What does it take to be an expert machine quilter or feather free motion quilter? It takes 500 hours of machine quilting feathers to get to the title "proficient Feather Quilter" and 10,000 hours of quilting feathers would render the title "Expert Feather Quilter". I am an expert at ENCOURAGEMENT.
Before you begin quilting feathers, keep the following in mind.
1. make sure you have your new needle.
2. You must be in a comfortable position.
3. You should have a few bobbins ready.
and LASTLY BUT MOST IMPORTANTLY....remember to breathe.
Decide what direction you want your feathers to go. Up to the left or right, straight along a border, or wherever your hand goes.
Take your trusty sketch book, or scrap paper and try out some of the pictures you see.
Start by drawing your spine. It can be slightly wavy. Then begin by creating your barbs on one side, going in a continuous motion up and down. (Remember this helps to create "muscle memory".)
Next, try to go along the other side from the top, without tracing back down the spine.
Then do another, where you go up one side, trace down the spine and begin at the base up on the other side.
Now on your fabric you will do the same thing. You will start by stiching a wavy line along the fabric, in the direction that you have chosen. this creates your spine.
Then start on one side and make loops that go from the bottom of the spine up and over, back to the spine. Repeat these loops, by starting at the beginning where you just ended, going up and over again.
While making my feathers I would sometimes go back over the line that I finished. It is also known as backtracking. (Double stitching that happens when the shared line between feathers is quilted twice. The first time is to complete the upper side of the first feather, and once to complete the underside of the next loop.)
Over time this did not work for me and I chose to have seperate loops.
When you are making your loops, remember that you are stitching out and away from the spine.
Here are more pics of my practice and things that I noticed.
Remember to just have fun....Hope this helps...happy feathering...