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Walk Your Stitches Right Out of the Ditch: Fresh Ideas for Quilting with a Walking Foot

I’ve been working on a few samples for classes that I will be teaching this fall. One of the quilts is small, minimal in design, and has lots of creamy background fabric in Robert Kaufman’s Kona Cotton. I had a bit of inspiration from a quilt that I have admired for some time by the talented Stacey Sharman of Peppermint Pinwheels.

Stacey Sharman

What a beautiful quilt, Stacey!  Stitch Modern Flicker

 I love the quilted texture that evolves in the background of Stacey’s quilt. I had this quilt in mind while I was piecing my little quilt – so I left a lot of open background to play. Off I went, walking foot in hand . . .




Well, that was fun! Ready for it’s new home at Thimble Creek for their fall class schedule.

Spending the day playing with my walking foot piqued my curiosity. You are probably figuring out by now that I have an interest in the history of anything quilty. I found myself on Google, to see what I could find.

PicMonkey Collage

What exactly is a walking foot? It’s a presser foot with built-in feed dogs that grip and advance the upper layer of your fabric to move in unison with the underside fabric, keeping the layers from shifting apart as you sew. It’s great for pucker-free, straight line machine quilting, sewing together multiple layers, and–my favorite–sewing a binding to a quilt.


The walking foot is kind of the ugly duckling in our sewing tool box, isn’t it? It’s clunky, awkward-looking, and as far as I can see,  it has not made many innovative design leaps over the years. What has changed is the way we use it.


As Serendipity Patchwork wrote, “Quarter inch (or less) quilting with the walking foot. Up and down, up and down, up and down…”

Today’s quilters are pushing it further and further out of the box to create beautiful patterns, textures and designs for their work. Let’s look at a few . . .

Some beautiful sample sheets I found on Sew Generously.

It’s amazing how contemporary an old technique can look with a little creativity!


Stacey Sharman shared  samples of a workshop by Mary Mashuta in her blog, On The Design Wall .

Looks like Stacey had a fun play day with her walking foot.


Another sample by Stacey Sharman on techniques taught by Mary Mashuta.

I love the use of red thread!! It really shows off the different stitch designs.


Flock of Starlings by Terri Carpenter of The Quilted Fox

Terri 6

Back Detail of Invader Cupcakes by Terri Carpenter

Wonderful work Terri! Thanks for sharing!


Pipin Siquim has a great tutorial on how to do this.

Orange Peels! Wow! Wouldn’t you love to try this?

Here’s a whimsical pattern from Squiltz.

This would make a fabulous border. A great way to add movement and personality.


Another fun example by Squiltz.

Now we all know this is a lot harder than it looks.

Beautiful work by Canoe Ridge Creations.

This would definitely take some patience!


We All Sew has given me lots of ideas with this one!

This is simply beautiful. Very creative.

I hope that I have inspired you to pull that funny looking foot out of your tool box and include it in a play day. Keep us posted on what you discover!

There are a some great resources for you to explore further. I wish I would have discovered these before tackling my project!

  Petite Design Co. – 31 Days of Walking Foot Quilting.

Made By Rae –  What is a Walking Foot?

So Crafty on Squidoo – What Can You Do With A Walking Foot?

Dog Named Banjo – Bernina 440 Walking Foot

Canoe Ridge Creations – Straight Line Quilting

Books you may want to explore:

Maurine Noble’s Machine Quilting Made Easy.

Signature Cropped
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