Kick-Off to Fall Pattern Sale: 40% off Patterns! Shop Now >

Walking Foot Quilting: Tips for Quilting Curves

The key piece of equipment for walking foot quilting.

Practical Tips for Walkers… that is, Walking Foot Quilters

The weather is steamy, my boys will be home soon from their summer camp adventures and, before you know it, the first day of school will be upon us. YAY!

I’m not the only one excited for school to begin. We’ll have a new college freshman in our household, and I’ve been receiving texts about dorm-sized refrigerators and extra-long sheets for a few weeks now. It is hard to imagine that he’ll soon be starting this next chapter in his life, and we’ll only have one more offspring at home come September.

The quilt I'm making as a going away present for my son.
I’m using my Picnic Party Quilt pattern for this quilt I’m making as a going away present for my son.

A Special Quilt to Finish

I just have 2 weeks left: it is time I finished the quilt I’ve been working on as a going away present.

The top is almost done (just a few more blocks!) but what about the quilting? I’m not quite ready to tackle this on a longarm machine (I’ve only had two lessons, and my confidence is not quite there yet) but I am ready to put this under the needle and quilt it with my trusty walking foot.

Detail of "Mediterranean Breezes" designed and walking foot quilted by Catherine Redford.
Detail of “Mediterranean Breezes” designed and walking foot quilted by Catherine Redford.

Quilting Curves

Catherine Redford, my “go-to” guru of walking foot quilting, shared some insight about quilting curves with a walking foot in the September/October 2018 issue of Modern Patchwork.

“The quilting line needs to accomplish two things. First, it adds function to our quilt top and holds the layers together.” Yes, that is true. She continues, “The second thing I’m looking to add with my quilting line is form or design. It should enhance the overall appearance of my quilt. Even simple walking foot quilting can be used to add a whole new layer of design and emotional impact.”

As this quilt is going to be functional first, it has to be strong and last for four years of heavy use. I’m going to practice the curved designs Catherine suggests, and hope for the best.

Example of walking foot quilted curves by Catherine Redford.
Example of walking foot quilted curves by Catherine Redford.

Here are some of her tips for getting started:

  • Baste the quilt top well before you start stitching. The layers need to be secure and not shift during the quilting process. Catherine uses pins and bastes in a 2” grid across the whole quilt.
  • Start with skeleton curves stitched from one side of the quilt to the other. Use a chalk marker if you need to see where you are going. Chalk brushes off the surface easily.
  • Fill in the spaces once the skeleton is complete. Try to keep your hands flat on the quilt to avoid distortion, and watch carefully where your lines meet so you can easily change direction.
  • Stop with the needle down. This leads to sharp pivot points. Make a locking stitch as you pivot.

Remember quilting is not a science, but an art! Try lots of new designs if you can, and a variety of methods. Eventually, you’ll find one you like!

I think you know where I’ll be this weekend… on a long “walk” with my walking foot!


Learn more quilting tips from Catherine Redford!

Join the conversation!

2 comments on “Walking Foot Quilting: Tips for Quilting Curves

  1. Rosemary B says:

    thank you very much for these useful and very encouraging words of advice.
    I have a domestic sewing machine, it is sturdy and I am going to use my walking foot.
    Now I feel brave enough to start this week-end