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I'm going to be starting a large Judy Niemeier quilt that will be ditched completely and custom quilted.  I've done ditch work and custom quilting on several quilts in the past, though all were smaller than this one.  My question is, should I ditch the entire quilt to stabilize it prior to starting any ruler work or custom quilting?  I'm sure this is personal preference but I would like to know what others do and why.

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If you plan to do all SID first, start in the center. That's where the most fullness will live and where the eye focuses first, so it needs to be flat and symmetrical. The big issue with this is what happens to the rest of the quilt when you start in the middle. You'll need to float it, so secure the top edge of the top with pins (don't stitch it down because you may need to re-position it later). Then advance to the center, smoothing as you advance. When you reach the center, adjust so it's symmetrical then stitch baste or pin baste horizontally above and below the center. Then baste the entire top, stepping out from the center and keeping areas straight and flat. You will immediately see where else there is fullness and needing extra care. I've quilted over twenty Judy Niemeyer quilts as a pro, and none of them was flat---ever. With it fully basted, you can start anywhere you like, but I'd do the center first. Also, you aren't stuck with doing all the SID first if it involves a lot of thread color changes. You can SID and custom quilt a section at a time. The photo is my latest---Dinnerplate Dahlia. Good luck and have fun!

P1040285 (2).JPG

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