FFMQAL: Adding a Modern Twist
In a more practical sense, let's talk about how to use feathers on modern quilts. Angela Walters is the queen of this, so I suggest watching Lesson 10 of her Craftsy course and checking out photos of the quilts she has quilted.
What makes feathers modern? Well, sometimes, it's easier to start defining things in the negative - So what makes feathers look more traditional?
Here's what I think pushes a feather toward traditional (of course, you might think differently!):
- Extremely perfect/uniform feathers (looks as though stencils were used), complemented with extremely perfect and simple background fillers (like pebbles or cross-hatching). For me, this look evokes the style of antique wholecloth quilts.
- Feathers fitting neatly inside patchwork and never crossing over different fabrics. For example, using feathers that fit neatly inside borders, using a triangle-shaped feather in triangle blocks, etc.
In contrast, here are some variations I think might work in less formal, modern quilts:
- Feathers with petals of varying lengths. Not only do I find these far easier to quilt because every little mess-up isn't apparent, but I find them more fun and interesting to look at.
- Feathers that cross over different fabrics in the quilt pattern, or go "behind" quilt blocks, so to speak.
- Interesting backgrounds, like Angela demonstrated in her lesson.
- Integrating feathers with other quilting patterns of the same scale, so that the feathers are not treated as the main/highlighted feature.
Here's some more sketching I did with these concepts in mind:
This is the kind of quilting I did on my Dyed quilt - curly, twirly feathers with petals of varying lengths. I found that varying the lengths of petals does two things for me - one, the feather looks a little more fun & flirty, and two, mistakes blend in more easily. I especially love that second one :)
Just a few notes on how I did this - sometimes, I would have a section of petals were smaller (top, middle arrow), followed by a section of longer petals, than a section of smaller (next arrow), etc. In other arrows, I would vary the length of individual or just a few petals at a time (lower arrows). There wasn't much rhyme or reason, but when it got awkward/difficult to quilt long petals, I just switched to shorter ones, and vice versa. I also made sure I didn't have too long of a stretch without switching lengths.
As I was working on this feather, I thought it looked pretty cool with the petals only on one side - so I decided to give that a try:
I decided to wing a different background:
It was begging for some pebbles, and I love the result!!
All the straight lines might be a pain to really quilt, but I'm thinking this one is worth a try sometime!
I also played around a little bit with some more angular options:
Anyway, that's what I've been up to!! What do you think might help make feathers look more modern? Do you have any suggestions for me to try out?