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Thread: Do You FMQ Feathers? HELP!

  1. #1
    Power Poster sewbizgirl's Avatar
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    Do You FMQ Feathers? HELP!

    I need to learn how to quilt feathers for the current quilt I am quilting. I watched all the videos and thought I was ready... but my first practice piece (below, in brown) turned out HORRIBLE. If you are fairly decent at quilting feathers (FMQ, freehand, not with a longarm pattern) would you PLEASE post pics of your feather quilting here? I need some inspiration! And apparently, lots more practice.
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    "The reward of a thing well done is having done it." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

  2. #2
    Power Poster nativetexan's Avatar
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    well that's a skinny piece to handle when doing FMQ for one thing. you need to relax a bit more. put on some music. I'm about to try them again in my border soon.
    here is a pic of my feather in progress that I did some time ago. slow movements help.
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  3. #3
    Power Poster sewbizgirl's Avatar
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    Thanks for the good advice and the photo! Lovely feathering!
    http://www.craftsy.com/user/333534/pattern-store?
    http://www.etsy.com/shop/sewbizgirl
    Boom 19 Album of Blocks I Made for Others https://www.quiltingboard.com/member...bums19825.html
    "The reward of a thing well done is having done it." -- Ralph Waldo Emerson

  4. #4
    Senior Member bunniequilter's Avatar
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    Best way to learn FMQ feathers is with pencil and paper, play and get the flow of the feathers, train your brain on paper first and you will find it much much easier when working on a quilt.
    Quilt outside of the box!

  5. #5
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    pretty good results for first timer...one of my "Duh!" moments came when I watched a local professional doing her work....she was so slow that I thought she'd never get done...but her work was excellent because she had control of the process. When I went home and slowed down to her speed I did some pretty good work for a beginner....my problem is staying slowed down - thank God for speed control on my machine.
    Kate

  6. #6
    Super Member Buckeye Rose's Avatar
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    I find doing feathers difficult at best, and usually end up doing them upside down so I can actually see where I am going. My biggest issue is how to have a continuous pattern and not sew same area over. I love the way they look, just not very good at doing them, so while I have no help for you, I can sympathize completely. I know making the transition from drawing on paper to sewing is not easy, takes lots of practice. Keep at it, it does get easier.

  7. #7
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    are you using a stencil or pattern for the feathers or trying to "wing it" Your example looks like you need more control over the motif. I realy don't believe you can successfully just sit down and do the feathers without a plan and pattern to use as a guide. I don't know what practice you have done leading up to this. I suggest you practice just doing loops in about the size of your feather. Work for control of the needle. Go slow. Draw the design and follow it Dont try to make the design freehand until you have enough practice. Looking at your sample it appears you need a lot of practice to do it successfully. I do feather differently than others. Most double stitch the spine. I double stitch every other outside curve. It makes for more even lines for me. Get yourself a stencil, preferable one that is for continuous line feathers and practice.

  8. #8
    Super Member katier825's Avatar
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    Check out the book "Hooked on Feathers" by Sally Terry. It's easier than you think to get pretty feathers!

  9. #9
    Super Member newbee3's Avatar
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    keep going it will get better and breathe

  10. #10
    Power Poster nativetexan's Avatar
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    I should also say quilt toward you if you can. meaning do the feather down toward you and back up toward the spine. that way the quilt goes toward the back of your machine as usual, not into your lap. sometimes it's not do able but it does help because you can see more of what you are doing.
    good advice to draw on paper- a lot. have fun too!

  11. #11
    Super Member Maggiemay's Avatar
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    I was having the same trouble & heard from someone on this board about Sally Terry's book "Hooked on Feathers". It is a different method of making feathers that works well on a DSM. After reading it & practicing here is a picture of my first attempt on a real quilt. I was pleased with how it came out.
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  12. #12
    Super Member Maggiemay's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by katier825 View Post
    Check out the book "Hooked on Feathers" by Sally Terry. It's easier than you think to get pretty feathers!
    You must have posted this as I was trying to upload my picture!

  13. #13
    Super Member alleyoop1's Avatar
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    If you are using a long arm machine and have a stylus, then draw out your feathers and use your stylus to follow the pattern. Or try just keeping a picture of feathers on the quilt as you sew and keep you eye on it and let you eye follow as your hands move.

  14. #14
    Super Member Buckeye Rose's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Holice View Post
    are you using a stencil or pattern for the feathers or trying to "wing it" Your example looks like you need more control over the motif. I realy don't believe you can successfully just sit down and do the feathers without a plan and pattern to use as a guide. I don't know what practice you have done leading up to this. I suggest you practice just doing loops in about the size of your feather. Work for control of the needle. Go slow. Draw the design and follow it Dont try to make the design freehand until you have enough practice. Looking at your sample it appears you need a lot of practice to do it successfully. I do feather differently than others. Most double stitch the spine. I double stitch every other outside curve. It makes for more even lines for me. Get yourself a stencil, preferable one that is for continuous line feathers and practice.

    What I wouldn't give to come and watch you quilt........I don't know anyone locally who quilts, so I am at the mercy of all you wonderful quilters to help me improve....I love to see the creativity of everyone's quilting.

  15. #15
    Super Member grammysharon's Avatar
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    Try drawing them on paper first!!!!!
    A quilt is a blanket of love. Sharon

  16. #16
    Super Member knlsmith's Avatar
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    I agree with Holice. It would be most helpful to draw it out on paper so you can train your brain. Then get a stencil, or trace a free one of the internet, right on your practic piece. Use a pen or pencil since it is just a practice piece, you need to be able to see it well. Or print it from your computer and pin it on top of your practice piece and sew right through the paper and fabric. the paper will tear away when you are done. You won't be able to stay on the lines 100%, but trust me, with practice it gets better.
    Take a deep breath, relax, and remeber, you're just starting. You can't just hop on a bike and not crash a few times.

    Quote Originally Posted by Holice View Post
    are you using a stencil or pattern for the feathers or trying to "wing it" Your example looks like you need more control over the motif. I realy don't believe you can successfully just sit down and do the feathers without a plan and pattern to use as a guide. I don't know what practice you have done leading up to this. I suggest you practice just doing loops in about the size of your feather. Work for control of the needle. Go slow. Draw the design and follow it Dont try to make the design freehand until you have enough practice. Looking at your sample it appears you need a lot of practice to do it successfully. I do feather differently than others. Most double stitch the spine. I double stitch every other outside curve. It makes for more even lines for me. Get yourself a stencil, preferable one that is for continuous line feathers and practice.

  17. #17
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    one thing I notice is that the bases of each feather frond is wide - I usually see them coming to a point - rather like a teardrop with the pointy end at the center of the feather frond - in doing this, the arc of the stitch helps you end up on the centerline...does that make sense? find a picture and run your pencil over it several times to get the feel of it.
    Kate

  18. #18
    Super Member blahel's Avatar
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    not that I am an expert at doing feathers (i too am learning) but I am expert at reading about it!
    What I have read so far is to use a thinner 60 weight thread (say bottomline, there are others) and use a thread that blends in more with your fabric and your mistakes errr design decisions wont be so visible..see... problem solvered.. at least until you practice more...lol..and anyway I think you first practice piece is pretty good so just keep practicing!
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  19. #19
    Super Member Mitch's mom's Avatar
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    I can't free motion to save my soul but I can see one thing that you could change that will make a difference on your next practice piece. You didn't 'Close' your feather fronds. Yours are like little U's along the spine. If you look at some of the pictures posted you'll see what I mean. You did a thousand percent better than I ever have - good job!

  20. #20
    Super Member azwendyg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bunniequilter View Post
    Best way to learn FMQ feathers is with pencil and paper, play and get the flow of the feathers, train your brain on paper first and you will find it much much easier when working on a quilt.
    I totally agree with bunniequilter! LOTS of practice on paper until you can DRAW feathers you like BEFORE you try to stitch them worked for me.

    For your inspiration; here's a sample of my feathers after MONTHS of drawing, followed by MONTHS more of stitching practice:
    Name:  Bag-IPad-Blue-back-web.jpg
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    Wendy

  21. #21
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    Wendy, your work is beautiful! I had a fear of making feathers until I took a class in FMQ at my LQS a few years ago. Judy Woodworth was the teacher, and it was a privelege taking a class from her. One trick she taught the class was to pretend you are going around a coin when making the outer loops. As you go down, make a curve towards the spine and then back up and make the next loop. It did not take long to feel comfortable making the feathers. Before you know it, you will transfer this knowledge to making leaves, ferns, etc.

  22. #22
    Super Member GEMRM's Avatar
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    I have heard that some practise with a marker or pencil taped to the machine, as if it was a needle, then manipulate paper around as if you were sewing to get some practice and "muscle memory". I have not yet mustered the confidence to even get practising feathers, so good luck to you and congratulations on getting started!

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by katier825 View Post
    Check out the book "Hooked on Feathers" by Sally Terry. It's easier than you think to get pretty feathers!
    Used it. Loved it. My first one turned out quite well.

    If you want to learn classic feathers, here is a link to a 6 part tutorial posted in June 2012. I haven't tried it yet, but have seen what others have done. They turned out very well.

    http://www.patchworktimes.com/2012/0...ather-lessons/

  24. #24
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    I love doing feathers on my longarm, the best way to learn is hand and pencil on paper , repeat to yourself "half a heart, half a heart" your heart halfs will be curvy and sloping to the spine. Now that you got that in your brain, go to the machine and do the same chant-"half a heart, half a heart" It really works, and it will look wonderful!

  25. #25
    Super Member WMUTeach's Avatar
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    Maggiemay, I am not ready for the feathers, but I do like the stars all threaded together. I may just give that a try soon. Thank you for the photo!

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