Sunday, January 29, 2017

Endless Feathers and details

   I have done posts before about the endless feathers.   After my last post I had a few emails about how to make the feather curve, and how to turn the corner.  So rather than repeat myself over and over, here are the details.

   From 2013, part 1 is about drawing the   I know that sounds like a bad word....draw the plumes over and over.  That is where you will develop muscle memory, which is your brain doing the work and telling your hand what to do.

  Part 2 is an extension on drawing the feathers with  several diagrams as a guide.   These are the steps I used for teaching the feathers class.  The students had to draw for 30 minutes before I let them turn on the machines!  Yes, they complained but in the end most were very successful.

  How to make the feather curve:   First, note that there  is no spine to these feathers, only an imagined one.  Each plume comes from the center (where you would look for the spine) and returns to the center.  Look close and you can see how the short plumes move up one side of  a plume from the opposite side.
  Second, I get to a point where I want to create a curve.  To do this I make a longer plume to wrap around the short section......and do a bump-back plume to circle all the way around and back to attach to the "imagined spine"  which is where the needle is in the photo.

   This photo shows the completed feather.  The long curved plume became the center spine for the short plumes on the opposite side.
  I know this is clear as mud....I am trying:)

  Feathers can turn a corner easily.  The longer plume to create the curve does the work.  Once you get the inner plume around the corner, begin adding plumes on the opposite side.
  The outer side will have more individual plumes to get around the corner.  I like to vary the size---large and small lengths.  Just be sure to keep the base narrow and tapered when it attaches.

   And then continue on....and on.  Remember these can be endless!  

  I continued to break up the sections as I went around the border on the pineapple blossom quilt.   I ended the feather with a loop and curl and then did the fill in section.  

And now I have the binding to do......I will get a finish out of this!  Thanks for the questions and hope I explained it well enough.  Happy stitching.


  1. Beautiful feathers. Great tips and inspiration.


  2. I still haven't mastered feathers and I think I need to practic drawing them more.

  3. Wow, thirty minutes? I guess I will have to try that and see if my feathers improve.

  4. I have a quilt pinned that is waiting for feathers. It's way down the list - can't wait to get to it! Your tips will help. Thanks! ~Jeanne

  5. Love your feathers! So thrilled you can continue on.

  6. I really need to give this style feather another try--yours are gorgeous!!

  7. I remember printing out your diagram of feathers and tracing over it a lot before I was ready to free draw them, it helped alot when I tackled actually sewing them although it's been a while so I'll probably need to draw again. It did give me the confidence not to be afraid of them anymore.

  8. Pretty quilting. You know I haven't been a fan of feathers but I'm starting to appreciate them more. When I made a FMQ sampler a few months ago, I liked the idea of using the larger plumes as the spine for the smaller ones. It makes it easier to fill in oddly shaped areas. Thanks for this tutorial.

  9. Good description of how to stitch these feathers!

  10. I'm pretty disciplined about doing all the preparation for something, but I don't know that I would have thought to draw for 30 minutes! Maybe there's hope for me yet. Thanks for the explanation and photos.

  11. Oh they are so pretty! I haven't put them in a quilt yet but at least I'm no longer afraid of them--I'll get there. Thanks for the encouragement!


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