Sunday, February 12, 2012

SewCalGal 2012 FMQ Challenge February, part 1

This month's FMQ Challenge from SewCalGal and Diane Guadynski is no piece of cake in the park!  Feathers with echo quilting - wow...this could be daunting to some, right? Not if you draw first! Keeping in mind that a person has to start somewhere and sometime, I decided to get over my fears and get started with this challenge today...perhaps this post can assist you on your way, too.

(Final result photo HERE.)

1.  Read Diane Guadynski's post for February on SewCalGal's blog.

2.  Read Diane Guadynski's second book, "Quilt Savvy:  Machine Quilting Guidebook", pg. 38-49 on echo feathers

3.  Took notes:
a.  quill-tip
b. cotton swap top (options:  lamp or drapery finials, wrought iron fence tops, etc. on google)
c.  1/8 to 1/4" space
d.  use closely matching thread - made note to purchase #100 silk YLI thread this coming week
e.  feathers do not have to be uniform, rather "organic".  The trick is to keep the same 1/8" or 1/4" between them
f.  Stop at the spine to breathe & rethink before continuing on
g.  Wool batting causes an almost 'trapunto' style and saves you time because you don't have to stuff or cut
h.  you can use a seam line in your quilt top (as in between to outside borders) as your 'spine'

4.  Decided to draw first, as highly recommended.  I was very pleased with my results today - thank you, Diane!

Now, before you say "OK, she's an artist, so I can't do that...let me share my first attempt from April 11th, 2011:

Can you say, "Ewww!?!?"

Doodling is the answer.  Practice tracing, drawing/doodling and it will come to you.  Isn't that the perfect thing for long office meetings? :-)

Please allow me to take you through the steps I took to draw out a satisfactory echo quilting feather:
1.  Diane Guadynski's book open and on the table
2.  other books open for 'inspiration' to different feather designs
3.  templates to peek at
4.  one large pad for drawing
5.  one sharpened pencil
6.  time set aside for an hour just to focus on this without interruption
(yeah, right! - without too much interruption - I have a ten-year-old!)

1.  drawing complete
2.  wool batting / muslin sample ready - thinking of switching to satin fabric
3.  need to purchase:  #100 silk YLI thread and #60 Microtex sharp needle for a dry day or #70 Microtex sharp for a damp day  (recommended by Diane Guadynski pn page. 119 of her "Quilt Savvy:  Machine Quilting Guidebook"

I hope you'll join us at the SewCalGal 2012 Free Motion Quilt Challenge

Quilters of any experience level are encouraged to join at any time throughout the year.

If you enjoyed this post, please give me a 'follow' or a 'pin' - thank you!



  1. That is an awesome looking feather. I like it very much. I'm still in practice mode but almost ready for the "main event".

  2. Looking forward to seeing your work, Diane!


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