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Beginner Quilting Series Part Four: Deciding How to Quilt Your Quilt

Can you believe we are halfway through this series!? This week will require no work and serves as a well-deserved break! We should have our quilt sandwiched together at this point. This week, we will be talking about the two different quilting options you have to finish this all on your own!

There are two ways that you can quilt your own quilt at home using your sewing machine: using a walking foot or a free-motion foot. I'm going to show you the differences between the two, how to install the feet on your machine, and show you some different quilting examples that each produces. From here...the choice is yours! No pressure. You can decide which you'd like to use to quilt your quilt. Part Five will be all about using your walking foot. Part Six will be an introduction to free-motion quilting.

Quilting at home can seem a little scary. I've been there! I'm here to show you that you can do this! You also don't need a fancy sewing machine to finish this quilt all on your own.

Supplies Needed for Quilting

Quick Jump Links:

Purchasing Sewing Machine Feet

I highly recommend that you purchase sewing machine feet from a reputable dealer such as the manufacturer or a sewing machine parts website, such as Sewing Parts Online. While I'm all about Amazon, I have purchased several feet that should have worked for my machine and didn't. After struggling with that frustration, I finally stopped buying sewing machine feet from Amazon.

To find the right feet for your machine, you can look in your owner's manual to see which feet are recommended. You should see a part number that you can then search for. If you don't have your owner's manual on hand, you can do a quick Google search for one. Sometimes, they are available as free resources online.

Option two is to utilize a sewing machine parts website, such as Sewing Parts Online.

You can find your sewing machine on there, or search for it, and find a list of compatible parts. They also have a very knowledgeable staff that can help to confirm you're ordering the right parts. Just have your sewing machine type available when you speak to them.

Walking Foot Quilting:

Using a walking foot is great for a beginner quilter! This is also how I will be quilting our quilt in this series. It's easy to use and you can make a variety of quilting patterns with it!

More About the Foot

What it is: A walking foot is a specialty foot for our sewing machine that takes the place of your current presser foot. It's mechanically designed to attach to your machine and 'walk' through multiple layers of fabric. It's perfect for quilts or thicker projects.

Where to find it:  Not all machines come with a walking foot so this may be something you have to purchase separately. Sewing machine feet can range in pricing. Check out this section for more tips about how to find the right feet for your machine.

How to use it: Remove the screw that attaches your standard presser foot to your sewing machine. Fit the walking foot onto the presser foot bar. While doing this, you have to attach the little arm on the walking foot to the screw arm on your needle bar. This is very important to make sure the walking foot 'walks' over the fabric. After your new foot is snug in place, reattach the screw.

Examples of Quilting Patterns with a Walking Foot: Here are a few different basic designs you can do with a walking foot. We will go into depth on how to create each of these in Part Five of our series!

A few tips: Quilting gloves help to move your fabric through your machine. No matter which way you decide to quilt your quilt, I would definitely recommend these.

Free-Motion Quilting:

There is nothing quite like free-motion quilting! As long as you can drop the feed dogs on your sewing machine, you can free-motion quilt. This is a great way to create custom designs and express yourself.

What it is: A free-motion foot (a.k.a. darning foot) is designed to be used on a sewing machine with the ability to drop the feed dogs. Once your feed dogs are down, you then can move your quilt freely! This foot is designed to jump over your fabric while you use your hands to move the fabric, instead of your machine feeding the fabric through straight. You can create curves and even write your name!

Where to find it: It's important to find the right foot for your machine. Refer to my quick guide here as to how to find the perfect quilting foot for you!

How to use it: First, drop the feed dogs on your machine. Next, unscrew the presser foot screw using a screw drive or turn key. Remove your current presser foot and attach your free-motion/darning foot. Reattach the screw to ensure that the free-motion quilting foot is secure.

A few tips: Quilting gloves are a MUST while free-motion quilting. While I'll be demonstrating in Part Six a pretty basic introduction lesson, free-motion quilting definitely takes lots of practice. Consistency comes with time!

Examples of free-motion quilting: Here are a few designs that I'll be going into detail about how to achieve in Part Six. These are great fundamentals that can be applied to other designs or you can use these to get creative!

The Choice is Yours!

I hope that this gives you a little guidance as to how to quilt your quilt. Both methods would create something beautiful. The most important thing is that you finish! Join me next week as we go into detail about using our walking foot. I'll also be finishing our quilt! If you think free-motion quilting may be more your thing, join me in Week Six.

See you next week!


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