I finally finished my Madrona Road Challenge quilt. That is to say, the sandwich was finished 1 month ago, it just took me thins long to work up the guts to quilt is as I wanted to. I have had a quilting motif in mind since the start of this quilt. Like most of my quilts, I know what would look perfect, but I was agonizing over the actual execution of the design. What if I can’t draw it, what if the thread is too dark/light/colorful, what if my machine messes up, what about stitch length consistency, and on and on until things deteriorate into stitch in the ditch so I don’t ‘ruin’ my quilt.
That almost happened this time. I was terrified. I spent so much time hand sewing that I thought there was no way I could possibly do this.
What is it you ask that I love, yet it terrifies me so?
I LOVE FEATHERS. Love them! I can’t really explain why, its part symmetry, part motion, part music. Its like someone is stitching a symphony that I can hear with my eyes. I have always wanted to quilt in feathers. I have classes and DVDs and patterns for feathers, but for some reason I was never able to make them come out the way I wanted. Even my doodles were strange, so feathers ended up on the “I can’t do that list”.
Lets face it, we all have one of those lists when it comes to quilting. For some people it’s paper-piecing, for some people it’s working in a certain fabric, like a batik or solid, for others its a style of quilting. Feathers was on mine. I could admire them from afar, but never attempt them.
That changed a couple months ago. Janet from my guild does AMAZING work. Her quilting is spectacular and I have always admired it. I (half)jokingly told her I would pay her to do all my quilting for me, and she said that she started on small charity and challenge type quilts and just practice practices practiced. As I was sitting in my sewing room with the terrifying thought of quilting this staring me in the face, I remembered what Janet told me. It was like a switch flipped in my head, and suddenly the idea of quilting it how in had envisioned didn’t seem so scary anymore. If it didn’t look exactly how I wanted, no one would know except me. The fear was gone and I just went for it!
I divided the sections first, then I used a silver marking pencil to sketch my feathers in one of the sections. I FMQ it, then took a sheet of clear template plastic (unexposed but developed x-ray film that I got from work) and traced my quilting lines onto it. Then I would place it over the next section and use it as a guide for my feather placement. It worked really well, and I am so happy with how the finished quilt turned out. I may have conquered my fear of the Free Motion Feather!
Have a great quilting day!