Feathers and Friends

Even though there is still work to be done in the center of the quilt, I decided to complete the feathered border today.

Feather spine.
Rounding the corner.

This is my second time ever stitching feathers with my long arm. Doing a continuous feather around the perimeter of the quilt forced me to work them in every direction, so some of them look a bit awkward.

Evaluating the feathers as I worked helped me learn what looks good and what to avoid next time. I adapted on the fly, so my work improved as I went.

I started here, on the right hand side of the quilt, and worked my way across the top.

I found it challenging to work the feathers across the top edge toward the left. For whatever reason, it was easier to work them across the bottom border toward the right.

Working the bottom border.

With the main border done, I thought I'd change thread and work the coloured squares in the top.

Changed to a light orange thread for the coloured squares.
A darker thread might have been better, but I am working with what I have.

I'd hoped to complete all of the work using the orange thread today, but I'm pooped!

Tomorrow is another day.

Yesterday I had fun working with this welcoming and skillful group of quilters as they learned Eleanor Burns' Day & Night technique.

Nine out of ten with their first blocks!

Sunny and Lynn share the same good taste - even their shirts were the same colour!

Joyce matched her fabrics to a wall paper sample from her home, but didn't realize she'd also dressed the part!

With this technique there is very little waste. The "cutaways" can be used to make bonus projects.

Playing with Linda's leftovers.

It was a happy surprise that Joyce was in the class. She and I share history in our local school division, and it was a treat to be together again. Knowing I'd be teaching the workshop, my sweet friend made this birdie pin cushion just for me!

Tweet, tweet!
What a sweet treat!

Thank you for inviting me, Fairview quilters!

Linking up with:
Anything Goes Mondays, normally at Stitch by Stitch, but guest hosted this week by Karen's Quilts, Crows and Cardinals (the link will take you there)
Show and Tell Tuesday, at i have to say

Try, Learn, Grow!

Comments are welcome. Thanks so much for looking around!


  1. Ughhhh, your picture of the long arm quilting are killing me with jealousy. I love little arches in the squares and the feathers look fantastic. I can see I will have to delve into your archives to read and see more. I'm intrigued by the work room with the sink and the gnome house. I hope I find a post about where you work!

    1. Oh, no! We can't have that! Anything I can do, you can do too!
      I quilted on my domestic machine for a number of years prior to getting my long arm, which is why I have skills to transfer over. Now it's time to practice, practice, practice, trying to coordinate moving the machine instead of my hands.
      Hmm. I have posted about my sewing room clean up, but not too much about the Gnome House or my wet room. If you dig into my archives you will definitely get to know me better, but I will make a point of sharing my work spaces in future. I've had a plan to sort and organize my wet room, but it won't happen for a couple of weeks. When it does, I'll show all the gory details. I'm anxious to clean it up and get back to work. I have a long list of surface design techniques to try!

  2. Oh, where to start.....the feathers are going to be stunning. I can't believe this is only your second time stitching them on the long arm...amazing. The bird pincushion is absolutely adorable. What a lovely gift, for teacher. Thanks for sharing the blocks of your students. I love seeing the different colour options.

    1. Thanks, Jo. Many hours of quilting on my domestic machine allowed me to get a feel for feathers, so moving onto the long arm is a natural progression. The challenges have been the change to a larger scale, and coordinating my hands and brain, moving the machine smoothly and accurately. Also, on my domestic machine I would turn the quilt so I could stitch in the direction easiest for me. Here, I need to quilt in every direction. It's a brain game!
      Yes, I love the little birdie! It truly is a sweet treat. One of the quilters also mentioned that part of the fun of a class is to see all the colour variations. So true! I'm happy to share the fun!

  3. Carole, your quilting is absolutely beautiful!! I love the progression shots. I think your quilting is perfect. Wow. Something for me to aspire to!

    1. Wow, thank you! You may rest assured that my quilting is not perfect. I've found that the more stitches added, the better things tend to look! Also, it's all about putting in the hours. I learned to quilt on my domestic machine, and practiced extensively before purchasing my long arm. I've discovered that once the patterns and shapes are in your brain, you will be able to quilt on anything.

  4. Yes, you said it - it is a brain game. And sometimes my feeble brain just doesn't get it. Your feathers are looking good! A lot faster than the interior work you're doing. Keep it up!

    1. I'm with you on that, Barb...our poor, overloaded brains! Yep, the feathers were much, much faster than the fillers. I have to say that I do love the texture of the filler, so I don't regret it. I've played hookey for a couple of days while catching up on household chores. I hope I remember what I'm doing when I get back to it! Hugs to you. I've thought of you often today.

  5. WOW!!! that is seriously beautiful! I bet you were pooped, look at all that you have done. That was only your second time with feathers on a long arm? You are a natural!!! Beautiful quilting!!

    1. Sue...I have seen your gorgeous quilting and am encouraged that you think mine is comment worthy! Like you, I transitioned from quilting on my domestic machine, so had a good idea of the "anatomy of a feather" before jumping in with my long arm. A notebook full of drawing practice has also helped. Do you draw before you quilt? I've never tried free-flowing feathers as an E to E. Do you have any tips for making them look so beautiful?

  6. OMG!! Your feathers are amazing!! I can't believe this is only your second time doing them!!!

    1. Believe it!
      I have some experience quilting feathers on my domestic machine (much smaller in scale), and spent time drawing and doodling feathers in a notebook, so my brain is familiar with their shapes. Even so, I get nervous thinking about quilting them on my long arm...a fear I'm trying to banish by practicing. When I'm actually quilting (vs. thinking about quilting), feathers are quite fun!

  7. Beautiful feathers! I'm a beginning longarm quilter myself and wonder, how you do them in practice? Do you start and stop and cut the thread to roll the quilt? Did you quilt the spine first around the whole quilt? So you rolled the quilt from upside edge to the end and back? Maybe silly questions, but I haven't been to any courses yet, just read a couple of books and blogs... I'd really appreciate any tips and tricks you can give :)

    1. Thank you! Yes, I rolled the quilt back and forth a number of times. I'm not an expert, but here's what I did:
      To hold everything square and keep the quilt top from shifting, I stitched in the ditch through the entire quilt (starting with all the main seam lines, and going back to do the small blocks) and basted the side edges.
      I did the side basting and main horizontal lines as I rolled down, and then the main vertical seams starting with the center line and anchoring every second line to the left, then the right, and then finishing them all.
      Then I rolled the quilt up to the top and stitched a filler design in about half of the blocks, working top to bottom, rolling the quilt as I went.
      I needed a break from tiny work, so at that point I decided to do the feather border. I started at the mid-point on the left side and stitched a spine up and around the top and down to the mid-point on the right. Each time I rolled the quilt I would leave the NEEDLE DOWN to keep my place. Then I could continue stitching without having to break my thread. The machine just "rolls" with the quilt.
      Without breaking my thread, I started working the INSIDE feathers onto the spine, rolling and quilting my way back to where I started on the left.
      Then, I DID break my thread and move back to the right hand side to work the OUTSIDE feathers.
      I repeated the process for the bottom half of the quilt, making sure to keep my feathers flowing in the same direction. Where they meet in the middle is not detectible.
      This one happens to be a continuous feather, but there are many ways to do feathers, so anything goes!

  8. I love your feathers. I sometimes think that feathers are overly formal and I like them to be a little less exacting. Natural things have more flow and randomness. Let the feathers speak for themselves! Beautiful work!

    1. Thanks, Becca. Feathers that march rigidly along don't appeal to me, either. I'd much rather see flow, curves, and a bit of personality! I think half the battle of quilting is determining what one likes, and the other half is figuring out how to produce that effect. What a happy day it is when the two collide!


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