When the instructions became available, I spent hours trying to draw the feather design in my notebook. It didn't work on the first day. For some reason I just wasn't able to replicate Diane's tear drop shape. I even tried cutting out the template from her pictures and tracing around it, with little success.
After drawing the design over and over on paper, however, my feathers started looking a little bit better. These are some of the feathers I was able to draw after a week of practice:
I thought these were starting to look pretty good, so I moved on to quilting the design freehand on fabric. This was my first attempt:
I'm pretty sure this is exactly what Diane was referring to when she warned us to avoid drawing anything that looked like strange broccoli stalks and deformed veggies... For the second attempt I switched to a colour of thread that wouldn't stand out and showcase my mistakes quite so much:
These turned out really well! With the pale thread, you can't make out many mistakes, and after a wash I think these would probably look perfectly ok on a quilt. Encouraged by this, I gave it another try with contrasting thread:
My feathers are certainly not perfect, but I'm proud of how far I've come after only a month of free motion quilting. I plan to come back to this design as my skills improve, and hopefully turn it into something beautiful to use on a quilt.