You love antique quilts...the quilting...the feathers.
Quilting feathers by backtracking best captures the feel of hand quilted feathers.
Let's learn how to do it.
Backtracking is the double stitching that occurs when the shared line between feathers is quilted twice; once to complete the upper side of the first feather and once to complete the underside of the next.
Backtracking with fine threads does not produce visible thread build up.
While you can choose virtually any size thread for machine quilting (as long as it fits through a needle and doesn't shred), its weight does play an important part in this kind of quilting feathers.
You'll need to use a fine thread for quilting feathers this way.
However, I have never been disappointed with any of Superior's threads and expect their new silk thread will be the same excellent quality.)
Aurifil's 50 weight cotton on the orange spool may also work for your needs.
Just remember, finer is better because there's little thread buildup so that your backtracking stitches won't show.
Test heavier thread first to determine if the backtracking is too obvious. Variegated thread is usually a poor choice--stitching twice on the same line muddies the colors of the variegated thread.
Matching your thread color to your top results in less visible thread buildup, but can be harder to quilt with simply because it isn't as visible during quilting.
With monofilament you are more aware of the texture that your quilting produces then of the quilted line itself.
As for the bobbin thread, in our Generations Quilt Patterns we recommend using either 100 weight silk or Aurifil 50 weight cotton or Superior Thread's Bottom Line, a 60 weight polyester, as appropriate choices for your bobbin.
Stitch the spine so that when its complete your needle is in the spine at the root where the first feather begins.
Now echo quilt around this line of feathers to return to the root of the design.
Echo quilting is accomplishe by stitching a uniform distance away from a previously quilted line. In Generations Quilt Patterns the echo quilting is stitched approximately 1/8“ away from the feather itself.
Repeat to fill the other side of the spine with feathers. And again, after the last stitch of the last feather at the tip, echo quilt your way back to the root of the design.
Echo quilting is a versatile technique. It allows you to travel to different parts of the design. It also reduces the number of starts and stops.
It also emphasizes the feathers by adding more contrast between the puff in the feathers to the echo quilted area immediately surrounding the feather. Use a wool quilt batting (we recommend Hobbs 100% Wool) to further enhance the contrast.