Free Motion Monday: Feathers, Week 3

Happy Monday everybody! (Yes, I have had too much caffeine.) Time for more free motion quilting fun with feathers!

First, I did a little feather video for you. My feathers are far from perfect, especially when shooting video, but that camera is putting all of us with our eyes just a few inches from the needle! Put a minimum of 24 inches from eyes to quilt before you look for the faults in anyone's quilting. On my first customer quilt, I was freaking out that it wasn't good enough. I was told to spread it on the bed and take a picture....all of a sudden, it was much better!

On the video, I talk about tension issues you can have when quilting feathers, especially if you're still learning to free motion. It can be easy to truly "whip out" the plumes. Your hands get faster in the curves and it causes a minute change in tension, just at the feather tips.

To show this, I tasked myself with quilting badly for you! This showed me the value of muscle memory, because it was hard to make my hands do what I wanted them to do.

To cure this, do not adjust your tension!

You need to adjust your hands instead. Slow them down in the curves just a bit. Conversely, you could speed up your machine a bit in each curve, but I find slowing down the hands easier to do. You'll notice the stitch length is longer at the tips too-- proof that the hands are speeding up.

If you adjust your tension for these trouble spots, you'll just throw it off in other areas.

I hope you are enjoying this series and are getting some feathers quilted. I am seeing such wonderful work from so many of you! Thanks for sharing.

We've got one more week on feathers and then it will be time for something else. This post was once part of a link party that has long ended and is no longer available. But you can visit the month long series.

Week 1
Week 2
Week 4
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    1. Loved watching your video. I like to do bump-back feathers and can't seem to wrap my brain (or hands) around the other method of drawing them completely. They never look right. You make it look so easy. I've been dying to quilt more feathers on a project (love them!) but haven't had an opportunity.

      1. Thanks for watching! Practice makes, if not perfect, better.