Choosing Motifs Part 2.1Serendipity


Serendipty. One of the definitions is “an aptitude for making delightful discoveries by accident”. In other words it just happens, it’s not planned. This little bit of a quilt just happened. The due date was quickly approaching and Mary Kerr emailed me asking if I was submitting something for her book Cutting Edge Art Quilts. As is sometimes my wont I’d seriously considered not doing it. I’d been giving into the whole, “I’m afraid. I’m not good enough. I don’t know what to do.” Just so ya know fear is a part of every quilters life. Shocking! Simply Shocking! *imagine a high-pitched sing-songy voice.
The email kicked me into high gear and I made the quilt in every spare moment I had that week and made the new piece. Taking the high-tech tools of a chalk pencil and a spool of thread I marked a few arcs (just right of center); threaded up the machine with Superior’s Kimono Silk and started stitching straight lines following the curves of the arc. I decided to keep the straight lines going but in a different color and stitched back and forth, back and forth across the width. Then I stopped thinking about it. I just stitched and changed thread; stitched and changed thread until I’d finished. All totaled I probably have about 20 hours into Serendipity.
As I look at “Twilight in the Bronx” and “Moon Over Manhattan” I see clearly leading up to this kind of stitching. The doodling/practicing-on-paper I’d done was clearly leading in this direction with the quilting. Hind sight ya know, hind sight.
I trusted my judgementzen tangle
I went for it.
I just did it.
The quilt was accepted for the book. I am happy.
As you’re thinking about designs for machine quilting think about things like ornate wrought iron; yarn/thread swirling around; tendrils of trumpet plants, the shapes of leaves, daisies and black-eyed susans, think geometric shapes like triangles, circles and mazes. Look at Art Deco architecture and bricks. Bricks are good. think arc and arches think feathery shapes and pearls. think just simply think. draw the shape with your eyes as you imagine it in your head. think with your finger tips. Both of them. No matter if you quilt on a domestic or long arm you use 2 hands to quilt.
after my surgery a couple of years ago I realized that quilting is a full-contact sport. The head, the heart, the hands, the finger tips the abdominal core, the feet and booty. Yes I did say the booty. Full-contact sport means full-contact sport.

Happy Quilting!


Reminder: How to choose a quilting motif 1.

An Interview with Katherine McPherson

Teri’s Note: I met Mary Kerr, Katherine’s mom, a few years ago through the Quilt Professionals Network. I am privileged to be featured in one of Mary’s books, Cutting Edge Art Quilts. While Mary was working on the book her daughter, Katherine, went into pre-term labor and delivered the BeeBops. Mary shared this on fb and we all started praying for this family. The BeeBops have grown and thrived and are quite healthy despite their early entry into the world. When Mary shared Katherine’s new venture I had to do an interview and feature this talented woman, wife & mom.

IMG_1582TC: Hi Katherine! Thank you for agreeing to a blog interview! How did you get started sewing?

Katherine:  I started sewing around five or six.  My Mom is a quilter and at that age I wanted to do everything she did.  My first project is still hung in my parents house – a simple photo in thread on a solid piece of fabric.  I received my first machine as a gift from my parents for my tenth birthday and loved it.  I actually used that same machine until a few years ago when it died and was more expensive to replace the part.  I have always loved sewing but it wasn’t my “go-to” art form until about a year ago.

TC:   What sewing machine are you using these days? What are the key features for you?
Katherine: I am currently sewing on a brother SQ-9000.  It is nothing fancy but it gets the job done for me!  I don’t need any of the special features or options so I went with a basic machine.  At the time I purchased it I wasn’t doing as much sewing – most just patches on my husband’s uniforms and hemming pants.  One day I am sure I will look for something a little nicer.

TC: Can you tell us a bit about your background?
Katherine: I have always been surrounded by the arts and encouraged to be creative.  As I said, my Mom (Mary Kerr) is a quilter, but also both my Great Grandmas and my Dad went to art school.  When I went to college, I chose fine arts as my major with a concentration in Interior Design.  I loved every second of being in the studio but I also did my fair share of knitting, painting, photography (which I also have a business for), scrapbooking, and pottery.  I enjoy having a creative outlet, in fact, I need it.

DSC_3084 b&zTC:   Am I right in thinking that you’ve had a quilt in one of your moms exhibits? Can you tell us a little about creating that quilt (and share a photo or two)?
Katherine: I did participate in the “Dare to Dance: An Artist’s Definition of Joy” challenge.  My quilt is titled “I have family” and was created as a tribute to the challenges I went through from June 2011 to April 2012.  On June 15 I gave birth to twins thirteen weeks prematurely, on June 26 our town and home flooded, and on April 12 I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.  Through all of this my family has stuck together, focused on the positive, and dealt with each situation as it arose.  The material in the quilt came from those three events: maternity shirts, preemie clothes, receiving blankets used in the NICU, MS walk shirts, flood support shirts, and even the jeans I wore as we rebuilt our home.  In the quilting I included all the important numbers from those events.  It was a great way to heal and have as a reminder of all we went through as a strong family.  I can’t wait for the book to come out in June and see what all the other inspirational artist have created!

TC: With two very busy little ones how do you find time to sew?DSC_7436DSC_7442
Katherine: Once my children were born, I have 2 1/2 year old twins, I realized my creative time would be limited but I still needed that outlet.  I loved the unique gifts my kids received and I decided to start making gifts for my friends children.  I started just with onesies and burp cloths as baby gifts.  A wonderful friend with a toddler at the time encouraged me to expand and make other things for the kids – so I made busy books, car wallets, coloring book folders, and a few other things.  I loved every project and often times I would be asked where they were purchased from.  That was about two years ago that I started doing these “gifts” and have wanted to make this into a business since.

TC:   How are you choosing the fabrics for the items you’re making? Are you using particular fabric lines or fabrics that are just cute?
Katherine: I don’t currently have a fabric line that I am using but I do have several I seem to always return to.  I choose fabrics based on what “jumps out” at me.  Personally, I love bold colors and graphic patterns.
TC: I kept waiting to the “right time” to start this new adventure.  However, my mom always told me there is no such thing and I fully believe that.  I started The Little Elephant one night, way before I was ready, because another artist was doing an auction for a friend of hers who needed financial help for her unborn baby and I wanted to donate to the cause.  So, with no pre-made merchandise, no etsy page, no business plan, no logo, and, at the time, no name I started my facebook page for The Little Elephant.  It was already a goal of mine for 2014 that just happened about a month early.  I am thrilled that I have finally started The Little Elephant.  As of now I am only operating through facebook but I am looking forward to opening my etsy page and building my merchandise.  I am now and will always continue taking custom orders.

cover photoTC:  I like the name The Little Elephant! Is there an email address where folks can reach you?
Katherine:  Thank you – elephants are one of my kids favorite animals.  My email address is

TC: How can folks reach you?
Katherine: Email:
FB link:

Somethings in life are worth the wait

Teri Lucas cutting edge art quilts front cover croppedHere it is. “Cutting-Edge Art Quilts” by Mary W. Kerr published by Schiffer .  If you’re interested the book can be purchased directly from Mary.  It has that new book smell and sound to it.  You know the one, where ya gotta go get your nose into it.  Sorta like (but not quite) when we were kids and would smell the newly mimeographed paper the teachers would hand out.

page snippet
Here’s a sneak preview!

I mentioned here that the book was released and shared my part in it.  What I didn’t realize at the time is that this is a hard cover book and it’s beautiful.  I mean really gorgeous.

The book is laid out in six sections: Color Play, Alternative Fibers, Threadwork, Special Techniques, 3-D Design and Embellishments and Art Quilts Inspired by Photographs.

I’m in the “Threadwork” section with Nancy Billings, Jennifer Day, Dusty Farrell, Sarah Ann Smith, Cyndi Souder, Karin Tauber and Mary Vaneecke.  Surprised? I’m not as you know I love to play with thread.  Completing Serendipity for this book sparked my imagination in such a way that now, right now as I write this blog post I’m going to go for it and try and enter something into Houston.

As I peruse the book each quilt maker, each artist brings something to the artistry of quilt making Mary brings that out in “Creative Tips”.  The photos of other quilters works is getting my creative thought process going.

Go quilt  your world!


Cutting-Edge Art Quilts by Mary W. Kerr

978-0-7643-4313-1Mary Kerr announced on facebook the other day that her book, “Cutting Edge Art Quilts” has been released and should be in book stores later this week.  I’m so excited for her.  In the middle of writing this book her Beebops were born prematurely and the book was put on hold while she spent several months with her daughter and son-in-love helping care for those precious little ones.  In spite of being born prematurely they are remarkably healthy and full of life!

And now this book is here and I’m privileged to be one of the contributors to this book.  Four of my quilts are in here with part of my story as a quilter.Thank you Mary and Schiffer for inviting me to participate and publishing my work and the work of so many other quilters.
I can hardly wait to get my copies of the book.  The list of quilters includes: Mickey DePre, Sarah Ann Smith, BJ Titus, Kathie Briggs, Desiree Habicht, Gloria Hansen, Mary Vaneeke, Lea McComas and so many more.

One of the quilts we submitted had to be an original piece.  I hemmed and hawed so long I almost didn’t make the due date!  Part of the procrastination involved that whole internal “worthiness” conversation.  You know the one where the voices in your head repeatedly and vociferously proclaim, “I’m not worthy! I’m not worthy!” Yah, those voices.  An email from Mary early that week shifted my focus and “Serendipity” happened.


Go quilt your world!


Cutting Edge Art Quilts by Mary W. Kerr

Cutting Edge Art Quilts front cover

I met Mary Kerr a couple of years ago in a business class for quilters she taught at Maine Quilts.  Very shortly after this Mary sent out an invitation to a number of quilters to submit quilts for her new book now titled “Cutting-Edge Art Quilts” being published by Schiffer in the spring of 2013.
What Mary doesn’t know is that I very nearly bailed on the whole project and it was her email right before the due date that not only made me rethink bailing but get a new quilt done for the book.  I realized in that email that the new project did not have to be big, that small would work well.  I’d be heading toward more work with whole cloth on silk and recently purchased a few spools of Superior Kimono silk.  (Have I ever mentioned I love Superior Silk?)

Serendipity was created that week.  In a matter of about 20 hours I quilted a 12″ square of decorator weight silk, silk batting and cotton on the back.


I love this little quilt and now that “Serendipity” the quilt that started the series has been in MQX Portland I can share it here.

As soon as I know the official publication date of the book and when I can get my hands on it.

I’ll have more on the blog give away in a few days.  I added 2 new deadlines in the last couple of days.

Happy Quilting!



quilting for Sarah Vedeler - recently published in Fons & Porter

Last summer I took a business related class with Mary Kerr at the quilt show in Maine.  As a result I quilted for her and I’m beginning to listen to her advice about promoting what I do as a quilter.

I am a quilter for hire.  Have been for quite a long time, however I’ve been a bit shy about sharing what I do for my customers.  2011, as I’ve hinted is bringing about new opportunities that I’ve been working on for a while including adding a page on the blog with a basic price list for the services I offer as a quilter.  Generally, I use Superior Threads & Aurifil if there is some other thread you’d enjoy please let me know.

I’m also available to lecture and teach.  My focus is teaching machine quilting and how to improve skill as a machine quilter.  After spending time as a machine quilting instructor over the last few years, I love this!  I’d love to come teach at your guild or shop.  Please feel free to contact me @

Happy New Year & Happy Quilting!


aaaahhh, the vacation is over

My sweetie & I spent 5 glorious days in Norfolk, VA and the surrounding area.  Our hotel room overlooked the beach and he enjoyed the sunrises each morning.  I have a lot of sun rise pictures to come over the next few days.  The sky and cloud formations were just incredible.  Because Igor was off shore the waves were very present until yesterday morning.

Over the last few days we visited:

Norfolk, VA stayed there

Williamsburg, wanted to visit – met a woman who’s been a quilter (hand) and teacher for more than 50 years

Isle of Wight – went for their local fair

the Outer Banks – love love love this place and had some decent barbecue

Raleigh, NC – visited my nephew and his parents and took a Segway tour of the downtown area

On the way to Norfolk we stopped in Philly for the Quilt Extravaganza hugged Angela at the APQS booth and delivered a quilt to Mary W. Kerr.  Mary had the entire Vintage Revisited exhibit at the show.    She will also be in Pine Bush this weekend at the Quilt Harvest quilt show.  If you get a chance to see the exhibit it’s well worth it.

I picked up a whole bunch of Superior threads that I will show you in a few days!!!

Happy Quilting!