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Monday, October 1, 2012

2012 Free-Motion Quilting Challenge - October - Teri Lucas

I am thrilled to have Teri Lucas as our October FMQ Expert, for the 2012 Free Motion Quilting Challenge and delighted to share insights with you today about this very talented woman.

Teaching machine quilting is one of Teri's favorite experiences.

Teri has been published in a variety of publications, including:

QuiltingArtsJanuary/Feburary 2011 – Improving Machine Quilting

The Quilt Life – October 2010  Mini Groups

Teri travels around the United States giving presentations and teaching workshops.

{above} Serendipity, by Teri Lucas

{above} Twilight in the Bronx, by Teri Lucas

Both Serendipity and Twilight in the Bronx are wholecloth quilts.

Teri will be teaching at:

And Teri has a brochure you can download for more information on her classes.  You may want to share this with your Quilt Guild Program Coordinator and/or your local quilt store. Let them know you'd like to have Teri come give a presentation and/or workshop in your area.

You can also find Teri at:


Free Motion Machine Quilting

My name is Teri Lucas.  I’ve been quilting for nearly 19 years and quilting on my domestic sewing machine for 5 or 6 years.  I live in NY City with my husband and our quilt inspector Barnum.  My husband started me on this quilterly journey and encourages me along the way.  I’m privileged to teach free motion machine quilting at the quilt shop where I work and I’m beginning to travel on the national level.  I’ll be teaching with MQX in Portland, OR in October and at Quilt Festival in Houston in November.


Blank book or some kind of blank paper
Sharpie pens, Stabilo pens or Staedtler pens – these are all fine/medium point pens that will not bleed through paper

Square ruler (8 x 8 minimum)
Chalk pencils (like Generals) & sharpener

Sewing machine in good working order, fitted with a straight stitch plate if you have one.

Free Motion foot for your machine – similar to the #24 Freehand Embroidery foot for the Bernina

A few bobbins pre-wound about half way to match the thread you have for the top or 1 bobbin wound with a fine weight polyester

2 fat quarters – 1) silk, silk-cotton blend; 2) cotton

2 – 18 x 22” rectangles of batting use wool or silk for one and bamboo or a needle punched low loft polyester for the other

Thread – a variety of weight, fiber and color.  I like silk, wool, polyester and cotton.

Needles – Top Stitching: 70/10, 80/12 and 90/14.  If you do happen to have wool I suggest having 100/16 Top Stitching needles

Seam Ripper – the quilter’s eraser.  If you don’t like how the quilt is coming out – rip those stitches.

We’re going to work in two practice sessions:
Practice Session 1 - paper and your chosen writing implement. 
Practice Session 2 – machine work

Practice Session 1 – Paper & pen

In the middle-ish of the paper draw a 6” square.  This can be done with your ruler or freehand.  I chose freehand so notice my square is not perfect.  Somewhere in the square write your name.  Writing our name is one of the most natural things we do and is easily translatable machine quilting. 

Next in a different color echo around your name, change directions here & there to change the echo and create something fun.  Feel free to echo more than I did here.  Notice I had the lines join at the beginning and the end. 

Change color again lets create a little grid pattern on an angle, think cross hatching while quilting. 

Change color and let’s practice clam shells.  Notice that the clam shells got a bit weird.  I changed from my dominant hand to my non-dominant hand and would encourage you to do the same.  This helps create muscle memory for stitching at the machine.

 Change color and choose another motif you like and work towards filling in the square. 

Now is the time to hear Karen Carpenter singing in your head, “don’t worry if it’s not good enough for anyone else to hear (see) just sing!”

Practice session 2 – Quilt Sandwich time!

On the silk or cotton/silk blend draw an 8 to 10 inch square.  Make your quilt sandwich with the cotton on the bottom; layer the batting with the wool or silk on the top and then add your top and baste with your favorite method.  I do use 505 spray when I need it.  Frequently on a top this size I can get away with not basting however it’s a good idea because of the two batting types and the silk or silk/cotton top. *Note I did not baste this practice sandwich.

            Note: if you keep the square on one side of the fat quarter you can make a second one on the other side and practice more motifs. 

Choose a thread for the square.  I’m going to suggest something heavier weight to give the square some prominence.  I used Aurifil Lana with a 100/16 needle.

            Tip: Choose the needle for quilting based on the weight of the thread…a larger number needle for a heavier weight thread and a lower number needle for a lighter weight thread.  The higher the number the finer the thread; the lower the number the heavier the thread or better yet, if it feels fine in your hand it is use a finer/lower number needle – if it feels thick in your hand it is and use a heavier/higher number needle.

 Now choose a thread for writing your name.  Go with something fun or that will really stand out.  Even though you wrote your name in one place in Practice Session 1, choose another place for this time around.

            Tip: A seam ripper is a quilters best friend, if you don’t like the motif, the stitching, the color go ahead and use the quilters eraser!  I once ripped out about 60% of a 40 x 40ish whole cloth quilt. 

Once your name is finished and you’ve done the echo stitching it’s time to try out motifs in the square. 

Notice that the edge of the foot is right next to the edge of the previous stitching line.  From needle center to the edge of the foot is 1/4inch, knowing this gives me a visual for judging distance.  When I’m working on a larger grid I will take the time to draw it with ruler and chalk pencil.  I keep my pencil sharpener handy to keep the lines narrow

 My suggestion is to print the next couple of photos and use a pencil to trace over the designs until you are comfortable with the movement of each design.  When creating the nautilus shells start with the curve in and finish with a circle.  Then stitch lines to connect the sections together.  When you get to the outer curve over stitch a couple of stitches then head back to where you started.  This will move quickly.  When stitching pebbles think pennies, nickels, dimes, quarters and half dollars – these are sizes we know intuitively.  It’s important to over stitch to get from one pebble to the next.

With the deep red feathers I stitched a spine first, this give a structure to the feathers.  The feathers can be stitched how I did her or stacked one on top of the next.  Your choice.  For the yellow feathers I stitched free form.  Practice as many different styles of feathers as they’re quite fun!

 For every motif use a different thread type and weight.  Once the square looks pleasing to you, it’s finished.

Happy Quilting!


Thank you Teri for providing us with the above tutorial!


While this challenge is focused on learning and/or improving our free-motion quilting skills, you also have the opportunity to win prizes. To be eligible to win a monthly prize, simply complete the current months' tutorial in the month it is released and get your entry submitted via the linky tool, at the bottom of this page, no later than October 31st.

Teri has also worked with Quilting Arts Magazine to have ten (10) copies of the issue that contains her excellent article on Improving Machine Quilting.  To clarify, in addition to the regular Monthly Prize Bundle, ten participants in the 2012 FMQ Challenge that complete Teri's tutorial, will be randomly selected to win a copy of the issue of Quilting Arts with Teri's article on free-motion quilting.

QuiltingArtsJanuary/Feburary 2011 – Improving Machine Quilting

But do remember this challenge is more about learning and improving your FMQ skills, so don't rush thru the exercise just to enter. Take time to practice and embed this design to your muscle memory, before you enter. To clarify, DO NOT just add a link to your blog, but to your post that shows that you have completed this tutorial. You get one link, so keep practicing until you feel you are finished with this tutorial.

For bloggers:

Please post your entry on your blog. To clarify, you can include as many photos of this tutorial exercise in your post, but you can only add one link to the linky tool below. You may also want to include insights in your post about your past FMQ experience and thoughts about this tutorial. Totally, optional, but you may also want to let everyone know that you have taken the Pledge and you did this exercise to enter the the challenge this month, where randomly selected winners will win a prize. You may inspire others to want to join this challenge too!

For non-Bloggers:

1) You will need to have a Flickr account (www.flickr.com). 
2) Upload your photos for this month's challenge to Flickr, batch organize, send your photos to groups, select "2012 FMQ Challenge". While Flickr, limits the amount of text you can share in your description, feel free to share your perspective on this exercise and/or your past FMQ experience, if you wish.
3) After your photos have successfully been loaded to the "2012 FMQ Challenge" group, click on your best photo in that group, ideally one that shows the stencil and how you quilted using that stencil. Copy the URL link to your particular photo entry. Add that link to the linky tool above, to officially enter this show.

Remember only one link (entry) per person that has taken the pledge to learn and/or improve their Free Motion Quilting Skills, on a home sewing machine, in 2012.

For those that may need help to link up the link to their tutorial project, to the linky for this challenge, Dana (Stormy Days) has also written an excellent tutorial for using linkies, so please take time to read her tutorial if you are not familiar with linkys or have any questions about linkys, in general. Please read the rules above, before you enter by way of adding a link below.   And, Only add one link after you have practiced the tutorial to master the design. No rush, you have all month to practice and enter. Please follow the rules on this tutorial post, before you add a link.

Participants of SewCalGal's 2012 FMQ Challenge can link here, during October, to enter to win a monthly prize bundle!

To officially be entered in the 2012 FMQ Challenge please take time to fill out the Pledge Form" . Unfortunately, I couldn't figure out an easy way to get the email addresses collected in the Pledge Form to automatically load to my MailChimp mailing list, as originally planned. While I apologies, I do ask, if you want to receive email reminders when new FMQ tutorials are released each month, please also sign up via the special mailing list for this activity. And, don't forget that the page labeled "2012 Free-Motion Quilting Challenge" is the main page for the FMQ challenge and will be updated throughout the year, to provide a summary of current info and appropriate links. There are two "optional" groups that you may also want to join to network with others participating in this challenge:
Those on Facebook, may also want to join the 2012 Free Motion Quilting group.
There is also a free forum hosted by AQS that has been setup for participants in this challenge.   Simply visitMy Quilt Place, create an account or log in, click on groups and join the group "Free Motion Quilting on a Domestic Sewing Machine".

If you have not yet completed the previous tutorials, here are the links:

"Bonus" tutorials will be released, this summer, that will also be options for those needing to complete 12 FMQ tutorials anytime in 2012 to be eligible to enter to win a Grand Prize. 
  • Bonus Tutorial #1,  by  Linda Moran.
  • Bonus Tutorial #2,  by Susuan Brubaker Knapp  
  • Bonus Tutorial #3,  by Diane Loomis  ( to be released Late Sept/October).
  • Bonus Tutorial #4, by Teri Lucas (to be released in the Nov/December timeframe).

And, don't forget you can find Teri at:

Be sure to check out her online schedule, to see if she is teaching a workshop in your area.   You may also want to speak with your local Quilt Guild Program Chairperson and/or your local quilt shops, to have them schedule a workshop with Teri in your area.   Check out her workshop & lecture description page, for a complete list.

Copyright Reminder:  This site is copyright protected.  You are certainly authorized to print and use this tutorial for your own use. Please DO NOT print and share any part of this tutorial post, nor share electronically, without written permission from Teri Lucas and SewCalGal.

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sherry said...

ok this is going to be fun...i will get the first part done...i did bring my sketchbook to venice...alas no sewing machine...lots of photos for quilting designs tho

Kit Lang said...

Thanks for sharing Terri's work which is beautiful!

May I make a suggestion? Perhaps you should watermark her work with *her* name rather than yours, because when people pin those pictures (which you know they will!) it will look like the work is yours, not hers.

:) Kit

Marjorie's Busy Corner said...

You have such a challenge for me each month...lol. Having a great time with these; thank you. Teri's work looks wonderful!

Anonymous said...

This is a great tutorial - I must try it. I follow Teri's blog and feel very inspired with what she has shared on your blog this month. Thank you:)

teachpany said...

Great designs! I'm excited about playing with this one. Love the shells and different feathers.

Mary Ann said...

I can hardly wait to begin! Thank you for all your hard work!!

Rebecca Grace said...

I had SO MUCH FUN with this month's challenge! Teri, thank you so much for sharing the tutorial, and SewCalGal, I can't thank you enough for having the flash of brilliance that inspired you to host this challenge. My FMQ confidence has gone from zero to I-think-I-can to I-KNOW-I-can in the past few months, all because you challenged me to set aside one day a month for no pressure FMQ practice. I can't wait to put these new skills into my next quilts!

Editfolt said...

Interesting work. i love!

Claudia said...

this was so much fun! thank you, teri for this tutorial and you, sewcalgal for managing this great challenge.
I really did improve my FMQ skills during this year. so, it's already a great success for me :-D
thank you so much!

Claudia said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
OT Quilter said...

I really enjoyed this lesson. Everything that gets me to the sewing machine to practice helps me improve. I enjoyed using different threads and needles and using varying motifs. Thanks Teri.
(You may be aware that the east coast has had devastating effects from Sandy. We have been without pier, phone and cell service since Monday. I drove around yesterday trying to find power or cell service to post my picture in time with no luck. There may be others wh missed the deadline because of power issues too.)

CaroleM said...

I'm late, but here is my entry!