Quilted Block of the Month: Kaleidoscope Feathers

IMG_20171112_101913_resizedSo here’s the second installment of the Kaleidoscope Quilted Block of the Month. I’m posting on Friday because I have a commitment tomorrow.

Let’s start with how much fun I had stitching this one out. I figured there’d be feathers, and bubbles, and swirls, something simple. Well. I did start out with feathers.

First step: stitching in the ditch, I used a pink Floriani Micro Thread (60 weight) embroidery thread with a size 70/10 Chrome needle. Why the pink? To show the seam lines in a pieced block. If this were going to be more than a sample for showing what the thread can do then a thread similar in color to the background would work.


This quilt is something of a two-fer: the back is this orange batik, I used the same bobbin thread throughout – the same pink to stitch in the bones of the block. I used cotton batting on this side of the quilt (orange), and wool batting on the oatmeal (cream) side of the quilt. This gives a sense of how the thread will look with different batting. I do prefer two batting on stuff that I’ll be taking to show.

Once the stitching in the ditch was complete I sat back to think about the motifs. Feathers around the center, waxing and waning with the shape of a diamond would create visual movement around the block that shows itself in the block.


Starting with a pearl at one end, I stitched along the top of the feather to give this finer thread a bit of weight and presence, and to help create the spine. As the feathers grew in length I’d switch to the opposite side, to continue filling the space.













To get to the next diamond shape I stitched through where the (seam) lines meet up. Anytime you’re working on a pieced quilt using the ditch to move from here to there is a great option rather than having a lot of stops and starts.

Tip: when starting or ending a new thread color, take the time to bury the threads at that moment to lessen the risk of stitching over them, or creating birds nests.

Next up: the center “star”, creating texture with the stitching that is simple, yet will create something that is visually dynamic.

Enjoy your stitching,


Something Shifted, When “no” is good

Rayna Gillman has a new book: Create Your own Improv: Modern Quilts With No Rules and No Rulers published by C&T. Rayna has been part of my quilt world forever. As the Community Editor for Generation Q Magazine reviewing books is part of the work. Head on over to the blog, read the review, and enter for an opportunity to win a copy of her book.

Now onto today’s post:

I started stitching the feathers on this Quilted Block of the Month Sunday morning. I only had one plan: use Quilters Select battings, and Floriani Micro Thread for the blog and take when I teach to show off the micro thread and batting.


It is a rare occasion that I speak of my private life, and even then most of the details are left unwritten, or unpublished as I choose to have a public life, and my Sweetie does not. I respect that private space.

That said the last few years have been personally challenging, where the “have-to-do’s” outweighed the “I want to do this” and even the “I need to do this”. I’ve wanted to finish a few quilts – both personal, and professionally that are still waiting for time and attention.

I’ve wanted to teach machine quilting more, write at least one book, and some of the things that naturally flow from doing that work. Not being able to delve much more deeply has been, well, challenging (gut wrenching) at best because the Quilting World stuff is home. With the personal machine quilting, I haven’t stopped, however it’s not been quite as creative as needed, as though I’ve been phoning it in. Okay, I have, I’ve been phoning it in. There have been moments where I’ve found the zone, quilting with reckless abandon, those experience few and far between.

Something shifted Sunday while stitching out the feathers for the current Quilted Block of the Month. The last few years have felt a lot like, “NO, Teri this isn’t for you” and “Who do you think you are?” and “No, just no” 2017 has had quite a few, “No’s” One was a huge surprise, however it freed me to let go of something that I’d been holding onto for dear life, thinking this was the best thing for me, and in letting go, in honoring the words I’m hearing, there’s a deeper sense of freedom to explore.

Another, “No” led to an experience of disappointment. BUT it’s okay, I don’t mind being disappointed. Disappointed means that I’m invested in, and yearn for this. This can either be a goal for another time, or an indication to move in another direction. Either way it’s minor, and all is well.

When the quilting started to happen on Sunday in the organic, let’s create texture, and use all the color way that is the personal quilting style. I breathed deeply that fresh air. Whatever comes next, I’m game.

Sneak peeks of the block of the month are on Instagram. Saturday will be why the feathers were chosen, why the 60 weight thread, and other decisions.

Join me. And more importantly:

Thank YOU 

for being part of my quilt world.

Enjoy your stitching,


A needed detour

received_10214861315154854_resizedLately upon entering the sewing room there is a strong sense of being overwhelmed with ideas. Lots of ideas tumbling over, and over each seeking the deserved attention. While writing that sentence an idea to make a whole cloth using 60 weight thread in the top and bobbin popped into my head. I think I’m going to make a three-fer out of that one to feature the Floriani 60 weight thread, Quilters Select Wool batting, and for the Quilted Block of the Month for the blog. If I get really ambitious I might make more than one to share with a at least one other Educator.

The day started looking for a USB stick to transfer embroidery designs to the machine. While looking I found sample packs of fabric lines by Leslie Jenison – Urban Artifacts, and Alex Anderson – Mirage. So using them in the same quilt seems the only thing to do. Now a disclaimer, I’m not in love with using precuts, I know there are a lot of people who love them very much, and I see their value in the quilting world. And I would not ever tell anyone not to use them. They’re simply not my fave. So using them is a bit of a challenge for me.

After pairing them up, stitching and pressing I looked at the fabric stash, finding a line of striped batiks that I adore. I cut 9 1/2” strips, and 5” squares. Piecing for a good bit of the day yesterday was cathartic. That also meant that I didn’t do the Quilted Block of the Month, for good reason…I had no idea what fabric I wanted to stitch it out on. Gah! Quilters Block! Calgon take me away!

This morning I decided that the SewBatik Oatmeal is the way to go. It’ll show the color of the thread well, and marking it will be fairly easy.  Sometimes sitting on a project for an extra day or two is completely worth it, for me, and for the Quilted Block of the Month Project in part to show you that I struggle with determining designs, and colors. What has come to seem intuitive is actually a lot of thought.

After a bit more looking I did find the USB stick that I needed, and have transferred a few Pickle Pie Designs embroidery designs that I want to stitch out as samples. I’ll get going on each of these projects after a few home projects. I’ll post now and again to Instagram…so keep an eye there.

I gave it a go

more apple pickin pics
Donut Picking September 2004 George Harris

On the last day of the Dutchess Heritage Quilt Show I popped out for a bit to go to Montgomery Place Orchards Farm Stand in Red Hook NY. The Pink Pearl apples on my list were sold out the week before, necessitating an apple change. Each apple was chosen in relation to making apple pie, I made two, one included bacon. Oh! My! Goodness! that was so good, and it’s on the “must make this again” list.

Last night I used the last of the apples to make applesauce. It was so very good. There’s enough left to snack on over the next couple of days. Fond memories of late summers in Ephrata, PA, standing around my friends kitchen table rough chopping apples to make, and freeze applesauce for the winter months. It was a lot of work, and the reward of going to the pool later in the day was totally worth it. Being something of a city kid this was eyeopening because applesauce comes from a jar, right?!

radiant fillThe apples, an heirloom variety from Montgomery Place (please don’t ask the specific type because I don’t remember) are particularly fragrant, and held up well over the last several weeks. Instead of dumping the water they cooked in, I put it in another pot to let it simmer down for a while. This simmering down takes time, and patience, something that embracing the process of baking way back when, taught me. The liquid simmered, and simmered until this lovely thick, tartly sweet syrup was all that was left. This syrup tasted so good on the pancakes this morning. What a delightful and satisfying experience when something works in the hoped for way.

This morning Seth Godin shared these words on his blog, “Are there places you feel like you’re falling behind where there’s actually no race?”

20449106_10213973184472142_3759714678466190392_oAnd of course, this brings us to quilting, and how we perceive our work in general. For the first time ever I had the opportunity to attend the awards ceremony at International Quilt Festival in Houston, it’s simple, straight forward, and beautiful. Seeing the quilts revealed around the room, one by one, highlighting each quilter(s) work is impressive. Someday I will be among those quilters. It’s one of MY personal goals. There was a sense of belonging, and knowing I can get there.

Here’s the thing. This isn’t a race for any of us. It’s a choice. WE also have the choice of honoring one another’s work, therefore honoring our own. We have the choice of recognizing the level of work that each quilter puts into making quilts from the beginner, advanced, and artist. We’re each different, we each bring something cool to the party. And for most of us, this is not a competitive thing. Because it’s not competitive let’s remember that this is not a race, comparing our work to others is useless. I know we’re going to do it anyway, it’s what we do. Let’s keep our own goals in mind, particularly as we read blogs, check out pinterest, see photos flooding our fb or twitter feed. By keeping our own goals in mind we have a better shot at not comparing our work to others, or better yet being inspired and not diminished by what we see out there.

double-irish-chain-full-viewOne of my very first quilts lives on my bed, it’s got some serious problems. I still love every. single. stitch. lovingly put into that quilt. I love the awful tension. I love what that quilt taught me, and that it started me on the journey to where I am as a teacher and machine quilter. It wasn’t long after that quilt that I learned to understand tension.

The beautiful thing about quilting is that there’s room for all of us to become who we are as quilter makers. And if your path leads to being a fabric designer, pattern designer, teacher, competitive quilter, or a quilter who makes quilts for every member of the family, friends, and strangers who are in need then you are right where you fit, where you belong, and where you need to be.

Enjoy every moment of your stitching,


Oh sweet memories


"Twilight in the Bronx"

Eight years ago I was actively working on this quilt, Twilight in the Bronx. While having dinner with my sisters, sweetie and a very good friend my sisters gave me the batik fabric (where the applique’s come from) and three spools of thread, which I used in the star. It was right after this that I started the quilt, designing, deciding on the trapunto, and making further thread choices.

Right about this time the seam ripper was actively engaged in the taking out of thousands of stitches. At a meeting of our mini-group one of the quilters, rightly said, “You’re hiding your quilting,” and I took that to heart, making big changes. Later that year (2009) I entered this in the Dutchess Heritage Quilt Show where it won a second place ribbon in its category. This October I am the Featured Speaker at this show. I am truly honored. Thank you to Trish and the selection committee, and the quilt show committee. I’m thinking about entering one or two quilts in the show. It’s been a while since I’ve been able to compete and this would be a great start again.

Right after I came home from Quilt Market I had the idea to remake this quilt. Well, not so much remake it because been there, done that but make another quilt with the Lone Star as the bones of the quilt. I’m going to do this twice once on Radiance (that silk/cotton blend from Robert Kaufman) and once on chartreuse Supernova. This morning I woke up for with the idea for how to mark the quilt top. I’ll be posting that tidbit of information in Lucy’s Nickles.

A beginning.

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The Radiance is hanging on the wall ready for me to mark it.

Happy Quilting!


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Lucy’s Nickels

Towards Craftsmanship and story telling

Someone posted this Carhartt video of Jason Momoa crafting a story surrounding his life, craft, finding his life’s purpose, learning to enjoy life through acting. He speaks with

great love of his wife, and their children. Jason speaks with passion about his mom’s influence on his life, that she taught him to skateboard, and this is something he is passing onto his kids.

Jason speaks of craftsmanship. This caught my attention as it is a word I’d love to bring into the lexicon of quilt making. Merriam-Webster defines craftsmanship as: a worker who practices a trade or handcraft, and one who creates or performs with skill or dexterity especially in the manual arts. (Emphasis added.)The favorite word here is practice. Practice. Practice. Practice.
I have this thing for Craftsman houses, Frank Lloyd Wright buildings, Mondrian paintings, a well-done, and well curated fabric line, a well-made quilt, a well told story. What I can see underneath the thing is all of the work that went into getting to the point of creating the particular thing. I may not know each step, but more the level of effort and work. Make sense?

Nearly thirty years ago while serving as a volunteer at Habitat for Humanity I took a very basic clowning class offered by some of the other volunteers. Learning to clown, like quilt making, is something of a process wherein thought is given to your walk, your face including which features to exaggerate and de-emphasize. Perhaps in something of a telling way, I wanted to be a story telling clown. Clowning is not something I pursued with reckless abandon however, I could remake my clown face. The point of sharing this, is that clowning is something I tried. Story telling however, has stayed with me.


When the opportunity arises to give the Trunk Show of Quilts I get to tell the stories of the quilts, the struggles making them, and which are my faves. Taking in progress pieces that will not ever be finished in any way to show how I practice that which is the craft that has chosen me.  Just as it took Jason years to find his passion, for acting to find him, it’s taken me, any quilter who quilts, writes, teaches, shows, competes to get to the moment they are in. It’s risky business putting our stuff out there, because like actors we leave ourselves open to rejection, criticism, and a lot of tears and pain. And then there is the great joy of a quilt done like we envisioned, students getting “it”, ribbons on our quilts, and the feel of fabric beneath our fingers. The designs that wake us up at two in the morning because they just have to become something real.

One day the quilting story will write itself in a way in which allows me to breathe deeply the satisfaction of a well told story, the next quilt will be the one that will let me put it out in public.

This leads me to some writing, and quilting that is calling my name, so I’m off to hone my craft of quilting, and all of the things that go with it.

Happy Quilting,


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New Rule: No stitching when I’m actually sick

img_0671While I was in Savannah I got sick. The technical term: convention crud, it’s been a while since having a cold and this one kind of did me in. Taking two multi-hour naps in one day should have given me a bit of a clue, right? Being tired from being sick, and wanting to get the quilt pieced and quilted, mistakes were made. I posted a photo of the within a few minutes I got a text letting me know something was pieced in the wrong way. I looked over the quilt found the all of the pieces that were pieced in the wrong direction, and fixed them. Including one that is in that is in the main body of the quilt. That took a little bit of work, but to quote a friend, “HUZZAH!” it’s fixed.

Oh it worked! @sewbatik #sewbatik #bernina #piecing

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productimage-picture-so-fine-50-438-mulberry-550-yds-polyester-thread-40304The quilt is now basted, and waiting it’s turn in the quilting queue. I’m doing one of the smaller quilts first to get into the quilterly groove and then I’ll tackle this one. I have a cone of So Fine 438 Mulberry. The color is in the same tone as the Indigo, rich and deep but is just the lovelies shade of purple. The quilting will show, it’ll be subtle.

When I quilted the Red/Oatmeal I used two layers of batting the first a layer of wool as it has great stitch definition; the second a layer of a cotton/silk batting as it offers structure. As the quilt hangs it looks stiff, as though it wouldn’t drape well on a bed. The batting will relax if it ever gets washed. I did not have time to do that prior to sending the quilt off. So the structure and stitch definition are part of that. The quilts will travel, and hang in booth, these things need to last. The quilt is also quilted pretty densely, however the thread is fine. Using two layers of batting helps assure that the tension will remain good through the whole quilt.

If these quilts ever get used on a bed they will be WARM! wool and silk are breathable, and keep a body or two warm, without being uncomfortable. When I finally get around to making a quilt for my sweetie again I’ll be using two layers of batting.

Throughout the next week or so I’ll be posting sneak peeks on Instagram of the quilts in progress. https://www.instagram.com/terilucas/ @terilucas

Have a fab quilty day,


PS I’ve started with 12 bobbins…who wants to guess?