How do you quilt your quilts? Stitch in the ditch? Random topstitching? or do you have a long arm machine?
Good question. The quilting stitching is a challenge for me, cerainly the most frustrating part of making a quilt.
When I started making quilts I was making a lot of patchwork quilts and I did a lot of diagonal stitching, like this. This creates a nice clean look. I also started stitching about 1/4" to each side of the ditch like this quilt, it gives a little more flexibility and looks both tidy and interesting.
As I started coming up with different patterns I had to come up with different stitching ideas, which led to a lot of hit or miss stitching, but some neat results. Most of my quilts are baby quilts and I really like simple clean lines on those, though I think the options are endless.
I made a quilt for A., who used to believe he was a pirate, and did the quilting stitching to resemble a treasure map on the backside, complete with mountains, water, and a "X".
This link will take you to all the quilts I have on flickr ... maybe they'll be helpful, or maybe you'll realize just why this isn't my favorite step in quilt-making.
I just recently started doing more free-motion stitching, both on quilts and smaller projects likes bibs and t-shirts. I'm not confident about my abilities yet but I love doing it. I find the rhythm and motion to be almost soothing ... if I could just get my stitches to all be the same length I'd be overjoyed, but I haven't mastered that yet. It's like most things though, practice makes perfect. For practice I trace lines, either in a project or on scraps. I've found I do much better at free motion quilting when I have a pattern to follow, just random stitching doesn't work for me. For now, I'm sticking to regular stitching for the majority of my quilts.
I wish I had a long arm machine. That'd be decadent! But I don't, and I suppose I won't anytime in the near future.