Free Motion Friday’s – Cheater Feathers


Happy Friday Peeps! Today, Cheater Feathers!

I love quilting feathers. They are the most fun to quilt. But I’m also super lazy and have to patience for perfect feathers, for marked feathers, for backtracking, for any of the things that make traditional feathers look so perfect. So forget that, here’s how I do cheater feathers.

First, some pictures, because I’m way better at quilting feathers than at drawing feathers.


Some feathers in my graffiti,


More Graffiti feathers — here you can see them well in that contrasting thread.

Photo 2015-04-22, 2 54 03 PM


I think my feathers look just fine, and are super easy. So here we go.


First, the spine. I like to go for something curvey… I think straight lines look weird, but, to each their own 😀

I have never once in my life marked a feather spine. Because, as I said, super lazy. And marking spines take work. So I have imperfect spines, and just don’t care. Even on Granny’s butterfly quilt, with that great long feather border, no marking. I just quilted it in and tried for as even as possible.





Then, a little swirl on the bottom,


Which I then echo back. I try to get this echo as thin as I can, while still maintaining a reasonably even space — usually about 1/8″. If I get too big though, or get too small, I just really don’t care.

4Then, the next feather. I try to get a good curve in there– I don’t want a flat feather.


Then echo back on that.


Then, just keep going.


If I miss the feather on the first pass, I can easily just make sure I close off that feather on my echo.


And if I get a flat feather, I can just make my echo a bit curvier to fix that up.



And so then, up and down both sides.


I often like to add an echo around my feathers after — just something I like to do 😀


I read somewhere, or was told once, that as long as my feathers were the same height, the length of them won’t matter, and they will still look fairly even and uniform. I try to remember this… but I’m lazy, so sometimes it doesn’t happen. I’m not a perfect person.

That’s it for this week! Later days!


Free Motion Friday is Sponsored by Sparrow Studioz and APQS Canada!

Free Motion Friday is Sponsored by Sparrow Studioz and APQS Canada. I’m teaching there September 25 & 26 — hope to see you then!






9 responses to “Free Motion Friday’s – Cheater Feathers

  1. I’ve always thought your feathers look amazing, so big thank you for sharing your method. I’ve been following a small whole cloth quilt along and we had to put feathers in a diamond shape. The instructor used a straight spine for her feathers. When I try to do a straight line my poor feathers look like fat sausage fingers. I just came to the conclusion by brain has to have a curved spine or it’s a no go.

  2. Love how your feathers look Kathleen and instead all in one step with no backtracking. Is there anyway you could show the fill you seem to use quite a bit that is wavy lines in various directions within a border (sorry not a great definition, but best I could do – sorta like McTavishing but not quite).

  3. OOOhhhh that’s great. I’m going to fill some notebooks with practice feathers tonight! I’d love to see how you do the piano key bits, too. I love the look of the straight line backgrounds but have never tried straight line FMQ.

  4. Pingback: Birthe’s Aviatrix Medallion | Kathleen Quilts·

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