Today I'll be talking about your positioning of the quilt block and the best angle for your stitching.
First thing, are you right or left handed? Leah is left-handed and I'm right-handed. Obviously, this makes a huge difference in the direction your stitching will go, but it may not necessarily be the way you initially think you should go. Leah recommended one direction for me, which after a minute or two of stitching clearly was not working, and then I tried a direction I thought would work, but this angle was not the right one either.
Only after experimenting with several fillers and directions did I find the right positioning. I also moved my hands wider apart on the block, which was critical in discovering the most comfortable angle for me.
This brings me to another point: I could not get fully comfortable stitching until I adjusted something on the machine. There was a screw about half an inch from the block surface which was perfectly placed to get in my way. My fingers are larger than Leah's, and the screw would jam down on the nail of my index finger any time I got too close.
This became so distracting I was watching the screw more than my quilt block. As I'm totally new to machine sewing, or working with anything quite like it, I had no idea what would happen if the screw hit my finger. Would it damage the foot or the machine? Would it smash up my finger like a mantis shrimp? I did not want to find out.
Ultimately we loosened the screw so the flat side was parallel with my finger (as shown above), opposed to perpendicular. This gave me just enough space to feel comfortable getting closer to the foot.
To sum up today's tip, feeling comfortable around your machine is key to learning the best way to place your hand on the block and the most natural direction to move the block as you stitch. Try out several basic filler designs and repeat them until you're confident you've found the angle that's best for you. When you find it, you will know instantly. At least that was my experience.
Now let's go quilt!