The Free Motion Quilting Project: Stitching Ditches in the Spinning Sun Block

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Stitching Ditches in the Spinning Sun Block

This Monday we learned how to Machine Quilt a Spinning Sun block and a few members of the Facebook group were confused about which seams I ditched for this block.

Stitching in the ditch refers to quilting right in the seamline or "ditch" between fabrics. For most of the blocks in the Machine Quilting Block Party I've quilted some ditches but not all of them, just depending on the design I was going for.

For the Spinning Sun Block I didn't stitch the center square in the ditch, but I did stitch around the outer half square triangles. You can see this clearly from this picture of the back of the block:


Why did I choose to ditch this way? The main reason is I considered the center star of the block it's own unit. It was being filled with the marked sun design and Sharp Stippling, which wiggled over the half square triangles and center square seamlessly.

Had I stitched that center square in the ditch, the Sharp Stippling would be overlapping that square line. I don't like that appearance so I didn't stitch the center square in the ditch.

But you can see I did ditch around the outer edges of the half square triangles once I switched to orange thread. I ditched these seams because I wanted the star shape to stand out nicely and I wanted a "fence" that I could travel along while quilting Pebbling into the background of the block.

I generally view ditching as an outline that separates different filler designs from one another. It's kind of like a coloring book - the lines tell you where to color. For me, the ditches separate one filler design from another.

As you can probably tell by now, ditching is an opinion-based choice that's entirely up to you to decide. There isn't a wrong way to stitch your blocks in the ditch! Don't let little things like this trip you up or get you stuck.

Instead look at the block and decide what you want to do. Do you like ditching or hate it? Do you view it as an outline the same way I do, or a nuisance that is better left un-stitched? Please share your thoughts on ditching in the comments below!

Let's go ditch!

Leah Day

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