Thread Talk from my Sewing Machine #37

Welcome to another Thread Talk installment!  As promised, I will share with you the way I quilt unmarked feather wreaths!

Now, though the feathers are “unmarked” and free-handed, we do need some way to mark or delineate the boundaries of the wreath.  Sometimes the boundaries are already apparent on the fabric, as in the case of the above picture.  But if not, it is perfectly okay to mark the inner and outer boundaries — using those household items and a marking pen!   For the schematics below, I used Miss Baby’s toy dishes.

One thing that will help is the ability to comfortably quilt feathers unmarked and free-handed.  Click here for my previous tutorials on the stitching sequence I use for feathers.  To start, I only “half-form” the first feather.  The reason is that I wouldn’t know how well my last feather would match up with the first feather once I come around the wreath.  Not fully forming the first feather allows me room to “doctor” the first feather for the wreath to flow nicely (or rather, as nice as possible).

I do a little backtracking from feather to feather, as you see the different colors on top of some of the feather lobes.

I keep going, and going, until I come to the last feather.  We have just a bit of a gap.  So, I would backtrack, and maneuver in such a way to “close up” the first feather for a smooth flow. [Sorry for the dark blue blob on that last feather — I was using Miss Baby’s dull crayon – it was meant to be an arrow showing the stitch direction.]

You can quilt your feather wreaths with your feathers going in the opposite direction too!  That orange blob is where I had to touch up the first feather after I quilted the full round of feathers.  Combining these wreathes in different directions create an interesting visual effect!

I hope this makes sense to you.  Happy feathering, my Friends!

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Road to California

I made this quilt with the “Road to California” quilt blocks a couple of years ago for my brother when he had the opportunity to intern at a winery in Northern California. I had chosen grape-themed fabrics for obvious reasons:


I had the brilliant idea to quilt feathers on the quilt. Keep in mind that I had only been sewing for a few months and had NO expertise in free-motion quilting. All I knew about the machine was that I could use it for straight stitches. So, I set out to quilt these feather wreaths using straight stitches (feed dog up) by turning the quilt every few stitches in order to sew the circular shape:

Needless to say – it was pure torture to me that I had brought upon myself. I couldn’t be happier when the quilt was finished, simply because I just couldn’t stand to quilt the feather wreath on the umpteenth block with straight stitches! That was when I decided I was going to learn free-motion quilting to make my life easier. That was also when I decided that I was going to the Bernina Stitch Regulator to make my life even easier. I haven’t looked back since! And thank goodness for TECHNOLOGY!! :)