Friday, May 22, 2015

Stitching in the Ditch...ESS revisited!

I always take a lot of heat from my students, both in the classroom and on-line with Craftsy, about my ESS theory...stitching in the ditch Every Stinkin Seam!  Many of my craftsy students have asked to see the backs of my samples because they feel ditching will mess up the back. 

My good friend, Carol, donated some old pieced blocks for me to use as a teaching sample and this was PERFECT for my ESS sample. 

When I stitch in the ditch I ALWAYS use Superior Threads' Bottom Line.  This is a 60 wt. polyester and has the uncanny ability to blend hardly see it.  When you choose your ditching thread audition light, medium and dark colors.  You will usually choose the medium to darkish shade as your thread will blend in better with the shadow of the seam. 

I always choose Bottom Line in my bobbin for all of my quilting...whether it's ditching or regular quilting.  I quilt everything to death and I stll want to see the fabric on the back rather than the thread.

I ESS all of my very long seams with my walking foot as it's easier...

...and then ditch all of my smaller seams with my darning foot as it's easier that way.  I can also travel in the seams to get to another area to ditch.

My biggest complaint about unditched seams is how they curl and become mis-shapen.  I have lots of pictures to show.  The seam at the top right blue star point is ditched...the bottom star points are not ditched.  Look at how sharp the top point is vs. the bottom points.

I did cathedral window arches throughout the quilt...the entire piece was quilted the same...ditched and unditched.  Look at how the seams are distorted and wiggly...unditched obviously!

The unditched star block is poofy and doesn't lay flat...seams don't look very good.

This star blocks was quilted exactly the same but ESS'd around every seam first.  In my opinion it lays flat and the seams are nice and sharp as they should be.

This is the back of the quilt.  The left side shows where it has been ditched...the right side is the row of unditched blocks.  In my opinion the ESSing didn't detract from the back of the quilt at all.  I actually like the extra detail!

This is a re-birth of an old class sample but ended up being the perfect example of ESSing work on the back.  I ditched every single seam of this piece but used a blending blue Bottom Line thread in the bobbin for the ditching process.

I used contrasting threads in the bobbin for the feather and star work.  Yes, you see the imprint of the ditching but I still don't believe it detracted from the overall design.

I hope this has helped to clear up some questions on the ESSing. are ALWAYS the boss of your own quilt and may do anything you wish...ditch or not.  I'm just here to help you make your quilts look fabulous!

Hugs, Cindy :)


Kvilttaaja said...

Thank you so much. This really confirmed my thoughts. Now I need a pieced top to quilt.

Karen said...

Last quilt show I attended I could not believe how many quilts were NOT ESS'd. Upon first glance they may have looked ok but when one looked up close it was very noticable and disappointing. A shortcut that should not have been taken. In my opinion too many take that shortcut. I'm with you on this one!

cheryl mitchell said...

do you use bottom line on top and in bottom?

Linenqltr said...

Cheryl inquired about using Bottom Line top and bottom...YES I use it in the top AND the bottom when ditching. I use it in the bobbin for all of my quilting whether I'm ditching or FMQ. cindy

Karin said...

Should have read this a week earlier...there was also a discussion re this on Christina Cameli's blog. Normally I do not SITD when I do an allover design. Pure laziness on my part. Usually, I get away with it but with my recent quilt it turned into a bit of a disaster. Not only did I chose the wrong design, the top layer starting shifting alarmingly (despite having been basted )well from the movement that was necessary for the design. Seams and other areas are proofing out...lesson learned!

Marlene said...

Oh I so agree with you. What a difference it makes. Whether the quilting stays within the ditched area or crosses over those ditched lines. It truly makes the difference between a nice quilted quilt or a beautifully quilted piece.