Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Into the Ditch

As many of you know, I quilt on an older domestic Bernina with a fairly small throat plate. With a large quilt, it helps to stitch in the ditch along major seam lines.

I started by stitching the block boundaries vertically and horizontally. Each block contains a "star," not a spiderweb. This stitching starts and stops which also means loads of thread tails to bury. Next I stitched the border seams. Now I'm stitching around each spiderweb by rotating as the needle moves from point to point. With care, you can turn the quilt when reaching the borders. That translates to only two threads to bury. Yay!

These photos may help visualize what I did: Sew across the X where two spiderwebs meet.

Sew across the X where two spiderwebs meet
Turn at the inside of the star.

Turn at the inside of the star.
Fortunately I have two machines so while I quilt on my Bernina, I can still sew Coins on my Featherweight. Not both at once, you understand. But no time wasted changing needles and thread.

Here are some more possible Coin pairs. The yellow floral with brown/yellow/white plaid is not working for me. I don't think I'll use it.

Possible Chinese Coin pairs.

Although I haven't written about this in a while, I'm still working on my old Sampler quilt - usually while listening to the news at night. This is the final block to be hand quilted but it's still a long way from done. Twenty-nine years and counting.

Sampler quilt {still}in the hoop
Of course, if I'd worked on it regularly it would have been finished years ago.

Enjoy the day, Ann

23 comments:

  1. I too use a similar method for ditching larger quilts. It's really helpful.

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    1. Yes. Stabilization is great info for people new to quilting.

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  2. Only 29 years? At least you are working on it. I have a log cabin quilt that I started quilting it, but I didn't work on it much. I was hand quilting it too. It got so dirty as it lived thru several remodels unprotected, I ended up taking out what quilting I had done and washed the top and the backing. I threw away the polyester batting - so dirty! It is now in line and on my UFO list. I had pieced the top back in the late 70's! I just can't give it up; I have to finish it! There is a commercial I saw recently that says something like "you wonder why your exercise routine is not working? It's because your not doing it!" Kind of like you wonder why that quilt isn't done? Your not working on it! LOL!!!

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    1. Exactly. Hard to finish when you don't keep at it. Obviously there were many years with no stitching. Still, I'm glad to see a finish line... in the far, far distance.

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  3. Oh nice tip on using a domestic small throated machine for quilting a large piece. thanks. I need to forage (will maybe need a huge machete hahaha) through my WIPS and get going on them. Every once in a while i get overwhelmed and so do nada, nothing, zip--hoping to get back into the "zone" soon...hugs and I like your coin pairings...Julierose

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    1. I think we all have that tendency. I got {mostly} caught up two years ago and now have a larger pile of tops/blocks than I'm willing to admit. But this week I started working through them again. Guess it goes in spurts. Still I'd prefer to finish each in order all the way through.
      I love your Coin photos on Instagram. I can't wait to see all!

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  4. I quilt on my small Bernina too. It's a wrestling match! I find stitching in the ditch the very hardest thing to do... you'll be sewing along, then, bloop! the fabric moves a bit when the foot lifts a smidge and looks like I didn't know how to quilt a straight line. Kudos to you!

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    1. Wrestling match describes it, LeeAnna. I get those bloops too. Sometimes I let them go; it looks more human. But I try to remember to use a half stitch each time I restart. You know, move the needle from down to up. If the quilt moves, I can reposition it and try again. When I remember, it certainly reduces those bloops.

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  5. Given how much you create...it would not surprise me to learn that you have mastered the art of running two sewing machines at once. I can totally see it!!

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    1. I think the pot is speaking to the kettle, Mel.

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  6. I have two machines and like you find it's great to be able to quilt on one and stitch on the other. Just wish I had one of the much newer Bernina machines with the larger throat plate. Like your thinking with the quilting sequence, the job I hate most is sorting out the threads!

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    1. Sometimes I want a newer machine too, mainly for that larger throat plate. But mine is very reliable and does everything I want.
      I must bury threads as they appear. The few times I've waited until the end, I spend years finding more of them. It takes longer while quilting but surely helps in the end.
      I love your fabric pull for the Coins.

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  7. I must be a horrible quilter...I don't bury threads. I give 'em a buzz cut and move on! Life is too short and there are too many quilts in my head. (I should note that I do bury threads when I'm hand-quilting.) The people who get my quilts have no clue that they are not up to par...and no one is telling.
    Now that I think about it, I'm the first in my family to quilt by machine, so in a way I'm setting the bar. I wouldn't want to discourage anyone else with my perfect quilts! Hahaaha

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    1. Sometimes I wish I didn't bury them because it takes so long. But I've put so much work into each quilt I'd rather bury them than have it come loose. There are certainly many sub-par aspects to my quilts.
      Love that your quilting level is an encouragement to your family. Ha!

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  8. We have much in common. I do domestic machine quilting. I piece with my Bernina 130. I quilt with my Juki I bought two years ago - it has a nice big throat. I, too, have a 29 year old project that I am hand quilting. It will be 30 years in September. I like your colors way more than mine. I mean I liked them back in 87 when I made the top, but my tastes have changed. Glad to know I'm not the only one with such an ancient WIP.

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    1. We're very lucky to have two machines. Such a luxury.
      I am amazed I still like this quilt although styles have changed so much. Now it will be very "boring" in the corners. Nothing out there. But I hope to finish this up before the end of the year. Wishing you luck with yours.

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  9. Burying threads is one of the many reasons I don't quilt on a machine, but burying them as you go along sounds like a better idea than letting them all build up.

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    1. I don't know. It takes me more time to bury threads when quilting by hand. I don't have as much thread on a needle as in the bobbin.
      But taking care of messes along the way usually turns out to be the better choice, doesn't it?

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  10. I like your thoughts on your projects. It helps me calm down and relax seeing your process.

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    1. It calms me down to read about other people's progress, too. Part of the reason I love quilting is that it takes a while. Learning to stop and enjoy the "crossroads" is good for us all. One of the problems with blogging is that we start to think we aren't moving quickly enough. Neither true nor helpful.
      I'm glad you feel the same way.

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  11. I just can't manage to stitch in the ditch properly...I seem to go everywhere but actually in the ditch. I hate burying knots from machine stitching too so try to avoid any machine stitching that needs much of it. I don't bury knots on machine quilting if it is on busy fabric front and back or on donation quilts. I've seen you mention you bury knots as you go and tried that last time and preferred that method over waiting until after it's all quilted. Thanks for that tip.

    I like that floral/plaid combo of fabric.

    Twenty-nine years, huh? Do you still like the quilt?

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    1. My ditch stitching is usually ok although I do wander out at times. And if the seam allowance rotates...
      Out of my quilts are for people I know. I over-worry about things coming apart. Eventually everything wears out; something will be first to go.i should give it a rest.
      I do still like the quilt and fabric but think the layout is a bit dated.

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  12. I really hated the necessity of burying threads with machine quilting, no fun at all and I don't envy you. That said I love the way you're making the stars the focus of this quilt and imagine you can bury each one as you go along.

    I bet you'll be over the moon and full of satisfaction if you do manage to complete your hand stitching journey this year Ann - you'll have to give the quilt a 'birthday bash'! It just occurred to me that keeping it in a cupboard or drawer for 30 years means the fabric won't have faded at all - a vintage quilt in perfect condition is a valuable thing indeed!! x

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