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Hey Y'all,
Who prefers free motion quilting vs. in the ditch on your HSM? I prefer in the ditch just because it is easier to handle the massive quilt. I have done free motion on one quilt and it was a mess....nesting, uneven stitches....I just couldn't manuever the quilt like I wanted to. But free motion quilting can be so beautiful....does anyone have any tips....p.s. I don't like to quilt as you go...tried it once but it didnt satisfy the quilter in me...lol!!

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I prefer to do the free motion then the stitch in the ditch. I tried the stitch in the ditch and it was a disaster for me. More puckers then ever before. I love the free motion. I do know that pinning is the key, I roll up my quilts so I can move them around. The larger quilts are hard to move around, just take your time and move a little at a time. Having your machine on a large table also, so you can spread it out. I hope this helps.
Betty, when you tried the Stitch in the Ditch did you use a walking foot? If not, I would strongly suggest you try that if you can. I know some of those feet are getting to be so expensive it is ridiculous, but some of them are so handy to have. Plus I have found that if I spray baste my layers together, I do better than pinning them as the basting is more even that way. Some times I use my open toed embroidery foot to do SITD because I can see where I am going easier. Hope this helps.
I do both, usually on the same quilt. If I stitch in the ditch on block lines to hold everything , then it is easier to do the free motion. It also seems easier if I at least mark out some guidelines of what I want for freehand designs, then embellish off that. Stippling is not my thing at all. 'Probably should say that I am not a perfectionist, but have learned to adapt- if I go off a line a little, just adjust a little elsewhere too. My stitches are getting better with practice (good excuse to make more little Project Linus ones). Most of my quilts are not intended for the fair, they are to be used and loved.

A few years back, it was a style of sort to use a backing fabric with a "quiltable"design on it. I made a simple strip quilt and backed it with a Hawaiian print. Flip it over and follow the lines on the backing for the quilt design. That project gave me a lot of confidence to do a queen size quilt on my regular sewing machine. When I visit my daughter and see it, I smile at the result.
Bonnie - I'm with you...doing the straight lines, either along block lines or cross hatching some holds the whole piece together and then I can take most of my safety pins out so I don't have to stop and remove them. I've also bought the Halo and Slider (teflon sheet) so I hope that will help - haven't had time (or the right project) to use them yet.
Also, if you quilt from the back, you can use a decorative thread in the bobbin (if your machine's personality agrees).
Thanks Bonnie, I never thought of putting a print on the back and quilting from the back.....that's a good idea...I like that one!! :-)
Hi Deryl - I do NOT consider myself a "great" quilter. However, I'm working on improving my free motion quilting. I attended a two day class held by Paula Reid on quilting. Paula Reid actually quilts all of Alex Anderson's quilts. Paula is a hoot! I just love her and she is OH SO TALENTED! Anyway, back to the point of this note - Paula has a couple of DVD's out - one is "Borders and Bindings" and the other is "Fluff and Stuff". She may have more DVD's out by now, too! I don't know. I have used her "Fluff and Stuff" method of quilting and actually it works quite well. Another piece of advice that people have given me is - "practice, practice, practice". The nesting sometimes can be a tension issue; uneven stitches - well that needs "practice". Paula has her own website - "www.battsintheattic.com". I think you may be able to buy these DVD's on her website. And, stitch in the ditch is nice to do in some places - in my opinion; but, free motion quilting is quite pretty and can bring "beauty" to a quilt. Good luck! ... Practice, practice, practice! LOL
I tend to use both...I use in the ditch around the blocks and stipple inside them. Sometimes I trace words in the borders and sashing and free motion over them. I find that having a smaller area that I am working on makes it a lot easier...and I don't have to move the quilt as much.
I've done both quilting in the ditch and free motion -- depending on the particular quilt. Basting or pinning the quilt really good makes a huge difference. My stitches are not all even, but they are pretty good and the more I do it the better that gets. I believe it was yesterday's (Dec 10) Leah Day's blog where she talked about how to maneuver your quilt. She really doesn't go for the all over quilting with HSM, but working a block area at a time. Any more I don't do a quilt on my HSM if it is larger than a twin size.
BJ - I just tried Leah Day's video site - there was no sound - is that my computer? Her quilting does look great!

It was likely your computer. I have many hours watching her tutorials and have learned so much. I collect my favourites from her and store them on pinterest. I recently finished a quilt that had many samples of her designs and by the time I finished I was branching out and creating some of my own, I just started at 0 a year ago.

Deryl, this is a great thread you started. I too have been struggling w/free motion but am getting better at it. One hint I heard is to adjust the speed on your machine to the lowest setting & then press your foot pedal all the way to the floor when quilting. For some reason that combination is supposed to help. Of course, this advice was given to me yrs ago & might be different now with the newer machines. Also, I have found it works great to listen to music while I'm quilting so I make sure I have my IPod going. I think that helps take your mind off of the quilting. It is basically like learning how to type or how to drive a stick shift car. The more you think about what you are doing, the harder it is; the more you just relax & zone out the easier it is. Of course, I still have a long ways to go, but I'm getting there.

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