Craftsy Class Review: Free-Motion Quilting with Feathers with Angela Walters

Yes, it's another FMQ class. It could be argued that I need to stop taking classes and just practice practice practice, but there is a method to my over-indulgence in learning. First of all, that's just who I am. I recall doing an Enneagram test back in my early 30s that identified weaknesses based on the 7 Deadly Sins (it also identified strengths, but I don't recall what gimmick it used for that). My primary weakness was "gluttony," and was identified with my personality type as gluttony for knowledge. It described in frighteningly exact detail my overloaded bookshelves and desire to be involved in academia the rest of my life. Ahem. I resemble that remark.

In any case, the flip side to "maybe you should stop taking classes and practice" is that every teacher shows a slightly different way to do the same thing. In this case, I've now been exposed to several different ways to machine quilt a feather. I'm learning which ones feel more comfortable for me and therefore have a higher chance at making me successful.

  3 methods for feathers--top two from Angela Walter's class, bottom from Ann Petersen's class. All while still recovering from jet-lag and malaria med side effects. Not too shabby.

3 methods for feathers--top two from Angela Walter's class, bottom from Ann Petersen's class. All while still recovering from jet-lag and malaria med side effects. Not too shabby.

So, my experience with Free-Motion Quilting with Feathers, taught by Angela Walters, is a great example of this truism. I enjoy Angela Walters as a teacher. One of her methods for doing a feather is fairly similar to others I've used in the past, so I used this class as an opportunity for more practice. However, her other feather technique (she calls it "custom feather," although I can't figure out what's custom about it) feels very awkward to me. I was able to do it, and practiced it several times over, but it just didn't make logical sense to me and the way I think/quilt. I don't think it flowed any more smoothly or made for a better looking feather, even after I got pretty good at doing it. I far prefer other methods I've learned in the past, such as the feathers I did in Ann Petersen's Beyond Basic Machine Quilting, or the ones I did in Wendy Butler Berns' Machine Quilting class. That is not at all a knock on Angela Walters--I love her work. It just shows that not every technique will be the right technique for you...which is why I want to learn every possible variation out there and I refuse to think of that as a deadly sin, LOL.

That being said, what I got most out of Free-Motion Quilting with Feathers was not so much the feather technique itself as her suggestions for how to use feathers in a variety of settings. The first half of the class is on doing feathers and feather variations; the second half of the class is using feathers in different types of blocks, borders, as meanders, as motifs, and then feathers with "a modern twist." The second half of the class is where I got the most inspiration and ideas--in fact, so much so that I now feel armed to tackle a UFO that's been languishing, draped over my UFO holding bar. It's crying out for some of Angela Walter's spiral feathers and other variations.

So I definitely view this class as a success for me. I can't wait to clear some other little things off my docket so I can put that UFO back up on my design wall and start sketching out some ideas for myself based on what I've learned from this class.

The Basics

  • 10 lessons. Absent the 2 minute introduction of Angela Walters, the rest of the lessons range from 8 to 18 minutes. In each lesson, she first talks about the method or shape, then draws it out, then goes to the machine to demonstrate stitching it. She goes back and forth between domestic and long-arm machines from lesson to lesson, showing you that each design can be done equally well on either machine.
  • Lessons 2-5 demonstrate her techniques for the basic feather and variations, and the "custom" feather and variations. Lessons 6 through 10 show how to adapt feathers to different shapes, use them as meanders and fillers, turn them into a variety of motifs, and use them as creative background elements.

One more time, the class is  Free-Motion Quilting with Feathers, taught by Angela WaltersDespite my comments about her one feather technique, I still definitely give this class two thumbs up. If you love feathers, you'll love this class; and you may really vibe with her custom feather technique--every person is different. Even if you turn up your nose at feathers as being too traditional or fussy, I'd highly recommend this class anyway--I think you'll get a new view of how feathers can enhance any quilt!

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