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


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