bernina, machine quilting, quilt, quilt desgin, quilting, Teri Lucas, terificreations, Uncategorized

On Becoming a Machine Quilter

hand quilting 001

A sultry summer day in the City with quilting friends leads to sharing stories over coffee and cookies.

The how of being where we are as quilting teachers is often humorous.

The image on the left holds within it’s stitches the beginnings. My Sweetie’s Quilt took a wee bit longer to make than intended. It is this quilt where the story, Be Careful with that Rotary Cutter and Don’t Touch that Dial and Pig tails look good on pigs, not the back of my quilt and How big is that foot? happened.

It is in the making of this quilt that the move from “it isn’t a quilt if it’s not hand quilted” to “hey this machine stuff is very cool”. Piecing this quilt started in the fall of ’95, 1995, another century. While cutting fabric one afternoon my finger hung slightly off the edge of the Nancy Crow ruler, the rotary cutter slicing easily. You’ll be happy to know that no blood touched the fabric, though the whole lot got put in time out until the left index finger gave permission to begin again.

Then the hand quilting started. The quilt hooped, threaded needles at the ready, wax nearby let the stitching begin. As something of a show off, I planned a lot of quilting. What happens next, happens to many a quilter: we decided to move. All the quilting stuff got packed away until after, what ended up being two full moves combining households. When I picked up the needle again, stitching away hour after delightful hour, looking at this quilt thinking, “I am so done with you”, “I cannot take one.more.stitch”.

That’s when I trotted to my local machine dealer and asked how to do this. A delightful conversation, the purchase of the “big foot” for the machine, informed with “don’t change the tension”, and “go really fast”. This quilt, pigtails, bad tension, fabric fraying gives witness to the reality that, as quilters, we have the opportunity to choose new directions, try new things, and serve as an example to other quilters that this stuff happens.

All the while I joined internet messaging groups and visited websites that talked about “crayon quilting” to make quilt blocks from thread. Thinking this was a ridiculous waste of thread, I giggled at my computer screen. That giggle would come back to mock me later. Mock me.

mqx twilight in the bronx with ribbon
hanging with the teacher ribbon from Linda Taylor at a quilt show in New England

See what I mean.
I design make whole cloth quilts.


Mocking me. I could not be happier.

Now, not only am I a free-motion machine quilter, and teacher. Somewhere in there I learned to change tension, use a different foot, and slow down to gain control, even out the stitches, and leave the pig tails where they belong, on pigs.

So from confirmed, snobby hand quilter, to free-motion machine quilter and teacher.

Happy Quilting,


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