So last night, I shoved the Pansy Sampler into the Juki and mentally psyched myself up. Yep, I felt totally dangerous!
I guess the psyching up worked, because I jumped in deep. It wasn't my intention to start out with feathers, although I was most anxious to try them. However, there is only one block with a black background in the sampler, and the Juki was already loaded up with black thread, and I had planned feathers for that block..... I took it as a sign.
Here is where I started. The feathers don't look quite as pretty as those in the book, but for my very first attempt, I'm not dissatisfied.
(Sorry the pictures look washed out, but I have a feeling the quilting might be hard to see without the flash.)
Then I moved to a larger section in the background. My original intent had been to fill the space with ever larger feathers as I moved from the center outward, but after I got to a certain size, making the feathers seemed a bit more difficult. I decided larger feathers would be a different skill for a different day, and so I brought the motif back in at the top. So far, so good.
The only problem is that I wanted the background totally filled, so I made some feather "sprouts" off to each side
It took me about 45 minutes to do these two little sections, but I could tell it was getting easier the more I did it, so I suspect it will go faster as I get more practice. The other consideration time-wise, is that I didn't have to do any marking at all to create these intricate looking feathers. That is definitely time saved. Frankly, even with hand-quilting, I've never done any quilting this intricate because I didn't want to take the time to mark the quilt. (I think I could use the same principles for making feathers in hand-quilting too.)
I've always loved making tops, but got bogged down at the quilting phase, because I wasn't able to create extravagant designs on the machine, and hand-quilting takes a very long time. I have a feeling that is all about to change. I am ecstatic.