A Feather Video

It’s not a great video . . unless you would enjoy seeing my arm up close but it’s the best I can do by myself trying to quilt and video.  Some day I’ll get Vince to help me and get a better video.  Maybe it can give you some ideas for helping with your feathers.

And, here’s a picture of the progress I made quilting today.  I should be able to finish it tomorrow.

For the colored rectangles and squares, I’m stitching in the ditch along the black edge and then doing a diagonal stitch through each piece.


  1. 2

    Linda (Petey) Fritchen says

    Thanks, Judy for the show and tell. Your feathers look so good! The variegated thread really shows them off well on the black.

  2. 3

    Susan D says

    That was a pretty good video! Thanks for doing it and posting it for us. Always appreciate ‘how to’s’.

  3. 4


    I love hearing your accent and the way you explain then stitch the feathers. I was imagining doing it in a different harder way. Thanks for the inspiration as always.

  4. 6

    Jane says

    I’m not even a longarmer but enjoyed your video…and your accent!! lol Thanks for taking the time!! :oD

  5. 10

    Cynthia H., El Cerrito, CA says

    I think there are probably as many ways to “decorate” feathers as there are long-armers making them, and they ALL look just fabulous. Well, the feathers of the LA’ers who have (ahem) practiced enough…unlike me. But mine are better now, even with sporadic access to a machine, than the first ones were!

    So if you have a large sketch pad and pretend your marking pen is the handle of a long-arm machine (hold the pen as if it were a handle, not a pen), it really does help improve those feathers–or any other design you’d like to make on a long-arm machine.

    Judy, I liked it when you kicked up the speed on the machine; it sounded almost “hot-rodded”! POWER MACHINES! 🙂

  6. 11


    Great video, thank you for it, I was trying to figure out how you did them. I just rented the longarm for the first time wednesday before Thanksgiving. I did my grandsons FROG quilt, it was all free hand and I love it, looks like water to me. I hope to get more time next month, my work schedule and babysitting sure take up a lot of time.

  7. 12

    Darlene S says

    Judy, Thank you so much for taking the time to video you making your feathers. I think they are perfect! I love that you can do them in both directions, bottom up and top down. I may just make your Loose Change quilt with my scraps so I can make those feathers! As soon as I unload my current quilt, I WILL practice your feathers first. You are such a wonderful teacher. Thanks again. Darlene S

    • 12.1


      For many years I could only make feathers going one direction. Finally I said . . this is crazy . . learn to do them in all directions. At first, one side would look good and one side would look awful but after a lot of practice, I can make them in all directions. I no longer even think about which direction I’m going any more.

  8. 15

    Diane says

    ditto too all the above. You’re feathers are just beautiful. (we are all so self-critical tho’) I was thrilled to see you make your feathers w/same technique I do. I can’t seem to get the bump-hook one that Karen McTavish and others use. I was wondering do you use different techniques to make yours? (should I try to learn them as well or is it not necessary). I’m thinking it’s such a muscle memory thing that when I try to change I have to think so hard I mess up the stitching.
    Loved seeing how you construct your feather with the spike inside-I have to try that.
    And living near Pittburgh and our infamous “pittsburgh-ese” I could listen to your lovely voice and accent all day;
    ‘Yunze southerners really know how ta tak’. 🙂

    • 15.1


      Diane, I rarely make any other kind of feathers. I have done the bump bump method but because I do it so rarely, it takes me much longer and backtracking and trying to stay right on the previous stitching line . . that seems more like work than fun. Most all the feathers I make are the type I made on the video. My feeling is . . if I’m happy with these, and I love making them, why not just make this type?

  9. 16

    Cindy says

    I LOVE watching you do that. You make it look so easy and natural. You’re so obviously comfortable at it, you can talk while you’re doing it. I always forget to breathe when I’m attempting something like that. I know it took a lot of practice.

    And you really should have been a teacher, you’re very good at it.

    • 16.1


      I can talk while doing ANYTHING! 🙂 Haven’t you noticed that I never stop talking! Ask the girls who go to Paducah with me. They’re always wanting to stuff a pillow over my head when it’s bed time.

      Thanks for the kind words!

  10. 17

    Alberta in N GA says

    you made it look easy…very good instruction…it has really helped me think that maybe I could do, except I dont have a longarm so would have to do it on my sewing maching. I will be having some quilts to practice on.

  11. 19

    Becky R says

    Judy, thank you for doing the video for us. I had never even thought about you making them the way you showed us but I think I want to try this now. Even just using my sewing machine I want to try it. I too had wondered about doing both sides from the same direction – it always seems one side is so much better than the other but I guess we just need to practice, practice, practice. I’m sure I’ll look at this video a lot.

    • 19.1


      Yes, Becky, with practice, you should be able to do them in both directions. I’ll try to get some better videos soon.

  12. 20

    Alma says

    Thanks for the video. Could you tell everyone how long it took you to do a quilt of that size and do you ever get tired of standing while doing the longarm quilting?

    The quilt is beautiful- as always.

    • 20.1


      Because I’m going back and doing stitch in the ditch and some ruler work, I’ll probably have 15 – 20 hours in the quilting by the time I’m done. I don’t keep up with my time and I stop frequently to check email (but no one even noticed that! :)), I stop to do a little dance every now and then when my favorite song comes on the ipod (thank goodness I’m home alone!), I tend to whatever’s cooking so I rarely just quilt non-stop without other activities going on.

      For years, I would quilt from very early in the morning to very late at night but I’ve had hip and knee problems (not due to quilting) lately and standing for more than 4 or 5 hours at a time does cause some issues with the hip and knee.

      I never get tired of quilting because I love it but I do have to pace myself or I’ll pay the price later with my leg.

  13. 21


    Thank you so much for the video! It really makes sense finally. My goal for 2010 is to learn to make feathers!!! At this point just thinking about them makes me nauseated—but I will take shallow breaths, have a sip of Gingerale available and push on 🙂 Happy New Year!!

  14. 23

    Loretta says

    Thanks for making and sharing this video. It is always interesting to see the way others quilt feathers.
    By the way, what accent???
    Loretta in Louisiana

  15. 24


    Thanks for the great video. I also wondered how you did it. I think I’m very directional and would haven’t been able to “do it upside down”. I’m going to try it after I get the wallhanging off my longarm. More videos? I would love to see you do more of them. SID? How to keep the ruler from slipping? That’s a problem I have and it with all rulers. Thanks Judy. I read your blog everyday and check it often during the day to see if you have anything else to say.

  16. 25


    Thanks for posting this video, Judy. It makes me want to try feathers on my next project.
    The variegated thread looks awesome on the dark background.
    I also love to hear you talk! 🙂

  17. 26


    Thanks Judy. I have never seen anyone make feathers and that helps a lot. I was eyeing the feathers you made on that quilt when it was posted earlier and wondered how you did it.

  18. 27


    I agree with the others – you make a wonderful teacher. As for talking too much – your voice is very easy on the ears – I could listen to you all day… maybe one day I’ll be able to try that on a long arm – looks like fun !

    Another Beautiful Quilt – enjoy your New Years Eve !


  19. 28

    gail says

    Thank you so much for doing the video! You make it look easy (and I know it’s not). However, your words of encouragement to practice are inspiring!

  20. 29

    Linda Kay says

    Love the video-was reading others comments and I can’t tell that you have an accent… but then again, I’m from Texas and some think we have an accent… never did understand that….I think it’s the others that have accents. I would love a longarm. How big does the room need to be to really move around like I would need to do? I read your blog daily and love it- I have tried several of your recipes and my guys are always happy with what I have made. Thank you very much!

  21. 30

    Bon says

    Man, Judy, you sure make that look easy. Seems like I remember your description of the early feathers. I’m glad you did the video. Makes me wish I had a long-arm. Maybe I would finish up several tops I have.

  22. 31


    Great video, Judy. I love hearing you talk, it’s your accent. And feathers are one of my favourite quilting patterns. They really stand out on the black fabric with the varigated thread. Thanks for the great post!

  23. 32


    Okay, first off….how cute is your voice!!!!! 🙂
    Thanks for making the video. I’m thinking that I may try some feathers for my next quilt. It’s on my list of things to try this year.

  24. 34

    Lee says

    Clicked on the Binding Video on the sidebar and reached here instead, and oops, no binding video 🙁

  25. 35

    Darlene H. says

    Just discovered your site. Love it. I have an APQS Liberty (for years now) and never really used it for much than meandering. Recently I decided that I wanted to do more and be better. I have been practicing, watching tutorials, and taking some on line classes. I am still struggling with it, though, I am getting better. Your site has been a wealth of information and I want to thank you so much for sharing your work and your knowledge. I am headed out today to practice my feathers! You have inspired me!