I’ve gone and done it now

I’ve gone and done it now

Serendipity As Well full viewI’ve added a Retreat to the list of classes. I’ve wanted to add a retreat for a very long time, now seemed as good a time as any. A three or five day retreat to explore the world of thread, batting, design, and color. Find the eclecticness of you, the freedom to explore and push the current boundaries of how quilting works every day.

In a directed retreat we’ll work on Moon Over Manhattan or Twilight in the Bronx as the base, we can also choose Serendipity letting the color and motif run amok with frivolity, and laughter.

Have you visited my RitDye Studio?
Check out Instagram because not everything that I post there, ends up here
what about facebook? oh and let’s not forget Lucy’s Nickles because exploring the boundaries of quilting never gets old.

Happy Quilting,


Character Counts


Sometimes I look at my quilts, see things I don’t like, and thoughts of sending the quilt to the great quilt yard in the sky, would be the best. thing. ever. Between teaching, and working with quilters in shops I know that quilters want perfection from the first stitch. Doing it “right” the first time, every time is the height of something. I haven’t figured out what yet, but it is.

While encouraging the learning process, letting new and not-so-new quilter know that mistakes happen sometimes it’s hard to experience and see how the mistakes add to the beauty and character of what we’re doing.

I’m on a journey to find the character around me, and taking you along.

"Twilight in the Bronx"

Twilight in the Bronx is a quilt with tons of character including a little bit of fullness in the circles. And it’s square but a good blocking would do the quilt a lot of good. It’ll stay just so as it is.

Most importantly it’s the quilt started in my 41st year of life that has led me down a path of great quilterly joy.

How I choose quilting motifs part 1

Twilight in the Bronx fullAs I mentioned the other day I’m going to share how I come up with the quilting motifs for a quilt. I’m going to start with Twilight in the Bronx which is entirely my own, move on to Tilde, Feather Zone and @play.  Each of these quilt are very different and each has its own story. And Twilight certainly has a story or 5 to tell.

Twilight is my first intentional whole cloth quilt. 1 1/4 yards of solid Kona cotton, a chalk pencil, ruler, batting, thread and an idea.
Briefly the idea: to stitch out an 8 pointed star (lone star) using a variety of thread to create the body of the design. Inspiration: the batik that had the center motif and the “suns” around.

Part 1: Mark the quilt top using the ruler and chalk pencil. I marked the center of the cloth with my iron by folding it in half selvage to selvage and pressing then refolding using that center line and the ends and pressing, being careful not to press out the first pressed crease.
Using my 6 x 24 Omnigrid plastic ruler I started drawing the star points. A quick glance shows you this is a 9-patch drawn on a 45 degree angle. Each point is one half inch off the center lines. The diamonds are 1/4 inch away from each other. This was to accommodate the center motif being fused down to the  cloth.

Part 2: I decided that I wanted the star to be raised so that meant trapunto. I layered a piece of Quilters Dream 100% cotton Request loft batting on the back. I didn’t do anything to hold it in place as I wanted to be able to cut a lot of it away when I was done stitching and 100% cotton batting tends to stick well to 100% cotton fabric. (When I teach quilting and we’re using fat quarters I generally don’t baste with pins or spray as the cotton sticks to cotton with out shifting)

Part 3: I liked the movement of color seen on other pieced lone stars so tried for that kind of look using the 3 colors I had: yellow, red and purple. I did this on the fly and made some decisions as I went along. Note: if I were doing this quilt now I’d be using a lot more colors of thread and perhaps splitting the diamonds in half from point to point the long way. For more movement not because I don’t like what’s going on here.

Part 4: Choosing the actual stitching motifs. I decided each color would be a different motif. If this were piece the fabric may or may not be from the same fabric line and therefore would have a different look. Each motif is something I wanted to practice and get better at stitching. Once these and the black lines defining the center spokes were all stitched in and I’d stitched around each one of the circles all extra batting was cut away, another layer of batting and the backing were layered and basted and the intense quilting began.

twilight finished 1Part 5: I won’t go into a lot of detail here because I did in previous posts – Twilight in the Bronx was quilted twice. The black area on the lower right is evidence of the first time it was quilted. The rest of the quilting was done after I’d picked most of it out. I left some as a personal reminder and because I liked it. I sat down to stitch not quite knowing what I’d be doing motif-wise. I had no active plan for this quilt and I’ll tell you quite honestly I don’t for most quilts.  When I had stitched the motif enough I moved onto another motif and/or another color.
I tried out motif after motif just because it was something I wanted to stitch and I liked it.

This quilt was completed within a year of my 40th birthday and is a personal “defining” quilting moment as “my style” is starting to emerge here. I’m still not sure what one would call that style however that’s not as important as the fact that I’m quilting and trying motifs and thread weights/colors and seeing how they play.

Looking at dates (ever thankful for my blog) I attended the Ricky Tims Quilt Seminar in May 2008 and started this quilt in early 2009. Ricky reminded us frequently over the two days that we are “smart and intelligent and you can do this!” Is there anything more important than that? Well, uh, uhm, No. There’s not.
We are smart
We are intelligent
We can do this

We can stop worrying about what others will think of our quilts and quilting. While I am well aware of the quilt police and their role in our quilting society, most of us do not encounter them on a daily basis. Oh we do hear their “voices” whispering in our ear that “this isn’t good enough” or “this doesn’t like right’ or “are you sure this motif needs to go here?!” or “this really sucks and you need to take out the seam ripper” or “this is awful and you should just toss it aside like an old rag”.
I’ve heard those voices I started telling them to go to H3LL! I started listening for my own voice and those around me who were encouraging me.
When I teach and students start showing me their flaws I quiet that voice down and show them what’s working and why so they have something beautiful to hold onto as they move on to the next quilt.
For most of our quilts “good enough” is good. And it’s enough.
Truthfully the only time that “good enough” needs to meet the seam ripper is when we’re competing because that’s different. And that needs to be thought through differently. And we’ll get there in these blog posts.

Happy Quilting!


Thinking, thinking and I would like your input, please

day trip 069Whenever I hear, “thinking, thinking” the voice in my head sounds like Elfred in my GPS.  Elfred is from the north pole and sometimes asks if anyone wants hot chocolate or fruitcake.  My answer to both is, “yes!”

I’ve been teaching machine quilting on a domestic for about 4 1/2 to 5 years now. I love it (as I’ve posted over and over again).   Over the last several months I’ve had this overwhelming understanding that something needs to change and while I think I know what that is I am asking for you help in clarifying what the changes may look like.

Over the last few days I’ve posted a few questions on facebook that I would appreciate your answers as well:

1) how would you describe what I do as a machine quilter?  Note I am not seeking compliments, how would you explain to someone else my style of quilting and what is it that draws you in or doesn’t draw you in?

2) would you rather take a whole cloth quilting class called, “There’s Fabric Under That Thread” or “Twisted Journey from Inspiration to Whole Cloth”?

3) Would you rather take a machine quilting class that is project oriented or process oriented?  Why?

twilight-quilting-closeup-lower-right-corner-2.jpg4) I am considering designing either a 15″ or 18″ structure for a whole cloth quilt that I would use in the class.  Would this be helpful?  Would you prefer something like, “Twilight in the Bronx” and “Moon Over Manhattan”, “Serendipity” or something a bit newer and fresher?

5) for the beginner class: I ask students to bring SOLID fat quarters so that their stitching can be seen and I’m considering revamping the class using SOLID 24″ or 27″ squares, do you have a preference?  Would you like to keep the fat quarters?  Final option is bringing a 36″ quilt made of a certain quilt blocks, would you be willing to make that prior to class?

6) for “Let Your Foot Loose, Be Fancy & Free” I’m considering designing a structure for this class it would be based on “Twilight in the Bronx”.  Would you prefer something pre-printed or drafting the design in the first part of the class?

Please feel free to answer in the comments or email me at

terilucas at gmx dot com.

Thanks for your help!

Happy quilting!


Playing with Silk

I’ve been purchasing Superiors silk thread on & off for months.  As they were going through the process of announcing the thread coming out I was incredibly excited.  I’ve quilted with silk from two other companies and love the effect of the silk, loved how it quilted and quite frankly I love the look of Diane Gaudynski‘s quilts.

Earlier this week I received an email reminding me of a deadline that I’d totally forgotten about as I’d gotten some work over the last few weeks that’s kept me busy – more on that another time.  In order to meet this deadline I had to make a huge departure from my originally intended idea of designing and completing the next in the City series (Twilight in the Bronx & Moon Over Manhattan).  The next quilt was to be on blue Radiance background using a 5-pointed star as the center.

While I had great intentions of getting this next concept complete the reality was that in the short amount of time I had left, the density with which I quilt it just wasn’t possible to take on that particular quilt.  With both Twilight in the Bronx & Moon Over Manhattan I’d had a working title and very clear concept as I got started.  This next quilt wasn’t quite there yet.

Switching gears was very necessary.  I’d recently gotten French silk samples from a friend who worked for a fabric/decorating company.  This silk is gorgeous!!!  The size is about 12 x 12 in a variety of colors that are great for the background.  I chose a red silk for the front, an orange batik for the back gathered all my silk thread and after about 12 or so hours of quilting Serendipity is complete.

I had a huge chunk of writing to complete and sent my everything off today to where its going.  Yes, yes, I’m being slightly – no very cryptic about it for 2 reasons: 1) it’s potentially for a book and I don’t want to reveal anything before it’s time and 2) I don’t know if what I sent will be accepted for the project.  If it is great, if not then I’ll show what I submitted here when the time is right.

This little quilt over here <— is the beginning of Serendipity as Well (rather than Serendipity 2).

As you know from previous blog posts I’ve been playing with Zentangles.  I love the freedom & creativity that comes from actively and purposefully sitting and sketching.  Serendipity & Serendipity as Well are  a combination of playing with Zentangles and Linda M. Poole’s Color Fixes.  I’m having fun and exploring not only where the drawing can take me but I’m being mindful of the thread color and the overall effect of both on the piece.  I’m looking forward to seeing where this all goes.

Superior Thread Review:

As you know I’m a huge fan of Superior Threads.  I’m very excited that we now carry MasterPiece in the quilt shop where I work and will be adding more thread soon.

So far I’ve quilted with Superior’s silk for over 12 hours encountering snags twice.  Once was because my needle needed to be changed and the second was because the thread got wrapped behind the needle somehow.  (I can never figure out quite how I do that.)  With other silks I’ve tried there’s been a fiber residue buildup in the thread take up lever not with Superior.

I can stitch very tiny pebbles with no noticeable thread bulkiness as I stitch around the circles.  I used an 80/12 top stitching needle with no problems (Superior recommends a 70/10 Top Stitching Needle).  This thread lasts a long time!  I’m so loving this silk thread!

Happy Quilting!


Quilt Retreat

At first I thought, “I’m bringing way too much to work on during the retreat”.

Then I thought I’m bringing potential.

I had plans to work on two quilts, one due later this week and the next in the “Twilight in the Bronx” series.  Beyond that I wasn’t entirely certain.  A couple of friends also attended the retreat – one having attended for years.  I brought the ironing board and iron, just in case and both were well used over the weekend.  Most of the other quilters on the retreat participated in the watercolor quilt project, including one new quilter that I helped choose her fabric earlier in the week.

This is my workspace sometime Saturday morning.  I’d taken my shoes off.  I can’t work in a quilterly fashion with my shoes on.  I’ve tried.  I can’t think clearly with my shoes on.  I prefer to be barefoot and even in this weather without socks.  Does this make sense? No.  Then again, it’ doesn’t have to. 🙂


The bag on the table holds the blocks for a school quilt I’m working on.  Quite a few of the blocks have glitter on them.  Glitter ended up everywhere.  All over me, all over the table, all over the floor under the table.  On my friends table – she helped me pull out basting stitches.

Two weeks ago I visited Quilting Possibilities in Bayville, NJ.  I got the blue/blue & green striped bag on the floor.  Yep, that handy tote came home with me.  It held about 1/2 my thread stash.  Yep, half, I have a lot of thread!  Inspiration City!!!!  I picked up a gift for a friend and a bunch of Superior Thread.  I nearly picked up a yard of this amazing dark blue batik but decided to wait for now.  I have a whole bunch of projects that are rumbling around my sewing room…more on that later.

Friday night I spent the entire evening drafting out the 8 pointed star on the fabric I chose for the front of the next of the “Twilight in the Bronx” series.  I don’t have a name for this quilt yet this will happen a bit later.  The central spines are all the same size and the blocks all line up.  I drafted out 200 parallelograms (diamonds) for this.  The next step is stitching around each one of them on batting then trimming out all of the excess batting.  I’m trying to figure out if I want to use 8 colors or 4 colors for the star.  I think I’m going to play on paper with both ideas and see what happens and which I like better.  Do you see the peacock blue Radiance under the table?  It’s sitting on a bag with a quilt in it.  That’s going to be the back…I mean the front…no the back of the quilt.  Let’s see if this pulls a “little miss sassy pants on me”.

I enjoyed watching the watercolor quilts come together.

Each one as different and unique as it’s maker.  Listening to the buzz in the room as the quilters swapped for just the right fabric and realizing that the back side of the fabric is an option was so much fun.

This quilt to the left was finished with a narrow purple then a wider green border.  She managed to quilt this before the end of the retreat.  I cut bias strips of the purple for her to use as the binding.

Below is a new quilters layout.

sorry about the head turning option, I thought I saved this the other way.  At the top you can see the quilters hands laying out two inch squares.  She’s going to take the “quilt your own project” at hartsdale to finish this project.

She had lots of help learning to use her rotary cutter and ruler.  She glued down each one of those squares prior to pressing onto the fusible.  Let’s just say that the experience of other quilters in the group led to that decision!



Another friend spent the weekend working on piecing these strips to make a raffle quilt.

I let her use a spool of MasterPiece in the piecing – she loves it!  A couple of strips gave her fits however we were able to work out the details and she’ll whip this quilt up in a jiffy!he strip sets will be cut up into 4 1/2″ squares the put back together to make a delightfully fun quilt.





Reminder: I have classes coming up and there’s still time to sign up for:


Beginner Freemotion Quilting

Advanced Machine Quilting  (need students for this class)

Click on the bindings link to Hartsdale where the classes are offered.

Happy quilting!


The Impromptu Lecture

49 Pieces of Chocolat

I mentioned in this post that the Impromptu Lecture with the Village Squares Quilters went well once I’d settled down.  Jayne wanted to hear a little more so here I go.

Over the last couple of years I’ve learned that when I get mad I can start talking really slow and very deliberately.  When I get nervous I talk very, very fast.  I have enough quilts to talk for an hour, easily…but then talking fast for the first little bit the trunk show was just under an hour.  I’d also worked myself into a migraine as I couldn’t find “Twilight in the Bronx” and “El’s Flower Garden” until that morning when I remembered I’d hung them in the closet. That sigh of relief could be felt in Australia…ok, not really but I was really freaking out thinking I’d lost two of my quilts.

I left “Split Complimenterity” at home, since it was on the bed and I’d spent so much time looking for the other quilts I didn’t have time to take the lint roller brush to it and remove all of the cat hair.

The guild program starts after the member show & tell, which is after lunch, and after the board meeting oh and after the general meeting.  I took notes with me to remember a few things like sharing the pattern design I’d just completed for Marcus Brothers and the articles I’ve written.   It took a few minutes to settle into a good rhythm of talking about my quilts and my experience as a quilter but once  I settled down the talk went well.

I love talking about quilting, the process, the challenges I’ve had over the years including the time I cut my finger with my rotary cutter.  Wasn’t watching where my fingers were  and I didn’t use a 3″ wide ruler again for a very, very long time.  One of my very favorite quilts is the one above, “49 Pieces of Chocolat”.  “Chocolat” is a Moda line I fell in love with a few years ago and I picked up a charm pack of (50) 5″ squares.  I counted several times as I thought out the quilt, I had all 50 squares.  As I got to the last piecing row I couldn’t find one of the squares.  I looked and looked and looked.  Some how it disappeared into the “sewing room vortex” never to be found…ever.  As I look at the picture I see that I have the quilt upside down and the row where the replacement square is featured.  Since the colors and tone match well with the “Chocolat” line I won’t point it out.


I also brought “There are Cats on my Quilt” sharing the story of the challenge I participated in and the variety of quilting techniques I played with.

I did remember to bring the “Gallimaufry” CD where “Twilight in the Bronx” is the cover art for the CD.  This is soooo much fun to share with anyone…it’s so cool to have a quilting cross into another form of art!

Several members shared with me that they enjoyed the trunk show and one shared with me that I’m ready for “prime time”.  That made me smile deep down.

I can hardly wait for the next opportunity to share my quilting journey.

Happy Quilting!