Finding the Ditch

Close up of baby quilt basted with safety pins

Close up of baby cot quilt basted with safety pins

Had my first attempt at ‘stitch in the ditch’ and it was challenging. I learned a lot:

  • It really matters that your get your piecing right or the ditch ends up with a dog-leg. One of my fabrics was a bit stretchier that the others – not good.
  • When you have a dog-leg you can follow the ditch or go up and over. After trying both I think following the ditch looks better.
  • A really busy backing fabric hides a multitude of sins. I abandoned the stripy backing fabric early and I’m glad I did.
  • I now understand why modern sewing machines have and embedded light right over the needle. I want one of those machines! Light matters.
  • Being a purist and using cotton thread rather than ‘invisible’ nylon thread comes at a cost. Still I’m glad I stuck with cotton thread. The fabric is 100% cotton and so is the batting. Why go synthetic after making those choices?
  • Basting with safety pins is pretty cool, even though I’m still smarting over the cost. $10 for a box of bent safety pins. You can not be serious!
  • Practise on a sample before you start stitch in the ditch. Didn’t do that. Probably won’t next time either. I’ll just make another quilt and the next one will be better.
  • No point in agonising over whether the ditch is in the channel between the two pieces of fabric or 2-3 threads to the side – I had seen both recommended. I ended up straying between both.
  • Those ‘sticky’ quilting gloves I’ve seen on the how-to videos might not be so silly after all.
  • This one won’t be winning any prizes at the state fair. But that’s OK.


    2 responses to “Finding the Ditch

    1. I’ve been quilting for years and still have trouble in the ditch. I guess I wasn’t made for ditches. But, you’re right, you’ll have an easier time every time. The sticky gloves are good but I’ve grown into just using my hands.

    2. You are absolutely right. It does get easier.

      I found a way to get a work light over my right shoulder and that helped a lot. I also unpicked the worst bits and redid them. Towards the end I was going a whole lot better.

      The baby boy this quilt is going to is not even 2 months old yet. I doubt he’s going to notice a few stitches on the wrong side of the ditch here and there :-)

      Looking froward to my next project, and to the holidays of course.

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