Arsenic & Old Lace, Chocolate cake and a long arm

Arsenic & Old Lace, Chocolate cake and a long arm


Debby Brown has a Handi Quilter Avante in her studio, and on occasion when needed she lets me use it to baste my larger quilts. Yesterday I basted two quilts Arsenic & Old Lace pieced by Keith Dommer and Supernova in Chartreuse designed by none other than Jeanie Sumrall-Ajero. A&O L has lived in my studio for a while as life has happened. As I basted yesterday thoughts of quilting came to mind – which is such a good thing oh the thinks you think when you think quilting. Keith uses elements including hexagons, circles, and old linen, well leaving me with great blank space to work in. When he sent the quilt I looked up the color of arsenic gray, yellow, and black all come up and then there are shades of blue and acid green leaving me a lot of room for interpretation here.


Now when I get to Supernova I don’t have a particular plan in mind however as I write decision made, whew. I need more fabric. She says, shocking no one reading this missive.

Kindness and gratitude matter. Both are a balm to wounded souls. They are a cup of cold water to someone who is in need of refreshment. A cup of coffee with and a good chat with good friend. Lemonade on a hot summer day. These things are all refreshing.

Sometimes we have challenges in life, challenges in our communities. Friends have troubles. Things are going all icky in the greater world and the events trigger awful memories. Things at work go all haywire in so many ways and we need a word of encouragement and support.  We might see all this happening and want to do something about it. We may not be able to fix it, but we can be there through our words.

While I was at Debby’s we had a facebook live with Joliene Williams. Joliene supplied me with Girl Scout Cookies. First I’ve had in a looooooooooooooong time.

Debby Brown and I are starting a project called 1000 postcards for peace.

In the next week or so I’m starting a facebook page that will be a place to offer ideas, share experiences and support those in our life who might need a little support or a little something because we can. I’ll post again here once the page is up, and directions are available.

Happy Quilting!


2017 Word of the Year

IMG_20160806_065917_resizedQuite frankly seeing the back of 2016 is something of a relief. 2016 has kind of kicked me in the shins repeatedly, been a bit of a bully, and needs to end. A friend from high school posted a link to a list of who passed away this year. Many I knew about, many I didn’t. A few shocked me as I didn’t know. One of my favorite Babylon 5 actors, Jerry Doyle. I admit that I sat here trying to figure out how to binge watch this show.
Ten more days. Being a bit of a realist things won’t magically change with the turn of a calendar page at midnight on December 31st. As the final pages of 2016 go by there are a few rays of hope for 2017 that are shining through. One of my favorite vendors is sending a two color quilt for me to quilt that will hang in their booth. Maybe I can get the other piece I started for them quilted and send them both at the same time. We’ll see about that one.

Supernova Jeanie
Jeanie Sumrall-Ajero’s kit by Hoffman Fabrics

I have three quilts that have been with me for years that I’d like to finish. They belong with other people and are taking up floor, head, and heart space that might be better used in other ways.

So I’ve been thinking about 2017 goals:

Better writing – I get to work with Melissa and Jake as editors and mentors. I rely on them a lot for editing my work, however I’d like to make their work easier and hone the skill-set, making their work easier and my work better. This also means getting a couple of backlogged things done.

Stronger class descriptions – this is something I’ve been thinking a lot about, and need to work on.

???????????????????????????????I am a member of a couple of organizations that will help with professional development. It’s time to make better use of the tools they offer.

There are a couple of words that are in serious contention for the 2017 word of the year. Quilt is one – kind of obvious but doesn’t give a whole lot of direction. Machine quilt, piece quilts? Focus on making art? Grow – I’ll admit that this has potential. Good potential and as a focus word gives direction. Gratitude, kind of leaning in this direction and has the bonus of being a grounding word. Then there’s Finish. Ahh and we see leanings in this direction all ready. Finishing is a good thing. Thoughts of a word cloud are coming to mind. Lots of words, different fonts, sizes, and colors. All part of a greater focus. Ooooo Focus! Another serious contender.

I do love words. And quilts. I love quilts. And quilty friends are the best.

Happy Quilting!



. . . a time to tidy

img_20161122_161123Oh my goodness there is always a good time to tidy. Don’t you always find that it’s right in the middle of doing something else? Like 9 patches. I’ve been cutting up all these 9 patches, and the urge hit. No, no wait, no that’s not it. Not the urge. No. The necessity of it all hit me like a whole bunch of empty bobbins. Oh! The possibilities of a tidy (ha!) space. Or at least one that I can move around in a little bit better.
I found all of these bobbins in a punched metal basket. I love the basket but, like several others it’s not currently serving a good function so it’s going into the closet for a while. Along with a wide variety of books and magazines that I’m not quite willing to part with yet. This is giving me a whole shelf to store things like batting. Though my gut says the batting will end up somewhere else and the the quilts in progress will end up on that shelf.

In the cleaning I located a quilt I’d thought was long gone. The quilt went with me to be basted on a friend’s long arm, however the batting for said quilt was left at home. The quilt went back into the sewing room in the tote it left in. At some point in a tidy up it was placed on the bottom shelf where it would be, ahem, remembered.


After a little bit of tidying I stop and stitch or cut 9 patches. In the background I’m playing with C&T’s Kraftex I’m practicing for something down the road and am having a lot of fun. And as I’m writing this I know what I’m going to do and I need to get busy doing and writing. This will be so much fun! I have a pattern to write, a test drive, two interviews and quilts I want to make. The creativity is coming alive.

Tidying up is magic apparently.

Happy Quilting!


Quilting with Intention

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Donna Morales-Oemig your fabric still speaks to my heart. Donna snow dyed a few pieces of Robert Kaufman’s Radiance in the 2014/2015 winter when eastern Massachusetts got over 100 inches of snow. The perfect project came along, an idea with it and I started stitching.

I haven’t really quilted in a long time.  Oh I’ve plunked my ample behind in the chair, turned on the machine and quilted for a bit, walked out of my sewing room with a deep sense of no accomplishment or sense of so many things. I’ve been through something like this before, where I’ve wanted to go in there, but no. In this case it’s been much a matter of time. Work, and work on the magazine needing my primary attention.

It quilted out! Yes!

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Pokey Bolton posted that there’s still time to enter the Tribute Exhibit for Yvonne Porcella and something freed up. I walked into my studio, picked up Donna’s fabric for the front, a piece of Robert Kaufman denim, wool batting (remind me to get more 505 spray!) and set off stitching.

Let Your Light Shine

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I don’t know if I will get this done in time for the August 6th due date but I started something with intention yesterday. Oh! what a glorious moment. And I’m going to admit something here…yesterday I was experiencing a deep vulnerability. Oh wow that smacked me upside the heart deeply. This wasn’t so much about putting the quilting out there, as much as it was the actual sitting at my beloved BERNINA 1080 and stitching with abandon that I do. Maybe there’s more here. I honestly don’t know.

What I do know is that something shifted. I quilted.

Happy Quilting!


My desk while I’m working

20160721_055500I’m working on finishing an article this morning before going to work.
This is my desk in the midst of the writing a Test Drive for Generation Q Magazine.
I am happy.
I need coffee.
I am happy to be writing.
Cold brew is awesome.
Rejoice with me, something fun is happening in this place. Like the mug says, DREAM!

Happy Quilting!


PS In the years I’ve been blogging I’ve finally made it to 1000 posts. We will celebrate this soon.

Bucket List

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Imagination. So the other day I captured an intimate moment between a dog and a pig. I did try to turn away politely, not staring but it was so sweet that I had to capture the moment. The dog and the pig kissing was suggested by Kelly Ann, the fun-sized owner of Kelly Ann’s Quilting in Warrenton, VA. Thanks Kelly Ann!

dad inside joke with friend
My dad. I come by this goofiness honestly.

Do you have a bucket list for your ideal sewing space? Do you have a size of space that would make the sewing space functional and consequently give you the space to do the creative things you want to do in quilt making? I do, and am taking a couple of moments to share with you part of that.

So, let’s talk size and color for a moment. The size of the room is good, though I’d love to ditch the closet in there for a little bit more space. Color oh gosh I just came up with a better plan the other day that would freak my husband out: 3 walls pumpkin orange and one wall (window wall because of the size) a deep autumny purple. Oh my goodness I’m smiling just thinking about it. I love pumpkin orange and having that contrast color would be simply amazing, making the room feel warm and rich. I’m not in need of a power wall in every room I just love the idea of the colors working together like this. Actually it’d be 2 walls pumpkin orange, one wall I want half chalkboard paint/half cork board.

Debby has been sharing this chair for-Ever! And it looks so comfy, with lots of great options to help with the ergonomics of sitting at the machine for hours as we stitch into that amazing creative space we are all aiming for. You know that space, where someone can walk into a room and we’ll never know that they’re there because we are just quilting? That’s the kind of space a good, comfortable chair helps you get into. And besides, it’s aesthetically pleasing!

I’ve wanted a Tracey’s Table since the first time I saw one. The fact that the top of the table can tilt towards me is such a great asset, and will help visualize the quilt as I’m stitching. This will also help the shoulders relax, and that is key. The only issue as I see it, is that the wine glass might slip off the table. I’m pretty sure I can solve that one though.

I already have the perfect shelving unit from Ikea, check out my post.

Having goals and dreams are good.

Happy Quilting!



Doing the (prep) Work, the next part

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,