Source - Amanda Jennings
One of the final steps in finishing a quilt is the actual quilting process. This is where the three layers (the quilt top, batting, and backing) are all sewn together. There are countless ways to do this! Narrowing down your options can be a difficult process. If you are looking for a simple yet effective way to quilt your project, machine quilting in the ditch might be for you.
What is quilting in the ditch, or stitch in the ditch? This is a method of quilting that puts the emphasis on the quilt design, not the quilting stitches. The amount of thread that is shown on the top of the quilt is minimized greatly when you quilt this way. The stitches are made in the seam lines of the quilt top between the piecework. This method will work effectively on most quilts. Any design, from basic patchwork to triangles or circles, can sing with this quilting treatment. Plus, this method of quilting takes a lot less time than most.
When machine quilting in the ditch, some like to sew directly in the seams, so that the thread is pretty much invisible from the top. Others like to sew slightly off to the side of the seam, approximately 1/8” - 1/4” away from the actual seam. When the stitching is a little bit away from the seam, it may also be called outline stitching.
Source - Follow the White Bunny
If you are new to this technique, here is a brief overview to get you started:
As with any other type of quilting, take time to practice! Even though this technique is very appropriate for a beginner, machine quilting in the ditch isn’t quite as easy as it might sound. If the stitches aren’t straight and steady, the quilting can look sloppy. It takes concentration and a steady hand to keep those stitches right where you want them, whether it is directly in the ditch or just beside them. This can be tricky, but don’t give up! The more you practice, the better your quilting will be.