Thank you so much to everyone who offered advice on how to improve my straight line, close quarters quilting - here on in to be known as elephant butt quilting.
Things I know now that I didn't know then. Stitch length - increase it. There is no set rule about length but it seems the preference is anywhere from 3.0 - 4.0. Always sew from the same edge. This decreases fabric drag. Adjust your tension and play a bit on a test piece before you have quilted a whole bunch, like I did. Always use a walking foot - about the only thing I was doing right.
I have increased my stitch length to 4.0 - which I would have never even considered two days ago. I tried various stitch lengths between, and I am happy with where I am at now. The results? It looks better, the quilt sews better, and I even think it feeds through the walking foot more smoothly than it did with those little 2.4 stitches I was using as I have never ever adjusted it before now. I think it deals with the drag you get at times better, but that might just be my imagination. What a difference!
The stitching from the same edge is equally liberating. I am not trying to say I have solved all my quilting problems in one go, as I will always be happily imperfect, but I have certainly improved things a huge amount I do believe.
I have also managed to tweak my tension correctly. I do wonder if using little stitches was part of the problem. I also know that if you have to rip out some stitches they come out much more easily if you had your tension incorrect. The rows of stitching I have decided to redo come out like a breeze. Probably not something I want to know about stitching I have in a quilt!
And now I await more orange thread. Then I can finish it up with all my new found knowledge.
I will leave you with some photos taken in the waning hours of daylight today, while Emily attacked a local