Practising feathers

9 05 2011

Feathers are one of the free motion quilting motifs I’ve been too scared to tackle! I’ve doodled them and that’s helped. I’ve bought some books on different techniques and tried them out. But I still wasn’t happy with my feathers. Until I got the Diane Gaudynski book on free motion quilting that was recommended to me by Joan.

I sat down at the Bee (my HandiQuilter Sweet Sixteen machine) and got started. I marked sweeping curves for the spines, and side rails to contain the ends of each feather shape, put some variegated thread on the Bee and got going! I was really pleased with how my feathers turned out. I did four lines of ‘puffy’ feathers with some different effects in the spines, then a central feather that was more like real feathers or even a fern frond.

The filler in between some of the feathers is based on Karen McTavish‘s ‘McTavishing’, though I don’t think it’s true McTavishing 😉 I haven’t finished the filler spaces yet — I may do pebbles/bubbles or small scallops to the sides of the central feather/fern as there’s already a lot of tight, short curved bits in that feather. Update: Finished! I used scallops in the filler spaces next to the central feather.

I was pretty pleased with the tension, and, by using a different coloured thread on the back, I had a good indication of when the tension was ‘off’.

I was also pretty pleased with my first real attempt at feathers, using a style that I’m comfortable with — I found Diane Gaudynski’s method very easy to do. Also, other than the sweeping guides, there’s NO marking. I’m far too lazy to mark out a pattern! I just want to quilt it!

Click on a small photo to see it larger, then click on the large photo to zoom in to see the stitches (the yellow thread is my basting stitches — I take these out when I’ve finished a section; the brighter orange photo is with the flash — the rest are taken without a flash to try to get the 3D quality to stand out):