longarm quilting · machine quilting · quilting

Getting Closer To The Feathers I Want, But Need Some Advice

I decided to play around on the longarm some today.  I’m pretty pleased with the way my little feathers came out, shape wise.  The very center part isn’t right, but other than that, I like the way they look, from the front.

feather1.jpg  feather2.jpg

Now about the back…I have some questions for you more seasoned feather experts.  I don’t like the way mine look on the back, where the thread builds up…is it supposed to look like this? Or do I need to fiddle with my tension some more? I’m using Signature cotton, Tex 40.


I uploaded the pics as thumbnails, so you can click on them and make them bigger, and really see what I’m talking about. They look “messy” where the thread is backtracked.  How do I make this look better? Any advice you might like to bestow on me would be greatly appreciated.  🙂 Sorry the pics aren’t a little better, I was laying on my back under the longarm table, trying to take them.

11 thoughts on “Getting Closer To The Feathers I Want, But Need Some Advice

  1. Have you tried using a thinner thread on the back? When I switched to using Bottom Line or Sew Fine in the bobbin, I was much happier with the way the backtracking looks, particularly along the spine.


  2. I would use Bottomline on the back as that is much finer (and I know it works on longarm machines. Another possibility is to have a double spine so only half the threads hit the same line. Harder and you have to be careful not to go into the space between the lines but I can see from your backtracking skills this won’t be a problem for you, though it would slow you down a little. Another nice thing about using a very fine bottom thread is that any little bits of bobbin thread coming through on the top really don’t show at all.
    They are lovely, lovely feathers so don’t beat yourself up. Many would be delighted to have done as well.


  3. Beautiful feathers, Randi. I think the thread you’re using is too heavy and causing thread buildup. Use a thinner thread like Superior Masterpiece or Aurifil and that should help. I can’t run Bottomline on my machine, but that’s a good option for you. Like Sally said, they beautiful so don’t feel bad!


  4. Seems the common thread in my responses is a thinner thread 🙂 I actually wanted to use something thinner, but I didn’t have anything that color…guess it’s time to do some more thread shopping 🙂

    I appreciate the input! Very much!


  5. I’ve been meaning to try a thinner thread too. I do have some Bottom Line that I’ve used in the past but I keep reading about So Fine and Deb tells me she uses it in place of Bottom Line now.


  6. Randi I think your feathers are beautiful! There is a certain amount of threadiness with feathers, espeacially along the spine where we tend to travel. I use Superior’s SO Fine in the bobbin. On top I’ll either use King Tut, SO fine, or Rainbows…depending on the quilt. The So Fine in the bobbin with any of those threads reduces the thread buildup look along the spine (or anywhere you are backtracking).

    Personally, Thready doesn’t bother me too much…I consider it a “design” element. LOL Not that I’m an expert!


  7. Randy – your feathers are to die for. I use Bottom Line almost exclusively and love it. The only other option is the spineless feathers ala Lisa Calle. I’ve been watching her DVD a lot and want to try them. It’s just so hard for this old dog to learn new techniques for something I do all the time – I find myself reverting to the “old knowledge.”


  8. Randi… your feathers look fabulous!!! I agree with what everyone else has said about thinner thread. My favorite combo is so fine on top with bottom line in the bobbin. I get perfect tension with it every time.



  9. I love the feathers. Very beautiful. The buildup happens in regular sewing machines as well when I do feathers. I don’t feel so bad now that I know it happens in long arm machines as well.

    I’ll try thinner thread in the back as well. You’ve inspired me to draw some more feather patterns for myself.


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