Now, so you may be wondering, why would I, as an art quilter specializing in portraits, be interested in learning to make cool feathers? Good question. I guess basically I’m greedy and I want to learn everything. In some ways, I look at it as expanding my vocabulary. It gives me another tool I can use if I want to. I think it was also good because it showed me that I am not very precise. I really can’t sew on a line! I’m used to quilting without templates, guidelines, and often I don’t even have a clear plan of action. I usually have a general idea that changes as I go.
I do appreciate that Patsy doesn’t draw out every single plume of the feather. Instead, she just starts with drawing the spine and then the plumes are added free hand. That is an approach that appeals to me. I learned that my curves aren’t always very smooth, though, and I am terrible at sewing on top of a line. Both areas that can be remedied by more practice and concentration, I’m sure, but it still stands. I laughed at myself repeatedly as that silly needle didn’t end up exactly where my mind wanted it to be. And we won’t even go into what the back of these looked like! But even so, I was happy with the results for the most part.
The first class focused on making the plumes and different ways to alter the shape or adding little extras. Then Patsy taught us “hyperquilting.” That’s basically adding extra color, extra lines, extra shapes in order to make the feather extra interesting. Do you see a recurring theme there?
The second class focused on ways to make the spine of the feather more interesting. Again, it focused on doing the extras. I confess I’m rather lazy and usually under a deadline when I get to the quilting part of any quilt, so the extras usually get lost in the rush to finish. I think my future quilts would benefit from some of these extras! Food for thought.