if at first you don’t succeed

 

dogwood-opening-closeup-april-08

Outside my front window the Mockingbird is chasing the Blue Jay away from the berries on the Dogwood. The Mockingbird’s nest is towards the top of the tree so apparently the tree belongs to it. (I don’t know the difference between the males and females.) Spring happens in just about fourteen days, to say I’m eager, though this winter is amazingly mild, is something of an understatement. I’ve been enjoying the days filled with more light, the sunsets through the studio window inspiring. One of our hyacinths has bloomed, so we’ll see what happens with the rest.

Back to our regularly scheduled post:

Keep stitching until it makes sense, pull out the seam ripper if you’re not happy, play until your heart is content.

I made this stitch sample a few years ago and gave it away. I think I’m going to make another one using this as inspiration.

This piece is one way of practicing, and keeping a library of stitching motifs.
A piece like this helps explore stitching motifs until you’re really good at it.
A piece like this can grace your studio walls giving you inspiration.
Perhaps done quarterly, a piece like this can show your progress as a free motion machine quilter.

Stitching different motifs across the surface of the quilt is something that speaks to my quilterly soul. As the words flit from my brain to my fingers I can see three quilts in my head that I want to work on, okay 5…okay it’s an unending roll of visuals. By keeping the quilts smaller I can make more of these.

For now off I go to start quilting this beauty:

Oh it worked! @sewbatik #sewbatik #bernina #piecing

A post shared by Teri Lucas (@terilucas) on

Oh should I tell you the character building secret about this quilt?

I will,  another day.

 

You won’t believe what happens next!

chocolate swirl with 24 foot

Sensational headlines are the best. Let’s get your attention, tell you a story that pulls the heart strings, gets a laugh or annoys the heck out of you. I’ll limit sensational headlines as they drive me up a tree, deposit me on the a weak branch, and…

Fly!

So here I am writing another blog on adding character to our quilts, and come up with a brilliant idea for the Lucy’s Nickles group. color fix 3

This isn’t it. I’ll circle back around.

When I started exploring machine quilting and color. On her blog Linda Poole shares these great color fixes. Some of them would start my brain thinking about how I could stitch that out. With Linda’s encouragement I started making these inspired by pieces as a way of practicing machine quilting, developing color confidence, and having fun. Oh I did have “Bang Head Here” moments along the way, that’s part of the fun of learning. These pieces are like ten inch squares giving me lots of space to experiment with thread, color, and batting all without feeling like I was screwing up a quilt with meaning.

The little quilt above has lots of character, all over the place.

Back to the quilt at the top of the page, would it surprise you that it’s not finished, and in all likelihood, gone? Sometimes these pieces teach me something, then I move on rather satisfied. Sometimes they’re not the right color/s. Sometimes I’m not invested in their existence and poof! they disappear.

Letting go of work that no longer speaks to my heart or holds interest is wildly freeing. I’m not bound by any sense of having to finish a quilt once its started. This leaves me free to explore, create, and finish the projects that make the most sense to me. I have a goal to finish three or four new pieces by October and the Dutchess Heritage Quilt Show comes around.

Wild Cherry @cherrywoodfabrics So beautiful!

A post shared by Teri Lucas (@terilucas) on

This seems like a perfectly good piece to quilt, dontchathink? This has some character for sure and I can see purples, blues, reds, and yellows popping of that orange!

Happy Quilting!

Teri

 

Quiltfest of NJ, Social Media and Character

First up Social Media:

Find me on Facebook here, here, and here.

Find me on Instagram here, and here.

Find me on Twitter @terilucas

Then there’s this:
I’m heading off to the QuiltFest of NJ today. I hope to see you there. I am at the end of a cold so I’ll understand if you don’t want to hug me and I won’t be on the huggy side today. While I know I’m on the upswing and not contagious…

And a day in the sewing room wouldn’t be complete without using my seam ripper. The blocks on the left are correct. The blocks on the right, not so much. I need to use my very favorite seam ripper and take the off.

received_10212466252319780

Oh boy.

Happy Quilting,

Teri

By the way, there’s nothing like perspective to help you see that the quilt looks way better than you see it up close and personal. Take pictures, they’re worth quilterly sanity.

It’s all about the bass

dad inside joke with friend

Reading Jasper Fford lately has reminded me of this love of playing with words. I sometimes wear people out (yeah, sorry about that Melissa, you’re so good at it though!) with this love, needing to be slightly more mindful of this…however it’s so fun. This guy was a character. I’ve written about dad a few times. One self-imposed moniker, the Rotten Poet, was my fave. Dad would have appreciated the title of the blog. It might be about the Megan Trainor song, or it could be about fishing. Either way you go.

playing with words, crafting sentences to create visuals, and dialog that another person understands, and experiences a deep sense of welcome, an invitation to actively participate in a conversation with you is an achievement unto itself. Our quilts are much the same thing, an invitation to a conversation, an opening to a dialogue, sometimes a monologue. Sometimes the conversation communicates love, and caring, others art and a deep sense of wonder, and amazement. Our quilts can speak to others in unintended ways.

Lucas Moon Over Manhattan 39 x 34

Little Miss Sassy Pants here had one conversation with me, multiple, we had multiple conversations. She had other conversations with quilters. I happened to be present to witness one of the conversations. It was amusing as it was a quick glance, and “Oh that’s nice but look at this.”

Speaking of words and conversations author Marie Bostwick has me all invested in her most recent novel The Second Sister. Quilting has worked it’s way in as a way of living, and healing, and bringing people together. There is heartache, healing, and mystery. This is such a lovely read. Once I’m finished there will be more here, I just want to see where the story goes, because my gut says the emotions will be streaming down my face before the end.

I’m at QuiltCon, and will be telling the tale over on the GenQ page as soon as I can.

Have a great day friends.

Happy Quilting,

Teri

Trees are perfect: character grows

tree in the morning

Way back when my dear mother-in-love lived in South Jersey she planted two Dogwood trees.One afternoon as we worked on cleaning up the property I pulled one of them up. It looked like a twig. The baby tree was replanted and thrived. The dogwood still lives in my front yard now, in spite of my efforts to hasten it’s demise. Its limbs a safe haven for the mocking birds that hatch in our arbor. Well, actually, they’re after the birds the berries on the branches, but that’s a story for another day.

garrison landing tree

The branches of trees add interest to their overall shape. Visually the twisting and turning, this way and that, growing.

Parrots in treeTrees do bend. Though straight and tall.

Trees grow, and change. Branches strengthen and new branches grow from them. Each adds character. The branches strengthen in the wind, and rain, and snow. These forces in their lives help build the trees.

Nature provides us with interesting things to look at. I’ve never criticized her for sunsets, tree shapes, flower shapes, leaves, bees. When I look at wrought iron, which is a passion of mine, I see character rather than flaws. This is about unique rather than an idealized perfection.

Happy Quilting,

Teri

Character: explored beauty

Melly prints 002

Melanie Testa is by far one of the most joyful, and thoughtful quilters I’ve ever met. A beautiful, creative soul. One of my most treasured memories is having lunch with her and Elizabeth, we were on the receiving end of some seriously disapproving looks from because we were laughing so much. This still brings a smile. Melanie creates unique, interesting squares of hand printed cloth. These are among some of my greatest treasures.

Melly has shared some of her process for making and printing cloth. Watching her demo in a booth a few years ago, this is messy business indeed.

 

She had stuff all over her hands. Her exuberance, though, quite catching.

What I see though in her process is a lot of work, thought, preparation, experimentation. There’s a lot of “this isn’t going to work” until “hey this is magic”. When Meadowlark (Windham Fabrics) came out I designed a few quilts for her including several seen in her booth.

Melly has recently published a new book with Carol Soderlund that I’ll share more about sometime very soon. It’s a beautiful book. I’ll share this…for now, the it is very much the result of working, trying, things working, things not working, things almost working. A lot of practice getting things just the way you want.

And so, I go looking for more character. Which is often found in the mirror.

Happy Quilting

Teri

Inspired, Character

???????????????????????????????

There are habits in life that well worth cultivating, an affinity for quirky literature is a good thing. The details of discovering Jasper Fforde escape me, however the long lasting memory of the telling of the life and times of Thursday Next, and the twists and turns of her life bring a smile to the heart and mind. This week two long standing items on the to-do list were accomplished the renewal of the library card, and checking out e-books from the library. The discovery of the lapsed library card brought some consternation, irritation and something of an annoyance as I tried logging into the library on more than one occasion getting nowhere, because lapsed card. In the meantime the purchase of a kindle added to the reading options.

Several times in the last months I’ve tried going to the local library with a city dweller problem, all the street parking spaces were taken. Mind you there’s a school, several restaurants, and businesses within walking distance but, seriously every single time. No parking. With a wee bit of persuasion the house Sweetie that taking me was a great idea. There is the matter of the book he needed to pick up but yeah, whatever. So the library card obtained I accomplished task two, borrowing e-books for the kindle. Both authored by the aforementioned Jasper Fforde. Just in time for a quick trip to Las Vegas to help a friend at a trade show.

???????????????????????????????

Yeah there’s a repeat on the picture, when you talk a lot there has to be a return to the original conversation. This sunset is one that occurred outside my studio window. These kinds of visual treats happen with enough frequency that I look for them as each one is different. The clouds are different, the light is different, the leaves change from day to day. Like the moon, sunsets enthrall me, capture my attention. Sunsets are moments of rest. Sunsets are moments to enjoy the beauty.

And they are characters. When I hunted for a photo for this post memories of first grade drawings popped up. Clouds, mountains, trees, people all have a certain feel, stylized in a child like way, open to the possibilities and mindful of how others in life might think of them. This is a good thing, in so many ways! I can see how these things that I’ve drawn since childhood are making into the quilting I do now:

tree-1
Moonset in process

While working on Moonset there was a moment that adding a squirrel hole somewhere near the area of the major boughs, it’s something I remember doing in a few of the childhood drawings. The funny thing is that I don’t remember seeing a single tree with a squirrel hole, and yet, there they were. The imagination kicked in somewhere along the way. The roots of the tree in the foreground remind me of the old pine on the big hill where we would play in summer, and sled in winter.

The fun thing is bringing the character of those moments into the quilting in these moments, adding interest and character to the stitching.

The beautiful thing about character is that it shows up, does the work, doesn’t worry about perfection, is interested in exploring, and goes places.

Happy Quilting!