Improve your Feathers

Kimberlee Tanner

For the most part, I am a self taught quilter. I got very basic instructions 15 years ago and just went for it. I immediately fell in love with the process, but have learned much along the way. I now look back on some of my earlier quilts and am so delighted at how far I’ve come. I also chuckle and shake my head a little at how I once thought those earlier quilts were so good. They were alright and are perfectly usable and fantastic for cuddling, but there are things I have learned since then that have allowed me to grow my skills and improve the overall design and look of the quilting.

One of those elements is feathers. They have been around forever and can be varied and altered to fit almost any quilting style. However, they can also be one of the most intimidating. With a few simple guides, willingness to try, and lots of practice, you can have feathers you actually like.

This week, I’m showing you some of the early mistakes I made and providing simple tweaks you can make to instantly improve your feather. We’ll look at shape, size, how to move up the spine, and large curves. This doesn’t mean you won’t have to practice though. Practicing is an integral part of getting better! Practicing doesn’t have to always be on a sewing machine though. Doodling is a cheap and easy way to improve your quilting. I always have a sketchbook nearby and love putting feathers on every spare spot. I never start quilting a new design without doodling it out a bunch first, so grab some cheap sketchbooks (or those $.25 spiral notebooks, Hey! built in guide lines) and a pen and just go for it!


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