This scrappy pineapple quilt, pieced a few years back, has been my on-again, off-again project for my weekday sewing sessions for the last month or so.
Every weekday, I spend about an hour or so in the morning before breakfast working on the sewing machine. Once that hour is up, I start my day with office and pattern work on the computer.
If I don't give myself that hour each morning at the sewing machine, working on whatever the current project is, I might not make it back to the sewing room for the rest of the day. Therefore, I'm very protective of that morning sewing time. If I miss out for one reason or another, the rest of the day feels 'off.'
If you've been following the progress on this quilt, then you know I decided to stitch a swirl pattern inside each block with walking-foot straight lines. All 35 blocks are done now, and I'm moving on to the sashing elements. There is a 'ring' of ocean blue fabric around each block, and I decided to stitch-in-the-ditch around each block.
Stitch-in-the-ditch is one of those things that feels like it should be a piece of cake, and it is . . but there are a few tricks to it. Like anything else, the more practice you get, the better your skills are.
For starters, the stitch line should be a hair to the 'down' side of the seam allowance. What's the 'down' side?? When I pieced the narrow blue strip onto the white sashing element, I pressed the seam consistently toward the blue, indicated by the red arrow (I'm a press-to-one-side kinda gal). I refer to the 'down' side of the seam as the side of the seam with only one layer of fabric. The 'up' side of the has three layers of fabric - the fabric you see, and the two layers of seam allowance pressed under.
If I proceed slowly and deliberately, I can be pretty successful at keeping the quilting stitch to the down side of the seam. If I look way for one nano-second, speed up the stitching, or if I just wiggle my hands a bit, the seam could wobble onto the up side of the seam. The sewing machine even acknowledges the wobble with a gut-wrenching sound as the machine labors through more fabric layers.
Depending on how bad the wobble is (and my mood), I've been known to reverse-stitch the quilting to the point just before the wobble infraction, and re-start, hopefully with better results. Truth be known, I left this wobble alone (you won't tell, right?).
I love quilting-in-the-ditch because I think it adds to the texture of the quilt particularly at the ditched seam.
I have only two more blue block borders to ditch-quilt. Then I may change over to some free motion quilting in the sashing or cornerstones. I'm not sure the quilt needs it though; we'll see. I might move right to the border, then a binding and a label.
The end is in sight! Good thing, since Spring is taking its time getting here. An extra quilt may come in handy!