Today’s To Do List

Eagerly await new camera! Check!

A few years ago my sweetie got the best camera ever, a Canon PowerShot A 650 IS. This is the one with the screen that flips around multi directionally. Best. Camera. Ever. 12.1 Mega pixels, macro and the list goes on. I can assure you I didn’t explore the depths of what this camera had to offer. Something happened a while back and the zoom in/out button got stuck. UGH. I can tell you that it made taking pictures very hard. Of course when my sweetie called to see if it can be repaired it’s out of warranty and would cost more than the camera is worth. Sigh. I’m going to keep the camera just because I love it.

So my sweetie did some research and a new camera is on its way, a Canon PowerShot SX 520 HS, a 16 mega pixel camera with lots of features that I’m hoping to better explore. I think at some point I’m going to get his tripod out and shoot some quilting video. I might even post it if I don’t think it’s too dorky.

Finish Christmas Cards! 

It’s still Christmas until Epiphany and I’m going with that. The last few weeks have been a little nutty.

Quilt and Prep work for Road to California

My sewing room needs me and I’m going to listen to her siren song. There have been ideas for the book floating around in my head that I want to put down on paper and tape to the wall so that when I start working on quilts I can go for it. Ideas have been flitting around in my head for months, eh who’s kidding who, years. Years, I say.
Kits need to be finished up and sent ahead. I’m getting excited. No. Wait. That’s not true. I’ve been excited since Stevii Graves asked me to come teach. Sweet!!!
And a Thank You card needs to be sent, but the person is in the process of a move so I think I’ll wait until she gets where she’s going. It’s always exciting to have mail arrive when you get to your new home.

at play greg caseWhile I’m at Road I get to see Diane Magidson of Sew Batik. She’s one of the sweetest people I know. There will be cookies and dinner. I’m hoping to get to see Jake Finch too. Oh and I get to meet Keith Dommer in person. Holy Happiness! I’m excited about that.

@play will be in the teacher exhibit. I love to see my quilts hanging in shows even if they’re not competing.

I’m off to get some stitching done.

Happy Quilting!


An Interview with Laurie Tigner

I met Laurie Tigner in Houston at Quilt Festival last year.  I had exactly 2 minutes to say, “hello, lovely to see you, I’ll try and drop by your booth again later.” We all know how that part goes! We “met” on fb sometime before that and connected in a most fun way.  I have 2 of Laurie’s Icons: one of Mary and St. Simeon hanging over my sewing machine.  I’m intrigued by Iconography and love how Laurie has incorporated this imagery into her quilting, so I asked if she’d be open to a blog interview.  Here goes.

Teri: How did you get started quilting?  How long have you been a quilter?
Laurie: I had no intention of becoming a quilter, but was getting burned out in nursing after 28 years. I went to a quilt show here in town, there were so many vendors, so many quilts!  
The colors, the patterns, the color!!!! Did I mention color? So, went home absolutely saturated with ideas and desires to create….an icon quilt. It was, at the time, the only reason I wanted to learn to quilt.
Went back the next day and asked one of the vendors if they sold fabric with gold on it, and she said they had some at their shop and asked me questions, and laughed because I wasn’t a quilter but already wanted to design something. She told me about a free one hour class she gave called “quilting for the clueless”.  I signed up and the rest is history.

I went to the shop the next week and bought all the fabric I needed for that first quilt. It is still in a box as it is not what I want to use now, but it is sentimental to me. As to the class, well it was great.  She showed us quilts, told us about machines, needles, thread, and showed us how to use a rotary cutter and mat….I still do it “wrong”, but it works for me.  It is the only class I have taken.  It was about 7 years ago.

Teri: What machine do you use for piecing?
Laurie: My sewing machine that I use consistently is my older Bernina 130.  It skips stitches once in a while, but otherwise works great.  It has been used to death, so a few skipped stitches doesn’t bother me….

Teri: Do you quilt on a domestic, mid arm or long arm?

IMG_0612Laurie: I have a Gammill Classic longarm machine for quilting.  It has a stitch regulator, but no computer.  Didn’t see a need or have a want for the computer at the time I bought it, but sometimes wish I had. For now, this is great….I actually bought it before I even  really learned to quilt….it was the part of quilting that I thought would be the easiest….you know, what you are “drawing” on the quilt is what you are quilting sort of thing, and I found that to be true. It came with a bunch of pantographs. I tried one, hated doing it, and gave them all away at the next guild meeting. Am so glad that I did. I can’t imagine doing pantographs all day!  I love doing custom quilting. It is so much fun figuring out new designs and patterns!

Teri:  Favorite threads?

Threads.  I love thread!  I use Aurifil 50 wt almost exclusively for piecing, although sometimes I use Superior Sew Fine.
For quilting on my longarm, well, it is just backwards…. I use mostly Superior Sew Fine and Aurifil 40 wt. If I am working on a piece that is thread painted, I almost always use Aurifil 50 wt. I am starting to use Silk thread a bit and have figured out how to get my longarm to tolerate it…..

IMG_2384Teri: Tell me about your patterns…how do you come up with the designs?

Laurie: My patterns are all fusible appliqué because that is what I started out doing.   Remember, I bought the longarm first because that was the easy part.  One of my first quilts was my Pumpkin Patch pattern.   I made it, took it to show and tell at the local guild and several people asked me to make a pattern, so I did.  No one told me that I couldn’t, or that I should maybe wait until I knew more. I had only made two quilts before that and they were from patterns, so I reviewed them, saw how they wrote their directions, adapted that to fit my pattern, and it was…!  Fun trying to write directions so that others could make my design!  Someone had told me to write the directions very simply, so that is what I did.  Anyway, I draw and paint, so drawing designs is easy for me, and with an very active imagination, my patterns vary from whimsical to the seriously beautiful. I love Halloween, so I have a series of witches doing different needlework. While I have taught myself to piece and paper piece, and have won ribbons on those quilts, I haven’t had the nerve yet to write a pattern for those designs….mostly because I wouldn’t know how….I just figure them out as I go…..and that wouldn’t make for a very good instructional pattern!

Teri: How did you get into Iconography?  Tell me a little bit about Icons (please)

IMG_9964Laurie: The Iconography interest started when I was 11.  My Dad was in Vietnam. It was summer and I had just had major chest which meant that I couldn’t play at all, so I did lots of drawing and painting and reading….I read “the Agony and the Ecstasy” about Michelangelo….pretty big read for a 6th grader, but it is still my favorite book. I also read “The Kitchen Madonna”. It is about a young socially shy English boy who makes a Madonna icon from a newspaper picture and toffee wrappers for his families’ Russian cook, who missed her home and her Madonna that had once hung in her family kitchen.  By giving to someone who was sad, he found himself. I loved it. (My husband found me a first edition copy of this book a year or two ago, best present and surprise, ever!)   Anyway, I found all the books I could on icons, and fell in love with them. Even when I went to art school at University, no one taught it. There are only a handful of iconographers in America that work with the traditional methods/materials. About 26 or  27 years ago, I found a priest who painted Icons, with all the traditional materials and methods…..we are talking about cooking your own rabbit skin glue, etc. I was in heaven. I worked with him for over a year, every chance I got.

We moved to Italy ( I was a nurse in the Air Force) and I was able to actually go find these real icons in Europe and see them. I have continued to paint “write” them over the years.

The writing of Icons is specific, traditional, with rules and recipes that have been handed down over the centuries. Non-wavering. It is all about tradition.

IMG_9971That is why most Icons look alike, the same poses, same facial characteristics, with little variation, for the different stories that they tell. The only differences are due to the skill and abilities of the individual iconographer. Icons are traditionally not signed, which throws some people. People almost always ask me to sign them. Once in a while I will sign the back for them if they are adamant, but that is all.

Teri: How did you translate the Icons from the painted images to quilt making?

Laurie: While traditional icon writing is my very favorite thing to do, I also struggle with doing only that.   When you have an active imagination and are creative by nature, you need to express that, and that is where quilting Icons comes into play for me. I will never, ever, break with tradition in “writing” an icon, but quilting is fair game.   I don’t even need to look at pictures of icons to draw them anymore, because I have spent so much of my life doing them. I know people think I “copy” them for my quilts. I may refer back to a picture for the lettering or a specific hand gesture, but they are mine and I am slowly getting away from the most traditional aspects. For my newest gold Christ Icon, I made my husband pose for me. He got a kick out of that.   It is a traditional pose, in traditional dress. Anyway, I started out trying different media to do an under painting of the picture, and then I thread painted over it. I finally ended up with using some ink pencils that give you a permanent and soft look, while also leaving the fabric soft…. 

IMG_0306I love the old icons that have the heavily worked metal overlays that were used to protect the icons while the monks traveled.   I wanted to recreate that and tried everything I could think of. I spent many hours and lots of money none of the results pleased me. They just weren’t right. Then I saw the spandex used by a Scottish quilter in a project that seemed perfect.  I contacted her for details and “permission” to use it, she must have thought me crazy for asking permission to use a commercial product, but I wanted to be honest and fair. She encouraged me to try it and it was perfect! It took a while to figure out how to best stabilize it, as it is stretchy in four directions, but it is incredibly fun to quilt once you get the hang of it, and I am hooked. It is fun to “break the rules” and do what I want with an icon. I have been dreaming of some incredibly different designs and colors for some new ones, and can’t wait to try them. I know that I probably need to branch out and do “other” things with my quilting to stay current and viable in the industry, and I try to I do that with my patterns and the odd show quilt or two, but my heart is with the Icons….written or quilted….they are where my heart and soul are…..

Thank you so much for sharing your story with me Laurie.  Your quilts and Icons are just stunning.  I look forward to spending some time in your company very soon.

Happy Quilting!


It’s a good thing I can control myself

Or How I Fell in love with the BERNINA Stitch Regulator

& a tutorial!

When the Aurora 440 hit the market with the BSR (BERNINA Stitch Regulator) I tried it at a quilt show and well, wasn’t overly impressed.  In part because I was still a dedicated hand quilter, in part because the minute my hand went near it the needle started moving.  Eeek!

The second time I tried using the BSR I’d been quilting on my own for a while and had something of a rhythm going that made the BSR feel like training wheels.

And then one day I met Jeanne Delpitjeanne cook bernina educator on the set of Quilting Arts TV.  She asked me if I’d demo it on camera.  (For those of you who’ve read this before please bear with me.)  I said no and we had a conversation as to why.  Jeanne asked me to give a couple of changes a try and within 10 minutes my mind changed and I demoed on camera during my segment.  I’ve wanted a machine with the BSR for a long time and now I have one.

So what did Jeanne ask me to do?

Put the BSR in Mode 2 – the needle stops and starts when the fabric starts moving underneath the sensor.  I didn’t like the needle starting when the BSR was engaged because a pigtail formed on the back of the quilt because I’d get started a bit too slowly.  Pigtails are cute on pigs, not so much on the back of a quilt.  They can’t be buried and if you clip them well let’s just say the stitching will begin to unravel.

Both Mode 1 and Mode 2 will stop or start with the foot pedal or the stop/start button on the front of the machine.  Because of how I’d been quilting for a while using the foot pedal is more intuitive for me.  Though in Mode 2 I can use the start/stop button.

Next Jeannie adjusted the stitch length and had me sit and stitch.  By reducing the stitch length to 1.6 to 1.75 the movement was much freer.  After about 10 minutes I turned to Jeanie and said, “I want this and I can demo on camera.”    If you’ve seen Episode 505 you’ve seen what that 10 minutes can do.

So how do I set up the machine?  Here goes:

BSR Sensor
1. This is the sensor that reads how quickly the quilt is moving under the BSR
BSR plug in
2. The plug in is now located on the back of the machine making it easier to get set up for stitching.












BSR Tute needle down and stitch length
3. Stitch length adjusted from 2.0, the preset, to 1.75 which moves with me much more easily. If I’m doing really tiny pebbles I’ll make the stitch length a bit smaller. I do have to say the updates over the last few years have made even the 2.0 a lot more responsive.
BSR Tute presser foot pressure
4. The preset is 50. I actually increased it because I’m using a wool batting that is pretty squishy, this still allows the quilt to move freely under the foot.














BSR Tute stitch plate
5. The 780 comes with the straight stitch plate and I love it for piecing and quilting. When quilting with or without the BSR using the straight stitch plate keeps the quilt from being dragged down into the bobbin area preventing major heart ache. Being able to select the straight stitch plate will prevent needle and machine damage should you put another foot on and select a decorative stitch by alerting you to change the plate.


BSR Tute threaded bobbin
6. Threading the guide with finer threads is a great idea. It’s much simpler with the new bobbin system.
















BSR tute getting started
I use the open toe foot when quilting. It’s served me well over the years and I still love it a lot. I have a #24 foot on order as I like the shape of it.
BSR Tute stitching










The BERNINA stitch regulator is a great tool to add to your quilting tool kit.  If you have one and have been struggling with it try changing modes and reducing the stitch length!

A gift, a challenge and me

photo by Alison Faubert/Dominican Sisters of Hope

A Gift

My friend V, who occasionally comments on the blog here is a friend in person.We’ve spent time together, she’s helped me in the quilting class she attended and invited me to a retreat at Mariandale in Ossining, NY.  V came into the shop a while back and shared with me one of the most beautiful things ever.  At the request of the husband of quilter Nancy Murphy who passed away in 2001 from inflammatory breast cancer, this group of quilters led by Sr. Donna Brunell has been working toward finishing many of Nancy’s quilts in preparation for a show of Nancy’s quilts and sale Saturday & Sunday June 8 & 9 and Wednesday June 12.  You can read more about the story here.
If you get a chance this would be a wonderful show to go see.


A Challenge

You may, or may not, remember the Architectural Challenge posed by BJ Tatum and I, way back in August.  The goal was to have the quilts entered in Houston this year.  BJ finished hers and has sent the entry off to Houston. I on the other hand have a dream and a creative slump.  BJ has, very generously come up with some new guidelines and dates that are more manageable (for this quilter at least)

Hi everyone.  I know some of you have been making or want to make an architecturally inspired quilt for this challenge.  When Teri Lucas and I first issued the challenge, we had in mind that we would all have them done by now, but I know there are several quilters who have been working on one and haven’t finished.    And I also know that some of the earlier guidelines we suggested didn’t quite fit everyone’s ideas (Such an artistic bunch out there).  So Teri and I have decided to loosen things up.

Here are the new guidelines: 

1.  Make a quilt inspired by architectural elements: buildings, floors, ceilings, or even furniture.

2.  Any size, any shape.

3.  Complete by March 1, 2014 and send us the best picture you can of your quilt along with size information, and an artist’s statement about what inspired you, and a statement about how it was made and what  materials, threads, and embellishments you used.

4.  If you complete it before then and enter it into a show, we’d like to know that too, and any other information that you want to tell us.

We are hoping to pull all of this together in an article complete with photos.

And finally me. I have made a huge dent in tidying up my sewing room.  Letting go of stuff wasn’t as gut wrenching as I thought.  In fact it’s opened up a lot of space in my sewing room so that I can rearrange tables and drawers to maximize space.  I think part of this is a result of long term conversations with a friend refocusing what’s important, what’s not.  This is one of those “need to be reminded” rather than “educated”.  I can not tell you how grateful I am for this friend.  Well I could.  Except I’d gush.  I mean seriously gush.  She’d blush and it wouldn’t be pretty because she’s a humble character.

wednesday afternoon flora 008The Mountain Laurels are blooming!

Happy Quilting!


kal gazania bright yellowPS I haven’t forgotten my announcement. I just have to wait a little longer.


Friends and Teacher Ribbon

Saturday afternoon I sat down to check email and facebook Angela Walters sat with me to enjoy her bagel and some witty banter.  She’s quite funny.  Angela sat at a table with some very happy quilters the evening before and I told her the truth.  As they were taking pictures I very nearly raced over to the table and did the whole rabbit ears thing over her head.  I resisted.  I can’t for the life of me figure out why I resisted but I did.

Part of our conversation involved our teacher ribbons and how challenging it was to award them and our individual criteria.  First, it needed to be a quilt without a ribbon already including other teacher ribbons and second, I wanted to award a domestic machine quilter as that is what I’m remaining committed to doing.  This isn’t as easy as it sounds because there are so many amazing quilts in this show and most of the teachers had awarded their ribbons.

I perused the aisles with great care and nearly took my shoes off to think.  The quality of the quilts is amazing.  Every quilt had a quality or 5 that said give me the ribbon, give me the ribbon.   It came down to a couple of quilts and then I rounded the corner and saw this quilt (which I’d spent time ogling over) titled “Bursting with Joy”  by Terry Knott and I knew that this was the one.  The quilt that I would give my ribbon.  It’s a whole cloth quilt, stitched out on her Bernina.  This is something so right!  Terry it’s an honor to give you this ribbon.

Back to Angela, another quilter joined us for a little while and as we sat there Andy Brunhammer walked by and whoopsie!  I would have said blond moment but Angela was sitting right there.  Truth be told she would have loved the comment as we’d already established a mutual love for sarcasm – hers being the giggly style and mine being rather dry.  It works tho.  Andy wanted to talk about Tilde and I said I’d be there after class.  Yep, promptly forgot.  This wasn’t the first time this week I’d forgotten an appointment!  I wanted to sit down with the Janome folks and go over the machine  I made it just in time then too.

I got a mango smoothie because I needed a bit of brain freeze (not really) and walked over to Tilde where Andy & I discussed the quilt for a while.  As an aside, the binding on Tilde is Robert Kaufman’s Radiance and after last night I understand Keith’s comment about it being very challenging to hand stitch down.  It’s so right for the binding on the quilt though.

I must share that I love being “just the quilter” on the quilts I work with other people on.  I know that the quilting if its right will make the quilt and if it’s wrong seriously detract from the quilt.  Next year there will be at  least 4 quilts that will hit the public view.  One will be Staten Island Sunset, one will be with Jeanie Sumrall-Ajero of Kaleidoscope Collections, Keith will be sending another quilt soon and there will be 1 or two more.  Thankfully they are spaced out enough that I’m not freaking out. Yet.

The quilt on the left is Stella Luminosa by Karen Marchetti.  Oh my!

There are more quilts that I’ll post in the next day or two.


Happy Quilting!


Lancaster Loot & more pics

In a few day’s I’ll take photos of JB’s quilt and post them here, in the mean time here’s a photo of the thread she purchased for the quilt.sulky-for-julie  Chocolate brown and peachy Mocha.  Different vendors had different colors.  We’d been heading more towards a pink/mocha until JB saw these.  I’m thrilled.




sulky-for-challengeAnne & I blocked the door to Burkholders while we selected these spools of Sulky for our Hoffman Challenge Quilt.  The fabric there is for the quilt as well.  We seriously considered blendables however we both agree, I want to control where the color goes.  I’m thinking now that we’re going to have to find one more color and I’m hoping Anne can figure out where I’m going with this…

The process of designing and making this quilt has been so much fun and a challenge.  It’s taken longer than we thought however the end result is incredible.  We’re using wool batting.  I can hardly wait to get this and start quilting.  I have the first top we made and will play as soon as I get my paperwork done!

superior-thread1I also spent quite a bit at the Superior booth.  Oh dear, I could almost take one of everything.    Each spool I purchased had a purpose – most for customer quilts and the black King Tut for the 8 pointed star quilt.  I’m excited to work on that quilt and I think the King Tut will be perfect for it.  I’m hoping to work on that again soon, customer quilts come next though…I need to support my thread habit after all.

a-plate-of-pineapplesI really like bold quilts, there’s something about a quilter taking a risk that just moves me.  Wether it’s with color, setting, an unusual binding or something that makes the quilt just have it’s own personality.  “A Plate of Pineapples” certainly fits!  Purple & yellow are really bold choices and I like that there are lots of shades of both colors.  Kimberly Einmo thought that this is a wonderful quilt as well.  




grandmas-gameboy“Grandmas Gameboy” is another great quilt, partly for the title and partly for the quilt itself.  It’s quite muted in color but well played.  Of course I’m slightly biased, I love any NY Beauty quilt.  







Happy quilting!


The Quilt Show part 2

There were so many beautiful quilts at the show.  Tamar Drucker had this onetamar-druckers-quilt1 and the phot does not do this beautiful quilt justice.  It’s over 10 feet wide and about 50 inches tall…

susan-wolman-hip-to-be-squareSusan made this piece for a class she’s teaching at the quilt cottage in Mamaroneck.  It’s pretty…

This is her challenge quilt – “The Princess and the Silver Pea”

challenge-quilt-susan-wolmanI love the face on her…she really looks distressed with that silver pea under all of those mattresses.

cat-quilt-3I won a 3rd place ribbon on this quilt that I did with two other guild members.  I pieced the center and the two borders were completed by the other “challenge” gals.  I thought I’d never enjoy trapunto and I was so wrong.  I can’t wait to work on the next piece which will be a huge quilt for my friend, MJ.


“It’s Bigger Than I Thought” won first in it’s category.  I’m amazed it did.  Howdy did the piecing on this, it’s fabulous.  I did free motion feathers from the visual center out and had so much fun.  Around the border I followed Howdy’s curve and rounded the corners to fit.

I can’t say enough good things about all of the volunteers over the weekend.  They worked hard!  The quilt hanging and quilt take down and return went really smoothly.  Thank you to everyone who spent any time working at the show…without you this couldn’t have happened!

Happy quilting!