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!



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

20160806_105310_resizedWell, it looks like there is a little bit of a problem here. One might say it’s twisted. Just so you know, this isn’t my machine. I do know who it belongs to, however I will protect identity to protect the innocent. These things happen, not often mind you, but they do happen.

I sent this photo to the tech to see what his thoughts were. He told me to go ahead and fix it, telling me what I needed. So I got the right tools, took the right steps, turned the foot in the direction it’s supposed to go.

I used the needle (not pictured here) to help line up in the correct position. Whew. I did it. I’ve wanted to go to learn to be a BERNINA tech for a long time. While this is far from step one, being able to send the machine home that day with the customer was deeply rewarding. She should go home and do her stitching to her hearts content.

Last week my sweetie and I went to the NJ State Fair in Augusta. It’d been a couple of years since we were there last. Still a great fair! We usually go on the weekends so the low crowds was, at first a little bit disconcerting. Because people. On our way there it rained, heavily. So it’s possible a lot of people simply stayed home. The fair is a true county fair type with animals to see, quilts hanging. 4-H kids presenting their crafted items. Oh the kids did a great job! Sewing is alive and well. Kids are getting interested and they’re doing good work.

There was no lack of quilts, over 100 hanging over head. No one here has the opportunity to touch the quilts. Nope. No one. 20160810_135715

There are some seriously amazing quilters out there. Making quilts. Having a good time.20160810_135746


Everyone needs a baseball quilt. It is one of our national past times after all. Baseball is good. As a matter of fact I believe that, as I write, the Yankee’s are playing ball.


And then we saw the plants. Holy wow! Plants are awesome. This one looks like feathers kind of like Ferret Capri’s. They are long and thin and look more like a bird feather.


As swirling oh my! I love swirling like this.20160810_154702

Who can go wrong with froufy. Everyone needs some kind of froufy in their life. When you find froufy hold onto it and enjoy the moment. Of course we left the plant behind. My sweetie already has plants everywhere in the house. And they are growing like weeds. But they’re not weeds. They’re plants.

I just love the dolor of the leaves on this one. I have no idea any more what it’s called. “I’ll remember!” I think. “Who can forget” I think. And now look at me. Can not remember what this plant is called, other than pretty.

And this one made me squee! I mean look at the color and the shape, and texture and oh my! I love it. Yes, it like the others, stayed behind. And someday I might get it for my sweetie. But honestly we have no more room for plants. Although I’m sure he could find room if he chose to.20160810_154918

And then the moon. I love the moon. So here ya go. The moon.

lunar eclipse blood moon

Gratuitous Moon Photo – Eclipse

Happy Quilting!


Wonder what the heck? I do.

a day in the city 042So, I’m not sure if you know that the City Quilter is closing in October (as of yet there is no final date). Dale and Cathy are ready to retire. While it’s hard to see another quilt shop close, leaving a huge hole in the NY Quilting Landscape, I’m happy for them, and wish them well.

For any of my customers who have purchased a BERNINA machine since I started working there last October I am going to set up an email address for you to contact me with questions. If there is a need for private instruction I’ll be available for private lessons. There will be a fee and I’ll let you know that in an email.

So I’ll be looking for work again. That means spiffing up the resume and applying. Spiffing up the resume is as easy for me as writing my own bio. I believe I have a quilt for that entitled Bang! Head! Here! I’m hoping to find some time in the next month or so to apply to teach at quilt shows. I think I may have mentioned a time or two that I love to teach. As a result it’s time to look at the Lectures & Workshops page, while this has been on “the list” for a while now is a great time to focus in on that. Oh those, like the handouts, always seem to need tweaking. And I’ll be adding a class, and as a result titling another one differently.

IMG_1041With a little bit of downtime yesterday the Tutorials & Helpful Hints page got a bit of a revamp. Adding pictures breaks up the text, making it a bit more readable. I’ll be making changes to the website as I have time. There is still other work to do.

And, this is the hard part for me. I had to set my book aside for now. I wish I could convey how hard, how absolutely gutting this was to do. I could go into all the why and thought process behind this, however what matters is that when I have time I can still do this. I will say that sobbing was involved. It’s not off the table entirely, it’s just like dessert, for later. When my plate isn’t quite so full, and I can manage the work that needs to happen.

13987784_10210487788859430_1773825635_o (1)I’ve been buying fabric again over the last few weeks. Some by proxy, thanks Melissa! She visited the SewBatik booth at a quilt show (more of that trip on the GenQ blog in a few days). getting some of their new gradients. They make me giddy, the ideas are flowing and I’m happy.

Then there was a visit to Quilting Possibilities. Oh boy! Oh boy! Oh boy! solids! did I mention solids? Looky here! Blank canvases make me all giddy. The possibilities are endless and I’m excited to get stitching and create something. I don’t know what yet but something.


Like I tell my customers I don’t know what I’m going to do with them yet, they sure are pretty though. The one in the middle looks like some of the quilting I do. I may just take this to classes to show one more way of learning how to quilt. Oh this may be a new lecture. Oooooooooo that would be fun. Great PowerPoint presentation.

And on that note the color pencils, paper and I have a hot date.

Happy Quilting!


Morning Quilting“What do you do with the stitching? Are they in quilts?”
Good questions both, and answering them seems a good idea.
Some stitching is practice. Practice? Yes, I still practice. While I have a good handle on thread, batting, needles, stitching motifs, there is still more to know, more to improve. So sometimes the quilting that I share is practice. Time for me to stitch is somewhat, no a lot, limited at the moment so any time I have to practice, to keep my quilting chops is priceless. I practice for the same reason Misty Copeland practices, to warm up, to learn a dance, to keep dancing. As far as I’m concerned, with as many hours I have at the machine, if I don’t stitch I lose something of the rhythm of quilting.

And then there’s this quote from Pablo Casals, “I think I’m making progress. I see some improvement.”

So sometimes there is nothing that happens with these pieces other than giving me the necessary time to keep the skill that I have. I am keeping the skill that I have. There are moments I see improvement. There are moments I would love to toss the sewing machine through the glass of the window for an oddly satisfying break of the glass, with a crash of the sewing machine on the ground, hopefully into a bejillion and one hundred pieces. Thankfully those moments pass, the machine lives, as do I.

Sigh. Quilting

A photo posted by Teri Lucas (@terilucas) on

So this piece that I shared has a dual purpose 1) practice, and 2) color exploration. My goal with this is to finish it. I love orange, I’m enjoying how it’s playing on its color complement of blue. I’d probably be downright giddy if this were purple, however the complement is great to play with.

And I shared yesterday what I’m doing with the current stitching. You can read more about that here. And why I’m making “Let Your Light Shine” over on Pokey Bolton’s Crafting a Life.

One last thing, sometimes I just like to play, or think. Free-motion gives me the space, and joy to do both.


A photo posted by Teri Lucas (@terilucas) on

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!

A photo posted by Teri Lucas (@terilucas) on

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

A photo posted by Teri Lucas (@terilucas) on

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!


wygilia several flowersWhen my mother-in-love Joy had her home in South Jersey, rather than grass, she had stones surrounding her home. This meant that the blower and occasionally weeding, were important at various times of the year. Every now and again she would plant things like rhododendrons and dogwoods. My sweetie and I would go help with whatever when we were there including blowing pine needles into the small patch of trees or pulling weeds left behind by the generous birds, dropping things here and there. So, this one time I pulled the dogwood stick she just planted. Good grief I felt ridiculous later. Thankfully I left the errant “weed” right where I pulled it, it was replanted and survived. A couple of years later we moved it to our current home and if I’m right it lives in our front yard.

purple flowerMy gut says that 2016 is going to be a defining year in the quilting industry. I’ll tell you that it’s fascinating to watch. I’ll also tell you that this is, like weeding the front garden, going to be good for our industry for a long time to come.

This week in the quilt world has been potentially unsettling. We’ve learned that  Quilter’s Newsletter will finish its publication with the October issue; American Quilter’s Society will no longer publishing books; IMQA, the professional association is dissolving, and closing the MQS show. Several big name quilters have announced their retirement this year, including and Gwen Marston and Judy Woodworth. There are quilt shops that are closing for a multitude of reasons including financial trouble, retirement, or quilt fatigue. Some weeks being in this industry is just simply challenging.

In all honesty it makes me think, a lot. This thinking then leads to questions. The questions lead to more questions. The questions this afternoon led to a conversation with Jake wherein I rapid fired questions at her that were vying for attention in my brain. So there will be more thinking, more questioning, more talking, more.

Speaking of thinking and talking – Jake Finch, Publisher of Generation Q Magazine, has written two Editorial pieces discussing some important factors of our q-niverse
Notions: Quilt Magazines Relevant or Not
Notions: What the Heck is Happening in our Q-niverse

As I try to think of a way to wrap this up, bring it in, pull these thoughts together the rapid fire thoughts are running amok in my head. Most of all I want to hear your thoughts here or on the GenQ blog. What do you see? What would you like to see? What are the choices you’re making in your q-niverse? What kinds of things do you want to see happening? What is your quilting happy place? Do you want to teach, write pattern, write books? Are you reading quilting books? magazines?

I’m looking forward to the rest of 2016, come what may.

Happy Quilting!


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