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Husqvarna Viking Designer I

I am very new to quilting and would like to know what I need to buy for my machine to do machine quilting. I already have a walking foot, but that is all.

I believe there is a free-motion foot needed and some sort of hoop.

Please give me some guidance so that I can start learning to do machine quilting.

Thank you very much.

Loretta Barber


You're off to a good start!

Open toe walking foot
The walking foot is what you'll be using for your first quilting stitches. Keep the instructions for that foot handy, especially for the first few times you use it.

The 'fork' on the foot on the right hand side goes around the needle screw. There's a longer needle screw that comes with the foot. Install the longer screw and just leave it on your machine. It won't effect anything and then you don't have to go looking for it every time you want to quilt.

While it won't happen anytime soon, if you do a ton of quilting with your walking foot, it can wear out and need to be replaced...I've gone through 3 so far.

Free motion quilting foot options

For free motion quilting, you'll need a specialty foot called a darning foot (some call it a free motion or free motion embroidery foot).

Some have a closed toe (below, left). Your threads have to be threaded through that hole. Personally, I find that an annoying waste of time.

So my 'go-to' foot is the open toe version (below, right).

Darning foot with a closed toeClosed toe darning foot with an offset shank

Whichever version you choose, you'll need to remove the sewing machine shank to install it.

The arm rides on top of the needle screw. This causes the foot to move up and down with the motion of the needle bar. Make sure that you install it properly. If the arm is under the needle screw, the foot will not work.

Big Foot free motion quilting foot
This next foot, the "Big Foot" (right) is also used for free motion quilting.

It has a big flat bottom and yellow markings a quarter inch away from the needle.

Again, you'll remove the shank to attach this foot to your sewing machine. Like the other darning feet shown above, it will 'hop' over the surface of your quilt as you stitch.

(There is another version of this foot for the Designer I that does not 'hop' up and down with the needle bar, but rather 'glides' over the quilt sandwich using the Sensor Foot technology. Because I learned to free motion quilt with a darning foot that 'hops' that version of the "Big Foot" just never felt right to me so I don't use it.)

Quilting Hoop

If you're using embroidery designs to quilt with, you'll be using the hoops designed specifically for machine embroidery. They will be available for purchase from your sewing machine dealer.

Quilt Halo by Sharon Schamber
Now if you're thinking of a hoop to use when YOU are moving the quilt sandwich yourself, then perhaps you're thinking of the Quilt Halo (right).

This is a heavy metal ring covered in red PVC plastic. Place it on top of your quilt sandwich to help move the quilt under the needle. I've got one...have tried it a few times. Again, I'm so used to using just my hands with a little bit of Neutrogena hand lotion on them for extra 'grip' that the hoop is more of a bother than a help.

Quilting table or cabinet

I would suggest that you get some sort of quilting table, whether it be table top, portable or standalone. You need to have some place to put your hands and the bed of a sewing machine just isn't big enough.

You can learn more about them on our page Choose the Best Quilting Table and Chair for YOU.

For more on the tools and supplies you'll need, visit our page Machine Quilting Supplies.

At the top of the right column on many pages of my website is a search box. The website is chock full of instructions and ideas for quilting. It's often easiest to type into that box the topic you're looking for to find relevant pages.

Readers, what are YOUR thoughts on the Quilt Halo and the various types of darning feet out there. We'd love to hear from you, just use the 'comments' link below to share your experiences.


Julie Baird

Comments for Husqvarna Viking Designer I

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by: Anonymous

I use a drop of Glycerin on my hands when I FMQ. It really makes a difference and is easily purchased at any pharmacy. I prefer a stipple foot (open). I have fewer tension problems with is than the floating or meander foot.

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