CAM00841Okay, I’m totally taking a conversation with the comments to heart and brain and in quilt-teacher fashion addressing the larger group of students as the information is pertinent to all.uhw wrought iron fence and gate

Where do I begin?
How do I decide what motifs to use? How do I choose what weight and color thread? What batting do I use? What backing?

At the end of the beginner free motion quilting class, if students bring in quilts we’ll take a little bit of time to talk about the possibilities. It’s all about the ideas, not so much directions to quilt it. A “here’s what I might do” and “here’s what thread I might use”. I approach the conversation with “might do/use” rather than “will do/use” as I might change some component when I sit a the machine to quilt.

Where do I begin?

If it’s a patchwork quilt (as opposed to a whole cloth quilt) do the stitch in the ditch work. This is good work to do, even if,  you are not entering the quilt in a competition. It’s more hours under the needle. You’ve been working with the fabrics already, however, as your stitching take note of the motifs you seen in the fabrics. Make a list for motifs you can choose from, note the ones you like and don’t like. From this list you like choose a couple to audition either on a sheet of vinyl with an erasable marker or use a printed photo of one of the blocks, draw the design on there. It’s practice either way.

How do I choose what thread weight?

Thread weight is as simple as asking, “do I want the quilting to really show or go into the background?” If the answer is “really show” go with a heavier weight thread, ie 4o wt and lower number; if the answer is “go to the background” then use a finer thread, ie 50 wt and higher number. The higher the number the finer the thread, the lower the number the heavier the thread.

How do I choose thread color?
In order to answer this with some clarity I’ll talk about why I chose certain threads and patterns for Tilde.


Tilde tilde border close upWhat are the colors in the quilt? Do I want the quilting to pop or fade to the background? Do I want to use a single thread across the surface?

So here’s a close up of Tilde.
Colors: red, orange, yellow, black, gray, white. There are shades of several colors and the background behind the tilde shapes is a reflective metallic.

I had a King Tut variegated orange/red/yellow that I used on the black and white circles on the right.

On the metallic I used two a variegated and blue metallic around the orange tildes. Notice two that I have different motifs on the right and left side. Both offer visual texture.

Tilde border
Tilde border

When I got to these borders, I chose Twist. Twist has a color tone change every quarter inch, so very close. On the two fabrics it looks different however it’s cohesive enough to work. It stands out just enough but isn’t so present that it screams, “look at me! look at me!”

Tilde pebbles
Tilde pebbles

In the center of the quilt I chose a motif, bananas, and a thread color, red, that would pop.  Around the center I chose to do some dense pebbling and swirling feathers. The pebble shape inspiration came directly from the fabrics that Keith chose.

Most of the color chosen for the quilting is taken directly from the quilt.

Having a simple explanation of how to use color helps when choosing color. I love Joen Wolfrom’s Color Wheel Poster from C&T Publishing.  While this seems a bit complicated and a bit of a fuss, this basic understanding of how to use color made a huge difference early on in the quilting. It allowed me to make bolder choices, knowing that the color wouldn’t look awful.

Let the quilt do the work for you. Ask for suggestions. Asking gives clues and insight as to what works for you And what doesn’t.

The most important thing, seriously, is to give yourself permission to play with color, weight and motifs. If you don’t like it you can always take it out. While that Feels like a huge waste of time it’s not, as it give you quilting experience and information about what works for you.

Happy Quilting!



Road to California

road to ca new class with dateIt’s been years since I’ve been to California. The last time I visited the LA area was 2001. Mere weeks before. . . .

I enjoyed putting my feet in that ocean and could have spent a day or two more there, on the beach, listening to the sounds of the water.

I’m looking forward to going in January to teach at Road to California.

Last week Carolyn Reese called and asked if we could possibly add one more class. Sure! I love to teach. (Have I mentioned that before?) So we’ve added one more class! Sunday January 25. Click on the photo for a link to sign up for the class.

The other exciting and fun part is that I am in a BERNINA room all week! Suwheet!

Tilde pebbles
Tilde pebbles

It’s exciting! I’m really looking forward to meeting Keith. I showed students Tilde on Saturday, they swooned! I love Tilde so much.

Now onto some whole cloth work and getting ready to teach at the City Quilter. Oh speaking of City Quilter – they are looking for a 2nd part-time person who knows BERNINA machines, part-time.

Happy Quilting!


The back – I love this quilt so much!

IMG_0423When quilting goes well the back and the front both look good.
That’s our goal as quilters.
I love the back of Tilde. I love the subtle play of color of the gray on the yellow/orange.
Did you know that my original intention was to use a bright teal blue on the back?
I wanted that dancing color contrast. You know where you see movement.
As I started quilting the teal kept popping up to the front. I’d tweak the tension.
Blue popped to the front.
After the 5th time I quit using the blue and switched to the gray.IMG_0422
The blue was a 50 weight cotton; the gray is a 60 weight polyester. A lighter thread.
Thread change – no more pokies – a happier quilter.Happier Quilt.

happy quilting!


PS wait til you see Keith’s next quilt!

Fun stuff and teaching events

Quilt Expo bookmarkWell, last night was something of a surprise.  Jeanie Sumrall-Ajero tagged me in a facebook post letting me know that our quilt, Feather Zone, was chosen as the quilt on the bookmark for Quilt Expo in September. This is so cool. So.stinkin’.cool. Feather Zone will most likely be at Quilt Expo with Jeanie in the Kaleidoscope Collections booth. We had no idea this would happen.  Thank you Wisconsin Public Television and Quilt Expo!

tilde-competition-overall-3.jpegAnd then I got a text from Keith letting me know that at the Tucson Quilters Guild Annual Show  Tilde won a First place ribbon in the “Two person Piecing/Applique” category and Exemplary Machine Applique. Woohoo! Way to go Keith. Cristy Fincher (Sharon Schambers daughter) posted a photo on Instagram (follow me at terilucas). You may remember that the central motif is from Sharon Schambers “Fresno”. I love it when something I’ve quilted brings other people great joy.

You all know that teaching machine quilting is one of my very favorite things in life aside from quilting itself. I love that moment when I see everything coming together, the quilters body relaxes, the machine slows down and the quilting just happens. Those are indeed magical moments. I love too helping quilters figure out how to problems solve what’s going on with their machine.
I’m also happy to share with you that I’m scheduled to teach Free Motion Machine Quilting at Brooklyn General February 15th and 22nd. I’d love to have you as a student if you’re in the area!

I’m also teaching at the Minnesota Quilt Show June 12 – 14. Looking at the faculty list I’m really excited.  This is a new to me show and I’m looking forward to it and meeting up with friends and quilters!

I’m working on one day guild event in NJ.

Happy Quilting!




Quilterly Energy

I read Seth Godin’s blog with great interest this morning.  And I’m also reminded of Harry Chapin’s “Flowers Are Red

There are positive and negative voices everywhere.

In our heads telling us we’re not good enough, this quilt won’t work, the quilting is awful. There are the negative voices we hear at quilt shows.  Sigh.  Negative voices that point out flaws and mistakes for the sake of pointing them out without offering an “I’ve been there, I’ve done that, here’s how I fixed it”

Negative voices stealing our assurance that essentially we’re good.

These voices often start early in our lives as pointed out by Harry’s song.  I firmly believe that the negative voices are sometimes well intentioned wanting us to do the best we can, in their view of the best.  There is something to be learned from the negative voices.
Dealing with our own negative voices is challenging enough without verbal confirmation of our lack of skill.  Once we hear that negative voice it’s like an annoying earworm meandering it’s way into our sense of who we are and taking the possibilities away.  Negative energy takes away the joy of quilt making, the wonder of the possibilities.

There are positive voices out there.

Positive voices of teachers.
Positive voices of encouragers
Positive voices of artists
Positive voices of other quilters who have struggled
Positive voices that see potential and want to encourage it

I’m not so naive to believe that all teachers, artists and those who have struggled are encouraging.  And I know myself well enough while I intend to be positive, sometimes it just doesn’t work.  I have a bad day, bad experience and the effect sometimes reaches farther than anything I feel I do positively.  Sigh.

Keith Dommer's  "The Learning Quilt"
Keith Dommer’s
“The Learning Quilt”

Today I start with sharing Keith Dommer’s “The Learning Quilt”.  I was privileged to watch this quilt being constructed from beginning to end. Keith quilts on a home sewing machine I was thrilled on Saturday when I walked by and saw that Linda V. Taylor awarded him her teacher ribbon.  To say Keith was excited would be an incredible understatement.

Jerry Granata Sampson & Delilah
Jerry Granata
Samson & Delilah

Samson & Delilah by Jerry Granata spoke to my heart. Jerry quilts on a home sewing machine and then beaded like a crazy person until Delilah’s dress was perfect.  And this is a quilt is just stunning in person.

Roy G. Biv Maddy Kertay http://www.badassquilterssociety.com/

And here I stand in front of Maddy Kertay’s quilt, Roy G Biv, a quilt after my own heart.  I love the playfulness and joy of this quilt.This is also about as bad ass as I get ;-)I’m truly a dork and managed to hang loose rather than use the “horns of rock”. I’m working on an interview that I hope to have complete by the end of the week.Happy quilting!Teri

AQS Lancaster

gray radiance 001Road tripping is always a delight.  Road tripping with 3 friends is priceless.  Our first stop: Ladyfingers Sewing in Oley PA.  Well our first “stop” was Wegmans for provisions, ie chocolate and fruit.  I just missed Gail, however I did not miss one of my very favorite fabric lines, Robert Kaufmans Radiance.  I picked up these beautiful gray pieces.  I have plans, plans I say.  I may pair them with the cheddar orange dupioni silk and I may not.  We’ll just have to see what happens.  The color choices may seem odd for this quilter however I’m planning thread play on each one of the pieces of gray that I have.  I’m not sure of size yet, that will come later.

Arriving at the quilt show I was delighted to see Jan Magee, the Editor of  The Quilt Life.  The Quilt Life is quite refreshing for a quilt magazine and, I think, is leading the way in encouraging quilters to really grow their skills as quilt makers.  I’ve written a couple of times for them and plan to submit again soon.  Unfortunately I didn’t get a photo with Jan.

AQS Lancaster 002I did get a photo with Alex Anderson.

Alex has been part of my quilting  journey nearly from the beginning.  Now that she and Ricky have The Quilt Show.  We get to see more of her joy and exuberance in personality.  I really love how different The Quilt Show is compared to SQ.

One of the gals brought home a new Bernina 350 Special Edition with the cool skin on the front.  Alex signed it.  How cool is that?

lime and gray yarn 001Before heading over to the show on Saturday we stopped at Kitchen Kettle Village to shop at The Olde Country Store, Zooks and the Village Shops.  My first stop: the Lancaster Yarn Shop.  Oh my!!  This shop is delightful, friendly staff and lots of beautiful yarn.  First of all how can you go wrong when the shopping bags are lime green with metallic purple writing?  So stinkin’ cute!  And then I picked up this lime green and gray kettle dyed yarn.  And this time I have a plan.  A friend showed me a herringbone infinity scarf.  I can’t wait to start stitching this.  I want to finish a couple of other projects first though.

AQS Lancaster 016When I saw this quilt the first time I stopped in my tracks and had to take a photo.

Then saw the artist, Sue Reno.

Sue and I have been friends on facebook for a few years and the last couple of AQS shows we stand on line and chat while waiting to pick up our quilts.  This year was, delightfully, a bit different.  We talked for a bit, went to see her quilt and Sue shared the process a bit with a family admiring her quilt.  The silk used comes from a particular town in India where Sue studied in the 1970’s and again on a recent visit.  The ornamental ginger leaf is dyed using a cyanotype process (a type of  light reactive dye – left in the sun for a period of time for the desired effect).  The family asked great questions about how Sue put the quilt together.

Sue and I talked a bit more about her quilt after the family left.  I really love the groundedness and freedom of this quilt.  It speaks to roots and growth.  At least in my mind.

I am once again grateful to see Tilde hanging in a show.  I have a few more shows to enter Tilde into before shipping her off to Keith as he AQS Lancaster 003has a couple of shows to enter into.  Thank you John Anderson for taking this photo.   John also took the photo of Alex & me.

I was able to share with quilters about the making of this quilt a few different times, which is always a pleasure.

Tilde is one of my favorite quilts to date.

Jeanie Sumrall-Ajero and I did the great quilt hand off with a long conversation at the Superior Threads booth.  I can share that the quilt Jeanie pieces is off the hook gorgeous uses Radiance as well as some commercial batiks.  I know roughly how many hours she has invested in the quilt so far and know I’ll probably meet her in hours quilting.   We won’t know until later when we’ll be able to share the quilt, it just depends on when I get it finished and which show we decide to enter first.   A very special thank you to Gina Reddin who spent a good 20 minutes with us offering a few great suggestions.

Happy Quilting!







If you happen to be in Lancaster this week

tilde-competition-overall-3.jpegAnd you see this quilt hanging will you be nearly as excited as me?  Probably not.  The only thing better would be to have Keith there.  My friends and I are driving in Friday and staying until after the show on Saturday so I can bring the quilt home.  I know I’m going to need to purchase a bit of thread but beyond that I want to see the quilts and catch up with friends.

78 002The catching up with friends is important especially since they’re really great people.  Planning the trip is so much fun and I’m really getting anxious for Friday morning.


The above link is to the list of winners for the blog give away.  Just so you know I’ll be doing a give away in April on my facebook page only.  I’ll be giving away a copy or two of the CD Gallimaufry that “Twilight in the Bronx” is the cover art.

The sneak peak to the right is more beautiful Magnifico by Superior Threads, it’s an auburn color on dupioni silk.  I am loving Magnifico and Twist and can not wait to get my hands on more of them.

In April I’m teaching with MQX at the New England Quilt Festival.  I’m honored to be on the faculty and would love to have you in class.  On Saturday you get to bring your machine which means you get to work on a machine you’re familiar with.  I’m comfortable enough with problem solving issues that we can do this together.  I’m looking forward to seeing you!

Happy Quilting!


kal iris 2Gratuitous Kaleidoscope image