Funny enough though, this is not exactly how I had visualised this border. I wanted something a bit more organic and playful, i.e. a less organised feather arrangement. It seems that I cannot be less consistent....I stitch close to the pre-drawn line and don't seem to venture out too much, hence doing a lot of backstitching to travel along the previous feather. I think this is for fear of stuffing it up and also becoming really inconsistent in shape and size. Sticking close to the previous plume shape produces this very even, elegant looking feather arrangement.
How funny is this...I think I will have to practice being a bit more free-flowing and less consistent to produce something a bit less organised.
In the end I stopped trying and continued with my more consistent approach (no point trying to force it...I think it will come with time and more practice). It does look nice and I am happy with my progress with the feathers so far. In terms of marking...yah, minimal... the way I like it. All I did was draw the gentle curve in with my new flexible curve ruler (absolutely fantastic gadget) and off I went. I did draw in the first few feathers lightly to get me going on the right track, and again in the corner to keep this as consistent as I can, given that it is going to meet the feather from the other side. Also, every time, I felt I was getting off track, I just simply lightly drew a few plume shapes in and that seemed to get the brain back on track. The only other marking was half an inch on the outside of the border so as to not run the plume shapes into the seam allowance and to allow for a bit of breathing space all around. This sort of "assisted" method of freeform feathers works extremely well for me.
I might dress this up with some hyperquilting (see Patsy Thompson designs for some info on hyperquilting...just amazing!) inside the plumes. That could take some of the formality out...just not sure what thread colour to use for that.
Until next time, linking up to FMQ at the Freemotion Quilting Project where Leah talks about practice is never a waste of time. How true...if I think about how I laboured over my choices with the quilting on this one, her account on choosing designs was a bit of an eye opener...