Most of you know that I free-hand my feathers 97.5% of the time because of the tight deadlines I work with. I generally don’t like to spend the extra time marking my quilt tops — there are periods of time I would only sleep only 3-4 hours a night for a few nights in order to get a quilt done. You get the idea.
Today, I will share with you my trick for free-handing curvy feather plumes that I use most of the time. My goal is to always come up with tricks to still quilt with decent result within the limited allotted time I have for my magazine quilts.
I start stitching like normal, until I come to and slow down at the entrance of the curve. You know, like when you slow down turning into a curve while driving.
I. In order to achieve the best result, I mentally divide that curve into four quadrants, and try to keep the number of feathers somewhat even from quadrant to quadrant (#1).
II. I also stitch much shorter feathers when I need to orient the feathers in a different directions from the one they start out with (#2). #2 is the KEY to turning your feathers within a curve! To pack in more feathers, you would need to turn approximately at the half “circle” – not too early, or too late.
You see what I mean? Am I even making half an ounce of sense here? This picture below shows the BACK of a quilt. You will have plenty of plumes to analyze to see where my four-quadrant rule is or isn’t applied.
As a comparison, this feather plume does not subscribe to my four quadrant rule. It does have slightly shorter feathers at the curves where it turns. It doesn’t look bad. But I am not able to pack in as many feathers, and as a result, it doesn’t look as sophisticated as the plume done with the four-quadrant rule.
So, you ask …. “What do you do if you forget to apply the four-quadrant rule when you are free-handing your feathers away? Do you take the stitches out?” My answer would be “No taking stitches out necessary. I would just move on and try again with a new plume.” If you study the picture below closely, you will see what I mean. All the feathers are free-handed on this quilt.
Curvy feather plumes make a stunning quilting statement! Give them a try – you will soon be addicted, like I am!