“Walk: Master Machine Quilting With Your Walking Foot” Review

I have always been a fan of the clunky looking walking foot attachment for my sewing machines. I began to use it for sewing long seams to prevent the top fabric from being pushed ahead of the bottom one. Then, I found it helpful for lines of machine quilting. Jacquie Gering has elevated this humble accessory to front row status for fairly complex machine quilting in her Craftsy classes and now her book, “Walk: Master Machine Quilting With Your Walking Foot.”

Many of the quilting designs Gering lays out are simple to accomplish. Her chapters on lines, gentle curves, and decorative stitches show what you can do with no or minimal marking. You do need to pay attention to the distances between your lines and the distances on your walking foot. She helps you figure out the latter in her Walking Foot 101 chapter.

Then, if you want to get fancy, Gering walks you through (ha, ha) marked curves, using the reverse button, and turning designs.  Some of these designs require stitch counting and careful marking.  She tackles designs like orange peel, clamshell, braided curves, and nested diamonds. For such designs I think you’ll need to keep your wits about you, so you can’t do what I often do – zone out and sew. This link to a post written by Kathie Kerler, one of Gering’s workshop students, shows some class samples.

Gering covers much of the same material in her Craftsy class, Next Steps With Your Walking Foot. I’ve taken that class and find the book a useful companion to it. The book includes more designs, especially straight line point to point ones. It has lots of photos of stitched samples (easy to see white stitches on black cloth) and stitching diagrams. However, the class shows how Gering deals with marking, sewing the designs, and handling quilt bulk. It includes some curved designs not found in the book.

Gering’s complex quilting design below involves lots of marking and patience. As Gering says frequently, it’s a walking foot, not a running one. I don’t know if I’d tackle a big quilt like this one; maybe a pillow.

Helpful takeaways from the book:

-After you layer but before you pin your quilt sandwich press it on both sides to make sure there are no wrinkles. Pressing also encourages the layers to stick to each other. Gering presses her cotton batting before use to get rid of wrinkles. I spray my batting with water and run it through my dryer on low heat to relax it.

-Play with the setting on your pressure foot to eliminate puckering where quilting lines intersect. Lighter pressure may eliminate those tucks.

-As you stitch, look at where you’re heading, not at your needle.

-Use textured painters or masking tape whenever possible to mark your stitching lines.

-Even utility stitches on your sewing machine can make interesting quilting lines. Gering uses the blind hem stitch on some of her quilts. Try out those stitches on your machine at different widths and lengths, and keep notes of the results.

Whether this book will resonate with you will depend in part on the style of quilts you make. Gering’s quilting designs have a modern sensibility and work well for the large spaces and angles of such designs. I don’t know how well these designs would work on a traditional quilt pattern. I’ve used Gering’s approach on several quilts such as “Winter.”

Other quilters have also addressed walking foot quilting designs. Leah Day has videos on walking foot quilting. Melissa Marginet has a book on walking foot quilting that promises dozens of designs. Of course you can find several free videos online as well. If you’ve tried these or other walking foot quilting resources I’d love to get your feedback. I go to great lengths to avoid free motion quilting.

10 Comments

Filed under Books

10 responses to ““Walk: Master Machine Quilting With Your Walking Foot” Review

  1. Nice post about quilting with the walking foot. I like to work with it, for me it is easier to handle this type of quilting than doing FMQ on a normal sewing machine. Especially larger quilts. Thanks for the tips!

  2. I’ve never used a walking foot–not even sure they make them for Featherweights–but I keep reading how useful they are for hemming handwovens. I should really try a fancier sewing machine, I suppose.

    • If you search for walking foot for Featherweight machine you’ll find they do have them for that machine. As long as your machine suits the sewing you do, don’t bother shopping for a fancier one. Lots of times you can buy attachments that will add extra functions to your current machine.

  3. I’ve taken both JG’s Craftsy classes on walking foot quilting and found both useful. I’m clear I do NOT have the patience for some of the stuff she does, but her techniques have helped with the basic quilting I am willing to do. Thanks for the review!

  4. Thanks for this informative post, especially the link to the class samples. I think that, “and keep notes of the results.” is some of the best advice. I’m forever asking myself “Now, how did I do that?” Your “Winter” piece is wonderful. The gently curving quilt lines create a nice layer of movement. I do like to use the walking foot; love getting more uniform stitches and lines. Though free-motion, for me, is much more enjoyable. I am impressed with quilters who master the walking foot. I find I use mine for working on thick fabric piecing almost as much a for quilting.

    • As you may know from comments I’ve made in the past, I don’t enjoy FMQ. I just finished two quilts with it, and found it tough going. Then, I tend to do thread sketching. I like getting even stitching with my walking foot. Glad that link was helpful.

  5. I rarely quilt on my DSM but if I did, likely it would be mostly walking foot quilting. My niece is a quilter (piecer) and usually sends her tops to my sister (her mom) for quilting. She does not yet have a walking foot. But I have a spare ready to send to her. I’ll also send her the link to your post so she can have some more informed input. Thanks.

    • I really love my walking feet. Yes, I have two – one closed toe and one open toe. Your niece is fortunate to have her very own quilter. I hope she tries out walking foot quilting as it’s quite doable.

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