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Thread: walking foot and feed dogs questions ...

  1. #1
    happymomof5's Avatar
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    Outing myself as a complete noob. :)

    I have only made crib sized quilts. I'm now making a very large rag quilt for my mom. (It will be 80" by 80" finished.) I have been reading about large quilts and everything I've read says that I need a walking foot.

    What exactly is a walking foot, and what does it do? Is it an absolute neccessity?

    Also, my machine has the capability of dropping the feed dogs. The manual says that's for quilting, but I don't understand the purpose.

    Thanks so much in advance!


    -Rose

  2. #2
    Super Member brushandthimble's Avatar
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    1. walking foot, has feed dogs on it so the layers of fabric move together, rather than the top sliding a bit. I alway use mine when attaching binding, or sewing seams that has batting in them. (like tote bags). You need one compatiable with your machine.

    2. dropping feed dogs is used when free motion quilting.(fmq)The fabric does not move, you move it in any direction, circles, write your name.... They are lowered usually while using a darning foot, or free motion foot.

    Hope that answers your questions. Someone else may post with more information.

  3. #3
    Super Member katier825's Avatar
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    Ditto to the above response! I also would like to say that I've made quilts (mostly baby or lap size) for many years. I used to tie them because I didn't get good results trying to quilt them. The back always puckered. I finally bought a walking foot about a year ago. What a difference! I can't believe I waited so long to buy it! If you plan to keep on quilting/sewing, do yourself a favor and invest in one. You won't be sorry! :)

  4. #4
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    Not using a walking foot may cause the different layers of the quilt sandwich to be transported at different speeds causing a shift. On a small quilt it may not be as noticeable. On a larger quilt you have more space to travel and any differences become more easily visible. You may do just fine without the walking foot as long as you make sure the sandwich is real taught.

    I have a built-in walking foot on my machine and I can tell the difference when it is not engaged. All of my quilting is Stitch in the ditch (along the seam line). My Free motion skills (where you drop the feed dogs or cover the feed dogs in some older machines) is SO BAD that I haven't even made it to the "I SUCK" stage. More practice needed to get there. lol

    Have fun with the biggy.

  5. #5
    happymomof5's Avatar
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    Thank you so much! I'm thinking for this particular project I don't need a walking foot, because i am quilting each square separately and then attaching them together. And I definitely don't need to worry about lowering the feed dogs! That's probably never gonna happen! lol

    My mom loves to sew and dabbles in quilting, and I'm sure I could ask her these questions, but this is going to be a surprise for her 50th birthday in June. (Or maybe, I'll give it to her for Christmas. I have hundreds of squares to cut out.)

    Thanks for the help, I really appreciate it!

  6. #6
    Moderator littlehud's Avatar
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    I see you got some wonderful answers here. When I told my sister I got a walking foot she nearly fell off her chair laughing. She said "I thought most feet could walk." Can you tell she's not a quilter. The first time I heard about it I couldn't imagine what it could be either. Now I can't imagine not having one. :-D

  7. #7
    Super Member Grandma Cindy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MadQuilter
    Not using a walking foot may cause the different layers of the quilt sandwich to be transported at different speeds causing a shift. On a small quilt it may not be as noticeable. On a larger quilt you have more space to travel and any differences become more easily visible. You may do just fine without the walking foot as long as you make sure the sandwich is real taught.

    I have a built-in walking foot on my machine and I can tell the difference when it is not engaged. All of my quilting is Stitch in the ditch (along the seam line). My Free motion skills (where you drop the feed dogs or cover the feed dogs in some older machines) is SO BAD that I haven't even made it to the "I SUCK" stage. More practice needed to get there. lol

    Have fun with the biggy.
    what type of machine has the WF built in?

  8. #8
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grandma Cindy
    what type of machine has the WF built in?
    The Pfaffs do and some higher end Janomes. Others too, I just don't know them. Right now I am having an argument with my new Pfaff and thinking seriously about switching to a Janome. grrrrr

  9. #9
    Super Member Grandma Cindy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MadQuilter
    Quote Originally Posted by Grandma Cindy
    what type of machine has the WF built in?
    The Pfaffs do and some higher end Janomes. Others too, I just don't know them. Right now I am having an argument with my new Pfaff and thinking seriously about switching to a Janome. grrrrr
    I am sure you will win the battle!

  10. #10
    Super Member Barb_MO's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by happymomof5
    Thank you so much! I'm thinking for this particular project I don't need a walking foot, because i am quilting each square separately and then attaching them together.
    The walking foot is especially helpful when making the Raggy quilts when seting the Xs in your square and also when stitchin the blocks together because of have to sew through the four layerseams.

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