An invitation

cropped-live-your-brightest-life-11-e14726550775461.jpgTeaching free motion machine quilting is one of the greatest pleasures in my life. When a quilter relaxes into quilting, the breathing changes, the focus changes, the rest of the group fades from the room. There is a very distinct memory of a quilter doing just this, in the middle of a very busy shop, what a beautiful moment. The over-thinking part of us, in that moment, becomes quiet as the stitching takes place. Being in that moment is so amazing. I’ve been there, in the middle of a busy place, simply enjoying the restorative, creative energy.

20161127_074359A few years ago I started a group on facebook called Lucy’s Nickles to work with a few quilters answering questions and helping them grow. The name is from the Peanuts character Lucy, who sets up a lemonade type stand and gives advice for five cents. A few years ago I mentored a quilter for a quite a while, his quilting changed over this time. So much so that his partner asked him what happened, “it’s like the lights are on now” (this is the gist of what he said.) Often through this process I asked more questions, than gave advice.

One of the gals in the group recently asked for a directed project. I’m game, so on Friday February 3, 2017 we’re starting a whole cloth project, which I’m currently in the process of designing. Once I have the bones designed I’ll post a pdf on the site, and part two of the discussion will start. We’re going to work fat quarter size as we all have fat quarters, and it’s a nice size for something of a piece of art.


You are welcome to join us on the facebook group. Click on the link above, I’ll approve membership. Please introduce you, tell us a little about your quilting. And let’s have some fun. Along the way I’ll ask questions, offer some suggestions, and give permission for you to use your seam ripper as you choose.

Happy New Year,


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,


Feather tutorial paper style

its-bigger-than-i-thought-curved-featherThey say a picture is worth 1000 words.

Seeing is believing.
Take a look at the feathers to the left here.  I’m going to tell you a secret. Ready?
Don’t tell anyone but…
these feathers are not perfect.

That’s right. Not. Perfect.

And that’s okay. Taking time to learn well is an important component of mastering quilting. So I’m posting a quickie paper-practicing tutorial for the feathers I showed yesterday and I’m

issuing a challenge.
Challenge Step 1: Practice on paper
Challenge Step 2: Practice on a fat quarter or two
Challenge Step 3: Send me photos of your practice sessions and give me permission to post on my blog

I’ll get a couple of quilterly friends to choose a couple of “winners” and I’ll send you either fabric or a copy of Generation Q Magazine.

Happy Quilting!


feather tutorial paper 1
Step 1


feather tutorial paper 2
Step 2


feather tutorial paper 3
Step 3




feather tutorial paper 4
Step 4


feather tutorial paper 5
Step 5


feather tutorial paper 6
Step 6
feather tutorial paper 7a
Step 7
feather tutorial paper 7
Step 8

Last night on the way home I was thinking about quilting

bernina sampler for jeanne delpitI think. A lot. Sometimes that thinking will lead me down paths of thinking I need to give up what I’m doing. (I won’t I promise, I can’t) This thinking wasn’t that. In a couple of weeks I’ll have some exciting news to share. I’m excited. Really excited. This news and a conversation with a friend reminded me why I’m ready to keep doing what I’m doing. Her comment was (paraphrased) “in order to get from here to there, you need to do this and that!”

That led me to more thinking. (Big Surprise!) I started thinking about how I teach free motion machine quilting and why I teach the way I do.  I continued thinking about how I can teach machine quilting better and encourage my students more. I was thinking about how quilting – from beginning to end – is not particularly easy and how smart and intelligent quilters are in general, no matter what style of quilting they take on. I thought about the time it takes to really get good at quilting in general and machine quilting specifically.
I thought about quilters from long ago who made exquisite quilts with a clear, intuitive understanding of geometry, color, and a sense of purpose and re-purposing. How quilts were meant to keep their families warm. And while quilts often had a utilitarian purpose they could be aesthetically pleasing as well.
I thought about how I once professed to be a self-taught quilter and came to the realization that I learned somewhat intuitively from what I knew from sewing so as a teenager but from patterns written by quilters and books explaining how to make quilts and quilt shop employees that eagerly shared their skill and encouragement. Now there are tools and books and websites and blogs and free patterns from fabric companies. Just think, nearly 40 years since the renewal of quilting in the states quilt making has changed and grown and new tools to make things easier; how machines have changed offering us so many tools and feet to make the process of piecing and quilting easier.




It comes

down to us.

It comes to us to believe that we can make quiltsquilt demo 2 color

It comes to us to believe that we can do good work

It comes to us to believe that our quilting will improve over time

It comes to us to believe that our quilts are good enough

It comes to us to make the commitment to Do The Work to get from here to there.

Where ever there is in the quilting world!

How do I teach machine quilting (for those who haven’t yet had the opportunity to take a class with me)?

microfiber hoop 24 footBy showing how the tools, i.e. machine, needles, thread, batting and quilt all come together to create the beauty. By finding ways to encourage each quilter as an individual. By sharing with you the 50/500/10,000 hour principle. 50 hours to become comfortable with the process, 500 hours to be proficient and 10,000 hours to mastery. More importantly by showing students HOW. When I see a student struggling I will ask to sit at their machine and stitch – not to show them up but to see if there’s something going on with the machine that needs attention. It’s important to show a student how to machine quilt as much as it is to explain how we use our tools.

Quilters are indeed smart and intelligent and we need to remember that.


Happy Quilting!


Making progress

CAM00828Every once in a while I have a Southern Comfort Manhattan in memory of my mother-in-law. The other day was one of those days where her memory was very present in my heart. Here’s to you Joy!CAM00837

Now back to our regularly scheduled program…QUILTING!I’m continuing to work on “I feel enormous in your Lilliputian world” section by section with the great hope that I’ll have it finished Tuesday night as I leave bright and early Wednesday morning and would like to be able to deliver it on the other end.  The light from the sun and the 780 hit the thread on the left just right so it looks like it’s glowing.  As I stitched the nautilus pattern my eyes were drawn to the glowing. I guess I can call that section “glow worm”.

CAM00838 I decided to switch up the thread changing from Magnifico to Kimono Silk.  The look, feel and texture just work. I’m not sure if each color pictured will be used or if another color or three will be used.  I’m planning on repeating one section however I may have passed the point where the look I hope to achieve will work the way I see it in my head. This is one of the hazards of not planning ahead. It is something I can live with.

CAM00841After I finished the “macaroni” section (after the nautilus section) I wanted to see the overall look and feel of the quilt. I like it, which is nice because there are moments where I don’t like what’s happening.  In those moments uncertainty will settle in with several options cropping up:
1) ditch the quilt
2) keep going and hope it all works out
3) get out the seam ripper
4) show the offending bit to friends privately or publicly and get some input
A side note on quilterly advice: it is there to help us weed out the choices in front of us.  There is no obligation to use the quilterly advice given.  The follow-through to that is when asked and I give advice there is no expectation on my part that you will follow the advice.  It’s your quilt. It’s your rules.

CAM00842Someone asked me if I have “Superman” eyes with all this teeny tiny stitching I’m doing.  Uhm, nope, just bifocals.  At some point I will need to use a magnifier however at this point I’m just stitching and looking through the lower portion of my glasses.
As I show these last two pics I realize the section I want to repeat isn’t going to work visually the way I want it to.  Oh well these things happen.  I’m still happy with it.  I do know what I’m doing with the border once I’m out there, I’m stitching in the title of the piece and signing it.

I just read a great quote that I think is worth sharing:

“When perfectionism is driving us, shame is riding shotgun, and fear is that annoying backseat driver” Brene Brown
Check out this post on A Quilters Heart.

Happy Quilting!



Free Motion Quilt Challenge & More MQX Quilts

SewCalGal emailed me the sweetest link the other day Joan at Leschenault made a video of the nautilus shell in my tutorial on the SewCalGal Free Motion Quilt Challenge.  Thank you Joan!   I’ll have a bonus tutorial in December that should be kinda fun.

As I worked with my students at MQX I encouraged several to enter either the Rookie or Emerging Entrants categories.  There is some serious talent out there in the quilt world.  Spend time at your machines, find your comfort zone and stitch to your hearts content.  Work through the frustration and ask questions.  Use the good batting and thread to practice!  It makes a huge difference.

This off the hook quilt is by Linda V. Taylor, it really speaks to my heart of the serendipity of the quilting world.

This one by Kelly Kreft reminds me of Split Complimenterity.  I love the use of color here.

And then there is this magnificent dessert.  I’m in need of a bib just thinking about it.

This is the back of Janet Stones quilt…hmmn, where’s the front?

Phew! I found it.  I see blue.

And here is Sherry Reynolds amazing quilt!  The quilting on here is outstanding.

I love BJ’s quilts.

I can not quite get over Laurie Tigner, I really admire this because it’s all silver lame.

The detail work on this is well planned out and beautiful.  Laurie has a deep sense of iconography and quilting, the combination really draws me in.

Work on what you love!


Almost ready to go

I’m heading to MQX tomorrow late morning for 3 days of teaching and 1 day in the Bernina Booth. I just learned last night that my beginner class is full and there’s a little room in “Let Your Foot Loose Be Fancy & Free” and in “And Now What” which I’m renaming “Designs in Machine Quilting” after this show. More info on that later this week or sometime next. I’ll be updating my brochure at the same time.
I love teaching and am excited to teach with MQX.
See you there!