not.

When a quilt shop closes or a guild shutters, and there are a variety of reasons that they do, the community hurts deeply. Oh does it ever hurt. When my favorite local shop closed I said the most unhelpful, least comforting thing ever, “if I’d know this, I would have done that for you”. Well ya know what, I could have volunteered some time before that.

with Gen Q Mag at the City quilterAs you know the shop I currently work in is closing. This has been public for quite some time. Every day quilters express their grief, and heartache. The loss to the greater quilting community is going to be tough. Yes, we’re New Yorkers we’ll be fine. Not the point. These are people who seek refuge with just inside our doors. Inside there is inspiration, creativity, support, help, comfort, and friendship. Even when the sales staff is having a difficult moment (because we know that they are human and are doing their best!), somehow the quilters know deep down that they are loved.

I will tell you with deep honesty these have been nearly the most difficult 8 weeks of the last few years. The grief is overwhelming.


Sometimes I have to get off the floor for just a moment to regroup and refocus. Working in a store that is closing is challenging for the staff. At the end of this not only will we have done our best to comfort and console, remind people this is a good thing (the owners are retiring) and be there for the quilters we’ve learned to love and adore, who have become part of our extended family – we will be looking for new jobs.

Melanie quilting full viewAnd I’m adding here if I had the money I’d probably open a shop in lower Westchester. Oh do I have some ideas swirling inside my head. People have asked why I didn’t purchase the shop I’m working in. Please refer to the first part of this paragraph – if I had the money. I really wouldn’t purchase a shop owned by someone else as it has it’s own personality, it’s own shape, and way of being. It’s not that I want to start something new…oh wait, yes I do. I don’t want to reinvent the wheel. I simply have ideas.

Quilting is a community. There is no getting around it. Overall the quilting community is struggling a little bit right now. It’s hard. I love this community. It makes my heart ache from the inside and out to experience this. I love this community. I love watching it grow. I love seeing when the community responds in generosity, love and compassion.

Quilting is a community of people. There’s no getting around that either. We’re all good. Like our quilts we’re not all perfect.

I’d like to say go tell your shop owner how much you appreciate them and all the hard work they do. I’d like to say tell the staff too. They work hard. You might not know what you’re going to do without the shop; the owners and staff don’t know either.

Happy Quilting!


Quilt Shop Owner Appreciation Day – Tuesday October 25th

But before I get to the happy hour bit. I did a bit of a tidy up in my sewing room yesterday. Oh my goodness was I ever over due for that! A while back someone gave me thread stands for both Superior and Aurifil. These very useful stands were sitting in the middle of my sewing room floor taking up valuable floor space, making moving around challenging.

thread stand one

Until now the thread has lived in drawers, and that’s been okay.

thread stand two

The drawers have functioned okay, however having them free for other things like cones, patterns, and notions is such a good thing. Being able to see my thread is such a fun thing because thread. Now you may notice that there is a lot of non-Aurifil thread on this stand, and you would be correct, this is because most of the Aurifil that I have is in cones. There is more thread in one other place, as soon as I can get that situated I’ll share the space. I’m adding one more table to that space in the next couple of weeks. My sweetie has suggested a set up that just might make this space more functional, and will allow me to take better shots for the magazine and for me.
The fun thing is that I brought a project out that I haven’t worked on in a while. The quilt was started for a friends book and I pulled it because quite frankly it wasn’t going well. I hated to do do it as I didn’t want to let said friend down, however it was necessary. I will make some changes as I go, and do my best to mask the areas I’m not particularly happy with. The person who will end up with the quilt will love it.

So speaking of the magazine Tracy Mooney and I had our first GenQ Happy Hour last week!

We’re planning another Wednesday night and hope to be able to add our Editor-in-Chief Melissa Thompson Maher to the video as well. Timing wise it should be 9:30 eastern, 8:30 central, 7:30 mountain time. Watch our fb page for details.

Have a fabulous quilting day!


I started writing this post before the Generation Q edit meeting Wednesday, with a day full of meetings, trying to figure out new technology, answer emails, and get information for an article writing this post just didn’t happen.

Tracy Mooney and I launched the very first Generation Q Magazine Happy Hour live on facebook. This was the bit of technology we were trying to figure out. We’re planning a Happy Hour next Wednesday at 9:30 eastern, hopefully we’ll get our Editor in Chief Melissa to join us. Trying to figure out how things work can be a little bit trying at times. Okay make that a lot a bit and we’ll get this figured out!

Let Your Light Shine is finished. A friend asked if this quilt made me happy. Yes. Yes this quilt makes me happy. Finishing a quilt that I’m in love with is a feat in and of itself. I do have favorite quilts, and it’s usually the one in my hand. This one makes me happy because it’s my first complete quilt in a very long time. Between commuting/working 13 hours a day, and magazine work there has been very little time for quilting of any kind. The days I’m off there is magazine work to do. Or I’m just so tired that stitching is the last thing on my mind. And we all know that stitching while you’re tired makes for mistake making.If a picture is worth a thousand words, a quilt is worth oh so many more. From the fabric chosen, to the hours stitching, The words on the quilt. The feathers, straight lines, thread weight. The significance of the candle.

Let’s start there, with the candle, it is lit essentially for Yvonne. But more than that it is lit for all of those in my life who have influenced my quilting in some way. This quilt then becomes a prayer of gratitude for them. The list is long, and beautiful. The list of people includes some who have been a bit of a challenge, who have helped me learn to be patient with others, and myself. For those who are still teaching me to be patient with others and myself. The candle will remain lit always, so this is a constant prayer.

This is also an ode to risk. I took a risk in starting and sharing this quilt. It will leave for California later today, it will hang at Alden Lane with so many other quilts in Tribute to a risk taker, a free spirit, someone who embraced red as a neutral. But it’s also an ode to those who are taking risks now. Like Pokey Bolton, taking a huge risk to start Crafting a Life, she has no idea if this will be successful but she’s starting Art Barn with hopes, dreams, and as far as I’m concerned she’s already successful with it. Because the Barn is open.

twilight finished 1This quilt also acknowledges something near and dear to me. As you know I can state the obvious with clarity – I am a machine quilter. But more than that I am more specifically a machine quilter who loves to work in whole cloth in a free-spirited way. Quilts start with an idea and develop from there. I can see a clear beginning for this with Twilight in the Bronx, and the ideas keep pouring into my brain living just below the surface. Last night as Tracy and I chatted I had an idea for a quilt with a stripe that might just take shape sometime very soon.

So as I go forward I can see shaping classes around ideas, your ideas, how you see life, how you want to quilt. Classes to acknowledge who you are as a quilter. Because quilting is a journey (here’s another quilt) wherein we get to spend time with each other, and influence each other.

So, I’m off to influence quilters at the day job.

Happy Quilting!


Melissa Kanovsky, Friend extrordinaire and Ad Manager for Generation Q Magazine wrote a fun blog post. Head on over HERE to check it out.

I love going to quilt shows with friends.











Lisa Calle OCQ event














People are cool and I enjoy spending time with them. Every now and again it’s good to go alone. Because meeting new friends is the best.

So what’s your most fun quilt show experience?