Monday, July 21, 2014

Free Motion Monday: Feathers, Week 3

Happy Monday everybody! (Yes, I have had too much caffeine.) Time for more free motion quilting fun with feathers!

First, I did a little feather video for you. My feathers are far from perfect, especially when shooting video, but that camera is putting all of us with our eyes just a few inches from the needle! Put a minimum of 24 inches from eyes to quilt before you look for the faults in anyone's quilting. On my first customer quilt, I was freaking out that it wasn't good enough. I was told to spread it on the bed and take a picture....all of a sudden, it was much better!



On the video, I talk about tension issues you can have when quilting feathers, especially if you're still learning to free motion. It can be easy to truly "whip out" the plumes. Your hands get faster in the curves and it causes a minute change in tension, just at the feather tips.


To show this, I tasked myself with quilting badly for you! This showed me the value of muscle memory, because it was hard to make my hands do what I wanted them to do.

To cure this, do not adjust your tension!

You need to adjust your hands instead. Slow them down in the curves just a bit. Conversely, you could speed up your machine a bit in each curve, but I find slowing down the hands easier to do. You'll notice the stitch length is longer at the tips too-- proof that the hands are speeding up.

If you adjust your tension for these trouble spots, you'll just throw it off in other areas.

I hope you are enjoying this series and are getting some feathers quilted. I am seeing such wonderful work from so many of you! Thanks for sharing.



We've got one more week on feathers and then it will be time for something else. What designs should we do next month? Next week I'll cover some feather variations. We could continue on with the variations into August. Thoughts?

Here are the link up guidelines:
  • Keep your post relevant to this quilt along please. Spammy posts will be deleted.
  • Make sure you link up to the individual post, not your home page as nobody wants to have to search around for the post if they're a little late to the party.
  • Reciprocate! Link back to this post somewhere in your post or use the clickable blog button in your sidebar. You've got to dance with the one who took you to the party, so make sure you link back.
  • Don't be a wall-flower. (Talking to myself here too. In person I am so stinking shy!) Visit the other links, be sociable, and leave comments.
  • Please make sure you leave me a way to contact you if you are a no-reply commenter, especially if you ask a question. 
Don't forget to bookmark this blog, follow, or sign it up in your favorite feed reader. Like the facebook page (I do post some short things on it pretty regularly), or even check out my Pinterest boards.  I'll be visiting you too!

Friday, July 18, 2014

Playing with a Feather and Photography

I did a little free motion quilting practice yesterday in the thoughts that I could use the result as a background image for some new business cards.


The quilting was fun, the colors fabulous. I used a variegated turquoise, purple and teal thread from Superior Thread's Rainbows line on black Kona cotton.

I forgot how hard it is to photograph black quilts. Not to mention I am severely lacking in photography skills.


There's the flat horror of using the flash:


Poor focus, even though I used a tripod and the 2 second timer to keep from shaking the camera:


Used the landscape setting by mistake instead of the portrait setting which gives a better focus at close quarters:


If you can't beat them, join them......Something about the above photo clicked with me. Fiddle some more with camera settings and it's starting to look like an artistic background.


Now to go fiddle with the computer to make my business card. But which one will I use?


Maybe I'll stick to the above picture. I sometimes feel like I'm at the eye doctor when trying to edit a number of pictures, "Which one looks better, One or Two? One or Two?"

What do you think?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Peek into a Project in the Works

Taking a short break from my usual free motion quilting in order to put something a little encouraging for the shop where I work. Here's a peek....


Sorry, couldn't help myself! This is to go near the area where we take in machines to service or repair. It'll be another day or so until I get it all fused up and stitched down. You can figure out what it says even though it's backwards, right?


I tried a different pair of scissors to cut out the letters and I really liked them. Someone gave me the pair in the middle for trimming threads, but I am way too fond of the double curved scissors with their retractable holder for cutting threads (on right). I usually use the scissors on the left for cutting appliques out, even though they tire my hands out.


But the spring loaded pair worked beautifully for cutting the letters out and the spring action made it much easier on the hands. I think I'll be using them from now on! They're from Fiskars.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Free Motion Monday Quilting Adventure: Feathers, Week 2

So has anybody been feathering their nests this week? With free motion quilted feathers of course! This is such a huge design topic to cover, I can't possibly do more than whet your appetite for them.


Patsy Thompson's book, Feather Adventures, is the most comprehensive book I've seen on feathers. I really like the name for some reason....


Her book is great, with plenty of examples and tips in a variety of styles. But the best help in learning to do feathers was to just keep drawing them! Draw them until your hands can't help but make smooth feather plumes.

free motion feathers



My attempt at a traditional feather from the video above, closely cropped to leave out the ugliest bits.....


My back tracked feather above, and the two non-backtracked styles (regular and hooked) below.

no back track feathers

And my bump-back (or bump-bump) feather.


I finished up my tiny feather fill this past weekend. My hands want to cramp up just at the thought of it. I took a video and will post it later in the week. Now it goes into the bin of unbound quilts.


In the pic below, notice that my stitch length is getting too long for these feathers. The fabric starts to ripple where lines of stitching are running parallel. this can happen with all types of designs when stitch legth gets too long, but it shows up in feathers easily.


I had to restitch that so-called traditional feather from the video. Just to make sure I could. It's....meh.


Then I moved on to a fun feather to help counteract the tenseness I felt as I quilted that traditional one.


So I hope to see some feathery goodness from you this week! If you are new to feathers, show us a drawing if you prefer. Make sure you don't compare your beginning to someone else's 'middle'.

So post something on your own blog about feathers and link up here so we can all go visiting and learn from one another!

Some quick rules:
  • Keep your post relevant to this quilt along please. Spammy posts will be deleted.
  • Make sure you link up to the individual post, not your home page as nobody wants to have to search around for the post if they're a little late to the party.
  • Reciprocate! Link back to this post somewhere in your post or use the clickable blog button in your sidebar. You've got to dance with the one who took you to the party, so make sure you link back.
  • Don't be a wall-flower. (Talking to myself here too. In person I am so stinking shy!) Visit the other links, be sociable, and leave comments.
  • Please make sure you leave me a way to contact you if you are a no-reply commenter, especially if you ask a question. 
Don't forget to bookmark this blog, follow, or sign it up in your favorite feed reader. Like the facebook page (I do post some short things on it pretty regularly), or even check out my Pinterest boards.  I'll be visiting you too!


Sunday, July 13, 2014

Free Motion Quilting Video: Dahlia with Template

Here's the video of free motion quilting the Dahlia using the rotating template!


I will do a more thorough review of these rotating templates when I've had more time to work with all of them.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Dizzy with Dahlias

I've got another new ruler from Top Anchor Quilting Tools to play with my free motion quilting! I didn't think I'd be able to use this one, but I can! This is so much stinking fun!

free motion quilting with dahlia ruler

I think I'll try to shoot a video of the next one I do. I ought to be doing some house work, but I'm good at procrastination. I hope you all are enjoying your weekend as well.

Friday, July 11, 2014

The Power of a Woman

Giving myself some free motion quilting motivation today.


Never underestimate the power of a woman with a sewing machine! 
(and a seam ripper--- running out of room--- story of my life!)