The Free Motion Quilting Project: Machine Quilting a Flaming Pinwheel Block

Monday, May 9, 2016

Machine Quilting a Flaming Pinwheel Block

It's quilting time and today we're machine quilting our Flaming Pinwheel block with a combination of free motion quilting and walking foot quilting!

Learn how to machine quilt a Flaming Pinwheel Block with Leah Day

One of the coolest things about this block is the design flow I created through the center Pinwheel area. If you notice the wiggly lines in the orange areas connect with the curving lines in the yellow areas and the straight lines in the red areas. Make sure to mark your block carefully so these lines match up and it will make machine quilting through these areas very quick and easy.

See what I mean in this new machine quilting video:

I hope you had a chance to check out our tutorials on Matrix this weekend and try machine quilting this fun design. Matrix is both simple and easy to quilt either in free motion or with your walking foot. 

Walking foot quilting tutorial with Leah Day
One thing that I hope isn't confusing is the switch from free motion quilting to walking foot quilting. We use very different settings for the two different quilting techniques because the mechanics of how the machine is quilting is very different.

For free motion quilting, we don't use the feed dogs on the machine so I put a darning foot on my machine and drop my stitch length to 0 (no, I don't drop my feed dogs). I also cover my feed dogs with a Queen Supreme Slider to make the block easier to move.

For walking foot quilting, the feed dogs are used in conjunction with the feed dogs on the walking foot to feed the quilt forward evenly. I put on a walking foot and raise the stitch length to 1.6 mm because I like the look of that size of stitch. 

However, if you like bigger or smaller stitches, all you have to do is play with that setting to find the stitch length you like. I also move the slider off my feed dogs for this style of quilting because it could get damaged under the walking foot.

As far as which style of quilting to choose - that's entirely up to you! I think it's important to build both quilting skills so you're comfortable both walking foot quilting and free motion quilting.

What kind of quilting are you most comfortable with? Do you plan to quilt this block with your walking foot or in free motion? Would you like to see more walking foot style quilting in future videos?

Please share your thoughts in the comments below and share the video with your quilting friends!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day


  1. Walking foot! Trying to get really good with it first!

  2. Thanks for sharing your knowledge. I would like to see more tuts using the walking foot as I have not practised enough to be comfortable doing free motion.

  3. Thanks, Leah. Looks like a fun design. I already know I like walking foot quilting.

  4. I notice you are NOT lifting your foot when you pivot, even on most 180 degree swings. Is your pressure foot "tension" set quite light?

  5. Can I assume that you've cut a hole in your Supreme Slider to allow your feed dogs to move?

    1. There is a small hole in the slider that you line up with the needle hole on your machine for free motion quilting. The slider is fine to be over the feed dogs so long as you only have a darning foot attached, which doesn't put pressure on the machine bed.

      When I switch to walking foot quilting, I move the slider off to the side so the slider is totally off the feed dogs, but still on the table and able to help the quilt move easily. Does that make sense?

  6. I didn't think I'd care for the walking foot quilting, but, surprise!, I did! I love the optical illusion quality of matrix and really enjoyed this block.

  7. Leah it was recommended to me to spray my quilting table with silicone spray and buffing it a little with a cloth to make the table top slicker and smoother so the quilt will glide across the top easier. I use the slider you recommend do I need to also use this spray?

    1. I've tried the silicon spray and yes, it certainly can help, but I find the slider works great for making my quilts move without any extra work to the table top.


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