Feathering just like the quilters do

Hi everyone.

Feathered Heart by Ina Sonnenmoser

First I lost my mojo – Pinterest to the rescue! I decided to pick the very first item on my feed and just let it guide me back to my creative path. Well, I have spent an entire weekend drawing feathers – the kind of feathers that quilters make. This is so addictive and will definitely┬áspark your creativity too!

And this brings me also to the topic of copyright. I am by no means the inventor of this pattern. Quilting was probably already done 3000 years ago when the Egyptians discovered that doubling a weaved cloth is warmer than a single one. Scraps of quilted cloth were discovered during excavations dating back to 2000 B.C.

So, who created the pattern first? No idea! There is no copyright on the pattern, only on the actual drawing of the step-out. It feels weird to put my name on each of the step-outs – someone else might have drawn them before me. All I want to do is spark your creativity and imagination and share a few tips how I draw feathers ­čÖé Have fun!

Let’s begin with a basic feather along an S-Curve:

Feathering S-Curve by Ina Sonnenmoser

The most important part to point out: Start from the outside of the first drop in Step 2. The shape will greatly differ if you start Step 2 along the penciled line.

In all step-outs, I used a rice corn shape to start the first petal. Another alternative is, to begin using a drop shape. It really depends on what style you are trying to achieve (see examples below).

To create ‘flat’ or ‘skinny’ petals, start the second petal closer to the stem. For nice ’rounded’ or ‘fat’ petals, start further on the outside of the previous petal and swing around by drawing a little hook.

Feathering Styles by Ina Sonnenmoser

You can keep the petals evenly spaced, or add more interest by varying the sizes of the petals (see above).

Applying feathers to spirals is even more fun!

Feathering Spiral by Ina Sonnenmoser

There are plenty of variations! Let your imagination go wild!!

I really enjoy using the Feathers as a filler.

Feathering Artwork by Ina Sonnenmoser Feathering Artwork by Ina Sonnenmoser

And here are some tips on how to shade Feathers:

Shading Feathers by Ina Sonnenmoser

  1. Begin with an inner shadow along the spiral – this is your overall shading.
  2. To give the impression that the petals are bowed towards the outside, add a shadow to the tips of the┬ápetals. With an eraser, bring out the highlights – the highest point on the petal.
  3. Add a drop shadow around the entire shape (the square in this case).
  4. And finally, shade each overlapping petal.
  5. I do this in this order because it allows me to bring out the highlights with an eraser without erasing the shadow of each petal.

… and of course, I could not resist adding an inner aura:

Feathers variation by Ina Sonnenmoser

Now we get to the fun part! Applying feathers to a grid ­čÖé

FeatherGrid by Ina Sonnenmoser

I dare you to apply the Grid Journey to this! Or even divide the squares even further into triangles.

Feather Triangle Ribbon by Ina Sonnenmoser

.. and just before you really get tired of feathering, here is a bit more of Creative Pattern Tangling:

Feathering Ribbon by Ina Sonnenmoser

I cannot wait to see your creations!


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