Machine Quilting: Bright Feathered Star

One of the things I love most about quilting Judy Niemeyer's patterns and the most challenging is the variety of coloring options. Judy's patterns have tons of pieces and they are very open to interpretation. Every single person can look at the same pattern and notice a different part and then make their color choices to enhance that area.
 Now, I've quilted other versions of this quilt (see them here and here), but they weren't nearly as bright as this quilt. That's the fun of it. There's so much personality in these quilts! Wendy chose light and dark versions of similar colors for the feathers and really made it pop with this dark navy almost indigo background. To reel it all in, the mixture of blue tones for the borders bridged the range of values found in the quilt.
 Wendy wanted to keep the quilting on the simple side (which I'm not going to lie, it's super hard to do with these quilts. It's so easy to go overboard with the quilting and make it super dense) and to achieve that, I kept the design elements to a minimum and kept the density a little more open than usual.
 I used a mixture of waves, feathers and plumes that are all similar enough that they work together. The goofy little triangle background area was the perfect area to combine the waves and feathers. I'll show you in a minute how I came up with this idea.
 Keeping along the same line and playing off of the design of the quilt, I used swirls and lines like what I used in the feathers themselves to fill the center.

 Now, these feathers in the corners turned out sooo good! I'm in love. They're there but subtle.
 When a quilt like this has such a contrast of fabrics it can be a challenge to pick the right thread. This quilt was a little more challenging due to the light backing. I normally don't like to use a contrasting thread on the back, but I had to use the same thread in the darker areas on the front of the quilt in the bobbin too. If I didn't, even with perfect tension, it could look off. Threads that are too dark can make perfect tension look out of whack, even when it's not. They overpower the knot between the layers sometimes.
 With approval from Wendy, she said this was going to be a wall hanging so it didn't matter what the back looked like and so I used the darker thread in the darker areas. You can see it in the feathers around the edges.
Now, to my trusty MagnaDoodle. When I'm plotting out a quilt like this with weird shapes and lots of details, I use this to jot them down and work out the layout. Sometimes it's just a little doodle that helps me get familiar with the pattern before I begin. Othertimes it's to see the mixture of designs laid out together. Here you can see the plan for the feathers, the border, the backgrounds and the one feather with a center.

Many of Judy's designs take me more than one day to quilt. Sometimes a design I quilt in the top takes me days to repeat in the bottom of the quilt. I try to take pictures as I'm going to see exactly what I did so I can repeat it, but this also is where the MagnaDoodle comes in handy. Many times these particular designs are rotated either 45° or 22.5° so I can actually rotate the MagnaDoodle to roughly match the angle I need to achieve. I've also used this with flame designs and other designs I'm used to drawing in one direction or when I could turn the paper. I can't turn the quilt.

I also know of people that use dry erase boards or large pieces of paper to do the same thing, but I kinda like my MagnaDoodle (no mess)!

Well, I wanted to thank Wendy for letting me play on her quilt. It was a joy and I love her colors. Thanks, Wendy!

You can also see more designs like the Feathered Star of Judy's that I have quilted on my Pinterest boards here. If you would like to have a quilt finished our would like a quote, visit the Machine Quilting Information page (found at the top) or e-mail me at rubybluequilts (at) gmail (dot) com.

Have a great day!

1 comment:

  1. I also have a hard time with lots of space between quilting...I like denser!! I rather like contrasting thread on the back of a quilt like this - makes for a whole cloth quilt effect!! Fab job on the quilting - as usual!!!


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