So, I promised myself I would tell my tale in chronological order, but I need to jump ahead a bit to share some news: I finally figured out how to put a walking foot on my sewing machine! It took three separate attempts over the course of about a month, but once I realized the instructions were being completely unhelpful, I tried doing it my own way and it worked!
There was an extra little screw that had no apparent purpose and I was getting frustrated while trying to figure out where it went. Then, I realized that it didn't pertain to my sewing machine at all. I guess it was included for different models, but the instructions didn't make that clear. Once I decided to proceed with my regular old screw, everything worked just fine.
Maybe I was just uneducated, but I had no idea that sewing with a machine would require me to actually be somewhat mechanically minded. You kind of have to know how the machine works in order to get anything out of it. I always just figured you'd thread the needle and go! But no... you have to switch the feet (the little pieces that hold down the fabric and allow the needle to pass through) depending on what kind of sewing you're doing. (And I had NO idea there were so many kinds of feet! I currently have four, and I'm just a novice. I still have no clue what I could possibly use the rest of them for.) You have to unscrew and rescrew the needle holder if you want to change needles. And the walking foot... well, let's just say I was pretty close to having one of my mechanical engineer friends take a look at it.
The walking foot is its own beast. (It kind of reminds me of an AT-AT from Star Wars...) It's supposed to be immensely helpful when quilting, since its job is to move thicker fabrics through without jamming. Hopefully, it will be worth the effort!