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Echo Ditching on a Longarm Quilting Machine

Welcome back to another Frame Quilting Friday! Today I want to dive deeper into a quilting technique I mentioned in last week's post that I call Echo Ditching. I love this easy alternative to stitching in the ditch because it's faster and easier and a lot more forgiving, especially on the longarm.

Learn how to do echo ditching on your frame mounted longarm machine in this quilting tutorial.

Quick links to the tools and supplies mentioned in this quilting tutorial:

Slice Quilting Ruler

Basic Ruler Kit

Grace Qnique Longarm

Longarm Quilting Frame Friday

Frame Quilting Friday

Echo ditching is a very easy quilting technique using a ruler as a guide. I used the straight edges of the slice ruler to help me stay exactly 1/4 inch from the seam lines on my diamond shape. Usually when I do echo ditching, I will quilt 1/4 inch lines to the inside of the shape and also 1/4 inch to the outside.

Leah Day longarm frame quilting

In this video I continued stitching straight lines to the inside of the diamond shape and explored different ways to travel stitch and create the next set of lines without breaking thread. I'm still on the fence as to which method I like best. That's the cool thing about quilting any space on your quilt; there's literally 100 different ways I could have quilted these lines in this diamond shape.

By the way you can find the pattern for this double stripe diamond quilt I'm quilting right here. This is a free quilt pattern I shared a few months ago and a great exploration of cutting and piecing diamond shapes.

Diamond shape quilting

Dealing with Thread Breaks

As you saw in the video sometimes you can't avoid breaking thread while longarm quilting. You might have been wondering how I deal with the loose threads on my quilt on the longarm.

I tie off and bury all of the loose threads on my quilt exactly the same way I do on my home sewing machines. I first tie the two threads together in an overhand knot, then pop the thread tails in a cheater needle.

This is a special self-threading needle that allows you to quickly thread the end without having to poke the tails through the eye of the needle. I then insert the cheater needle into the batting area of the quilt and pulled the thread tails through so they are hidden and won't pop up into the middle of the quilt.

I know most longarmors don't bother tying off thread tails this way. But this is the method I use because it's very secure and ensures the threads don't unravel and the quilting stitches start coming out after the quilt is used and well loved.

Click Here to find cheater needles and a handy single needle magnet so you can keep one right next to your machine.

I think the possibilities for quilting with echo ditching are endless. Most quilts can just be stitched and secured with a little echo ditching around all of the shapes and that might be enough to secure your quilt so it can be used and enjoyed.

I hope you'll give this technique a try. Do you have any questions? Please post in the comments below.

Let's go quilt,

Leah Day


Great question K! I’ll have to give that a try and see. I think it really depends on the edge you’re echo ditching and how far you’re staying from the ditches.

Leah Day,

Do you have any tips for curved echo ditching? I am finding it much more difficult than expected, even when using a ruler for a guide.

K Llewellyn,

This was a great tutorial, considering I am a new one with the q’nique, will get ruler and Rey, thank you


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