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Let your walking foot work its magic for easy twin needle quilting

 

In yesterday’s post we explored what a SCHMETZ twin needle is, which is everything you ever wanted to know about twin needle and how to thread your machine in preparation for stitching.

The easiest form of machine quilting is straight line stitching with a walking foot so we’ll start our journey through twin needle quilting the same way.

Why a walking foot?

A walking foot also known as a dual feed or even feed foot has feed teeth that help pull the top layer of your quilt through the sewing machine.

It does this at the same speed that the sewing machine teeth feed the bottom layer allowing
the top fabric, batting and back fabric to move through the sewing machine evenly.

This helps keep your work flat and prevents puckers.

When twin needle quilting the walking foot gives us the added benefit of reducing the amount of stress on the twin needle.

The weight of the quilt can pull on the twin needle as we sew causing one or both needles to bend.

This can damage or even break the needles.

Because the walking foot feeds the quilt evenly through the machine it’s much easier to handle and we’ll have better quality stitching.

 

Machine prepared for quilting with walking foot and twin needle in place
Machine prepared for quilting with walking foot and twin needle in place

 

A short test stitching with each of your twin needles will help you decide what needle best suites your current needs.

Here we have a 1.6/70, 2.5/80 and 3.0/90 Universal.

Remember that the first number is the distance between the needles and the second number is the size of the needles.

 

A test stitch out of a variety of twin needles
A test stitch out of a variety of twin needles

 

The 4.0/80 Universal and 4.0/100 Jeans/Denim are good needles to use while learning how to quilt with a twin needle.

The Jeans/Denim needle in particular has a sharp point to pierce the multiple layers.

This one is a size 100 so it’s quite thick and has a large eye.

These properties make it a good choice for beginners as it will not bend too easily.
The large eye can easily accommodate 50 weight cotton or heavier thread without shredding or breaking.

The 6.0/100 Universal has the widest space between needles that I can use on my machine.

Caution must be used with these very wide needles.

They’re almost the full width of my stitch plate so pulling on the quilt sandwich too much can result in a broken needle.

Reduce top thread tension if the stitching creates too deep of a channel between stitching lines.

 

A test stitching of larger sized twin needles 4.0/80 Universal, 4.0/100 Jeans/Denim and 6.0/100 Universal. The 6.0 needle is the largest twin needle that I can use on my machine as my maximimum widthzig zag stitch is a 7. SCHMETZ / H.A. KIDD
Test stitching of 4.0 and 6.0 needles

 

Begin by stitching simple grids of parallel lines

A great way to practice your twin needle quilting is to stitch a simple grid of parallel lines using a 4.0 twin needle.

Use your favorite marking tool to draw a series of reference lines.

Stitch with your drawn line running between the twin needle for nice straight lines.

Hold your fabric steady as it feeds through the walking foot.

Try not to overcorrect while stitching as this will create wobbly lines.

Stop your machine with the needles in the down position to reposition your fabric.
Make sure there’s no drag or weight on the needles before you resume stitching!

Allow your walking foot and SCHMETZtwin needle to work their magic as you create double rows of detailed looking straight line stitching.

 

A great way to practice your twin needle quilting is to stitch a simple grid of parallel lines using a 4.0 twin needle. SCHMETZ / H.A. KIDD
A simple parallel grid stitched with a 4.0 twin needle

 

Repeating patterns of alternate spacing between grid lines will create rhythm, movement and interest for a fun modern look.

 

A repeat pattern of wide and narrow spacing
A repeat pattern of wide and narrow spacing

 

A checkerboard grid is created by stitching evenly spaced horizontal and vertical rows.

The twin needle adds charming detail that would be difficult to obtain if we were using a single needle.

 

A checkerboard grid is created by stitching evenly spaced horizontal and vertical rows. The twin needle adds charming detail that would be difficult to obtain if we were using a single needle. SCHMETZ / H.A. KIDD
A twin needle checkerboard grid

 

Matchstick quilting is parallel rows of quilting stitched very close together.

I absolutely love the texture of very dense matchstick quilting.

The time to complete this beautiful design is cut in half by using a twin needle.

You’ll want to draw some reference lines to keep your stitching lines parallel and square.

I use my 4.0 twin needle and the edge of my walking foot against the previous row of stitching to make quilting these matchsticks a breeze.

Note
You can’t pivot with a twin needle in the down position. To turn your fabric this way would twist and break the twin needle.
Raise the needle and manually reposition instead if you need to turn without breaking the thread.

 

Matchstick quilting is parallel rows of quilting stitched very close together. This technique is super fun to stitch with a twin needle. Just draw some referance lines and let your SCHMETZ twin needle work its magic. SCHMETZ / H.A. KIDD
Twin needle matchstick quilting

 

Have fun experimenting to see just how many designs you can come up with using your twin needles and walking foot!

Join me again tomorrow when we will see what our SCHMETZ twin needles can do in free motion quilting.

 

This is part 2 of 5 in this series.
Go back to part 1: Everything you ever wanted to know about quilting with a twin needle

Go to part 3: Free motion quilting with a twin needle – instant ribbon stippling magic

Julie Plotniko is a quilting teacher, blogger and designer from Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada. Teaching for almost 40 years, recent credits include Quilt Canada 2016 and 2017, many quilt guilds and groups throughout Canada and CreativFestival Sewing and Craft Shows in Victoria, Abbotsford and Toronto. When not on the road Julie works and teaches at Snip & Stitch Sewing Center in Nanaimo, BC. Her favorite things include free motion quilting (standard bed and mid-arm machines), precision piecing, scrap quilting, machine embroidery, blogging, designing and of course teaching. Julie believes that to see a student go from tentative beginnings to having confidence in themselves and their abilities is one of the greatest rewards that life has to offer.

1 Comment

  1. Susan Mac Donald

    *wonderful presentation*; a TON of info I didn’t know about the twin needle; I do enjoy quilting w/1 but need to do more of it; thanks for sharing

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