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What to know about grid quilting with a walking foot

Here we are at the third step to making a wholecloth quilt using the walking foot, SCHMETZ needles and Gütermann thread.

Yesterday we learned how the walking foot works, prepared our machines, trimmed our fabric and marked the center design using a UNIQUE 2 in 1 marker.

Today it’s time to layer our quilts with Fairfield batting and start quilting.
I’m excited, how about you?

 

An example of a walking foot quilted grid with the spool of Gütermann spun silk thread that was used for the quilting SCHMETZ / Gütermann / Northcott / Fairfield / UNIQUE
An example of a walking foot quilted grid with the spool of Gütermann spun silk thread that was used for the quilting SCHMETZ / Gütermann / Northcott / Fairfield / UNIQUE

 

Layer and pin baste

Center the backing fabric, right side down on a flat surface.
Tape or clamp in place so that lays nice and smooth without being stretched.

I like to use simple painters tape here as it doesn’t leave a sticky residue.

Cut a piece of Fairfield Nature-Fil bamboo blend batting the same size as your backing fabric.
Layer over top of the backing and smooth in place.

This is a wonderfully lightweight batting made from 50% rayon fiber from bamboo and 50% certified organic cotton. It has a lovely soft drape and will retain its shape well even with lots of quilting.
These properties make it an excellent choice for our walking foot quilting.

Note: I often use more than one layer of batting to give me the look and feel that I want.
In this case I used two layers of Fairfield Nature-Fil bamboo blend batting to give me extra loft and stitch definition.

You may choose to do the same or use a single layer if preferred.

 

Nature-Fil bamboo blend batting from Fairfield
Nature-Fil bamboo blend batting from Fairfield

 

Next center the marked quilt top with the right sides up and smooth in place.

Remember that your backing is only slightly larger than the top. Line up the edges with the backing and batting as best as you can. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect as we’ll be trimming the edges at the end once all the quilting is complete.

Use your Heirloom safety pins to pin baste the layers together.

 

Pin baste every few inches.
Pin baste every few inches.

 

Straight line quilting with the walking foot

The best thing about walking foot quilting is that the sewing machine controls the stitch length and the walking foot helps feed the fabric. This makes achieving straight. even stitching really easy and so much fun!

We’ll stitch the 18″ gridded square in the center of our quilt first.

Start off by bringing the bobbin thread to the top at your starting point. Do this to keep the back side of the quilt as neat and tidy as the front.

To do this simply put your walking foot down then rotate your flywheel towards you to bring the needle into the fabric and back up again. Pull on your top thread and the bobbin thread will come up to the top in the same position. If you have a needle stop down button you can push it instead of rotating the flywheel.

The easiest place to start is 3″ down from the top right-hand corner of the 18″ gridded square where the outside, horizontal and diagonal lines meet.

 

Bring the bobbin thread to the top at your start point.
Bring the bobbin thread to the top at your start point.

 

Now that we have the bobbin thread up we need to anchor the thread before we can start stitching.

You may do this in one of the following ways:

  1. Shorten your stitch length at the beginning and end of your stitching then clip the thread tails even with the fabric.
  2. Use the reverse button for a couple of stitches at the beginning and end. Clip the thread tails even with the fabric.
  3. As above using the fix button on your machine instead of the reverse to tie an automatic machine knot.
  4. Leave a long thread tail at the beginning and end. Each thread tail is tied in a small knot about an inch away from the fabric. These little knots are then run inside the layers of the quilt with a hand sewing needle prior to clipping off the thread tails.

For this project, I’ve decided just to shorten my stitch length at the beginning and end of the stitching and clip my threads even with the top of the fabric. This finish is barely visible when using myGütermann spun silk thread.

I used my UNIQUE marker here to highlight the start and stop just so it would be visible.

The rest of my design is stitched with a length of 2.5.

 

A short stitch length can be used to anchor the stitching.
A short stitch length can be used to anchor the stitching.

 

As much as possible stitch around the design without breaking the thread. The fewer starts and stops you have the easier it is to stitch.

You can travel from one line to another on the outermost line of the 18″ square design. It’s okay to recross an area that you have already stitched if need be or if preferred anchor your stitching, cut your threads and start again in an unstitched area.

Stitch all of the horizontal lines first.

Use your sewing machine’s needle stop down button if you have one. This button will bring your SCHMETZ needle to the down position every time your machine comes to a stop. It’s like having an extra pair of hands to help you hold your fabric in place.

If your sewing machine doesn’t have this capability you’ll want to hold your fabric in place with your left hand while your right-hand turns the flywheel towards you to bring the needle into the down position.

When you need to stop and reposition your hands or fabric try to do so at the intersection of two or more lines. This way any slight wobbles will be less noticeable.

Our SCHMETZ 90/14 quilting needle is sturdy enough to remain straight and true while you pivot and reposition the fabric to change directions. The result is beautiful quality stitching.

 

Stop with the needle down at the intersection of two or more lines.
Stop with the needle down at the intersection of two or more lines.

 

Once all the horizontal lines are complete stitch all of the vertical lines and finally all of the diagonal lines.

By stitching in this order you’re stitching the most stable grain lines of the fabric first so that the piece will be less likely to stretch out of shape.

If need be, go back and complete any areas that missed the first time around.

Our final stitching for the day will be to follow the line that drawn 1″ away from the center grid. Simply start on one corner and go all the way around pivoting at the corners as you go.

 

The center grid quilted with Gütermann spun silk thread
The center grid quilted with Gütermann spun silk thread

 

We’ve quilted the center of our walking foot quilt and I hope you’re having fun.

I wonder, do you see boxes, bows, hourglasses, pinwheels, stars or something else when you look at this design?

OurSCHMETZ quilting needles, Gütermann thread, walking foot and Northcott ColorWorks fabric have all made the stitching look great!

Be sure and join me tomorrow when we start quilting border designs and learn more about the exquisite Gütermann spun silk thread.

You won’t want to miss it!

 

This is part 3 of 5 in this series.
Go back to part 2: Easy preparation for walking foot quilting

Go to part 4: Making beautiful borders with your walking foot

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. Delaine

    Thank you for all of the useful information.

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