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Thread: Help trying my luck at feathers

  1. #1
    Super Member quiltlady1941's Avatar
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    Help trying my luck at feathers

    I am trying to branch out and try a few different FMQ designs, I got the swirl designs down pretty good but now want to try my hand with some feathers.. I have been watching videos on the internet on how to do feathers and have been practicing on paper..I finally tried doing some on a table runner, I know it's not very good but it's for me so that's ok..
    now my question on the feathers, how many times do you go up and down the spine? I am doing what is called bump back feathers, I make the spine and then come down it to start the feathers on one side continue to the top of the spine and then back down to do the other side when I reach the top I come down again, so that would be 4 times going up and down the spine. To me that sounds and looks like a lot of traveling up and down the spine.. So what am I doing wrong? to many times go up and down the spine? How would I eliminate all the traveling up and down?
    Thanks

    here is a picture of my feathers, I do try and go slow when coming down the spine but most of the time i am off a little and it really doesn't look to good..I guess I just keep practicing and that would be the best thing..
    Attached Images Attached Images

  2. #2
    Super Member Stitchnripper's Avatar
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    I am practicing feathers too. Yours look great. I haven't mastered the bump back feathers, but, will keep practicing. Although it is my weakest link, I enjoy the FMQ part of quilting the best. So I keep at it.
    Alyce

  3. #3
    Power Poster feline fanatic's Avatar
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    In my experience, you will find what works best for you and what you like the look of best with more practice and doing more featherwork. I know you have posted you quilt on a sweet 16 but I can't recall if it is frame mounted or sit down. If you feel you are getting too much thread buildup or just don't like the look of all the back tracking there are several things you can try.
    1. Don't quilt the spine, simply mark it. Then do your bumpback feathers coming down to the drawn line. As you progress with the feather plume they create their own spine.
    2. Again, don't actually quilt the spine but make both sides of your plume as you work your way up. First do your two bump backs and as you come down to your spine mark make two feather bumpbacks on the other side progressing your way up the spine.
    3. Tie off at the top of the spine and start anew for the other side on the bottom again.
    4. Use a finer thread like decobob, invisifil, microquilter or silk. You can do a lot of backtracking with these fine threads and not get obvious thread buildup.

    I like my feathers to actually have a space in the spine like the feathers pictured on this quilt: Name:  switchback feathers.JPG
Views: 708
Size:  621.0 KB

    I usually make the spine about 1/8 to 1/4" wide and I do quilt it out and make the feather plumes on one side then tie off and restart on the other side without backtracking. But I have backtracked the spine other times.

  4. #4
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    I also mark my spine but like to do the feathers that are kind of heart shaped with a center vein. The only way to get better is practice but your feathers are looking good.

  5. #5
    Super Member Stitchnripper's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by feline fanatic View Post
    In my experience, you will find what works best for you and what you like the look of best with more practice and doing more featherwork. I know you have posted you quilt on a sweet 16 but I can't recall if it is frame mounted or sit down. If you feel you are getting too much thread buildup or just don't like the look of all the back tracking there are several things you can try.
    1. Don't quilt the spine, simply mark it. Then do your bumpback feathers coming down to the drawn line. As you progress with the feather plume they create their own spine.
    2. Again, don't actually quilt the spine but make both sides of your plume as you work your way up. First do your two bump backs and as you come down to your spine mark make two feather bumpbacks on the other side progressing your way up the spine.
    3. Tie off at the top of the spine and start anew for the other side on the bottom again.
    4. Use a finer thread like decobob, invisifil, microquilter or silk. You can do a lot of backtracking with these fine threads and not get obvious thread buildup.

    I like my feathers to actually have a space in the spine like the feathers pictured on this quilt: Name:  switchback feathers.JPG
Views: 708
Size:  621.0 KB

    I usually make the spine about 1/8 to 1/4" wide and I do quilt it out and make the feather plumes on one side then tie off and restart on the other side without backtracking. But I have backtracked the spine other times.
    very helpful! Thanks!!
    Alyce

  6. #6
    Super Member quiltlady1941's Avatar
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    Oh My your feathers are beautiful, i so want to be able to quilt like that someday.. I guess practice is the only way to get better,...Thanks so much for the advice...I am quilting using a sweet sixteen sit down machine, which I love! Thanks again for all the great advice, I try and use it..


    Quote Originally Posted by feline fanatic View Post
    In my experience, you will find what works best for you and what you like the look of best with more practice and doing more featherwork. I know you have posted you quilt on a sweet 16 but I can't recall if it is frame mounted or sit down. If you feel you are getting too much thread buildup or just don't like the look of all the back tracking there are several things you can try.
    1. Don't quilt the spine, simply mark it. Then do your bumpback feathers coming down to the drawn line. As you progress with the feather plume they create their own spine.
    2. Again, don't actually quilt the spine but make both sides of your plume as you work your way up. First do your two bump backs and as you come down to your spine mark make two feather bumpbacks on the other side progressing your way up the spine.
    3. Tie off at the top of the spine and start anew for the other side on the bottom again.
    4. Use a finer thread like decobob, invisifil, microquilter or silk. You can do a lot of backtracking with these fine threads and not get obvious thread buildup.

    I like my feathers to actually have a space in the spine like the feathers pictured on this quilt: Name:  switchback feathers.JPG
Views: 708
Size:  621.0 KB

    I usually make the spine about 1/8 to 1/4" wide and I do quilt it out and make the feather plumes on one side then tie off and restart on the other side without backtracking. But I have backtracked the spine other times.

  7. #7
    Power Poster feline fanatic's Avatar
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    Yes practice makes a huge difference. These were my first feathers when I first got my LA. That blob with humps coming off it in the middle. LOL
    Name:  First la attempt.jpg
Views: 688
Size:  55.0 KB

  8. #8
    Power Poster oksewglad's Avatar
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    Your feathers are looking good! I'm a newbie quilter, too and haven't attempted feathers yet. I think it's important to remember we are in a learning process and we must not be too hard on ourselves. It's going to take practice to have our pieces look like feline fanatic's. And what a nice gesture to share how to get good feathers. Thanks feline fanatic!
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  9. #9
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    I am just happy to do FMQ. No desire to get fancy.

    Feline is a wonderful quilter. Good luck to all the new feather people.
    Another Phyllis
    This life is the only one you get - enjoy it before you lose it.

  10. #10
    Super Member quiltingshorttimer's Avatar
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    I just draw my spine in and qult the feathers off the chalk line. One big tip I got from Jamie Wallen class was to keep the stem of the feather on both sides point down--when you start doing feathers that curve, etc, I sometimes ended up with one side of the feathers going up and the other side down! So I did as Feline said and did one side and either tied off or echoed back down and then the other side.

  11. #11
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    Actually, I looked at you picture before your comment - didn't even notice the spine, my eye was drawn to the nice feathers. I think they look great!

  12. #12
    Super Member jmoore's Avatar
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    I think you are doing a fabulous job for a beginner of feathers...keep up the good work and with practice, you will find your groove.
    attitude is everything...the rest will fall into place.

  13. #13
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    I think you've done a lovely job on your feathers.
    I really like feline fanatics suggestion on the open stem. One other idea is to echo quilt down the side you have finished and start again from the bottom to finish your second side.

  14. #14
    Super Member quiltlady1941's Avatar
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    Oh I like the idea of echo down the side of the feathers and them do the other side..I'll have to try doing the feathers one on one side and go to the other side all the way up..

    Thanks so much everyone for your great advice..

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