July Quilted Block of the month part 2

Last week we focused on the “bones” also known as stitching in the ditch. When you’re working on a quilt it’s not a “have to do” rather, it’s a good thing to do. When working on something like @play the bones get stitched as these would be the ditch in a pieced quilt top. Finer thread makes this stitching almost disappear into the batting, which is the goal.

NYB tension check

Our post ended with this delightful conundrum, makes you kind of tense doesn’t it. Changing thread weight and color means that the needle, and tension need some kind of adjustment. For the top Wonderfil FabuLux Hush a 40 wt. trilobal polyester (means shiny!) designed by Debby Brown, for the MicroQuilter by Superior, an 80 weight polyester. Finer threads in the bobbin take up less room in the stitch, allowing tighter, closer stitching without skewing the quilt.
Clearly the tension was off in the first few stitches. This is a simple adjustment of the tension.
– lift the presser foot lever
– increase the tension (move dial to a higher number)
– take a few stitches, stop and check
– if the tension is good, keep stitching
– if the tension isn’t good, tweak it

Using the Sewline Marking pencil I placed a dot, about an inch up from the arc, about in the middle. I stitched from the peak of the spikes to the dot, then from the dot to the next peak. Using the same thread, I arced back. Just a small curve from the top of the peak, to the same dot.

NYB corner making thread choices
What choice thread? Lime Green or Orange?

Next up the big expanse, other wise known as the corner. The options are limitless. A long time ago this would have completely freaked me out. Now either there’s something on my brain. Sometimes I wait. This is a time to doodle, write blog posts, articles, walk up and down the stairs for the heck of it. Then there’s the old phone a friend, and the send friend a picture of the quilt.

The thinking led me to straight lines. It’s a basic principle – opposites attract. Straight lines highlight, and help define curves; curves soften the feel of straight lines. General rule. Lots of straight lines can do something dynamic to a geometric, square, block style quilt. Straight lines chosen, because why not.


Purple and orange are my favorite colors so I chose the orange Magnifico, another 40 weight, trilobal polyester thread. Stitch, stitch, stitch. Using the edge of the #24 Free Motion Embroidery foot, which measures 1/4 inch from needle center to the outside edge of the foot.

NYB straight lines

I started in the ditch (seam allowance) Next week I’ll show you the finished straight line quilting, including a wee bit of unplanned stitching, and what happened in the corner.

Thank You Thursday

thank you 3

I’d like to thank the Academy…

Just kidding.

In a number of places around the internet there are “Days of the Year” listing the “official what makes this day special and/or what we celebrate.” This day is “Thank you Thursday!” Long before I fell madly, passionately in love with fabric I was madly, passionately in love with paper. The Current Catalog would come in the mail, before getting to the end of it I’d know what would be arriving at my door step as soon as possible. The pen aisle in the office supply store holds a special place in my hands. There’s nothing quite like a lovely instrument aiding the thought process along it’s glorious, ever pen-sive, journey.

Thank you Terry Knott, Jo Jo Hall, Maggie Knollenberg, Jenny LyonCheryl Sleboda, Ebony Love, Debby Brown, Melissa Kanovsky, to name a few people I find fascinating. While this list is short there’s a longer one here.


Last night flitting through pictures I found this drawing I did sometime ago. There is a yearning to create this in stitching. I can see different colors in different spaces. I can also see a bit of trapunto or double batting to give this depth. I can see several different backgrounds including Radiance. Gosh I’d like to do this in several different backgrounds. Oh I can see Oatmeal Batik. Oh the brain gets going.

And then the yearning for paper and pencil asserts and I’m going to find that. After I do some piecing but paper and pencils. Oooh I’m getting pensive again.

Next month I’m participating in the Spring Clean Your Studio Blog Hop hosted by Cheryl. More about that later. Use the hashtag #springcleanyourstudiobloghop to follow.

Happy Quilting!


…or wait for it, lemon curd and the toast goes from okay to sublime

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!



It’s almost here! HMQS is almost here!

A post shared by Teri Lucas (@terilucas) on

but first some lilacs and they smell heavenly!

I’m teaching next week at HMQS. Here’s a link to my classes. I have a little room in a couple of them including, And Now What?! this is a design/doodling class. We’ll play with a lot of designs talking about the options for quilting our quilts. So if you’re going to be in SLC I’d love to see you. I’m really excited as it’s my first time teaching in this venue. 

I know I’ve been sharing about this on and off for a couple of years but the stuff is getting real now as I begin the major work on my book…so if I’m quiet…it’s all good. Pray for me and think good thoughts because this creative sort of person sometimes walks into her sewing room and walks right back out. I’m not sure if it’s a creative block or fear, though it could be a bit of both. I have ideas swirling around in my head. But in speaking with my editor I have some seriously good options. 🙂

Happy Quilting!



Quilty Questions Answered

Quilters always have questions and I’m always happy to answer! I put a call out on my facebook page asking for questions then mentioned here that I’d answer quilty questions.

Lucas Moon Over Manhattan 39 x 34First up from Betty Jo: “Since I know you are a Bernina girl also, how do you set your tension for using metallic threads when you are free motion quilting?”

First thing I do is use a polyester thread in the bobbin, generally Bottom Line or So Fine. I find that cotton tends to pull the metallic to the back of the quilt as it’s kind of grabby.
Next I use a 90/14 top stitch needle or metallic needle. The right needle makes a huge difference.
As for tension settings generally set the machine to somewhere between 0 and 1.5. Yes this is a range and not a specific setting. Ranges make things easier to tweak if the tension isn’t quite balanced.
One thing to note is that batting has an effect on tension – cotton batting like cotton thread is a bit grabby and will pull the metallic towards the back of the quilt. I am a big fan of wool and silk batting for competition quilts and a good polyester batting for non competition quilts.

zen tangleNext question from Susan: “How have you found doodling productive…I look at my doodles and wonder if they will amount to anything

Couple of things Doodling is always productive even if it doesn’t look like it, especially when it doesn’t look like it. I use doodling to try out new quilting motifs or design quilts. I doodle both with both my dominant and non-dominant hand. This helps with the machine quilting since we use both hands when we quilt. I don’t worry what my doodling looks like, I just do it. When I sit to quilt the quilting is so much easier. I get the stitching path.

Just keep up with the doodling and stitching!

And this weeks final question:

From Elizabeth: “How do I get over my terror of free motion quilting?

This is the best question ever. And deserves an in depth answer.

Just sit and stitch! Seriously this is the best way. Keep that Karen Carpenter tune in your head, “don’t worry if it’s not good enough for anyone else to hear, just sing”. Get some solid black or your favorite color, some very contrasty thread, a good batting sit at the machine and stitch.

Doodling helps a lot. Blank books and Sharpie pens are perfect for doodling. Scrap paper and a pen or pencil work just as well.


Happy Quilting!


From this to that

doodle quilting practiceSometimes when I’m on the phone for long periods of time I start drawing.
Thinking about quilt design.
Thinking about






and still paying attention
If I were stitching this out I’d grab a 10-12″ square of a solid fabric, pick a thread color and just start stitching.
I may add this type of stitching to the little piece below.
BSR on machine for blog
So to get this started I drew a whole bunch of curved lines going in one direction, then changed directions and had those spirals going “under” the other spirals.

There will be stitching during tonight’s Yankee Game.

Happy Quilting!




BERNINA Ambassador vids and a couple of (new?) classes

Brand Ambassador BadgeA couple of weeks ago all of the BERNINA Ambassadors received a link to their interview on YouTube. Here’s a link to the whole group.  And a link to my interview. The interviews were done when we were at the Reunion in December. We had such a great time learning about the different feet and machines and what they can do! I am really honored to be a BERNINA Ambassador.  At the shop where I work and one other (I’ll let you all know dates) I’ll be hosting a class featuring presser feet we can use in our quilts. I’ll be doing this one other place as well and I’ll let you in on that just as soon as I’m able.


coffee mugsA couple of years ago while I was recovering from surgery I spent a lot of time drawing coffee cups.  Oh heck I just spent a lot of time drawing. I needed to do something since I could not quilt.  (It was during this time I realized that quilting is a full-contact sport!)
I had so much fun with these. They were all unique and I could be whimsical and impractical in design – note the crazy handles! Drawing (no matter how “bad” you think anything looks) is a great way to figure out how to quilt something.

coffee mugs 002I’m thinking – when I have a moment of free time of creating some of these beauties in cloth. A little background fabric, a little Mistyfuse, a hot iron, a little batting and thread and voila! a quick project.

To quote Josie (my Garmin Nuvi) in her Elfred voice, “thinking! thinking!”

coffee mugs 005The other class I’m considering is a quilted clutch or small purse. It’s something we could do in a one day class, maybe even a two day class. I have always enjoyed making my own unique totes and purses. They’re always the right size. There’s some electric blue faux suede at work that’s just calling my name.

Happy Quilting!