Quilting your quilt by machine can be tricky without the right foot on your machine. Regular presser feet simply hold the fabric in place while the feed dogs under the fabric move it through the machine.
That works great until you’re stitching multiple layers of fabric plus batting. In that case the layers have a tendency to move a bit separately from each other, allowing puckers to develop in your quilt.
Fortunately, that funny looking walking foot solves the problem beautifully.
The walking foot has its own set of feed dogs that work in tandem with the machine’s feed dogs. Together they move multiple layers through the machine smoothly without any shifting between layers.
Today’s sewing machines often come with a dual-feed system, allowing the feed dogs and the presser foot to work together. If you have such a machine you won’t need an additional walking foot.
However, if your machine is not so equipped, it’s well worth your while to locate a compatible walking foot and learn how to use it.
National Quilters Circle provides an excellent introduction to walking feet and guidelines for purchasing one. Click here for the article.
The following video gives a good overview of the walking foot. While yours may look a little different, it will operate the same way. Your machine’s manual should provide instructions for attaching one to your machine.
Toward the end of that video you’ll notice how the walking foot is being used to stitch down the edges of an appliqued heart in a quilt-as-you-go process. It clearly shows that you can use decorative stitches as well as straight stitches with your walking foot, opening up many creative quilting opportunities.
Straight line stitching isn’t all you can do with a walking foot. Gentle curves are entirely doable. This article from The Sewing Directory will give you some ideas for expanding your repertoire of quilting designs.
You can create quite complex designs, as well. You’ll find an excellent tutorial for producing cable stitches in a border here.
So, how exactly do you quilt with a walking foot? The following video by Leah Day shows how to get started. You’ll find many excellent tips to help you produce smooth, even quilting on a quilt of any size.