Thinking!

what would you do

This words of this meme have been popping up all over the place the last few days. And I’ve seriously had to give these words consideration.

Would I write a book? Well, uh. Ummm. Ehrm. Tried this. Didn’t go so well. Life got uncomfortably in the way, so fail? Not sure but at some point I’ll try this again. Note to self: you do know this stuff, you can write, and quilt with the best of them.

Would I move to the big City and see a good life there. Did that. Life is good.

Would I take climb Mount St Helen or hike the Grand Canyon? Being the indoorsy person I am probably not. Mount St. Helen has already spewed hot, molten lava in my lifetime causing lots of problems. The Grand Canyon is deep and wide. Did I mention being the indoorsy type?

Run a marathon. I’ve actually given this some consideration, I do live in NY after all.

Of course being who I am I started giving consideration to what failure actually is, and what kind of role failure plays in our quilterly lives. Is failure not doing something, never attempting it? Or is failure something else entirely? Is failure permanent or is it a temporary place to regroup?

So my first book writing attempt wasn’t a failure, life intervened in ways never imagined when I set out on that journey. I can still do this however, at this moment I need to take care of some other immediate things. It’s still on the table, just slightly out of reach. I’m good with that at the moment.

I started thinking about a local inventor: Thomas Edison. Rumor has it that he made 1000 attempts at making the light bulb before it actually worked. Was it 1000 failures? Or are there 1000 ways to not make a light bulb and he had to try every single one of them? Since his invention we’ve been using the term “light bulb moment” to describe moments when things work well together and our goal is met. It’s kind of exciting, forget kind of, it’s really exciting when this happens. Kind of like yelling Eureka! when a vacuum cleaner sucks. . . well.

IMG_0820So what would I do if I couldn’t fail? Nothing. Really. I wouldn’t be doing anything. My quilt life, my life would be inert. I’d be going nowhere, on the couch, in the living room, watching television never taking a stitch.

Then I got to thinking – there is a perception that failure us shameful, always, and every single time. It’s not. Sometimes it takes trying something more than 1000 times to figure it out. Is it shameful to stop before that 1000th time? No. Is it failure? Maybe. That’s okay. “Failure” helps us build our character. Especially when we keep going. I’m still not going to climb Mount St Helen, hike the Grand Canyon or run a marathon. These things don’t speak to my heart.

So the original question is good, a better one might be, “what is that one thing to pursue with reckless abandon?”

Happy Quilting!

Teri

 

Character – Lots and lots of Character

Character – Lots and lots of Character

Today is a two quilt day, each has character.

dad-would-be-honored-full-view-2Dad Would be Honored is the first Feathered Star using Marsha McCloskey’s directions I ever made. Most of the quilt is made with dad’s ties. Dad himself was a bit of character writing rotten poetry, his preferred place behind the camera – always observing, listening. I brought his ties home with me shortly after his death. It took me a little while to work up the courage to cut into the ties, and make the quilt. Every once in a while I think about making changes, if I did this or that the overall look would be more pleasing, and effective. The most important thing about Dad Would be Honored, my stepmom loves it just as it is, flaws and all. The moment I gave this to her is priceless. There is one thing I would change though I’d add fusible stabilizer to the ties making some of the piecing a lot easier. Part of me wants to sit here and rip apart the quilting, however I won’t because at the time I know I stitched to the best of my ability. Memory quilts hold something more, they hold our hearts stitched with great love.

star-quilt-10-may-08

If ever a quilt had a journey it’s this one. The fabrics are all Moda Marbles by Patrick Lose. The quilt itself is based on a Jinny Beyer pattern the setting corners should be 9 patches. It was a little bit beyond my skill level at the time so using solid pieces seemed the thing to do. The quilt was much larger at one point having squares in the corners and borders, it was quilted. I always like the quilt, didn’t like the quilting, so it sat in a UFO pile unfinished. An opportunity to make a quilt to donate came along, the seam ripper and I had a date, all of the quilting came out, I cut the quilt down, and re-quilted it. This may have been the first quilt I un-quilted, then re-quilted. The moon and stars seem to be a recurring them in my quilts. Oh sweet heavens inspire me!

Both of these quilts taught me so much. Trying something new is a good, using a seam ripper to take out something that isn’t working well is good, starting over is good.

Have a great quilterly day,

Teri

Building Up

Building Up

The best way for me to enjoy limoncello is like this:

20170325_084132

As the tag says, I love limoncello. I do. Limoncello goes down very easy. This seam ripper is the best way to enjoy this delightful lemony adult beverage.

20170325_084104This delightfully named, and brightly colored seam ripper is made by Shelley. You can find her on Instagram and Facebook and on her blog. All of which will take you to places to purchase these well balanced seam rippers, complete with stiletto.

Apparently I have a bit of a hand crafted seam ripper thing. There’s nothing like a sharp, well balanced seam ripper for taking out stuff that I’m not happy with. 20170325_084043

I figure if I’m going to have to take out icky stitching having something pretty, and inspiring to work with is a good idea.

20170325_084013

I’m know for saying, and for sharing photos of taking out quilting, or pieced seams. On the last pieced quilt I stitched in one unit backwards in several different places, one smack dab in the middle of the quilt. Rather than taking out everything, I took out that unit, and pieced it in the correct direction. The end result is a happy quilter.

So knowing that I like a good seam ripper, and that there are some really pretty, well balanced, and sharp ones available makes this quilter a wee bit giddy. In the next week or so I’m going to share with you a new tool by BERNINA Ambassador Kari Carr.

"Twilight in the Bronx"
Twilight in the Bronx, Twice quilted, wonky and gorgeous

Y’all know that I think about things a lot. Right now I’m thinking about seam rippers. Because character. Sometimes it’s important to take things out. Sometimes not so much. Using my seam ripper more when the work is for someone else. When the work is for me, I’m a lot more lenient. Doing good work is important to me, however there are times when doing good work interferes with great joy. Embracing the joy builds in the character to whatever I’m working on.
I’ve talked about this quilt more than once. I think I’m going to reprise the conversation.

There’s one more day to enter to win a quilted card. Simply comment on this post to enter.

Happy Quilting,

Teri

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