Feathers Old and New

I’ve done a bit of reflecting on my longarming.  One thing is that I know I have come a long way.  This is a quilt that a friend made for another friend’s retirement, and I thought it needed feathers in the border.

And this is another recent quilt, where I added feathers that were a little more whimsical (There are curls on some of the plumes, but they are hard to see).

And here are the feathers on my first feathered quilt.  All I can say is thank God for friends who let you practice on their quilts.  I remember at the time how proud I was, and now that I’ve improved, I’m completely embarrassed by those same stitches. 

The hardest thing about feathers is backtracking over your quilted lines.  When I started, I used Sally Terry’s method of making hooks, rather than true feathers (no back-tracking), and over time, I’ve evolved my feather.  I still have a vision of what I want my feathers to look like, and although I’m not there yet, I am definitely headed in the right direction. 

One thing that I don’t like about longarming for other people is that I don’t know how they feel about my work.  Do they look at my stitches and think– Wow, I just paid her to do this, and this sucks.  Or do they like it because they don’t know better?  Or do they assume that I’ll get better with time and don’t mind that they are in my learning curve?  Or worst yet– are they just hiring me to do this because I’m cheap and they want their project done.  The thing is, I don’t know if I want the truth.  Could I take the truth, if it’s negative, and not let it eat away at me? I guess what I want is for people to see my work before they hire me.  I want them to see my quilts and say, Hey, I love the look of that quilting, and I want it on my quilt, too.

A little known fact about me is that I love to write.  In fact, In 1998, I moved to the beach to write my novel.  I wrote 28 pages that I’ve never let anyone read, and then I stopped.  With my writing, I just don’t have the confidence to attempt publication.  With my quilting, I don’t have the confidence to have my work critiqued.  I have to change this.  My job as a teacher is to convince my students that they can triumph.  I believe John Grisham’s first novel A Time to Kill was rejected twenty-something times before being published.  Harry Potter was rejected that many or more times, too.  But a Danielle Wilkes Original?  Yeah, I am not sure I could keep trying until I make it. 

I saw a quote on The Glossy Project that I love.  “She turned her can’ts into cans and dreams into plans.”  That’s what I’m trying to do, but fear of disappointing others, which leads to negative self-talk is a real challenge for me.  What’s keeping you from being what you want to be?

*Thanks, readers, for being cheaper than therapy.  Wait, no, I’m not saying YOU are cheap… just that you don’t charge me for my pity parties (not that being a little cheap every now and then is a bad thing!).

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7 Responses to Feathers Old and New

  1. Danielle, as long as you’re willing to admit that you have room for improvement I think you’re definitely on the right track. Also, I think your work is absolutely amazing and I could NEVER do feathers, ever. I other advice is just fake it til you make it girl. Act like you meant to do it that way and you’ll find that most people are just happy to have a resource like you arround, a person they can trust to quilt their quilts in a beautiful manner, and do such a beautiful job writing about them. Keep up the good work! (You can practice on my quilts any time you want.)

  2. DeDe says:

    All I know is that when I gave Diane her quilt, everyone pointed to the feathering and wanted to know if I did it. I must confess. I did want to lie and take credit. There I said it, and I feel better!

  3. Yeah, the $20 I spend on my domain name for my blog is by far the cheapest most effective form of daily therapy ever invented. $20 well spent 🙂 And remember those pictures of your first feathered quilt? Did you reread the comment I left (I did). I am still impressed with them. And the quilt I sent you to do shortly after that is still on my daughters bed. Until I you know, put myself together enough to finish the one in pieces on the dining room table… for the past 6 ish months.

  4. Jessi Lane says:

    Ok – I love your quilting and I would go to you no matter what. I aspire to be like you in all things quilty.

    I also love to write and have not had the discipline to write like I should. I would love to have deadlines of a writers group – let me know if we can turn some play dates into brainstorming sessions, talks about writing, or whatever!

    Hopefully our pool will open and we can have Ethan over for swim time!

  5. Jessi Lane says:

    I totally thought I left a comment a few days ago! I want to be a writer too and am working on stuff on and off – we should have a little writer’s group!

    I love your quilting – no matter what the price.

    Love you!

  6. kim says:

    I think your quilts are beautiful. Someday I will say I knew you when… To the world you seem so in control and sure of yourself. You are a fantastic teacher and friend. I know this because you have been both to my daugter and I. Please do not doubt your many talents, you are priceless!

  7. Ellen says:

    I find your feathers impressive and think all your work is lovely. I share your love of writing as well as lack of confidence in putting it out there. I wrote a little book for my granddaughter for her third birthday and have been doing it every year since. I actually skipped one year and sent her Dad and uncle’s childhood collection of Sweet Pickles books instead only to find out she preferred Grandmom’s “special” books better.

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