Friday, February 24, 2012

February Free Motion Quilting Challenge Block

Well I missed January, but I am determined to stay on track with this quilting challenge.  I tried my machine today and it was magically working again, proving to me that the problem was something I was doing.

Luckily, this meant I could start working on this month's FMQ challenge today!  The tutorial this month was on quilted feathers, by Diane Gaudynski.  Conveniently, I had just checked out her book "Guide to Machine Quilting" from the library (which has an impressive selection of quilting books).  This was also a nice tutorial because I have never tried to quilt feathers before (as you shall see!).

I followed her instructions step-by-step, I hope to later get in more feathering practice, but for now I wanted to post my block before the end of the month.

I started out drawing on the spine per the instructions.
The weird blip is where the BSR jumped because I stopped holding the fabric taut enough

I then just tried to quilt in a bunch of feathers.  Diane suggets a template if you are uncomfortable with the pattern, which I didn't have, so I tried making a go of it without any template.  You can see that didn't go great.  I had an especially hard time trying to figure out how to change the shape of the feather when going around a curve.  Her photos in the tutorial were very helpful because she had stitched in feathers in a wide variety of shapes and sizes.

First feather!

First side of feathers.  You can see some very inconsistent shapes

You can see along the first side of the feather I hadn't figured out that you need to echo exactly to the previous feather, so they're kind of all over the place.  I also forgot to taper the feathers near the top of the spine.

Side 2.  Again, not keeping the bottom of the feather close enough to the one below it.  At least I remembered to taper near the top.
I also echoed with far too much space.

Main feather!  The echoing does make everything look better in the end,

I tried to add the little branching feathers like Diane did.  I agree with her statement that smaller feathers are easier, however I still had a lot of trouble making the feathers curve with the spine while still adhering to the previous feather and keeping a nice shape.

little curve one.  The feathers on it came out terrible, as did the echo

Little branching feather.  This guy came out alright!  Looks a little funky at the tip.

Here's the current block!  I intentionally put in different colored bobbin and top threads to check my tension, and it looks okay!

So, that's my February entry.  It doesn't look great but I will keep practicing and post other feather blocks as I do them (maybe I'll do one or two next week to get some more practice end before the official end of the month.)


  1. Hi Heather, Your feathers are developing nicely. The stitches are smooth and even. The tear drop shape will improve with lots of practice. Bravo..well done!

  2. I think you did a great first wasn't as

  3. I think we all laugh as we go back and look at our first feathers, especially after several months of practice! Your first feathers are very nice, you did a great job! Wait til you have a few more under your belt, they will be fantastic.
    "Quilting Babcia"