Monday, February 10, 2014

KISMIF #10--Long-Arm Feathers

I think long-arm feathers are some of the most versatile feathers around.  They are rather simple to learn as well, but do take some practice.  Several books teach different ways to do these and each have their respective strengths and weaknesses.  To simplify the discussion, there are basically two methods of doing these--the "Top-down" and "Bottom-up".  I have found that my personal motor-skills affect how my feathers look and which technique I prefer.  Play around sketching and decide what works best for you.
  • Top-Down Long-Arm Feather


After practicing this a few times, something began to stick out that really bugged me.  I'll give you a hint, look a t the red lines drawn in Step 3.  The angles of the plumes are not the same.  It didn't matter how hard I tried, these angles did not match the top and bottom passes.  It was okay for a beginner...but once it bugged me, I had to try a new method.  This one wasn't cooperating with my motor skills.  Also, my plumes were rather straight and boring-looking, not curvy.

  • Bottom-Up Long-Arm Feather
I found a book showing the bottom-up method was recommended for those of us who quilt sitting down.    As it would turn out, both on the long-arm machine and off, this method works well with my innate motor skills.  Now, it is the only method I use.
For me, this basic plume shape has a  better curve to it.  As you recall from last week, this is the same shape we use to start our hook-feathers.

If you look at the angle drawn in red, they're matching up nicely at about 90 degrees.  Not flat and not mis-matched. 

Now...for some fun.  Let's use it!  Here's how I used this bottom-up long-arm feather in combination with some continuous curve quilting on my Moda BakeShop feature Quilting Bee Sampler.  I am using the Crescent Moon Ruler by Ronda Beyer, manufactured and purchased from Quilter's Rule.

Step One: Quilt the bottom arc of the cross-hatching to ground it, then rotated the ruler 90 degrees and quilt the other bottom arc of the cross hatching.  This defines the cross-hatching space and divides it from the feather space.

Step Two: Use the arc and grid-lines on it to evenly space all arcs, traveling in the ditch as necessary.  Then rotate 90 dgrees to complete the other arc half.

Here, both sides of the cross-hatching are complete.  Travel in the ditch to reach where we need to quilt the long-arm feathers.  I went straight down so I could do my feathers from the bottom-up.

All done!  I like to "watch" the curve of the previous plume so that I don't accidentally quilt over the top of it.

 Here are some other examples: it's your turn to share what you've been working on.  Thanks for linking up.

Modern Tradition Quilts