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Stitch in the ditch

Stitch in the ditch

Old 07-16-2009, 06:38 AM
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I know this sounds stupid but why is stitch in the ditch so popular? I guess as a predominately handquilter I just don't understand. I only do that when I machine quilt and then I use a decorative stitch that straddles the seam line. The only time I stitch in the ditch by hand is if I am using a cheater's panel that looks like piecing or applique but is just printed on the fabric. I have done some of those that are fake Baltimore Alblum prints. Even other quilters don't realize they are fakes until they get real up close and personal with my work.

When handquilting an item that has been hand pieced I make sure I quilt at least an 1/8 or 1/4 inch inside the piece to renforce the stitching of the pieceing.

My thinking is that the quilting stitch be it hand or machine is what makes it a "quilt". Even if mine is not perfect I want others to know that at least I tried.
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Old 07-16-2009, 06:46 AM
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I'm not at all sure why it's popular. I am not all that keen on doing it, because it has the effect of not showing. Plus, if the seam allowances are both ironed in the same direction (i.e. towards the darker of the patches), then I find it quite hard to sew on the seam line anyway. If I do intend to SID, I often iron my seams open. Shock, horror. I reason that when quilters were advised to iron both to one side, it was probably in the times when patches were hand stitched, and at that point, were relatively weak. Now we mostly machine patches together, and in my case, I use quite a short stitch. Ironing them open is a little harder, but it is much easier to quilt over - you don't 'fall off' the higher side. If ironed open, it is also easier to hand quilt over the seams too. I don't seem to have any problem lining up patches either, though nestling in seams together when they are ironed both to one side is also good, except I often found that I had them ironed the wrong way to do that. Hey ho, life is ever thus.
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Old 07-16-2009, 07:57 AM
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I am not new to sewing, but am new to machine quilting. Previously, I always tied my quilts. Since I discovered a walking foot, I've been in heaven creating new quilts and machine quilting them!

Stitch in the ditch is a great way to build your skills and confidence in quilting. I've since taken a class in free motion quilting and really enjoy that. Hopefully I will perfect my skills there and be able to do some of the beautiful stitching that I see here on the board. I still stitch in the ditch too, depending on the quilt and who it's for. Until I'm pretty comfortable with my fancy quilting skills, I will likely continue.
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Old 07-16-2009, 08:04 AM
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Do you use a Long Arm Quilter or your sewing machine?
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Old 07-16-2009, 08:51 AM
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Originally Posted by baskets
Do you use a Long Arm Quilter or your sewing machine?
Not sure if this was for me, but I don't have a long arm, though I do have a nice domestic machine.
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Old 07-16-2009, 09:14 AM
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stitch in the ditch is a utility stitch and is very useful for this reason.

i like to use it when i'm quilting on my frame. i use it to sew the 3 layers together in large areas - this is done by free motion although you could do it frame-less on the sewing machine with a walking foot and then attach the quilt to the frame.

once i have the utility stitching out of the way i'm able to remove my middle rod on the frame and i can move my quilt back and forth along the rods and work on the more intricate designs without have to tie off the thread and move the quilt forward.

if i never want the stitch in the ditch to be seen i use long basting type stitches as the utility stitch and then when i'm done with my intricate work i cut and remove all the basting types stitches.

if i had a 17 inch throat i wouldn't have to go thru this but i work on a domestic machine and have yet to see the point in spending the high thousands need to purchase this type of setup.

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Old 07-16-2009, 09:38 AM
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I think stitch in the ditch looks really good on certain patterns and like Kluedesigns says,if you have a domestic macine like I also do, it is a great way to quilt. You don't really want to see the stiching,it makes some patterns pop out. If you use the poly instead of cotton it makes the pattern stand out and look very soft. The last time I made a quilt with cotton every one in my family said never do them one with that stiff stuff. Some of the cotton is really soft now I used moutain mist on that one. All concerned thought it was too flat. Poly and stitch in the ditch work well together.
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Old 07-16-2009, 06:26 PM
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I like stitch in the ditch for some quilts but I really prefer to FM quilt.
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Old 07-16-2009, 06:35 PM
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I stitch in the ditch and really don't mind doing it. I can't afford to take all my quilts to a long-armer, I don't hand quilt (If I did, it would take forever to get anything done between work, family, etc.), and I haven't learned to do FM....yet. I feel lucky to get quilting and counted cross stitch done.
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Old 07-16-2009, 07:04 PM
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I guess I use it because it is fairly user friendly, still working on my free motion which is not as friendly to begin with.
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