Monday, December 26, 2016

Fear Of Feathers...

I have a confession... for years I have feared feathers.  You know those perfectly stitched traditional feather wreaths featured on quilts or the fancy feathered borders.  Especially after learning a few years ago that most of the time they are computer generated to perfection.  I felt really defeated when I learned that!

Over the past several years I have become bolder and braver in my quilting... specifically my free-motion quilting.  I feel very comfortable with just meandering with an occasional loop here and there.  It takes a bit more courage to get going on stippling (where the stitching doesn't pass over any other previous stitching)... 

At the beginning of 2016 I bravely created my Quilting Bucket List

As a quick review it included - 

A crayon quilt... I made three wall hangings for the grandchildren.

A pixelated photo quilt...  I actually ended up making three of these as well.  He Is Risen Rooster and Jesus

 I hand-quilted the Bitty Block quilt from 2015...  

I made a wedding quilt for our Nephew, Matt, and his wife - True North

The Up-cycled Cathedral Window quilt has been completed and is perfect for a picnic in the park

As was the Wanky Scrap quilt...

I submitted not just one, but two blocks to QuiltMaker's 100 Blocks... One was accepted "To Have & To Hold" - I am still waiting to hear on the second block.

I donated two quilts - One was for a Relay for Life event, the second was for a fundraising event for the daughter of a friend that had been diagnosed with cancer.

I participated in three Farmer's Market weekends with sales that exceeded my expectations.  😀

This leaves me with the final two items on my list.  and when I realized that I had two weeks left in the year I jumped right in! The Amish inspired Half-Square Triangle quilt in rich, luscious colors came together quickly.  

That meant that the FMQ of feathers stared me squarely in the face.  A few years ago it was suggested that I treat the feathers as hearts divided by a center line.  So to practice hearts I used them in the HSTs of the quilt...

So the time came for me to attempt the feathers in the border.  I grabbed a scrap piece of some discarded quilt sandwiches... I practiced this for about 10 minutes.

I changed the thread. I cleaned my machine.  I replaced the needle.   I stitched a line of quilting around the narrow border of the quilt.  I went for a walk.  I found every excuse possible to avoid sitting at the machine and starting the feathers on the border.  I coached myself.  I gave myself a pep talk. I helped my husband with a shipping label.  I stitched the center line of the feathers as a guide.  I got a drink of water.  I was like a little kid at bedtime!  LOL!

And when I finally ran out of excuses I sat down at the machine and began.  I found my flow and felt comfortable.  Before I knew it I had completed one side of the feathers!

It was time to change directions.  I paced. I folded clothes. I got another drink of water.  The anxiety wasn't nearly as bad, but it was certainly there again!  I started in... The first feather in the opposite direction ended up a little funky.  I stopped and then started in again and soon found my flow and felt comfortable.

Again, faster than I had anticipated, I had completed the second side of the feathers in the border!  I was GIDDY with excitement!  

My feathers are not perfect... I am not ready to enter them into some judged quilt show... But I cannot believe how much easier they were than I thought!  I personally think they are easier than stippling.  

When I was done I had to ask myself "what was the big deal, Melva??? Why did you wait so long???"

You can be certain that the next time I have a quilt with some open space I will be placing feathers there!  Probably not fearlessly, but with much less anxiety and worry than before.

Is there something that you have avoided trying or learning?  A quilting technique that you want to give a go?  Or perhaps a habit you want to break or a new skill that you would like to try.

Feel free to share with me... I'm here to tell you that if you put it in writing you are more likely to follow through.  

So what goals will I have for 2017??? Hmmmm... I am going to have to think on this one.  But first I need to get myself a drink of water... and maybe go for a walk. 😉



  1. I'm so glad you were able to conquer your anxiety over quilting feathers. They turned out beautifully! :)

  2. Congratulations - your feathers turned out beautifully!!!

  3. They are lovey feathers. I have a stack of quilt tops waiting to be quilted. Fear of free motion quilting is what stops me finishing them.Time to build in practice sessions and then just got on with it! Thank you for your inspiration☺

    1. I say go for it Allison! There are some great tutorials out in the cyber world, many for free. Watch a few and try what is suggested and then give it a go. Good luck!

  4. Way to conquer this, Melva!! Yahoo!! My fear is applique.