Friendly with Feathers

It's no secret that I'm not fond of feathers in quilting. To my eye, they're overdone. When I'm at a quilt show sometimes, it seems as if I see quilt after quilt after quilt with feathers, feathers, and more feathers. Because of that, I've avoided using them in my own quilts. Until now. For several days, I've been considering how to quilt the little Written in Thread wallhanging.

Right up until this morning, I didn't know for sure what I was going to do with it. The embroidery is very close to the edges of the sashing, and so it didn't seem there was much room for quilting in those blocks with the exception of the large quilt shop and quilt block on the bottom half. That left the sashings, and those are only an inch wide.

Not much room to do anything fancy there, and so I was left with either stitch in the ditch or straight line quilting. And, frankly, that's overdone too. I wanted to do something a little more fancy, and so I decided to quilt feathers. Most of the sashings for the quilt have a natural "spine" for feathering.

Once I had the machine set up and threaded, I flipped the excess back over the excess batting and tested my feather ability. Not bad...good enough, I'd say.

Checking the back, I could see that my top thread tension was too loose and so I turned the tension knob a crank, and I was ready to go.

And the feathers turned out to be a good choice. They allowed me to cover a lot of ground fairly quickly, and with that seam for a spine, I could backtrack and easily start up in a new spot when I needed to.

Most of the sashings butted up against a sashing of equal width, but when they didn't, I just made the feathers big enough to fill the space.

Here's how it's looking from the back.

My top thread is a YLI Soft Touch long staple Egyptian cotton in a "natural" color.

When the traveling stash was making the rounds, I think I pulled a spool of this thread from there. I've used it so many times on so many quilts. It's a great color. Not white. Not cream. Natural is a good name for it and it blends in with so many colors.

My bobbin thread is a cotton Essentials gun metal gray from Connecting Threads.

All of the embroidered sections were left unquilted except for this largest one. Here, I quilted some rays around the sun, some gingerbread stuff at the roof of the quilt shop, and some smoke coming from the chimney.

Also, I quilted some bricks into the chimney and outlined around the quilt shop, its windows and doors.

Then I quilted the embroidered quilts as if they were actual quilts.

Once the feathers were finished in all of the sashings, I stitched some cross-hatching in the outer border, and the quilting was finished.

Here's how it looks from the back...er, excuse me, would you mind moving to the left a little bit?

There we go.

So now it needs binding, but I'm taking a little break to do some housework and get out for a short walk.

Remember what I said at the beginning of our vacation about how I was going to get back to my 10k stepping? Well, never mind. I totally ignored my Fitbit while we were gone. Now I'm all re-determined to get back to walking. Today is the first day of my renewed commitment. We've been having spring-like weather for our end of summer. It rains, and then the sun comes out, and then it rains some more. In spring we'll usually see some hail, but so far, none of that. Also, the heater ran for the first time this morning. 

We had some interesting cloud formations last night and a pretty sunset.

Tomorrow is opening day of the Northwest Quilting Expo, and I'm going. Since I haven't received any notification, I'm assuming neither of my quilts won anything. I was hoping, but not really expecting anything. Still, it's always great fun to see your own quilts in a show, and you know I love the vendors too. I should have some eye candy for you in a couple of days.

For now...time to get out and do some walking. And some housework. If I have time, maybe I'll get the binding sewn on my quilt today.

18 comments from clever and witty friends:

gpc said...

I love your quilting, it always amazes me how you've developed over the years.

Debbie said...

yay! The feathers look good....not too much, just enough. Some quilts don't need to be overdone.

Lana Ku said...

Beautiful quilt! Your embroidery, piece work, and quilting are awesome!

CJ Smith said...

Don't think of them as feathers! Look at them as wonky hearts! That's what I saw. Have fun at the Expo. It's so much fun to shop vicariously through you!

Quilting Babcia said...

Quilted to perfection, I'd say..I especially like the quilt shop block with the scalloped shingles. Outstanding sunset! Have fun at the quilt show.

Sally Trude said...

I share your view of feathers, but really like how it looks split across sashes...great job. And Molly would like to mention that she thinks that squirrel's back looks very good against the backing.

WoolenSails said...

I really need to get going on my quilting, the tension is my problem and maybe I am just too picky and expect perfect, lol. I do have a stitch regulator and it really made a difference since I tend to jerk a lot, so I will have to get the tension better and just go for it on a practice quilt. I love when the sun sets in the clouds, you get beautiful effects.


Dorothy Finley said...

I am going on Sat, can't wait to see your quilts in person !!

Summer said...

This is sooo pretty! Nice work ♥


Vroomans' Quilts said...

I don't like feathers either - and I can't quilt them. I have to take all our guild's quilt entries down to the Hall of Fame show today - I will be ready for a nap when I get home. Look forward to photos from your show.

Barb H said...

Barbara, I think feathers was a great choice for those sashings. I really like how this quilt turned out. The wonky pieced border looks like rays shining out from the center and draws my eye toward the center.
Beautiful--as always.

Vicki W said...

I think feathers were the perfect choice!

Lyndsey said...

Great quilting and the feathers are a perfect choice. Love the quilting on the quilt shop.

Natureluvr57 said...

I love feathers and although I prefer a quilted design I find myself doing stitch in the ditch a lot. If the design would be "wrecked" by quilting over it, I turn to stitch in the ditch. Also my FMQ talents are limited without a long arm or the new, what I call mini long arms, no stitch regulator, I do the best I can with FMQ. What I think is overdone is the scribbling all over the quilt although long arm quilters do a wonderful job of it. Can't think of the terminology right now. Some call it meandering. Your quilting looks beautiful.

beaquilter said...

quilt and quilting looks great!

Brown Family said...

Very nice quilting. Beautiful sky!

quiltzyx said...

Love the quilting on your Written in Thread quilt. I agree about the feathers too, but you have just enough of them, and great job on the quilt shop.
Beautiful shot of the sunset!

canuckquilter said...

I know what you mean about feathers, but sometimes, like on this quilt, they add just the right touch. I like how you split them over the two sashing fabrics.