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Thread: Stitch in Ditch - Frustrated!

  1. #26
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    I learned to stitch in the ditch from taking classes. That's all I knew how to do for a long time. I learned to free motion quilt and that's all I do now. SID is really hard I was told by a lot of quilter's. I just didn't like the way it looked. I watched Leah Day for many nights and taught myself.

  2. #27
    Senior Member Candy Apple Quilts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by quiltingbee59 View Post
    I tried rolling my quilt but I still had the problem with the tiny stitching and the pulling and the crooked rows. It sounds like I don't have my quilt supported enough. I would love to finish my quilts on my own without sending them to be professionally quilted or just tacking them.
    Have you tried starting out with a smaller project to practice your skills? How about making a set of placemats, or a table runner? You can set your current project aside for now, and make something quick that will help you decide if it's the weight of the large project that is causing problems for you. I agree with the idea above about adding tables to your work area. You can also use a dining room table, and position your machine so you have the most space behind and to the left of your machine.
    Robin Hrabik
    http://www.CandyAppleQuilts.com

  3. #28
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    The length of the stitch depends on your machine, the thread you're using, and size needle you're using. I took a class on "Craftsy" wherein the instructor said to go with the default stitch length. That way you don't have to reset it every time you start up again.

    At any rate, it sounds like quilting in sections or starting with smaller projects to gain confidence and experience may help you be less frustrated.

  4. #29
    Super Member jitkaau's Avatar
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    I think it is more difficult to SID than to just do a stippling, cornelli or meander stitch all over the quilt. If you are a beginner, I suggest you give it a go and you will get better results. Do some practice pieces first.

  5. #30
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    As a handquiter I am always amazed that anyone Stitches in the Ditch. I want my stitches to be visible. The "quilting" is what makes it a quilt. The only time I SITD is if I am making a quilt out of "cheaters cloth". If I hand stitch around each of the motifs most people can't tell it from a pieced quilt. When I "quilt" a pieced quilt I usually echo the piecing lines about 1/4" on each side unless I am doing an overall pattern of flowers or hearts etc. etc.

    Just my two cents.

  6. #31
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    All I have to add to the good advice from the other quilters is to wear quilting gloves. I use the cheap gardening gloves (Atlas Grip) and that helps to keep the quilt moving so it doesn't drag or get stuck.
    Katie in The Netherlands

  7. #32
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    I make my stitches for my SID about 5 and use invisible thread on the top amd matching thread on the bottom. The invisible thread does not show so if you are not perfect with your SID it does not show. I often do not use a walking foot but rather use my regular foot and raise the presser foot tension and keep the feeddogs up. Also your quilt may be dragging causing the stitches to be crooked and actually become smaller. If you can try to get a larger sewing area that will support your quilt. Here is a link to the sewing machine table that my DH made me and it was cheap and works great. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g14govA4pIM I ususally keep this table up and on my machine all the time and it gives me a great work surface. One key to sucess is to have your machine even with any work space that you have so the quilt is not drag.Even if you have an extension table 0n your machine the quilt will still drag causing problems. You can either drop your machine to table level or raise table level to the machine height. as this linek shows. Good luck!!!!! You can do it!!!!!

  8. #33
    Power Poster solstice3's Avatar
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    I use my walking foot, longer stitches and try to support the project. I am far from perfect in SID but then there has only been I perfect person!

  9. #34
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    Having a sewing surface the same level as your machine is the most important step. The bigger the better. The one bigsister has is fine. I have a desk with a hole in for my machine. My SIL made one for the other machine with left over flooring.
    The next important is to be able to grip your quilt. Quilting gloves have been suggested. If you want to try that you can use the latex gloves that you get by the hundred used for serving food. It doesn't matter if they have holes in them. You just need sticky fingers.
    Are you sure your quilt is basted well? I used to use pins (now I use glue), but the pins acted as little handles to "get a grip on it".
    Mavita - Square dancer and One Room School Teacher

  10. #35
    Super Member irishrose's Avatar
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    What year is your Elna? My 1973 SU has a self adjusting presser foot and it's tighter than I want for SITD. I have done a quilt on it with the walking foot, but it wasn't as easy with a machine that can have the pressure adjusted. I. too, think FMQ is much easier, but not on Miss Elna. She is my apparel machine.

  11. #36
    Junior Member Busy Quilter's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by quiltingbee59 View Post
    I do have a walking foot! I am guessing my quilt is too heavy and is dragging the quilt and I am not sure how to fix that. I do quilt VERY slow so I can watch where I'm sewing. I've tried starting in the middle and at the top and still no luck
    Just a note, I use my adjustable ironing board behind my machine to give me more table space when quilting. This helps give the quilt someplace to go and doesn't drag because it is falling to the floor...
    Have a Blessed Day

  12. #37
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    If you have a serpentine stitch on your machine, it works better then stitch in the ditch but basically serves the same purpose. You just don't have to worry about the basically impossible task of keeping the stitches in the ditch. I got this tip at a machine quilting class recently and it's saving my sanity. Also you need the proper setup, a table behind the table that holds your machine and one next to it will help support the weight of your quilt. I also usually wind up throwing part of quilt over my shoulder to support it.

  13. #38
    Super Member margecam52's Avatar
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    When I quilted a queen size quilt on my home machine (long time ago)...I pushed my dinner table into a corner of the room, so the left corner and oposite side of the table from where I put my machine would be pushed against a wall...you want there to be no way for the quilt to hang over the back or side edges of the table.

    Put your sewing machine on the right front of the table. Then you put the bulk of the quilt on the dinner table..scrunch the quilt until you are in the middle of the quilt...pushing the excess on the right against the machine on the right (throat space). This way you are only worried about 1/4 of the quilt at a time..for a king size quilt..that's baby/lap quilt size. You want to start in the center...SID to the first set of blocks...don't try to outline a block...go down to the bottom of the quilt...repeat for each vertical seam in that section.

    Repeat, rotating the quilt for each section (try to leave basting pins where you can as you go). Rotate to the left..this puts that section at the top right..leave it for now..and start with the bottom quarter section.

    SID, starting at the center of the quilt...repeat the above.

    Rotate the quilt one turn to the left (same as above)...this will put the two sections with SID at the top...you are always working in the bottom right corner when stitching...Stitching from center down.
    Repeat this one more time.

    Now You will pick up the unstitched rows...working from the upper right of the quilt...stitch in the ditch from the top edge (nearest the top center edge) down to the center where you already stitched. Rotate to the left and repeat to SID all the bloc lines.

    It takes longer, but this keeps you from stitching long lines (which can pull the quilt out of shape). When you are done, you will be less frazzled and the quilt will look more uniform. Once this is done ...and you want to add quilting inside the blocks ...your quilt is well stabilized and any freehand you do in them will be easier to do.

    I tore my hair out on the first log cabin quilt I tried to do...went to a little quilt shop and the owner showed me this method..She said the supporting table makes for less fatigue, and rotating keeps the quiting uniform.
    Hope this helps you.


    Quote Originally Posted by quiltingbee59 View Post
    I do have a walking foot! I am guessing my quilt is too heavy and is dragging the quilt and I am not sure how to fix that. I do quilt VERY slow so I can watch where I'm sewing. I've tried starting in the middle and at the top and still no luck
    Marge Campbell
    TL18LS/Qbot automated quilter
    http://www.Lmcampbel.com

  14. #39
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    I scribed for a quilt judge once. She said stitch in the ditch is one of the hardest ways to quilt a quilt. It does take a lot of patience and practice.

  15. #40
    Power Poster nativetexan's Avatar
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    do you have a quilting foot on? they do help feed the fabric through easier. and a longer stitch length. and no drag on the quilt helps too. support it and don't let it pull.

  16. #41
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    Thanks for the information because I also have problems trying to SID. My machine is set to 2.5
    I will go to 3.5 and hope that helps.

  17. #42
    Super Member JoanneS's Avatar
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    One thing that was barely mentioned is using a finer thread. I use Superior Threads Bottom Line thread in my needle. It's practically invisible when you SID. BUT I agree with everyone who says SID is really hard and not really for a beginner. Serpentine is a great alternative, and it adds interest to the quilt. Why spend a lot of time doing stitching that you wantto be invisible?

  18. #43
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    Practice DOES really help. My stitch in the ditch is usually more like swerve in and out of the ditch until I hit that "sweet spot". But - hey. From a galloping horse, it all looks ok anyway. And once you get all your seams stitched, then you can have the real fun of quilting designs into your blocks since sid serves the purpose of locking those blocks into place.

  19. #44
    Member quiltingbee59's Avatar
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    Thanks so much for everyone's comments. What I've learned is that I need my sewing machine to be level with my table (my sewing machine sits on a table and is higher) I need more table support around me (my quilts were heavy and were dragging off me and the table), I need to increase my stitch length, I need to start with a smaller project, and I need to PRACTICE PRACTICE PRACTICE and be more patient. I need to figure out what needle I'm using too. I'm still using the needle that came with the machine....

  20. #45
    Senior Member Pat M.'s Avatar
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    When you support the quilt it lets you sew smoother. I put a extra table/ironing board next to the sewing machine and I have a extra table behind the machine to hold the quilt. Think of "fluffing" the quilt and sew in small increments. Use a walking foot. Check your tension. There is a U Tube video on this problem.

  21. #46
    Senior Member mtngrl's Avatar
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    Try putting a pillow on your lap if you have to so that the front doesn't drag and can move freely, and puddle the quilt on your lap, stop and shift whenever you feel tension on the quilt.
    "An essential aspect of creativity is not being afraid to fail." Edwin Land

    Blessings! Ruth

  22. #47
    Super Member nstitches4u's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by quiltingbee59 View Post
    I haven't been brave enough yet to try FMQ....if I can't even SID! Is it the length of my stitch? My machine is pre-set at 2.5
    I think it is easier to FMQ that SID. I do both, but prefer FMQ. It just takes practice.

  23. #48
    Super Member purplefiend's Avatar
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    I don't like SID just for this reason,it seldom stays in the ditch and therefore it looks bad.
    I'd rather do grid quilting or FMQ, its far less frustrating for me. Its very important that your quilt is supported all around. I have my machine in a cabinet and so the machine sits flush with the table. Before I got a cabinet I had the dining room table to quilt on and made sure that I had a card table or the like to the left of the machine to catch the quilt so that it didn't drag on the needle.
    I use a 90/14 top stitch needle,stitch length set at 3.0-3.5mm and King Tut or other good quality thread.
    The most important thing is to relax and just have fun!!! We can't always be perfect.
    Last edited by purplefiend; 12-17-2012 at 07:51 PM.

  24. #49
    Super Member karenpatrick's Avatar
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    I find that "Stitch near the ditch" is easier than in the ditch. You stitch 1/4" away from the ditch and it even has a a special foot you can buy. But the trick is on larger quilts is to support your large quilt all the way around while you are sewing. No machine is powerful enough to pull all that weight through by itself. I use my regular size ironing board and a smaller tabel up against the sewing machine table to help support the quilt as I'm sewing.

  25. #50
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    Do you have a decorative stitch on your machine that you can use instead of a straight stitch? I use the serpentine when I stid. That way small mistakes are never noticed.

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