Free Motion Meandering :: Feather Swirl Meanders & Improv Quilting

Free Motion Meandering :: Feather Swirl Meanders & Improv Quilting

Here we are already at the final week of working my way through Angela Walter’s new book Free-Motion Meandering. You can check out previous weeks here: Week 1: Basic meanders, Week 2: Swirls, Week 3, Paisley and leafy meanders.

Feather Swirl

I’ve been a little nervous about this week’s designs, because…feathers! Now granted, they are not traditional feathers, but still. This design (click here for Angela’s sample, scroll to the bottom of the page) combines swirls and feathers. And since I’m not good at swirls and I’ve never done feathers–well, you get the picture.

Free-Motion Meandering book reivew

Once again, the step-by-step drawings of how to draw the design are invaluable. I have the book as an ebook, and at one point, I literally put a piece of paper on top of my iPad mini and traced it a few times. Really, one of the best things about this book is the step-by-step drawings, especially if you are a visual learner. I practiced this design a lot on paper first (rather unsuccessfully), then I checked out the trouble-shooting section and found I was making a lot of common mistakes. The biggest one was not making the feather big enough, and really filling the spiral.

I also have problems just making the “feather” shape. When I do it just traveling up a single spine, I do a better job of making the half-heart shape. But once I try to tackle it on a spiral, well, let’s just say that I find it difficult.

Free-Motion Meandering book reivew

I don’t mean to give you excuses, but I went on a lovely vacation to Napa Valley with my hubby to celebrate our anniversary during the time I was supposed to be practicing this design, and then I was at QuiltCon for three days! So, once again, I did not get in as much practice as I would have liked. But, knowing that I had write this post, I determined to find little pockets of time to sit down at the machine and practice. I also tried to sketch it on paper whenever I thought about it–really trying to get that muscle memory going.

It still needs a lot of work, but I pushed through and tackled a design that was a complete disaster the first time I tried it.

Improv Quilting

Free-Motion Meandering book reivew

Now this is a design that I admire in other people’s quilting. I had never tried it myself, and was excited to give it a try. All it entails is quilting out several different motifs mixed together to fill a space. The hardest part for me is just remembering the motifs that I know! As silly as it might sound, I found that creating a cheat sheet of all the designs that I know was helpful, so that I could just glance over and be inspired to try a different motif. Angela gives lots of variations on how to improv quilt, as well as tips on how to keep the quilting a consistent size.

Free-Motion Meandering book reivew

Both of these motifs were WAY outside of my comfort zone, but both ended up being really enjoyable. What I really want you to take away from this series on machine quilting, is that if I can come up with something that is halfway decent, then anyone can. It may take a lot of practice, but what better way to use up that fabric that you don’t really like anymore? Speaking of which, both Angela and Christa Watson encourage you to practice quilting on actual quilt tops. I am very guilty of not doing this. I have stacks and stacks of practice pieces that I’m not sure what I’m going to do with. But I recently found some baby quilt tops in my sewing space that just need quilting, and I am determined to use them to practice some of these meandering designs.

Have you popped over to Vicki and Jen’s blogs to see how they did with these designs?

The Giveaway!

And now for the giveaway! You have three chances to win a copy of this book! C&T Publishing has given Vicki, Jen, and I each a copy to giveaway. So make sure to visit each blog to enter. If you live in the US, it will be a physical copy of the book and if you are outside the US, then it will be an e-book.

To enter my giveaway, simply leave a comment below telling me what your favorite free motion design is. For an extra entry, sign up for my monthly newsletter here! Hop on over to Instagram for more bonus entries. Giveaway ends March 4, 2018.

Good luck!

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how to freemotion quilt improv style


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