Feather Lesson – Border #2

The border that is 2″ finished, the yellow one on my quilt, is the one we will quilt next.  This is where I do what I call the half feather.

These are one sided feathers where the seam line is the spine . . you do not have to draw in a spine.  These should be easier to do than were the outer border feathers.

You may notice that I did not stitch in the ditch on this quilt.  I usually do because I think it makes the lines crisper and neater but I just haven’t had the time on this project.  You can also see that I’ve meandered the background behind the blue triangles.  On the first quilt, I did a feather meander in this area:

If you want to do a feather meander and need a little guidance, I’ll post something on that over the weekend.  Otherwise, if you want to do a plain meander in the background area, you can go ahead and get that done.  I only work in the area that’s currently in the throat of my machine.  I will quilt everything in that area before advancing.  So, I am not recommending that you meander all the background at this point . . just what’s in the area of your throat space and this is after you’ve done the top border, and the narrow border.

Also, I never take my quilts off and turn them.  I always work the sides as I’m working everything else.

This is a good time to print the drawing of your quilt:

My printer obviously cut the bottom off of the picture.  Do you see how I’ve drawn in what I’ve done so far?  Roughly draw in what you’re doing.

Because . . when you get most of the quilted area rolled up and all you see is this  . .

. . you will not remember what you did at the top . . or at least I don’t!  I have to either take pictures with the digital camera or cell phone or make notes to myself about the direction the feathers are going, or the size of the meander or whatever.  Make it easy on yourself but if you need little reminders to keep everything right, do it.

Here’s the new video.  It goes back over some of what was in the video yesterday.  I’m using a Sharpie for the feathers and I hope you can see that better.


  1. 1

    WiAmy says

    Another great lesson Judy! I particularly like those tips of what to do with corners where a full feather doesn’t fit right. The stem on a “puffy” feather is also a good idea. I love the temp. placement lines in the corners (diagonal and bisecting one). It is surprising how much they help. To practice just drawing shapes, I use a magna doodle (kids toy–improved version of the etch-a-sketch). One of those pads that you draw on then lift the sheet and it disappears would be a cheaper version of the magna doodle. I can see the “marker” drawings better however, some is missing when you are “demoing” on the right side (camera placement doesn’t include the lower right corner/edge). You are doing a magnificent job! I have my outer border all quilted and will do the next one plus back ground as you described today. Thanks again…this is really fun! Amy

  2. 2

    Patricia L. says

    Great tips! I could see the marker much better. Your corner tips were very helpful too.
    The chickens really have grown, the silkies are so cute.
    Thanks again for doing this.

  3. 4


    I quilt my feathers starting at the top and working down like drawing a heart…I am left handed so maybe that is a left handed thing. I thought it might help a left handed person. Paula in KY

  4. 5


    Thanks for posting the videos – what a great help! Love the painter’s tape tip, I’ll use that one for helping to create some of my spines, especially in the corners ;-).

  5. 6

    Ruth W says

    OK, I am going to conquer feathers. Cannot draw them and keep them in the same direction, all tries are worse than bad. Soooo, Drawing by hand and moving the longarm are two different motions, right? So have taken a large piece of muslin, drawn the 4″ border lines and the angle and half circle. Now we’ll see if I can at least get poor feathers with the machine.

    I see you start on the bottom right go up and across to the left and then down the left side. Do you then start back up on the left side or go back to the right to do the inner portion of feathers? Should the feathers on each side meet at the spine, one to one?

  6. 7


    Hey Judy I’ve been practicing and find I have questions, so far most have already been brought up in the comments. But I was wondering about the size of the feather petals, about how big would they be on a 4″ border? also it looks like you go right to left on the right-side feather and left to right on the left side feather, is this right.? You make it look so easy ! Thanks

  7. 8

    Karla says

    at work tonight got some scrap paper and practicing…practicing. I was having a problem with the corners and thanks for the tip that will help me to get around the corners without the feathers going flat on me. great lesson!!!!