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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

February FMQ Challenge

So much for posting every week this month...


It has been a very short and very busy month, with a very difficult challenge, at least for me. I have drawn more feathers (with paper and pencil) than I had thought possible. Diane Gaudynski was the FMQ expert for this month's Sew Cal Gal FMQ Challenge, and that's a really high bar! I adore her feathers, and the tutorial she wrote was wonderful, but nothing except practice could help me learn this skill. So, I practiced as time allowed.

I won't bore you with my beginning drawings. They were just awful! After about three weeks of sketching, I was able to draw feathers I was pretty happy with.
One of my favorite sketches.
So once I could draw the feathers somewhat consistently, I began to sew them. Here are my best attempts so far.
Best attempts at an actual quilted feather.

They're a little wobbly. I find it hard to remember to stop completely before repositioning my hands. When I stop I sometimes lose the curve and get somewhat straighter lines and angles. When I don't stop, I lose control or my line of sight and things get jerky. So I'm learning when to slow down, when to stop, and when to reposition my hands on the quilt. As you can probably tell from the stippling, I am a real beginner. So much to learn!

This challenge is perfect for learning. It keeps me focused. Thank you so much, Sew Cal Gal, for this wonderful opportunity. I am working at the challenge, not just for a chance to win prizes (though they are WONDERUL prizes, and I'd love to win) but because I really need the practice. I would have given up on this one had I not signed up and been following along with this terrific community. I'm obviously not alone, and while I may never be able to sew feathers as well as Ms. Gaudynski, I do now believe that I can learn to do this well enough to be happy with my own work. That is my goal.

That's my challenge entry for this month. Can't wait for tomorrow. What will March bring?

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

February FMQ: Working on a New Tutorial

Well, February has arrived. It's actually bright, sunny, and rather warm for Chicago. Seems almost like spring. But I'm sure tomorrow the groundhog will see his shadow and it will be 6 more weeks of winter weather for us up here in the "frozen north".

Today, I checked SewCalGal's blog posting for the new tutorial in her FMQ Challenge. February is Diane Gaudynski month, and that means beautiful, flowing feathers. I have Diane's books and LOVE her style, but I'm not sure I'll ever be able to make those lovely, flowing lines. Can't learn without trying, though, and the truth is I've always been afraid to try. Well, no more! Feathers, here I come!

I plan to attack the feathers much as I did last month's leaves. I will spend a week or so drawing them on paper. That seemed to really help me before. When the feathers begin to "flow" I'll start trying to quilt them. Meanwhile, I'm continuing to quilt the leaf pattern from time to time, just so I don't lose the feel.

I will try to post at least once each week this month instead of waiting until the end and just posting my entry. Hopefully, I'll be able to show some progress along the way.

Enough talk! Time to get started drawing feathers. Wish me luck... I will probably need it...