Sunday, January 6, 2013

Endless feathers --drawing them

   Such a lot of interest in these feathers...endless questions and comments!  Great!  I love them and they gave me reason to really stop and think these plumes through.  Why are they so appealing?   For me, I think it is because they are not static but move and curl.  They are not drawn on the fabric with a line to try to follow.  Some plumes move one direction and others take off in the opposite one.   Instead of following a curve, they flow along the surface of the quilt---- creating a texture of softness around the applique in the case of the table runner.

   Where did I learn to stitch them?   I ran across the video on  Natasha's blog where she was showing how she stitched these feathers.  If you haven't visited and watched, please do.  It is in Russian, so the words must translate and she offers little detail in them.  But the videos are wonderful, and I really enjoyed the music she had playing.  I keep popping back over to re-watch them....after about 5 views I began some practice on paper.  Yes, pencil and paper and lots of it.  The first ones were not pretty.  It was only after about 20 pages of practice that I began to get the idea of what was happening.  Now, you may be a quick learner, or a good visual learner, but me....I am the" hands on"  type.  I learn by doing and doing, over and over.

  Drawing:   Get the teardrop shape down.  That's the first step on this and you need to be able to do a left curve one and a right curve one.   Fill a whole page with them if need be.  Paper is cheaper than fabric!
   The individual  plumes will be different  sizes in this method.  If you participated in the Free Motion Challenge last year you remember all the feathers and feather wreaths with similar plumes.  This motif is full of different size ones and I love the interest that creates.
Secondly, the plumes are created in three ways. I gave them names for ease of explaining.
 1. Individual plume in the teardrop shape  that begins the feather
 2. Attached plume that lays on top of the preceding plume.  
3. The "bump back" plume that can extend longer than the preceding plume.  

  I enlarged a spot on one of the photos  to show what I mean.   Start with an individual plume and then add the attached plume to it.    So far, so what?    Look close and you will see that I traveled back over the last stitches a short distance, and then did a "bump back plume" .  On the labeled  bump back plume I swung the end out and down to fill in area before returning to the central stem.   Once I got back to the center, I was able to continue adding the plumes.
  OK, if you got this far and are not confused,  go practice!  Seriously, give me a few days and  I will work on trying to explain how to get them to curve and curl around.   If you have questions ....ask.
 Happy stitching.


  1. I've been just running my cursor over your plumes and it's starting to be a little clearer, I think I've been trying to do them backwards. I like the idea of know stem too, I think that just added more rules to the mix. Keep the tips coming.

  2. You are so clever. It looks amazing! Perhaps if I manage to whittle down my UFOs and WiPs I can make 2014 the year of FMQ!

  3. ...some year I'll work up to these! Yours a gorgeous!!!

  4. This is so beautiful and I love that little hump back plume! I have to try this!

  5. 2013 is my year to master (well, maybe just get better at) feathers. I will work on this. Thanks for the help, Debbie. Your feathers are wonderful!

  6. This is really beautiful, Debbie.

  7. Hi Debbie, Nice work! I have been practicing feathers and mine look so good until I have to come back down the other side. Then it looks like I am writing with the wrong hand, so to speak! Yours are looking beautiful!

  8. Gosh, do I struggle with these! I've drawn and drawn! Thanks for the tips--I'll have to keep trying, but with them in mind. :o)

  9. I may have to try the bump back technique again. It's more awkward to me that retracing. But your feathers are so interesting with the various lengths - some longer, some shorter as they climb up the stem. I'll bring a sketch book to work today since there's some down time waiting for calculations.

  10. I've gone to Natasha's blog several times since you steered us in her direction some time back. She does beautiful feathers. I really need to get serious about FM quilting & start practicing. I'm always so tight & tense when I try it but I am seeing a little progress. I have a problem when I try to go over stitches I've already made. You can't even see where Natasha goes over. Someday...someday...

  11. Absolutely beautiful.


  12. Debbie, I came back to jump over to Natasha's videos again, did you look at her shop? Amazing whole cloth quilts.


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