Feather Lesson

There’s definitely enough interest to our little group lessons on feathers.  All posts dealing with this will be tagged “Feathers” so any time you need to search for info, “Feathers” should get you what you need.

These lessons will include my thoughts on choosing feather designs to fit the spaces, drafting the spine, creating the shape of the feather and whatever else comes up regarding feathers.  I will not be teaching basic machine quilting.  You need to know ahead of time how to manipulate the quilt sandwich under your machine if using a DSM,  as well as how to adjust your tension, which feet to use, and things along those lines.

The lessons will be based on my version of the Carpenter’s Star quilt.  Mary has detailed instructions here.  My version is here, which is not a detailed version, but my borders are just a bit different from Mary’s and if you want to be working on the exact same size top that I’m working on for the lessons, make your borders the way mine are made.  Doesn’t matter to me which version you make and it will not be difficult to adapt the lessons to Mary’s version.

I cannot stress enough that if you’re new to making feathers, your feathers may not be award winning feathers on this first try but my promise to you is if you continue practicing and trying, you can make award winning feathers.  They’re really quite easy once you get over your fear of feathers.

There’s also no set time frame.  My longarm may go into storage and until we are reunited, I will not be making feathers.  They can be made on the sewing machine but it’s been so long since I quilted on the sewing machine, I’m not willing to practice and master the technique since I do have a longarm.   October or November might be the very earliest I’ll be able to start the lessons so get your tops made and stick them where you can find them.

You’re going to be surprised how easy feathers are to make .. with just a little practice yours will be perfect!


  1. 2

    SarahB says

    I am looking forward to it! I have been trying to get up the courage to do feathers on my DSM for awhile now but I think I will wait for your mini-lessons. Meanwhile, I guess I need to figure out the foot to use, tensions, etc. since I almost always use a straight stitch to quilt my sandwiches. I have done stippling before but it was pretty nasty on the bobbin side and since I couldn’t figure that out I just avoid it. The delay gives me time to work on it!!

  2. 4


    October or November will be perfect for me — I’ll be retiring then and hope to have lots of time to practice. Thanks Judy!

  3. 5

    Gail says

    The timing should work for me, too. I just keep hoping your next post will be titled “My wonderful husband just found the perfect house for us, ..it has everything on my list, and the papers are signed….”

  4. 6

    Linda Kay says

    I am so excited about this! Thank you so much for doing these lessons for us!!!

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    Wait a sec’ – you said – “I’m not willing to practice and master the technique since I do have a longarm.” What about those of us who don’t have a longarm? You expect us to be willing to practice and master the technique! Why don’t you practice and master it right along with us? Might make for better lessons – and you wouldn’t need your longarm. Might even be fun. After all – with just a little practice yours will be perfect!…BOB

  6. 10

    pdudgeon says

    this sounds great. i have oodles of quilt tops that need quilting, so this just might be the ticket!

  7. 12

    patti says

    “get your tops made and stick them where you can find them.”
    i particularly like the second half of this instruction — it’s the hardest part! am looking forward to the mini lesson. i’m attending MQX west in october and purposely didn’t sign up for any feathering classes because i am so intimidated by them. having a personal instructor in my own home will be much better. i have made ooooodles of them on my whiteboard, some even look good; but the few times i’ve attempted on fabric, well, let’s just say i’m ready for professional help ;0) thanx so much for all you do.

  8. 14

    Mary Lea Reynolds says

    Yippeee, I am so glad to read you are going to do this, I so need guidance in feathers…can’t wait.

  9. 15

    Darlene S says

    Timeline is good for me too. Maybe my life will slow down a bit by then and I can concentrate on ME instead of everyone else. Thanks Judy for considering doing this. Dar

  10. 16

    Linda B in MI says

    I will wait patiently…I know the hassle with selling a home, going thru its contents, getting a new home, and moving and unpacking…done it 25 times in 43 married years…

  11. 17


    October/November sounds good to me. I use my DSM all the time to machine quilt, I’ve never had the chance to do feathers, and actually I’m very bored with stippling and outlining so the feathers will be great…now to get to work on my quilt!

  12. 18

    Debbie B says

    Thanks, Judy, for doing this. Whenever you are willing to do the tutorial is fine with me. Any and all advice and/or help is much appreciated. You are a peach!

  13. 19

    Mel Meister says

    May I suggest for those who haven’t done much, if any, machine quilting, to just make practice sandwich squares rather than a full top? I started off with 14″ sandwich squares and it was much easier to quilt those without having a whole quilt to struggle with while learning.

  14. 20

    Alberta in N GA says

    I am in… printed out the quilt requirements and instructions so I can get the fabric next time I go shopping… figured it would be better to do this on the same quilt Judy is doing…

  15. 21

    Kathy says

    Thanks so much for this. My husband’s uncle is in rehab after a fall and I am going to make him one of these this weekend. A good friend who has a handiquilter has been frustrated with feathers, so I am sharing with her and also anxiously waiting myself to use your lessons on my Gammill. You are spreading quilts and quilting like ripples on the water!

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    The October/November timeframe will be *just perfect* for me! I have a wedding dress to make for a September wedding and all quilting projects are on hold for the time being. When the wedding is over, I will collapse into a pile of goo and when I recover, I will be more than ready for feathers! 🙂

  17. 23

    Rose W says

    Count me in! I might do the feathers on a different quilt top, but hopefully I can adjust your feathers to fit my top. We all very much appreciate your generosity in time and talent!!!!

  18. 27

    Alice says

    Thanks so much for offering this lesson. I’m excited to learn more about making feathers!

  19. 28

    Marilyn says

    Count me in. I bought fabric a week ago for this project, then added more from the quilt shop today. Yeah! I’d love to master feathers on my new long arm.

    • 28.1

      Marilyn says

      My quilt top is done and ready to begin. I love how it turned out, all in shades of lime green. I am going to give it to a friend who just graduated from college tonight…. but she will have to wait for the feather to fly into place… June 1… I can hardly wait!

      • Marilyn says

        Its almost June…. and the count down begins. Two more days to wait and then…..?????

        2 days plus 45 minutes until June 1 begins………..

  20. 29

    Vicky says

    Judy, my top is ready. I’m looking forward to learning from you. Thank you so much for your willingness to share your talent (and pattern).

  21. 30

    Joanne says

    I just found your blog last night, and am shopping through my fabric, and looking forward to the project.

  22. 31

    Pam says

    Going to get fabric tomorrow so I can join in. This sounds like so much fun. When you lived in Ky and moving to Mo, you were thinking of selling your machine I called about it but you decided to keep it. But I found one and love it.
    Thank you for doing this class.

  23. 32

    Pam C says

    I was going to load my quilt to be ready for the tutorial, but then decided I needed to know how to load it. I normally load my longest side on the frame, but that may make it difficult to do the top and bottom feathers. Is there a particular way we should load it?

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    Can i take part on the website or have I to subcribe?? I would like to learn fether Quilting. I am beginner machine Quilter. I enjoy your answer.

    Greeting Guilitta