The Free Motion Quilting Project: Day 186 - Swirling Feathers

Monday, May 31, 2010

Day 186 - Swirling Feathers

It's a wet, rainy More Fillers Monday here in NC so let's spice things up a bit by taking a new spin on a traditional quilting design!

Of course, you can't get more traditional than free form feathers!

free motion quilting | Leah DayWhoa! Where did the month of May go? I swear this month has flown by, probably because I've been having so much fun quilting Shadow Self.

But this week I'm going to have to take a break to prepare for my lecture in Lincolnton, NC for the Piecemakers Quilt Guild Wednesday morning.

And then the very next day I'll be heading to Charlotte, NC for the North Carolina Quilt Symposium!

I'm getting really excited about this coming weekend and I know this week will just fly by, so I'm taking today to get my ducks in a row, write my lists of things to pack, and hopefully still squeeze in a bit of quilting time too.

So while I run off to check and see if I have enough wonder under for the workshops I'm taking, you chill out and learn how to stitch Swirling Feathers:

Inspiration - I've been thinking about feathers quite a bit lately, mostly how to make them easier to stitch.

I seem to stitch my feathers pretty weird, but it seems to me that everyone has a different method that works best. No matter which way you stitch your feathers, you should be able to turn them into this funky swirling design.

Difficulty Level - Intermediate. Despite what I said above, feathers are not horribly difficult to stitch. They just require practice in order to look like feathers and not weird looking amoebas on a stick.

Design Family - Stem Centered. These designs are fun because you first layout your stem, then stitch your feathers.

If you wanted a quilt to be free form, but still slightly structured and symmetrical, you could mark the stems out first, then fill the stems however you want.

Directional Texture - All directions. The wonderful thing about feathers is they're attention getting. Smack some feathers on a quilt and it's guaranteed to result in copious amounts of quilter drool.

Suggestions for Use - The one thing I'm kind of sick of seeing is the overly floral, frilly, frumpy quilt weighted down with so many feathers it's practically related to a peacock.

I'm always left wondering where in the heck a quilt like this would hang in a normal house, unless said house was the Biltmore Estate, which is anything but normal.

Why not use feathers on our funky modern quilts? Or baby quilts? This filler can work in any area of your quilt, so feel free to play with it anywhere you see fit!

Back of Swirling Feathers
free motion quilting | Leah DayFeel free to use this free motion filler designs in your quilts,
and make sure to tell your friends where you learned it.

Click here to support the project by visiting our online quilt shop.

Let's go Quilt!

Leah Day


  1. Which class(es) are you taking at the symposium? I plan on being there and will try to find you to say hello in person!

  2. "Although it's been said many time, many ways..." you are terrific! I love your commitment to this project and the clarity of your posts. I'm learning much from you!

  3. Hi Deb - I'm taking both of Robbi Joy Eklow's classes on fusing, and then the lecture with Carol Taylor.

    I hope to see you there!

    Hi Donna - Thanks! I never get tired of hearing from you guys and knowing the site is appreciated.

    Let's go quilt!

    Leah Day

  4. Hi! Thank you for sharing all those beautiful designs. I find it very inspiring!


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