I have feathers on my mind and the final border awaits: a 2 1/2 inch width to quilt with feathers. I am told that all quilting designs should be worked out when you first start planning your quilt. I disagree. As I piece my fabrics I get better acquainted with my quilt. I suck in ideas from all around me. I create ideas in my head. I think about quilting in my dreams. Finally, except for fillers, I sit down with my pad of tracing paper and start drawing. Many times my planned designs land in the trash and I end up with totally different ideas based on something I just saw somewhere. I don't start drawing until an idea crystallizes and that sometimes doesn't happen until I am ready to work on a particular part of the quilt. That's OK...for me anyway.
Here is the paper design for the spokes I mentioned last week. I was so excited as I liked the look. I printed the feathers on Sulky Sticky Fabri-solvey, but realized immediately that I had a problem. I thought that the size of the drawing was exactly the right size, but too late I realized I should have printed it smaller. Oh well, that didn't spoil the idea so I printed a sheet the right size and stuck it to the quilt. Then my needle gummed up very badly as it tried to negotiate the adhesive and two layers of batting. This definitely was not going to work.
|Tracing paper design|
TIP: Measure before you print, measure before you sew, test ideas and products for each individual quilt, exercise your mental flexibility.
I have read of quilters who draw the spine of a feather on their quilt, and then let the needle figure out the feathers. I am a line-follower and was reluctant to do this. However, on my dark fabric, I could see no other solution. I began hesitantly, and guess what, I did it! I have drawn so many feathers on tracing paper over the years, and that skill just communicated itself to the needle. I learned a few things as I progressed through twelve spokes, and I am happy with the results.
After much figuring of dimensions and practice with pencil and paper I have finally started the outer borders...free hand. I marked only circles and spine on my quilt.
|Basic design marked with white ceramic Sew-line pencil|
|Incomplete freehand feathers.|
TIP: Bite the bullet and try something new! Draw your ideas on paper first. You may be in for a big surprise as to the capabilities of that needle. I certainly was.
BTW my sewing machine was not sick. I have always had problems winding the bobbin on this machine and it ends up with a rat's nest at the beginning. That's what was jamming up the works. My faithful repairman showed me a different way to wind the bobbin (not in the manual). I can pass the thread through an almost invisible, tiny hole in the top of the bobbin and hold the thread end until the thing gets to winding properly, then cut it off. So easy...and it works like a charm! No more snarls from me or the machine.