Written by Cathy Barbagello
Before I start, let me say that I LOVE Jacquie Gering. From the posts that she has given as chair of the Modern Quilt Guild, to her videos on Craftsy, I love her. I love her work. I love her outlook and design aesthetic. I love that when she talks, I am immediately entranced and hang on every word.
OK. So that out of the way, I was really excited to see her new book “WALK: Master Machine Quilting with Your Walking Foot”. I have tried free motion quilting, and a combination of arthritic fingers and lack of artistic design ability, has meant it never really worked for me. I admire anyone who can make the quilt dance under the needle, and make it look easy and elegant. I can’t. Thus, straight line quilting has been the path I chose to follow. But sometimes, I pine for something more than just the grid or multiple lines.
In Jacquie’s new book, she explores just what is possible using straight lines, and maybe not so straight, all with the walking foot in place. As we know, the walking foot, is designed to assist the passage of the thick layers of fabric through the machine (and also, is pretty awesome for dealing with slippery fabrics as well).
The foot is designed, depending upon your machine, to move an additional set of feed dogs, in concert with the standard dogs. This motion of upper and lower dogs, moves the quilt smoothly through the throat of the machine, and should require little assistance from the operator – save for ensuring there is no weight drag of the quilt. One thing Jacquie reiterates is that the walking foot is designed for WALKING. Do not run! I must admit, when doing lots and lots of straight parallel lines, the urge to race like a demon is hard to resist.
Throughout her book, she shows example after example of beautiful designs all possible with the walking foot in place, and which, generally, are based around simple straight lines. There are a few exceptions where she employs shallow curves, but all are achieved with generally gentle motions. All of the photos of worked examples are clearly seen with white thread on black fabric. This also helps the design to be the focus, and not to be distracted by some pretty fabric. The star here is the simple and elegant quilting!
She begins the book, inevitably, with a quick overview of some basic concepts in quilting and quilt construction. Part of her introduction deals with her preferred methods of basting (spray!), and how she marks her quilts. The book then is broken into sections according to the main categories of quilting that she is working with, including Lines, Gentle Curves, Reverse and Turning Designs, to name a few. At the end of the book is a beautiful gallery packed with some of her gorgeous quilts, showing the dynamic effect that her style of quilting can achieve.
Each quilting style is accompanied by a photo of the result, as well as line diagrams of the process, broken up into major, but illustrative, steps. It is a thorough and comprehensive guide. A lot of quilting and crafting books, are almost coffee table books. They are so pretty and picturesque, that they get lots of stroking and admiration, but a lot less outcome. This book is not like that. It is not that it is not picturesque (in parts), but there is something that makes me feel it is a lot more hard work and not just to be admired. I feel it is a bit like a textbook, where you need to work through the examples and study the process and outcome. Where there are numbered steps, to provide a step-by-step guide as an example, the steps are lengthy in their description and discussion. There is a lot of information to absorb on every page, and this book goes against my tendency to want to just look at pretty pictures. This book demands that you work on your skills!
So if you want to get down to business, and get serious about your quilting skills, this book is for you.
Images from LuckySpool.com