Saturday, July 16, 2016

Let's talk feathers.

Not too long ago that word inspired fear and trembling in me. Now I love to apply them to quilts whenever I can.
This little "Crazy Ann" quilt received it's feather border and is now bound and ready to send off to my friend.
Small quilt finish #40 for this year.
Even though this is not my preference in colors, I like it much better than I thought I would.

Then there is the basket wall hanging made from scraps of one of my Mom's quilts.
I hadn't quite finished the ditch stitching, but it was crying for feathers. The feathered wreaths in the black squares are a little hard to see. I used a stencil and pounce pad to mark those.

 On the setting triangle feathers I just mark a spine using a curved ruler, and wing it from there (pun intended).

Feathers were my nemesis when I started free motion quilting and now I enjoy them and look for places to use them. My first venture into free motion quilting was a class I took in October 2011. I didn't try feathers for a few weeks and the attempts were so discouraging that I threw them away. Wish I had kept them so we could have a good laugh. But if you are struggling with feathers, maybe this will give you hope.


This was one of my early feather attempts. I just couldn't figure out how to get the feathers to emerge gracefully from the spine.

Four months after I began my struggle to machine quilt I was involved in the SewCalGal (now QuiltShopGal) free motion quilt challenge of 2012, and February's challenge was feathers.
This is what I finally created in February of 2012. Not exactly a graceful, flowy piece. : )
 So if you are feather challenged as I was, know that it really does boil down to practice. I found the December border challenge from Patsy Thompson In SewCalGal's 2012 FMQ challenge really helped me get the feel for the flow of feathers. 

Even though the challenge was about border designs, Patsy uses a lot of feathers in her borders and this inspired me. I followed some of her feathered border designs and practiced until it clicked. 
 Not perfect, but a definite improvement! And it just kept getting easier from there on out.

There are only two or three feather designs with which I am comfortable. I want to branch out and try some new ones. 
What is your favorite style of feather? And do you quilt it yourself, or does someone else do your quilting for you?

Until next time,
Janet O.

40 comments:

  1. Really beautiful, you prove to others wanting or starting out quilting that Practice really does get you to your desired destination! As you know I am feather fan too........feather here, feather there, feather wherever you can!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Your feathers are so flowing and graceful, and isn't it great to see the difference between Feb. 2012 and now! I still have my practice piece from that month too, and practiced feathers constantly. Need to get back to them again. What fun that 2012 challenge was!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Love the small finish for your friend. Your feathers are fabulous. I too, once could not do feathers. It's all about confidence in yourself and practice. Go girl!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I don't know if feather designs would ever click with me. Yours always look good. I remember when you first started practicing machine quilting. You picked it up very fast.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Hi Janet,
    First of all , I love your blue red and white quilt,the light blue is just perfect.
    I am a hand quilter, and I have never tried feathers,maybe because it seems To be a long work. I am a lady girl sometimes LOL.
    Take care about you and have a nice day

    ReplyDelete
  6. you are the queen of feathers!! you really should be proud of your expertise. I like to do feathers too. I usually follow one of my many stencils. I also like to hand quilt feathers.
    Thanks for the link! I'll have to bookmark that to try one day!

    ReplyDelete
  7. Your friend's quilt turned out beautiful Janet!!! It was really pretty before you started quilting, but those feathers take it over the top to wonderful! I have no doubt she will be thrilled :*). I remember watching your metamorphosis from newbie feather-quilter to the skilled, flowing feathers you create today. I could look at your feathers forever!!! Well, actually I do look at them everyday when I walk into my studio and the first thing I spy is the small feather quilt you gave me - it is one of my special treasures! 💕

    ReplyDelete
  8. Your feathers are wonderful!!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  9. I wanted to write it to you But Barb wrote it before me !:))) You're really the Queen of feathers !
    I love to admire your work Janet ! You're very talented !

    ReplyDelete
  10. what gorgeous machine quilting you have perfected! i love feathers and feather wreaths, probably why i have a lot of solid quilts but i love how you tuck them in all sorts of places...so inspiring to me!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Your feathers have come a long way. They are intimidating for sure. I found you just have to let it go and do it! Your newest quilt looks fantastic.
    Mary

    ReplyDelete
  12. I'm always amazed at your feathers because they are tiny, tiny plumes on your little quilts. Mostly I hesitate to do feathers because my machine's harp space is very small and it can be difficult to see where I'm going. But obviously marking would help. I think taking classes is an excellent idea! Love your little beauties.

    ReplyDelete
  13. My computer does my Feathers for me. They aren't as flowing as your pretty ones. I want to FMQ but need to learn how to make the machine move right. It is hard to make pretty stuff when it bumps as you move it. I will just enjoy your gorgeous examples.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Very nice. Your quilting is beautiful! Margie/NY

    ReplyDelete
  15. I can remember crying as I practiced and practiced comma strokes for tole painting till I got it right. Your work is stunning.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Thanks for the feather encouragement

    ReplyDelete
  17. Your practice has paid off! Looking forward to seeing your next batch of feathered quilting.

    ReplyDelete
  18. You definitely have been tickled by feathers. Your determination to master this beautiful design has paid off. Any new variation will be a delight to try and an encouragement to the rest of us.

    ReplyDelete
  19. I love seeing your beautiful border feathers, so I have uploaded the link (thank you) and going to watch one of Patsy Thompson's free tutorials. I hope to squeeze in some practise today, because it seeing where you started and how you FMQ now it is very encouraging that if I put my mind to it I might master this technique too. Thank you for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Boy, I would say that you have surely mastered those feathers. Beautiful. Thanks for explaining that maybe even less artistic people can learn to do them. Your quilting is exceptional.

    PS did you know that you are a noreply blogger when you reply to a comment? Just a FYI.

    ReplyDelete
  21. Wow!! Crazy Ann turned out beautifully!! And I think everyone here would agree if I crown you the "Feather Queen"!! Your feathers are just stunning!!

    ReplyDelete
  22. Janet...Beautiful, I love feathers,
    My Susie has been neglected for so long, she may not "talk" to me next time I want to play...

    ReplyDelete
  23. I think I'll go practice feathers now :) Yours look wonderful. Thanks for sharing their evolution!

    ReplyDelete
  24. I always enjoy your blog, but I wish somehow I could tell you how much this particular post meant to me this morning. Lately I've been planning and experimenting with feathers for my large quilt project. I've never been able to suit myself with FMQ; I get disgusted and give up! Your words and pictures of your feathers today inspired and encouraged me to try really hard today. I did make a little progress that I'll show later. I can only dream that I'll ever be able to do feathers as beautifully as yours, but I intend to keep ruining some quilt tops trying to do the best I can! Thanks so much for all your help and encouragement! ---"Love"

    ReplyDelete
  25. Goes to show practice makes perfect...great feathers!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Beautiful! I quilt by check. Love to hand quilt, but there just isn't enough time in the day to do a lot of that. I think my current hand quilting project has been in the works for at least two years. Wool applique seems to have taken over my hand work time.

    ReplyDelete
  27. The quilt is lovely! It's good that you explained about feathers - I can sure relate! I did the same FMQ challenge and learned so much! My favorite feathers to make are hooked feathers. I have a book titled "Hooked on Feathers" that helped me a lot as well. I also like to throw in a few swirls from time to time. My feathers aren't as "perfect" looking, but I like them.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Your quilted feathers are beautiful. Yes, practice is the key--I find the more I make (miniature) quilts each one is an improvement.

    ReplyDelete
  29. I love feathers, when someone else is quilting them!! ;-
    Yours are wonderful.
    Thanks for the license plate!! Can't wait to figure out what to do with them!!

    ReplyDelete
  30. Beautiful work Janet, those feathers are beautiful and add such a lovely element to your quilts. I'm a little rusty with my feathers, must get back into them, you cant beat a good feather!

    ReplyDelete
  31. Once again, your feathers are awesome. You are giving a gift of lasting memories, and your friend will be so delighted when she receives her gift. I have not seen anyone that is as gifted as you are with quilting feathers. Have a great week.

    ReplyDelete
  32. I think you have the feather quilting nailed! I'm afraid that I am a feather failure--they just never turn out how I envision them. I have a little success with the "bump back" ones!

    ReplyDelete
  33. I'm not sure I will EVER attain your level of ability Janet - they look so perfect! I keep thinking I'd like to come watch you sew them in person, but in this day & age of technology I think you could have someone film you do them and email it to me - or post it on your blog! Great idea, YES?

    ReplyDelete
  34. I just love feather quilting too! It's one of my favourite designs and I haven't done any lately... that must change!

    ReplyDelete
  35. Thank you for all the inspiration and education. Your willingness to share some of your earlier efforts is greatly appreciated by all of us who value process as well as product. I'd love to see more of the marking process because pouncing sounds messy to me. I'm clueless on marking.

    ReplyDelete
  36. very inspiring Mom!
    I'll keep chugging along on my attempts :)

    ReplyDelete
  37. Lovely as always! And, I wanted to let you know that I have nominated you for “One Lovely Blog Award”. You can read about it on my blog, but I wanted you to know that you don’t have to do anything. You are already and inspiration!

    ReplyDelete
  38. I just love, love, love feathers... but... mine don't always turn out that well :) You've inspired me to keep trying! xx

    ReplyDelete
  39. All your little quilts are beautiful! 40 finishes! Now that is really impressive. Feathers fill me with fear and trembling! I know the answer is practice, practice, practice.

    ReplyDelete
  40. I'm concentrating on feathers right now! Thanks for the tip, and for my morning scroll through a few of your delightful archived posts. I'm off now to check out that link! Wish me luck!~karen

    ReplyDelete

I love to have your comments and feedback.

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...