Scrap Squad: Mel’s Chain Reaction and Giveaway!

The QM Scrap Squad is a select group of seven QM readers. They take one pattern from each regular issue of Quiltmaker and make their own scrappy versions to inspire you.

QM scrap squadB3 Scrap Squad: Mels Chain Reaction and Giveaway!The featured quilt from the March/April issue is Chain Reaction, a design by Lee Heinrich of Freshly Pieced. Here’s the original quilt made in Pear Tree fabrics by Thomas Knauer for Andover.

downsizedchain Scrap Squad: Mels Chain Reaction and Giveaway!

Chain Reaction designed by Lee Heinrich. Fabric: Pear Tree by Thomas Knauer for Andover Fabrics. Appears in Quiltmaker March/April '12, No. 144.

Today’s featured Scrap Squad member is Melissa Radtke from Dubuque, Iowa. You’ll hear from Mel in her own words below.

Melissaradtke1 Scrap Squad: Mels Chain Reaction and Giveaway!

Melissa Radtke from Dubuque, Iowa

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If you are like me, when a new magazine is delivered to your door, you’re drawn to the quilts in the colors you like best.

Well…pastels are not me! When I first caught a glimpse of Chain Reaction, all I saw were the colors. Not a fan of the original colors, I thought, “How do I make this quilt ME?” So I got on the trusty internet and consulted the trusty color wheel. I was immediately drawn to the warm side.

color wheel 300 Scrap Squad: Mels Chain Reaction and Giveaway!

My next thought was how to incorporate all those colors ranging from light yellow, dark yellow, gold, orange, dark orange, red, to red violet. I wanted to do a gradual color change through my chain, like a sunrise. But—why not go from sunrise to sunset?! Starting with my first row, I would gradually move my colors through the chain until my last row was the complete opposite of the first.

tequila sunrise layout opt Scrap Squad: Mels Chain Reaction and Giveaway!You can see how the color is gradually changing in the first four rows. This is what I call a very controlled scrap quilt. The awesome thing is that you can use as many or as few fabrics as you’d like, as long as they are in the same color family.  I have five yellow fabrics and 10 orange fabrics.

quiltermaker 1 002 opt Scrap Squad: Mels Chain Reaction and Giveaway!Here are a few things I learned while making this quilt. I am the first to admit that I am “ruler impaired.” When cutting a 30° angle, I can flip my ruler 100 times and still won’t get that angle right. So I use the 30° line on my cutting mat and line my ruler up with that. Just make sure, as you can see from the picture above, that the corner of the fabric is ½” off that 30° line. Voila!!! A perfect cut!

quiltermaker 1 003 opt Scrap Squad: Mels Chain Reaction and Giveaway!I had some problems when adding my center strip. One end would be too short. So before I took my pieces to the sewing machine, I would lay them out next to each other. With the right sides facing up, I made my adjustments so there was plenty of fabric on each end. Then I turned my strip so the right side would lay on top of my triangle. It was ready to sew with plenty of fabric on both ends of my strip. It worked like a charm.

prelim photo 1 opt Scrap Squad: Mels Chain Reaction and Giveaway!I am a beginner when it comes to feathers. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE feathers, but was never able to get the hang of them. Then I bought the book Hooked on Feathers by Sally Terry. With just a few days of practice, I figured it out.

This quilt had the perfect places for feathers. I echo quilted the chains and the sides, and quilted feathers through the middle.  And this was all done on my Bernina, not a longarm. So you don’t have to be a longarm quilter to do fun quilting.

tequila sunrise full finished1 812x1024 Scrap Squad: Mels Chain Reaction and Giveaway!Here’s my finished quilt.

This quilt looks more difficult than it is. You’ll amaze your friends. They’ll think you’re an expert quilter and only you will know how easy it really is. Have some fun with it and make a Chain Reaction of your own.

*     *     *     *     *

Another wonderful job! I think this quilt is really quite a feat from a color standpoint. And those feathers are amazing! If you’ve ever tried them, you know they’re tricky.

I’m happy to tell you that Sally Terry has graciously provided a signed copy of Hooked on Feathers for giveaway here! One reader will soon be quilting feathers as lovely as Mel’s!

Learn more about the book here: Hooked On Feathers Book, Fun, Fast and Easy free-motion no-mark, no-backtracking method with step-by-step instruction for shortarm, midarm, longarm, and traditional machines. How can you not get excited about that?

Here’s a taste of what Sally Terry does. It’s easy to see why Hooked on Feathers was the #1 book for AQS in 2009!

Sally Terry video

Leave a comment by midnight Thursday, March 1 answering this question: Have you tried quilting feathers, and how did it go? We’ll pick a random winner to receive Hooked on Feathers by Sally Terry. And you know how we are—there could certainly be other surprises in the package! The winner is Joan Mathews. Thanks to everyone for the great comments. Now let’s go practice our feathers.

About Diane Harris

I'm an editor for Quiltmaker magazine in Golden, Colorado, USA. For six years, I wrote pattern instructions, product reviews and how-to articles. Then I spent four years as QM's Interactive Editor, working to generate much of our online content. Now I'm back to patterns and how-tos, which is a great fit for me. I still love writing about quilt-related topics for Quilty Pleasures, and I always have my finger on the pulse of the quilting world. I teach a variety of quilt classes and give guild programs, too. Reach me by email:
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67 Responses to Scrap Squad: Mel’s Chain Reaction and Giveaway!

  1. judy says:

    I have practiced feathers only on paper,for now!…I think,with a little help from the book, I will take the next step and practice on my quilt…I’m piecing a new one now!

  2. Barb J says:

    I haven’t tried feathers, although I love the look of them. The machine quilting I have done is mostly meander quilting. I am ready to move on to something more difficult, so I’d love to win a copy of the book!

  3. Cory says:

    I have not tried feathers yet. They are my desire and my fear. :-) I have drawn them out and am working up the courage to try them. This would be the perfect incentive to take the bull by the horns and do it. Thank you for the chance to win. Take care and God bless, Cory

  4. Sheryl Andrews says:

    The feathers I’ve tried looked as those they came from a very misshapen duck. Sally Terry’s book would be a godsend.

  5. Kaye M. says:

    I have tried stitching a feathered wreath using tracing paper just for practice. I have tried quilting feathers using the back track method but my stitches don’t look very good. I’d love to try Sally’s method with hooked feathers. They look beautiful!

  6. Madeline Wallace says:

    I have tried quilting feathers by hand, and it is too tedious! I would like to do more machine quilting, but cant seem to get the tension right or something. If I use a walking foot, it is fine, but can only do straight lines with that. Any help on why the thread gets so messed up when I switch to a free motion foot? I have a top that would look great with feathers very similar to what you did.

  7. Marcia B says:

    WooHoo! Will ya look at that stunning quilt??!!! I am so impressed with the way you did your color design, Melzee! You certainly have an eye for color!
    OK, now let’s talk about feathers. What can I say? Your gorgeous feathers inspire me and I now have feathers on my “TO DO” list!! But I’m thinking I just might need some help and maybe that book is just what I need! Thanks for the opportunity to win Sally’s book (said while crossing my fingers)!! ;^)

  8. Annaleena says:

    I haven’t tried feathers yet. I have been planning to try them, because they look so beautiful. This book looks very useful.

  9. Jackie says:

    I tried feathers once and it didn’t look pretty. Maybe it’s time to read this book and try again!

  10. Lynn D in NC says:

    I haven’t tried feathers or any FMQ yet. That’s one of my goals for 2012.

  11. Nancy B from Many LA says:

    No, I haven’t tried feathers yet – but would love to learn! (Hint, hint! lol!) I LOVE your choice of colors – I’m a warm colors fan too!

    Thanks for the giveaway!

  12. Nancy Hagelberg says:

    Beautiful quilt and the feathers, you are an inspiration! I bought the book and have practiced some, but will work some more and give it a go. Thanks for the tips and once again a beautiful quilt!

  13. Billie K says:

    I’m only done one sample with feathers. Would love to when the book.

  14. Terry says:

    I’ve only been quilting for a year and haven’t tried quilting feathers…yet!! It is on my list of things to learn. Thanks for the chance to win.

  15. I have not done feathers yet, but want to try them.
    I do free motion and have done single ones.


  16. Joan M says:

    Better than I expected, but there’s LOTS of room for improvement. Practice, practice, practice….

  17. Linda says:

    I’ve tried drawing feathers, quilting feathers….terrible at both! There has to be something I’m missing, maybe this book has the answers!
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  18. Nancy Sue says:

    Love your color choices!Thank you for sharing! Um, as for feathers, well, let’s just say I need a wee bit more practice. My first attempts resembled a branch from Charlie Brown’s Christmas tree :) But it still is a whole heap o’ fun!!

  19. Rhonda says:

    The quilt is gorgeous, the feathers are grand. I too have taught myself how to quilt feathers using the Hooked on Feathers technique from Sally Terry. I would recommend it to anyone wanting to do their own quilting. I also have a domestic machine.

  20. Sandy A in St. Louis says:

    Love her color gradation! I have never tried feathers, but would love to learn how! Please count me in!

  21. Karen A says:

    I’ve tried feathers, but I haven’t used them in a quilt yet. Just a pillow and some fabric I quilted to make a tote. I want to use them in a quilt.

  22. Pat V. says:

    I admit I’ve been too timid to attempt feathers — they look so difficult! Thanks for the chance to win this book!

  23. Deb G. in VA says:

    Beautiful quilt, I love the colors! I love feathers, but the few times I’ve tried to FMQ them, they aren’t very feather like. I would love to win a copy of Hooked on Feathers.
    Thanks for the giveaway!

  24. Chris P says:

    I have tried feathers several times, get going and then lose my way. I would love to win Sally’s book to help me with this. Thanks for a chance.

  25. Rachelle says:

    I haven’t tried feathers yet, but I do want to.

  26. Vivian says:

    I have done feathers before–the first ones were marked so easy peasy but of ccourse the prep work is a bear. Since then I’ve done a few free-hand ones….I like it but still need more pratice. Thanks for providing so many links to information about Sally’s book and techniques and the chance to win one!

  27. Janet B says:

    Mel’s quilt is great. I just got my new color wheel in the mail today and am all excited. Thanks, too, for the link to the video. Sally’s book looks wonderful. I would love to attend her class, but can’t make it to RI.

    I have tried feathers. Some have turned out good; some have been complete disasters. I need help to learn to create them consistently.

  28. Rebecca says:

    No, I haven’t tried quilting feathers, but would love to learn how! THANKS for the chance!

  29. MarciaW says:

    I’m working on learning to quilt some straight lines on the sewing machine (not too great) after being a hand quilter. On my list this year is FMQ. BUT, my mother just asked me TODAY about doing feathers on the Birdie quilt that will be quilting. Feathers = Birdies. I’m positive that this book could be of great help to me. Of course, Mel’s quilt is out of my league because I’m color challenged too. Thanks for the chance.

  30. Mom C says:

    I have tried feathers. I thought they were fun except for how many times you go up and down that center stem. I started FMQing about 2 years ago and I love it. Someday I’m going to quilt a really good quilt, I call all the ones I’ve made so far practice quilts. Some parts are pretty darn good but others aren’t. Feathers can go from pretty darn good to horrific really quick. I really like Mel’s choice of colors. It is a great quilt.

  31. Great job, Mel! This is a great use of colors! I haven’t done feathers on my domestic or short arm machine, but I am willing to give them a try. :)

  32. Lisa Marie says:

    I tried feathers once and they were SO ugly. I practiced only a little and got discouraged. This book sounds like it could give me a fresh start. Thanks for the chance to win.

  33. Karlene says:

    Would love to try feathers. Winning the book would be the right incentive. Really like the colors on Mel’s quilt.

  34. Linda says:

    Love your quilt Mel, and the feathers are awesome. I’ve tried feathers many times, but because they don’t turn out like Mel’s I tend to do other designs! LOL I sure could use Sally’s book! I’m sure more practice would help too!

  35. Gill says:

    I haven’t tried quilting feathers but I’d like to have a go!

  36. floribunda says:

    I have tried a few feathers, but I’m a novice! I did learn pretty quickly to do them in matching rather than contrasting thread –

  37. Pat Adney says:

    I love your quilt,Melzee! And your feathers are wonderful! I have only tried feathers in practice on my Bernina–slowly getting courage to FMQ a whole quilt-so far only place mats and a fabric panel. Would love to get the feathers book.

  38. Sandy says:

    I have tried quilting feathers and it didn’t go!! Period but I’m going to try again and I’m not giving up..

  39. Linda says:

    Sounds like such a neat book!
    Feathers are a learned-art, so far mine are not too great !
    Thanks for sharing!

  40. Donna Amos says:

    I have tried feathers, but have never been satisified with my results. Would love to win the book and try to make feathers as lovely as Melzee did. Mel’s colors are great in her quilt. I love it!

  41. Jennifer says:

    The free motion feathers I’ve tried just weren’t up to snuff. But I wonder if that isn’t just because I haven’t practiced them enough. Of course, if you watch someone who does them beautifully they look easy! Any instructions on making nice feathers would be great – they look so beautiful on a quilt!

  42. Helen says:

    I haven’t tried quilting feathers, but would love to win the book and try!

  43. Danielle says:

    No, I havnt tried feathers. I am more of a quilt top maker than a quilter yet.

  44. Annie K says:

    I’m in the middle of making a quilt for myself (gasp! I’m not giving this one away, be amazed!) and am trying free=motion feathers on it. They’re not turning out too badly, but let’s just say, I’m glad I hadn’t planned on giving this one to anybody. LOL! I could definitely use some instruction on feathering!

  45. Penny Pritchard says:

    Do I ever need that book! I’ve been trying feathers for years and its one of the few free motion designs I just can’t seem to get the hang of! Sally’s book looks like it will show a whole new way of feather designs that will help me to finally have feathers on my quilts!

  46. Lana says:

    I love feathers, and it’s one of the things I intend to master. I will get the hang of it. So far, not so good. But I will…..
    This book would be the ideal way to get it right. Thanks for the opportunity.

  47. TAH says:

    I recently tried feathers. Have seen Sally Terry’s book and Patsy Thompsons and it all just came together so easily. Anxious to try more feather designs. And yes on a domestic machine

  48. Claudia says:

    Yes, I’ve tried quilting feathers and started with feathered wreaths. Hmmm, as I recall–not my favorite project. Interesting how you can lay them out so it is not as difficult as it looks, but stitching was another thing. I could be persuaded to try again. BTW, love that newest version of the “Chain Reaction” quilt.

  49. Nancy Anderson says:

    I’ve tried quilting feathers for practice but have never quilted them on a real quilt. I still need much more practice. Perhaps this book could help me master them. Thanks for the chance to win.

  50. Cathy B. says:

    I have tried Free Motion feathers with disaterous results. Every so often I will practice again…but no. I would love to win this book. Melzee told me about it and I would really love a copy. Hugs

  51. Moneik says:

    I’ve tried some for practice, but never on an actual quilt. I need to wrap my mind around how to draw them.

  52. Carol Vickers says:

    Your feathers are wonderful Melzee — the whole quilt is wonderful. You give me hope that I can do this!!!!

  53. BEAUTIFUL quilt, Melzee! I just love what you did with my pattern! And thanks for the cutting and piecing tips as well, those are great hints. : )

  54. Linda says:

    I’ve played at making feathers but only on scrap fabric. Ummm Not pretty!! I would love to know how to make them free and swirly and pretty.

  55. Betty Snyder says:

    I have tried feathers several times, they look like inch worms creeping down a stem of a flower. I would really enjoy trying Sally’s book to help me with my feathers.

  56. Linda E in AZ says:

    Yes, I’ve tried them but they aren’t very great… I’ve tried several different instructors’ styles but haven’t yet found the one that works best for me, so I’d love to try Sally’s instructions too.

  57. Jody Thies says:

    Great quilt Melzee!! I’d love to learn how to quilt feathers! I’ve never tried, but now I NEED to!

  58. Liz says:

    I want to master the art of quilting feathers! Melzee’s feathers are wonderful and I’d like to improve my skills and include more than echo quilting and stippling in my projects. Great color selection, great feathers, great quilt!

  59. jmniffer says:

    I haven’t quilted feathers yet…they look so difficult! I am a beginner though, echo quilting and one stippled project are the extent of my expierence. Thanks for the chance at your giveaway.

  60. Jocelyn says:

    I have tried making feathers, but they did not turn out very good. I can make the vine but everything falls apart after that :-(

  61. Lynne says:

    I’ve tried feathers, but have never had success in using them to fill an area or getting them even. The ones I have done usually end up as an all over design and very whimsical. I would love to get some more advice on getting them to look so elegant. Awesome quilt Mel, can’t wait to see the next one!

  62. Anne P says:

    I haven’t tried feathers but hope to soon – this book would give me the impetus to bite the bullet and do them.
    Thanks for the opportunity to win this book.

  63. Leanne says:

    I’ve tried some practice feathers…never on an actual quilt. They were nothing like what I would like to see. Maybe the book could be my secret weapon.
    Mel’s quilt is beautiful. I love how the colors fade into each other. I don’t think I’m that skilled with color, but maybe I should give it a try. It sure worked for Mel.

  64. JuliaP says:

    I’ve never tried feather quilting, just too afraid! Really would like to be more adventurous in my machine quilting, so I’ll have to check out this book. Thanks for a great giveaway.

  65. Diane says:

    I have tried feathers and failed miserably,I can really use some instruction and guidance in how to do it properly, I’m inspired by Mels feathers she does beautiful work

  66. Darce says:

    I have quilted feathers once, but I traced them out on Golden Threads paper 1st and pinned that to my quilt. I would love to be able to really free motion quilt them.

  67. KT says:

    I have not tried quilting feathers yet–I am a new quilter, and one of the things I want to learn this year is free motion quilting–I have only done hand quilting so far. Thanks for the chance to win this book!

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