Quilting Spirals with a Walking Foot
When using a walking foot, I love the amount of control I have as I'm stitching, resulting in very even concentric circles. Don't get me wrong, I love the wobbly free motion ones as well but depending on the project and size of the desired spiral...it's nice to have a choices.
This particular method works best, if the piece you are quilting isn't overly large, since you are moving the quilt round and round in a circular motion. The larger the project you are working on, the more cumbersome that would be. Since I am an avid Quilt As You Go quilter....the blocks I'm quilting are usually no larger than 20 inches.
Quilting Spirals with a Walking Foot
- This sample block is approximately 20" square.
- Layer the quilt block, batting and backing together.
- Baste the layers together....my preference is to use a basting spray.
- When I was first learning to quilt spirals, I would start my spiral by drawing a small freehand spiral with an erasable fabric pen.
- I've drawn you a sample. The key is to stitch the spiral in the same direction as your drawing.....
- My preference is clockwise, which I'll be doing in this tutorial.
- Tip: Use an edge/quilting guide.
- I will be using the edge of my presser foot because I only want 1/2 inch between my quilting lines...if you want anything wider, the guide works extremely well.
- Note: I'm working on a Pfaff, for this tutorial, so it may not look like I'm using a walking foot but I am because the Pfaff has a built-in dual feed ( a fancy term for walking foot).
- I love using variegated thread for my spirals.... my absolute favourite being Valdani because of the long colour changes and beautiful Colours.
- Wind yourself extra bobbins because you'll need them. On this particular sample, with the quilting lines being 1/2 inch apart, a full bobbin isn't quite enough to quilt one, twenty inch block.
- Just to stabilize the block a little more, I stitch in the ditch on one or two major seams...I find the blocks lay a little flatter this way, once the quilt is finished.
- I put the edge/quilting guide onto my presser foot, just to show you what it looks like attached.....you want to attach it, to the left side of your presser foot....these fit onto regular walking feet as well.
- It's hard to see my little spiral drawing, but it's there. Once you get experienced at sewing these spirals you can probably skip this step....but it's really helpful in getting started.
- Put your needle into the beginning of the spiral....set your machine at a needle down position.
- Set your stitch length at 1.
- Put your presser foot down.
- Start stitching very, very slowly in a clockwise direction....just follow your little drawing to get you started, gently turning your block as you stitch. I cannot emphasize the slowly part, enough.
- Increase your stitch length to 3.5 as you stitch.
- After you finish stitching the center loop of the spiral, you'll be able to use the edge of the presser foot as a guide or the edge/quilting guide if so desired.
- Note: I have moved my needle position, to the far right, in order to get a 1/2 inch space between my quilting lines.
- Slow and easy does it.....this is the most and only difficult part of the spiral, and just think, you get it over with right at the beginning.....I know, how amazing is that.
- Now I could confuse you and tell you that you could do that difficult little center with your free motion foot, but that would mean changing feet midway....not fun.
- Tip: These handy dandy quilter's gloves are just the thing here.
- Now just stitch away....
- The larger the circle becomes...the easier it gets, because there is less fabric under the arm, of the machine and the curve becomes less and less steep.