Quilt as desired. What an ambiguous statement! Yet, most patterns, whether they are in books or magazines, say exactly that. When I was first attempting to do my own machine quilting, I was at a loss for how to start. What to start! Where to start! I’d look at quilts in magazines or books, see the exquisite quilting done on them, (especially feathered vines and feathered circles), and get overwhelmed. But, then I realized, “Hey, I’m a beginner. I don’t need to start with something complicated! Why set myself up for disaster? Instead, I’ll set myself up for success!” A runner doesn’t start marathon training by running 26 miles the first day. They build up to it. It’s the same with any new thing we do. I started small. Not a huge bed quilt right off the bat. But, a table runner. Something small and manageable. I used a free-motion foot and just stitched around the center stars and right along all of the seam lines of each colored rectangle and blue angled pieces. The nativity scenes in the background fabric are separated by lines, mostly squares and rectangles with an occasional arch, so, I just followed the lines. My goal was to figure out a path to get me from one scene-filled triangle to the next without having to tie off my thread and start a new line. I had to backtrack (or travel) back over previous stitching often to get around each shape. I used a busy fabric for the backing, so that any thread build up from stitching back over a line wouldn’t be very noticeable. Stitching in the ditch and along lines in the fabric, gave me experience in following lines and in controlling the quilt sandwich. Usually, when I begin a new quilt project, I’ll stitch-in-the-ditch around the blocks and/or around units in the blocks. This accomplishes two things. One, it anchors the quilt sandwich together and stabilizes it for any more quilting that I might decide to do on it. Two, it helps me get the “feel” of machine quilting again so that if/when I decide to add some free-motion design elements to the quilt blocks, I do a better job. When stitching straight lines, a walking foot or even-feed foot, helps keep the quilt layers together as they are guided under the needle. You stitch in a forward motion. You can pivot your quilt slightly while stitching to make a wavy line, but if you want to make a drastic change in direction, you must stop with your needle down, raise the presser foot, pivot your quilt to a new position, lower the presser foot, and continue stitching. There are “teeth” that move as the needle bar moves. When using a walking foot, the feed dogs stay up and help feed the quilt evenly under the needle. The forked part on the walking foot slips over the tightening pin on the needle bar. You may need to adjust the presser foot pressure and/or the feed dog height in order for your machine to feed the quilt through evenly. If the pressure between the foot and the feed dogs is too great, your quilt layers will not feed through properly.