When I was a new machine quilter, I did stitch in the ditch because I was so afraid my stitching lines would show and would not be "worthy". Or I did a lot of outline stitching. My feeddogs were always up and I had my walking foot on. How I yearned to be able to make those swooping freestyle feathers, close stipples. So I practiced, and practiced. And I got better and better. And I thought my stitch in the ditch days were behind me.
Enter Circle of Life. This quilt is taking me to edge and beyond of machine quilting. And one of the many lessons that it has been teaching me is that stitch in the ditch is a good thing. It helps stabilize the quilt sandwich. and helps those rays in the New York Beauty arches shine.
The work on the right has been stitched in the ditch. The left side is yet to be done. See how the rays stand out so nicely.
My current workhorse sewing machine is my Janome 7700 (Horizon). Besides having an 11" harp size, it has the built in AccuFeed system. This system is slick at moving the quilt sandwich evenly and smoothly. No bunching up at the end of a seam. There is a special SITD foot, but I much prefer using my open toe foot.