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Thread: Is it just me or are feathers becoming too common?

  1. #1
    Junior Member Basketman's Avatar
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    Is it just me or are feathers becoming too common?

    I have been a fairly consistent reader of late and noticed that IMHO too many quilts, sent out to be longarm quilted, come back with a feather motif and then their careful piecing or well executed design elements get overpowered in a thousand swirls. I understand that many of us do not have the skills or mindset to do intricate/complex quilting and few can compete with computer generated near perfection, but are quilts becoming less personalized and too often being stitched with a puppy mill mentality and feathers are just in...for the moment? Do you leave it mostly to the "experts" and then hope for the best or do you google/bing, or whatever, the type of machine being used and then shop for a design that suits you, their machine and your quilt top and ask them to buy it and work it into your quilt?

    Please no hate mail from you dedicated long arm quilters, I get feathers are both historic and some quilts scream for their use...but for those of you who think "outside the box"...what is your approach and when does a quilt stop being yours and become a canvas for excess?

  2. #2
    Power Poster ManiacQuilter2's Avatar
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    I agree with you. As someone who has been lucky to win many awards with my quilts, I always went back telling myself how a hand quilter would quilt it. I am a firm believer that the piecing should take center stage and the quilting should enhance the quilt top. Please take no offense if you are a different quilter. There is no wrong or right way and there is a need for variety. Some people may prefer a heavily quilted quilt. I do not. Maybe you need to speak up gently to your LAQ and give her suggestions if you can. It is just my opinion.
    A Good Friend, like an old quilt, is both a Treasure and a Comfort

  3. #3
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    I had a quilt that, even though we discussed the simple pattern I wanted done on it, the LA ruined with all the feathers and swirls. Her design took away from the beauty of the piecing.

  4. #4
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    I have quilts quilted by different LAers and I chose them based on what I wanted done. Some needed feathers, others line work, and one needed freehand--plus price is always a consideration. Everyone I have worked with has been wonderful to listen to my wants and ideas and then have executed them beautifully. I also always ask what THEY think, since they are the experts. I am not disappointed, and I do want the piecing to take center stage. What I don't care for so much are the pantos, unless the quilt is so busy or utilitarian that it won't matter. Nor do I want them stiff as a board. I just want a beautiful quilt when it is finished. I get tired and I am sure they do, too, but I am not being paid for what I do.

  5. #5
    Super Member Sneed's Avatar
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    I do like feathers. There are so many different ways to stitch them that I just can't help but enjoy putting them on when suitable. Often they just fit. Several years ago everything was leaves if you'll remember. McTavishing is also popular now. I like to experiment with all and when in doubt go back to hand quilting which can be controlled.

  6. #6
    Super Member newbee3's Avatar
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    I ALSO agree that quilting should not take away from the quilt. I prefer not to quilt real heavy but I do like feathers mine are not perfect but they are fun to do. I mostly do free hand on my longarm but have done a few pantos too.

  7. #7
    Power Poster PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    Some people like dense quilting, some people like lots of open space, and some people love tied quilts. There's no reason why you can't have your quilt the way you want it. Folks need to have a discussion with their quilter BEFORE they leave the top so that the quilting will be done to their satisfaction. Something in writing is always the best. Maybe a picture from a magazine of something they like. The more detail you provide about what you are looking for the better. Look at some of their other work to get an idea of their style.
    Personally, I like the look of hand guided quilting with lots of texture. Bring on the feathers & swirls!
    "I do not understand how anyone can live without one small place of enchantment to turn to."
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  8. #8
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    Long arm quilters should listen to their customers but customers should express their ideas clearly too. I do like feathers but agree that they are not for every quilt.

  9. #9
    Senior Member Michellesews's Avatar
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    I'm a long armer and I firmly believe the quilting should enhance the piecing, that when you look at a quilt, the quilting should not be the first thing you notice.
    Michelle Guadarrama

  10. #10
    Super Member sewingsuz's Avatar
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    What is the mctavishing?
    Suzanne
    Asking a seamstress to mend is like asking Picasso to paint your garage.

  11. #11
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    The one that drives me nuts with its utter lack of artistry and assembly-line look is the large stipple that mows over the entire quilt without regard for the piecing. I assume it's a pantograph. I see them all the time at KQ, and it's hard to look past it to the quilt top.

    Charlotte

  12. #12
    Super Member Dolphyngyrl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Susann View Post
    I had a quilt that, even though we discussed the simple pattern I wanted done on it, the LA ruined with all the feathers and swirls. Her design took away from the beauty of the piecing.
    I would have had her redo it the way you asked
    Brother (XL-3500i, CV3550, SQ-9050, Dreamweaver XE6200D), Juki MO-2000QVP, Handiquilter Avante

  13. #13
    Power Poster Annaquilts's Avatar
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    Unless a quilt is custom quilted, pantographs and computerized quilting will just go over everything. Some people look for pantos or computerized quilting and others like custom quilting. Custom quilting is generally the most expensive, then computerized quilting and pantos or all over stippling and such are the cheapest. Many people like feathers so that might also count for its popularity. I myself enjoy feathers and leaves both as an overall design or custom quilted to fit the blocks. You should talk to your long arm quilter and let them know your preferences and dislikes. Generally they will have some samples for you to look at or pictures of panto or computerized designs to choose from. I belief a long arm quilter should bring out the work the customer did and not over power it, bury it or make the quilt stiff from all the quilting unless the customer is looking for that.
    Last edited by Annaquilts; 12-19-2014 at 06:05 PM.
    Anna Quilts

  14. #14
    Senior Member HouseDragon's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Basketman View Post
    I have been a fairly consistent reader of late and noticed that IMHO too many quilts, sent out to be longarm quilted, come back with a feather motif and then their careful piecing or well executed design elements get overpowered in a thousand swirls. I understand that many of us do not have the skills or mindset to do intricate/complex quilting and few can compete with computer generated near perfection, but are quilts becoming less personalized and too often being stitched with a puppy mill mentality and feathers are just in...for the moment? Do you leave it mostly to the "experts" and then hope for the best or do you google/bing, or whatever, the type of machine being used and then shop for a design that suits you, their machine and your quilt top and ask them to buy it and work it into your quilt?

    Please no hate mail from you dedicated long arm quilters, I get feathers are both historic and some quilts scream for their use...but for those of you who think "outside the box"...what is your approach and when does a quilt stop being yours and become a canvas for excess?
    I love feathers and really don't care how popular (or unpopular, for that matter) they are. I plan to send my PINKS & Fairies log cabin quilt to a longarmer on this board. Her work is beautiful and I absolutely want feathers going in one direction and her curls in the opposite direction. That will happen in 2015.

    IMNSHO, it's the "job" of the sender to tell the longarmer what she wants on her quilt. If you don't want feathers, SAY SO!

    There are so many quilting designs out there that you could send a hundred quilts for longarming and not see a duplicate design.

    It's your quilt and it's your responsibility to research what design you want on your quilt!

    Oh! And the last thing I'd pay for would be a computerized design! To me they are too perfect and have no soul.
    If life gives you lemons, make Limoncello!

  15. #15
    Super Member Sync's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sewingsuz View Post
    What is the mctavishing?
    McTavishing is a background filler which employs long swooping lines and curves. It can be made very densely to pack down the background or it can be made loosely to add motion and interest to the quilt top.

    This link shows some examples ..... http://www.designerquilts.com/gallery5_mctavishing.html

  16. #16
    Super Member Ruby the Quilter's Avatar
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    Mctavishing is really pretty - would love to learn how to do this on my Tin Lizzie.
    Quilting in the Desert

  17. #17
    Super Member GrannieAnnie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Susann View Post
    I had a quilt that, even though we discussed the simple pattern I wanted done on it, the LA ruined with all the feathers and swirls. Her design took away from the beauty of the piecing.
    She'd still be picking stitches if it were mine!
    Bad Spellers of the World
    U N T I E

  18. #18
    Super Member DOTTYMO's Avatar
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    I don't mind feathers if they fit with the piecing pattern. What I don't like are quilting going all over in straight groups with no re guard to the piecing.

    The quilting should be the icing on the cake.
    Finished is better than a UFO

  19. #19
    Super Member justflyingin's Avatar
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    My quilts don't have too many feathers because I don't know how to do them yet.

  20. #20
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    Wait, so by saying that I don't have the skills or mindset to accomplish anything to your taste, you weren't actually slamming me or my work? And by calling peoples work a puppy mill and a canvas for excess you felt that was necessary to your question?
    IMHO the different choices we make in our work is why we are interested in seeing each others work. It is a pleasure to share ideas and projects here because of the support we get and the veried ideas and styles.it is sad to hear peoples skills and efforts being insulted like this.
    By the way I think feathers look soft and traditional and I like them.

  21. #21
    Super Member MaryKatherine's Avatar
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    As my work is all free hand I spend time with the owner of the quilt to see what they had in mind. Feather's do seem the rage but I also find about half of those who request them do so because they don't have that motif represented in their personal collection of quilts. When quilts go to a computerized operator the different sections need to be discussed as the default is an overall pattern. If you say "some" feathers you might just get all feathers. Its fast to do a single motif.
    marykayhopkins123.blogspot.com

  22. #22
    Senior Member allie1448's Avatar
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    As a Longarmer, my personal preference is not dense heavy quilting unless the project is for a wallhanging. I think the quilting should not be the first thing that is seen unless it is a handquilted whole cloth. Quilting needs to highlight the piecing and the fabrics in my opinion. I speak to my customers and we discuss their ideas, my capabilities, (I quilt freehand, no computer on my longarm) my ideas and then we listen to the quilt too ! So far this process seems to work for me.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dolphyngyrl View Post
    I would have had her redo it the way you asked
    It was so overquilted the top would have been ruined trying to redo it.

  24. #24
    Super Member Kassaundra's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sync View Post
    McTavishing is a background filler which employs long swooping lines and curves. It can be made very densely to pack down the background or it can be made loosely to add motion and interest to the quilt top.

    This link shows some examples ..... http://www.designerquilts.com/gallery5_mctavishing.html
    I had never heard of it, not really familiar w/ a lot of quilting types, but I like that a lot better then the traditional all over meander.
    "Never cruel, nor cowardly, never give up, never give in."

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    Sonic screwdrivers, fez, bow ties, and Stetsons are cool.

  25. #25
    Super Member terriamn's Avatar
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    I love feathers, wish I could do them but I pretty much only meander because that's what I'm good at.

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