Monday, 7 July 2014

Progress on the Feather Border

First of all...thanks for the many comments on my last post about making my own feather stencil. Very much appreciated! Please make sure though that you are not a No Reply blogger...I had a few comments that I could not reply to.

I am making progress on my Whole Cloth quilt. Bit of a slow progress, but progress it is!

The stencil I made with the Golden Threads Quilting paper works great. As it is made from my own drawing the stitching flows nicely even when some of the chalk lines are becoming faint as I am used to the way that I draw them. This left me with a nice and even looking border and the right size for each plume to do some in-lining with a different thread colour later on. None of this is exact...when quilting along, I do not always follow the line exactly, hence the individual plumes on each side are not exact mirror images of each other. They don't really have to be...what counts here is the overall impression of consistency as I stitched them from the middle out. Very happy with the result and slowly will work my way around the border. 

A bit closer - same quilt under different light
Here are some tips for feather quilting:
- when you are drawing feathers, draw them the way you would stitch them...this will instantly show you when something does not flow right and will make it easier when you are stitching them.
- I have found that taking the plunge and putting feathers in borders is one of the best ways to learn. Even if you only do a small project, stitching feathers all around will mean that you are doing the same shape hundreds of times, over and over of the most effective ways to get the shape imprinted on your brain. 
- I do not watch my stitch length, but concentrate more on the shape. With practice in FMQ you will eventually arrive at a stitch length that is right for you
- not every plume will look great...happens all the time. I don't sweat about it, but just keep going, as it will most likely not stand out at all.
- find your most comfortable way of stitching feathers. I use the backtracking method most of the time. When backtracking along the length of the plume I try to aim to stitch directly next to each stitch...the funny part is as I am aiming for that, I usually end up stitching back directly back over each stitch. In contrast, when I try to concentrate to go back in the same stitch, I do anything but that. If you find backtracking too bothersome, leave a little gap...looks just as good.
- I find it easiest to stitch feathers towards me. In this border though, I started in the center, so when I do the plumes to the right side of the center, this is not practical, as I have most of the bulk under the machine. In that case I start off with stitching the plumes away from me and then move slowly but surely to stitching them sideways. Trial and error works best here and I have accepted that this occasionally will lead to some wonky shapes.
- I often stitch feathers without the gloves... it gives me more control over the stitching
- take it slow and get into a rhythm. Feathers is not something you can hurry along ...I set my machine to the slowest speed and keep the speed fairly constant. I rely a lot on the sound of the machine and usually can hear when my rhythm is not right ( this sounds odd, a bit hard to explain).

Linking up to Anything Goes Linky Party at Stitch by Stitch which is hosted today by Diana from Red Delicious Life
Also linking with Amy's Free Motion Quilting Adventures as she is featuring feathers for the month of July.



  1. Beautiful feathers! You give quite good and accurate description and instructions. The bump-back tehcnique works better for me, but like you say that is just the individual preference.

  2. Great hints.
    I hope your post encourages more people to try feathers.

  3. Your feathers are beautiful and those are some great tips. I've recently taken Angela Walter's feathers class on Craftsy and have gotten so much more comfortable with them. I can't wait to have a quilt with a border large enough to do a feather border. Thanks for linking up to Anything Goes Mondays.

  4. Thanks for the tips. I'm going to use them! I love your feathers. I am going to have to take the plunge and make quilt feathers on a border. I'm just a little nervous!

  5. It is fantastic Karin.... Still haven't worked my way to some quilting yet... Summer got in the way!! :0))

  6. Looks fabulous and your tips are great. Thanks for linking up!

  7. I came in from Val's and love your EPP elongated hexie
    not afraid of color!


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