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Easy preparation for walking foot quilting

by Julie Plotniko

Welcome back!

Yesterday I listed the indispensable supplies required for a wholecloth quilt to make using our SCHMETZ needles andGütermann spun silk thread.

Today I’ll talk about the walking foot, preparing our machines for stitching, trimming our fabric and marking the first portion of our design using a UNIQUE 2 in 1 marker.

Let’s get started.

A walking foot is also know as an even feed or dual feed foot

A walking foot is also know as an even feed or dual feed foot

What is a walking foot and how does it work?

A walking foot, sometimes called an even feed or dual feed foot is used on our sewing machines to help thick items and those with multiple layers feed more evenly through the sewing machine.
It can also be used on fabrics such as velvet when two layers want to slip against one another instead of feeding through the machine at the same time.

Feed dogs (little angled notches or teeth) on the bottom of the foot mesh with the feed dogs on your sewing machine to help grab and move the fabric evenly.

The walking foot is usually a separate attachment though it is a built in feature on some machines.

The base of a walking foot

The base of a walking foot

Prepare your machine with a SCHMETZ needle and Gütermann thread

Prepare your machine for stitching by attaching your walking foot.
Check your owner’s manual for particulars about your machine.

We’ll be using a SCHMETZ 90/14 Quilting needle so lets put on a new one.

I love my SCHMETZquilting needles because the tapered design allows the needle to penetrate the fabric easily for smooth even stitches.

The eye of your needle should be approximately 40% larger than the thread.
The size 90/14 is perfect for ourGütermann spun silk thread.

Wind three or four bobbins with your Gütermann spun silk thread and thread your machine. I chose this thread for its high quality and the beautiful luxurious texture it will create.

Your sewing machine needle needs to be replaced approximately every 8 hours of sewing time. The point and eye of the needle do wear out. We want beautiful stitching so the start of our project is a good reminder to put in a fresh needle.

A walking foot attached and ready for quilting

A walking foot attached and ready for quilting

Prepare your fabric

Cut a 2 yard piece of Northcott ColorWorks into two 1 yard pieces.
Set one piece aside for the backing.

Trim the selvedge edges off the remaining piece.
Straighten the sides opposite the selvedges.

Fold fabric in half vertically and lightly press the fold.
Fold in half again horizontally and lightly press the fold.

These pressed lines will help us draw centering lines for our design.

Press the centering lines

Press the centering lines

Drawing the design

We’ll use your UNIQUE 2 in 1 marking pen to mark our design. Having lines to follow will make stitching with the walking foot so much fun.

Your UNIQUE 2 in 1 marker has an air erase tip and water erase tip. I’m using the purple air erase tip for marking. This is the side that fades and then disappears with exposure to air. The ink is also removed easily with water. If the air is very moist then the marks will fade quite quickly. If you’ll be quilting your piece immediately after marking this is a great option.

Use the blue, water erase tip if you would like some extra time without the worry of your lines disappearing on you. The blue ink will stay until you wash it away.

Be sure to follow the instructions on the back of the package with regard to removing both the purple and blue lines.

Keep in mind that like all marking tools the lines of your UNIQUE2 in 1 marker are not truly gone until the piece has been exposed to water and then washed.

Remember not to press your piece until the marks have been removed.

UNIQUE 2 in 1 marking pen

UNIQUE 2 in 1 marking pen

Start by drawing the long vertical and horizontal lines that were pressed with the iron.

Use your long quilting ruler and a flat surface to draw on. Draw these all the way from edge to edge and make sure that they are at a 90 degree angle to one another. We’ll use these as centering guides.

Try to be as accurate as possible without spending too much time. Remember that little variations are natural and will disappear in the beauty of the quilting.

Draw an 18″ square around the center where the two lines cross. This means that your line will be 9″ away from the center on all four sides.

Draw horizontal lines every 3″ within the 18″ square. Your centering line will become part of the grid.

Next draw vertical lines every 3″ within the 18″ square. Once again, your centering line will become part of the grid.

You now have an 18″ square with a 3″ horizontal and vertical grid drawn in the center of your 1 yard piece of fabric.

Now draw 45 degree diagonal lines. It’s easy, just go from point to point and carry the lines all the way through. How pretty!

We’re almost done for today. Now is a good time to mark where our quilted borders will be.

Mark a line one inch around the outside of your 18″ gridded square.

Mark a second line 2″ away from the first moving towards the outside edge of your fabric.
You are just marking big squares.

Mark your third line 1″ outside the last one and a final fourth line 3″ away from the third.

To recap, your lines are 1″, 2″, 1″ and 3″ apart starting at the center 18″ square and moving towards the outside edge.

The center grid ready for stitching

The center grid ready for stitching

Wow, we’ve learned about the walking foot, prepared our fabric, drawn some designs with our UNIQUE marker and threaded our machine with a SCHMETZ needle and Gütermann thread.

What a busy day.

Join me tomorrow as we layer our quilt and stitch the center grid and border outlines.
What fun!

This is part 2 of 5 in this series.
Go back to part 1: 5 steps to a wholecloth walking foot quilt

Go to part 3: What to know about grid quilting with a walking foot

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