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Thread: Stitch in Ditch - Frustrated!

  1. #1
    Member quiltingbee59's Avatar
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    Stitch in Ditch - Frustrated!

    Why do I have sooo many problems when trying to SID my quilts? My stitches get really small, and the squares get all crooked. I end up ripping out the rows and just tacking the quilt. Perhaps my quilts are too large for my Elna sewing machine??? I tried it both on a 100% cotton quilt (Thimbleberries fabric) and a Flannel quilt.

  2. #2
    Power Poster dunster's Avatar
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    If your stitches are getting small (and I'm assuming that you're not trying to free motion quilt) then your quilt is probably getting hung up on something, or the weight of the quilt is keeping it from moving smoothly. Use a walking foot or SID foot, keep the feed dogs up, and be sure to support your quilt all around. Before I got a longarm, I quilted most of my big quilts in sections (using Marti Michell's book as a guide). Good luck!

  3. #3
    Super Member mermaid's Avatar
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    Do you have a walking foot --even feed foot? This makes your top & bottom layers feed thru the needle evenly. It really makes a difference. And maybe you can loosen the pressure on your presser foot? I line up some reference point on my foot with a like point on the quilt and just try to keep my needle in the seam ditch..and go a little slower than usual. Work a few inches at a time so you can keep the excess quilt sandwich under control. Personaly, I'd rather just do the random quilting and not have to worry about my lines being perfect.

  4. #4
    Member quiltingbee59's Avatar
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    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

  5. #5
    Member quiltingbee59's Avatar
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    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

  6. #6
    Power Poster QuiltE'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
    Set some other tables up against your sewing machine to give you a larger space to hold the quilt behind the sewing machine and to the left of it. The more support for the quilt the better.

    For SITD that;s not in the ditch ... a finer thread can help keep it less noticeable
    ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
    Sew many ideas ... just sew little time!!
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  7. #7
    Super Member Lynnie25's Avatar
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    Do you roll your quilt up so it doesn't drag as you are quilting. I do a lot of SID quilting and have got lots better with practise. I usually use a stitch length of 3 - 3.5 when I am quilting, just my preference though. I have an Elna Quilters Pro and just love it for machine quilting. Keep practising and you will get better
    QB Albums: Lynnie25's Quilts; Selvedge Quilts; Lyn's Dolls Quilt Swap Quilts

  8. #8
    Member quiltingbee59's Avatar
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    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.

  9. #9
    Junior Member Bataplai's Avatar
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    I generally SID with a stitch length of 3-3.5 also.
    What size is your quilt? The largest I have done SID on is 50x75

  10. #10
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    I beieve it important to increase the stitch length. The 2.5 is set for sewing two single pieces of fabric together. Increasing the stitch length will accommodate the extra bulk or layers the batting has added.

  11. #11
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    Use a long stitch length, loosen the pressure on the foot, if you have that setting. I have drawn lines with a ruler 1/4' from the seam and sewed on the line. This keeps the bulk of the seam out of the stitching and my stitch line is straight. For fast machine quilting, I draw a diagonal lines from corner to corner and middle and just sew on the line all the way across starting in the middle. I can fill in or just draw more lines in each section.
    Got fabric?

  12. #12
    Member quiltingbee59's Avatar
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    My quilt was 70x79. I wanted to give my mom a nice size lap quilt and it just grew and grew.

  13. #13
    Member quiltingbee59's Avatar
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    I have one more quilt to finish before Christmas. It's an oversized twin flannel quilt. I don't think I'm brave enough to try any more machine quilting since I have so little time left. I'll probably have to tack/knot the quilt and try practicing next year. If I increase my stitch length and have a better table set up, do you think I can do it??

  14. #14
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    Is the bed of your sewing machine flush with the table you are sewing on? I also found it very difficult to do any kind of machine quilting, sithd or fm, until I got a sewing table/cabinet that had the recessed area for my machine. I don't think I'm using the right words to describe this, but hopefully you get the picture. Don't give up completely. It takes many attempts and lots of practice to find the set up that will work for you. When you have time, browse You-tube for ideas. There are some very creative people who have come up with some inexpensive ways to set up their machines. Good luck and hang in there!

  15. #15
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Use a lowered ironing board or other surface to the left of the machine to help support the quilt.

    Do you have a flat surface around the needle? Or are you using a free arm?

    Aside from supporting the quilt, you need to "puddle" an area around the needle and/or raise up the part of the quilt that lies between you and your sewing machine. In other words, you need to be able to feed the quilt to the needle without any weight dragging the quilt down.

    Also check and make sure your needle size is correct for your thread size.

    Is your walking foot generic or made for the machine? Some generic feet are cheaply made and will work, say, to join two pieces of plaid fabric together but are simply not heavy-duty enough to handle all the layers of a quilt.

  16. #16
    Senior Member luana's Avatar
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    Set up tables, the ironing board is good, anything to support the quilt. Gather a small area up loosely around the presser foot. Check to see if it is free to move forward as you sew. I used to get my quilts hung up on the front of my table all the time. As soon as you feel tension in the quilt, stop with the needle down, and reposition the next section. I used to roll my quilts and I found that they were stiff and hard to manage. Now I keep them as loose and free as possible, but I only concentrate on the section that is going to move through the machine. Good luck to you. :-)

  17. #17
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    Put card tables ironing boards or other tables on sides and top of quilt to help support the fabric when stitching. I have heard it suggested to put the quilt over your shoulder to help support it.

  18. #18
    Super Member hobbykat1955's Avatar
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    I had this problem in the beginning till I learned...The machine sunk into a table makes a big diff...Yes adjust the pressure on your foot...could have too much pressure which restricts movement...And yes take the weight and drag off by have a table on the side of you and in front...Your length should be longer like the above stated 3-4...

  19. #19
    Super Member Dina's Avatar
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    I use my ironing board for support, set my stitch on 4. or 4.5, and I have a SID foot that helps a lot. With a bit of practice, you will get good at it. You might do some real practice on something that is smaller? Hang in there. You can do this. If I can, anyone can.

    Dina

  20. #20
    Super Member JudyTheSewer's Avatar
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    Please don't give up. Practice and the proper setup will help your SID. Mine is still not perfect even with my machine recessed in a table, support to the quilt all around, and a special SID foot for my walking foot!. However, once the quilt is washed it shrinks up just a bit and the stitching is much less noticeable (I used cotton battings). I am pretty much a perfectionist but I get a lot of satisfaction by creating the entire quilts from front to end. I would not like to wait for my quilt to come back from the quilter. Please don't stress yourself out during this busy time of the year. Get a good setup next year and try again. I think you can do it!

  21. #21
    Senior Member Marycumi's Avatar
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    You can do it! Practice, practice and more practice. Supporting your quilt by additional tables will work wonders. A long stitch will help as well.

  22. #22
    Power Poster mighty's Avatar
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    I so agree extra support for the quilt and a longer stitch will probably help alot. Do not give up !!!!!!!!!!!

  23. #23
    Power Poster PaperPrincess's Avatar
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    Yes, try the extra support with an ironing board or table to the left of your machine. The whole quilt should be on a table, none should be hanging over the edge.
    When I first got my walking foot, my dealer told me to make sure that you have a little hump of extra fabric in front of the needle. The fabric shouldn't just be flat on the infeed, the little hump or pleat means that you're not pulling on the fabric and it lets the walking foot actually feed properly. As you sew, you keep gently pushing the fabric forward to maintain that little hump, guiding it into the foot. I just used my walking foot to attach a binding, and used this method. Quilt feed very smoothly. Oh, and i always have a quilting glove on my left hand to guide the fabric and move it forward.
    "I do not understand how anyone can live without one small place of enchantment to turn to."
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  24. #24
    Super Member Buckeye Rose's Avatar
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    When doing any kind of quilting on large quilts, I put my ironing board to the left of my machine, as up close as I can get it....then let it take the burden of the quilt weight....I don't roll my quilt as it seems easier for me to puddle it ....then I can move it out of the way easier.

  25. #25
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    I set up my ironing board and tv trays around my machine to make sure the quilt is supported well and nothing is hanging down. That helped tremenduously, as it seemed that the overhanging parts were weighing down the portion that I was sewing and pulling it all wonky.

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