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Thread: Should I ditch the stitch-in-the-ditch?

  1. #1
    Member Silvia75's Avatar
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    Question Should I ditch the stitch-in-the-ditch?

    Do you stitch in the ditch around square or rectangular blocks when you start quilting? I always thought this was good for "anchoring" the quilt down before doing other stitching like FMQ. But now as I look at my latest quilt, it seems like overkill so after I am done with all the FMQ I have decided to pull all of these early stitches by hand (yes a very tedious process) because they seem to make the quilt look worse otherwise.

    Should i reconsider my strategy or ditch the stitch in the ditch?

  2. #2
    DJ
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    Super Member DJ's Avatar
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    Personally, I would do one or the other. If you're going to FMQ, I doin't think SID is at all necessary.

  3. #3
    Power Poster QuiltE's Avatar
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    It's all personal and dependant on what look you want and like.

    Another time, if you're wanting to anchor your quilt, but not keep the stitching ... you could use water soluble thread and it will just melt away when you wash it! Plus you wouldn't have to SITD .. could be anywhere!
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  4. #4
    Super Member Buckeye Rose's Avatar
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    I don't use anchoring stitching unless it will eventually be part of the final design. If you have used basting spray, or washable school glue for sandwiching/basting your quilt, the anchoring stitches are unnecessary as the fabrics will not shift. But I do like the idea of water soluble thread....why can't I ever have those brilliant ideas?

  5. #5
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    For me, the answer is "it depends". If I'm doing an all over FMQing design like meandering, stippling, or circles, pantos etc. I don't SITD first. But, if I'm doing different designs in different areas of blocks or more intricate, smaller FMQing I do SITD first to anchor the blocks. This is for sure more custom, labor intensive work. But, if I'm putting more quilting on it, in a smaller area I want to be sure there aren't any puckers or shifting.

  6. #6
    Super Member newbee3's Avatar
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    if you want to stitch to anchor your quilt use wash out thread so when you wash your quilt the anchor stitches would be gone

  7. #7
    Super Member irishrose's Avatar
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    I've never stitched in the ditch before quilting - that's what pins are for. I've never had a pucker on the back yet.

  8. #8
    Senior Member omaluvs2quilt's Avatar
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    I just took a Craftsy class by Cindy Needham and she recommends "ESS" (stitching in the ditch, every stinking seam) even if you're doing fmq stitching. She did some samples with and without, and I have to admit, it did anchor them nicely and did make the end product look great. I just did it with my current king size project and trust me it was NOT fun (and I probably won't do it again). It took me forever and it is not my favorite thing to do! It did turn out nice though and this quilt actually needed quite a bit of it anyway, so not a waste.

    I also bought some of that wash away thread, but my thought was to use it to stitch one of those fmq practice panels. This way I can use the panel multiple times (its not the wash out kind) and not waste backing and batting.

  9. #9
    Super Member Candace's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by omaluvs2quilt View Post
    I just took a Craftsy class by Cindy Needham and she recommends "ESS" (stitching in the ditch, every stinking seam) even if you're doing fmq stitching. She did some samples with and without, and I have to admit, it did anchor them nicely and did make the end product look great. I just did it with my current king size project and trust me it was NOT fun (and I probably won't do it again). It took me forever and it is not my favorite thing to do! It did turn out nice though and this quilt actually needed quite a bit of it anyway, so not a waste.

    I also bought some of that wash away thread, but my thought was to use it to stitch one of those fmq practice panels. This way I can use the panel multiple times (its not the wash out kind) and not waste backing and batting.
    Yes, many long time FMQing experts recommend this.

  10. #10
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    I learn so much from all of you! Never would have thought about wash away thread for this purpose. I've used it when doing trapunto. Also like the idea of using it on a practice panel! Thanks for all the hints.

  11. #11
    Senior Member lisalisa's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Silvia75 View Post
    Do you stitch in the ditch around square or rectangular blocks when you start quilting? I always thought this was good for "anchoring" the quilt down before doing other stitching like FMQ. But now as I look at my latest quilt, it seems like overkill so after I am done with all the FMQ I have decided to pull all of these early stitches by hand (yes a very tedious process) because they seem to make the quilt look worse otherwise.Should i reconsider my strategy or ditch the stitch in the ditch?
    Leah day touches on this. She uses it to give dimension and also to practice travel stitching. She uses the Hopper foot which makes it take less time plus you avoid presser foot tension issues, which is nice. I always got puckering. SITD has its place. Its much more impressive when you combine it with other design elements though, IMO.
    We couldn't all be cowboys, so some of us are clowns.
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  12. #12
    Super Member Marilynsue's Avatar
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    Using Water Soluble Thread

    Question: If I were to baste a quilt with water soluble thread every 6-8 inches in each direction, would I then be able to do machine quilting from edge to edge rather than from center to edge? Please say yes!
    I really dislike having to bury all those threads in my quilts. I'm already anxious to hear from you.
    Marilynsue
    Every Sunrise brings a blessing

  13. #13
    Super Member ube quilting's Avatar
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    This is certainly a personal decision. I have always SID on sashing and blocks when I feel the quilt needs it.
    I find that seams stay straight and sashing doesn't wobble and get crooked looking if I SID first. Sometimes it isn't needed though. For me it depends on the quilt.
    peace
    no act of kindness, no matter how small, is ever wasted. Aesop

  14. #14
    Super Member RugosaB's Avatar
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    I took the same C Needham class at Craftsy, and SITD ESS on my current project. I love how it turned out, and will probably do the same for the rest of my projects
    You know that feeling when you've finished all your quilting projects and your studio is perfectly clean???? Me neither.

    It's not how fast you sew, it's how well you sew fast! Wait, I think that's supposed to be MOW!

  15. #15
    Power Poster twinkie's Avatar
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    Although I am not an expert, I agree with Candace.

  16. #16
    Super Member IBQUILTIN's Avatar
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    If you are going to remove the stitces later, I would hand baste to anchor the block, then just pull the threads out. Otherwise you have to remember that you SITD is going to show as part of your quilting. Its really a matter of choice

  17. #17
    Super Member CorgiNole's Avatar
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    A recent quilt I finished featured a lot of diagonal lines. I did not want the verticals and horizontals in the final pattern, but knew that I needed to stabilize the quilt prior to the diagonal lines in hopes of keeping it somewhat square. Water soluble thread was definitely helpful for that - allowing me to stitch near the ditch first, and then I could focus on the other long seams without issue. Same for the smaller in-block designs.

    Cheers, K

  18. #18
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    I make my fmq practice panels into potholders, so there's no waste.

  19. #19
    Super Member purplefiend's Avatar
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    I don't STID, I can't do it well and it looks awful. I prefer to do an all over meander for things like log cabin quilts and such.

  20. #20
    Super Member fireworkslover's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RugosaB View Post
    I took the same C Needham class at Craftsy, and SITD ESS on my current project. I love how it turned out, and will probably do the same for the rest of my projects
    I too took Cindy's class and will do ESS from now on. It really does make a difference in holding everything in place.

  21. #21
    Power Poster MadQuilter's Avatar
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    Harriet Hargrave also sets her straight lines with SID.

    @Marylinsue: I wonder how much the layers would be able to shift around the SID. Never gone outside in but then I've nver used washable thread to baste either. Clever girl, you! I'd give it a try. One of the tutorials by Jenny Doan shows her daughter quilting from the edge inward. It was a small quilt but still.......
    Martina
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  22. #22
    Super Member noveltyjunkie's Avatar
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    I am working on a smallish (42 x 42 inch) quilt at present and I SITDed the main lines before doing some wavy lines freehand on the background areas. I like how the shapes stayed pretty crisp and there is no puckering. I plan to use this technique again, but I do need to find ways to break thread less often.
    Fortune favours the prepared mind
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  23. #23
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    I seldom use SITD because I would get puckers no matter how many safety pins I used, and that became a moot point once I started machine quilting on a frame. The other day I needed to use the SITD to help out a friend with her project. We used Elmer's washable glue to baste the batting and the backing together. That worked like a dream with the walking foot. We were impressed how smooth the back turned out. Guess I will be donating all those pins to the next silent auction!

  24. #24
    Senior Member Pat75's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by quilttiger View Post
    I seldom use SITD because I would get puckers no matter how many safety pins I used, and that became a moot point once I started machine quilting on a frame. The other day I needed to use the SITD to help out a friend with her project. We used Elmer's washable glue to baste the batting and the backing together. That worked like a dream with the walking foot. We were impressed how smooth the back turned out. Guess I will be donating all those pins to the next silent auction!
    Stitch in the ditch is something I never do .An old quilter told me that it cuts way to many threads and one should sew threads away from the ditch or an eighth in away.
    I'm an obsessive compulsive quilter and batik aholic. I make only king size quilts.

  25. #25
    Super Member pumpkinpatchquilter's Avatar
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    I generally only stitch in the ditch if I'm going to free motion quilt very heavily. Sometimes really dense quilting will really distort your quilt...otherwise I do one or the other!
    Valerie Smith - pumpkinpatchquilter
    Obsessed Quilter and APQS Long Arm Machine Quilter
    www.pumpkinpatchquilter.com

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