I've been enjoying a really nice three day weekend - with no teaching, a lot of rest and just a little creativity. I spent most of Friday down in Colorado Springs indigo dying with the girlfriends and I plan to do some more today. It's a very addictive technique!
Here is today's new stitch-out; Feathers. I love stitching feathers but have to admit that I don't use them all that often. I like to use them on projects that have very simple piecing. Or feature them as the major design elements because they are big attention getters. Every quilter uses a different technique to make feathers. So, if you've made feathers before and were successful with them then their is no need to change the way you've done them in the past. However, if you've always struggled with them or have never given them a try, then explore my method.
The photo on the left shows the separate steps that I take when forming a feather. I start at the bottom of the spine (center line), stitching upwards and end with the tear drop shape that forms the top of the feather. Next, I stitch all of the feathers along the left hand side (easiest if you are right handed, start with the right side if you are left handed) then I back over the end of the spine and head back up to the top of the feather forming a spine that is thick on the bottom, about 1/4" wide and narrows down to a point as I reach the top feather. I then begin making feathers on the remaining side, trying to match them up with the feathers on the original side.
This technique requires you to double over part of the feather section that you just stitched to create the next feather section. If you don't like doubling over, simply separate your feather sections as shown in the last sample in the stitch-out on the right.
As you begin your feather making experience, make the spine just slightly curved as placement of the feather sections can be somewhat difficult on concave curves. Once you feel competent making simple feathers, pump it up by making more curved ones.
To make the feathers above, begin by stitching the spine, from the bottom, up. Add the top teardrop then begin making feather sections on one side. Always angle the bottom portion of each section down, towards the base of the spine, this will place you in the correct position to add the next section. Some people like feathers that have a half heart shape others prefer more of a tear drop shape. It doesn't matter what you do as long as you strive for consistency. Once you have completed one side of the feather, double back over the base of the spine and stitch back up to the top of the feather and add the feather sections to the other side.
I surrounded my main feather with tiny circles - just because I like the way it looks.
Next make a smaller feather on each side of the larger feather. If you feel up to it, curve the center spines so that they fill up the corner space well and hug the center feather. I used slightly wavy lines spaced about 1/4" apart in the background but you could stipple too. Heavily quilting the background areas around the feathers will make them poof as if they were trapunutoed.
I hope you have fun playing with feathers.