The Free Motion Quilting Project: Stitching in the Ditch Over Appliques on the Grace Qnique 14+

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Stitching in the Ditch Over Appliques on the Grace Qnique 14+

Happy Sunday! Today I'm quilting a Peaceful Goddess quilt block which was created using fusible applique. The first step to quilting applique is to outline it or stitch it in the ditch. Learn how to stitch in the ditch over an appliqued block on the Grace Qnique 14+ longarm:

Click Here to learn more about the Grace Qnique.

The most important skill to build for stitching in the ditch is hand control. Being able to follow the line exactly and not hop away from the applique edge will take a lot of practice.

When I first began quilting I didn't have this control so I mostly stitched in the ditch and outline quilted using my walking foot. Please understand that there's nothing wrong with using your walking foot for this task. Here's a video tutorial on stitching in the ditch with a walking foot in case you'd like to see it.

So why would you want to stitch in the ditch using free motion quilting?

The main reason is it allows you to keep quilting. After quilting the outline around all the applique shapes, I immediately began quilting different designs in the goddess face, hair, and background.

I didn't have to stop, break thread, change feet, and hide thread tails. So quilting the outline or stitching in the ditch with free motion quilting is just a bit faster because you don't have to stop and change feet in order to quilt more designs.

Tips for Good Stitch Control

The key to stitching in the ditch with free motion quilting is to build skill with your hands so the quilt moves slowly and steadily over the surface of the machine. In this case, slower is better because you have less chance of stitching away from the applique edge and creating a messy outline.

Wearing quilting gloves is also my favorite way of increasing my control over how the quilt moves on the machine. By getting an extra grip on the quilt surface, I'm able to control the block better so I can move it precisely with less chance of mistakes.

Ultimately this is a skill built by repetition. The more you stitch in the ditch or outline quilt applique or any other seam or design, the better you will get!

What do you think about stitching in the ditch? Do you use this to secure your applique quilts? Do you like the way this looks on the front and back of your quilts? Share your thoughts in the comments below!

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day

1 comment:

  1. Last year I had been determined to stitch in the ditch with free motion, but it just wasn't going well. I was very happy to discover that I could actually change from my free motion foot to my walking foot without breaking thread.


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