Monday, February 27, 2012

February FMQ Challenge - Feathers

Alright... February Challenge. Phew. Feathers sucked!! Let me just get that out of the way.

To recap, I signed up for SewCalGal's Free Motion Quilting Challenge - a year of learning how to Free Motion Quilt (FMQ). January I didn't find too difficult, in fact kind of had no problem wrapping my head around it. January though, well it's the end of the month and I'm still not very happy with my results.

To start I found I had to sketch this one in order to even get a feel for the design. Once I had that done, off to the sewing machine. Play with tension, and off I went.

Now, a bit of a side note. I don't live near a place with lots of varieties of threads available to me. When I started this challenge, I picked up the basic/most common supplies noted. So when the tutorial says go and buy this specialty weight thread, or that kind of needle - I don't have that option. And I don't have the patience to order it online and wait for it to come. The nearest reasonable fabric/quilting shop is about 30 min away, and I don't really feel like taking the time for that round trip just to get another kind of thread.

So, having made that choice, I stuck with the threads I had, played with tension, used the fabric I had, the left over batting I had... and off I went!

Did it impact the results? Yes, probably. But I also think it was my wrapping my head around the design played a big part in my problems. Watching the empty space instead of where my needle was going... that kind of stuff. 

Looking at the amazing work other people were posting on Facebook, made me shake my head. I definitely could not get the "echo" back down the feather as close as I had hoped.

But truth be told, although I think the end result still looks pretty darned cool, it's not the kind of design I'm likely to use on quilts I am making. Not to say I wouldn't, but not likely

So some pictures!! Ah ha... using thread that matches the fabric - as on the light side, was awesome for hiding the multitude of mistakes there are.

 I like the contrast on the dark side though.

I look forward to March!! Onward and better!!


  1. I felt the same way you do about threads for a long time -- bought lots & lots of spools of Coats & Clark. When I finally tried FM quilting with "better" threads, I was amazed at the difference. If you buy an Aurifil 50 wt Mako spool, it seems expensive, but has about 10 times as much thread on it as a C&C one. And YLI Soft Touch or Isacord threads are two others you should try. You'll really find the difference amazing.

    Your feathers turned out great, by the way. I think feathers are probably the hardest designs to quilt!

  2. Hi Carol, I agree with Laura that feathers are the hardest to quilt. Of course the secret to lovely flowing feathers is practice, practice and more practice. I think your fmq feathers are funky looking and really cool. Since we got the most difficult design in the second month of the challenge, perhaps the rest of the months will be easy peasey.