Monday, February 6, 2012

Doing battle with feathers

    Before I forget.....do you like to read?  Do you tend to use a slip of paper to mark your place like I do.  Take a look at these really special bookmarks at Juanita's blog.  She does beautiful art quilts, and until recently all by hand--no machine!  She has a series of landscape book marks that are beautiful, and for sale.  Drop by and say  hello.
     I have been drawing feathers, and drawing and drawing for this month's tutorial by Diana Gaudynski  at SewCalGal .   This is about the 10th  page of practice and I thought I finally had a hand on it.  So on to fabric and thread.  I set my machine like she suggested and started.  Go slow and try for tiny stitches, no gloves, and keep the batt  straight--as in North and South with no flipping it around.  
This is round one.  First the thread kept breaking.  I tried a new needle and re-threaded everything.  It is hard to see white on white, so I switched to a red thread so I could see where I was going and had been.  Oh, boy...that was awful   Back to tan thread and another feather.  And trying to outline was even more frustrating.  She does not recommend gloves , just bare hands for FMQ, but I don't have control without them.  I was not pleased at all with the effort.   I don't like micro stitching.   I put it away....almost in the trash can. I quit!
  This is round two from this morning.  I decided that I would give it one more shot, as I am not a quitter by nature.  This time I set my machine up as I usual do.  I also drew the feather onto the fabric with a pencil before stitching.  You can still see some of the marks that I did not get erased completely.   I don't have or use the blue disappearing marker---one very bad experience and I threw them away.   Anyway, on with the gloves, adjusted my speed and tension and started on the feather spine.  Up, down, and onto the plumes......I did much better overall and even managed  to almost follow the drawn lines and the outlining sort of consistently.   I did not try for those tiny stitches, but instead achieved even  stitches.  
  Insight:  Practice creates muscle memory for drawing and free motion stitching.  When you get frustrated, stop!  Try again later.  
  So, if you are taking the Free Motion Challenge, I wish you great success with feathers.  I have a long way to go with them.   Happy stitching.  
   

11 comments:

  1. You brave woman, you. I don't care what anyone says, I've tried FMQ with and without the gloves, and I'm sticking to the gloves!
    I am doing the challenge and this month scares me. I tried feathers in a class last fall and it was anything but pretty. Believe me, yours look sooo much better than my first attempt. Good job on the feathers and on not giving up!!

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  2. I have not yet started this month tutorial but each time I try feather in the past it was very ugly :(

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  3. I'm right behind you on these feathers--kind of dreading it but would love to get it figured out. Yours look way better than any of my past attempts. Guess I'd better get to sketching...

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  4. You def should not quit. your feathers look pretty great!

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  5. Great advice to walk away for awhile and revisit when you're ready. It will get easier.
    I don't use gloves when free motion quilting on a domestic machine, but might try if they're like the newer gardening gloves instead of too large & floppy ones.

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  6. As Kim Bradley (quilter extraordinare) said in the class I took last month: "You have to find what works for you"!

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  7. Your feathers look like mine! Have you ever tried the Crayola Washable Markers? I bought some and did a test on scrap fabric, and it all washed out, but I have tried it on anything good yet. I have a Husqvarna Sapphire 850, and I have to use a stretch needle or I get broken thread. When the tech told me to do that and I thought he was nuts, but it works. I don't like using gloves, so I'm just the opposite of you.

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  8. that's "haven't" tried the markers yet on a real project.

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  9. interesting post,well done.xx

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  10. Thanks for the link to my blog. Your feathers are looking pretty good.

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  11. Feathers are hard and I'm still practicing! I love the look of them and one day hope to finally "get them"! Good luck and like you said just gotta keep practicing:)
    LauraT

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