Saturday, November 26, 2011

Does anyone but me pin baste anymore?

Basting - 1 tape down the back

I was basting the ROYGBIV quilt this morning and the back looked so interesting upside down. So I decided to take a bunch of pictures and make a pin basting tutorial. Lately I have heard people get puckers in their quilt backs when quilting and that does not happen to me. Also, it seems that more people are spraying glue at their quilts, which I don't do. So I thought maybe I would share my low tech, chemical free method.

Basting - 2 adjust the tape

First I move aside the furniture and tape the back to the floor with painter's tape. The taping process takes a few minutes as the aim is to get the back tight without stretching or misaligning it. You need to adjust the tape a bit to get rid of the puckers, all the way around.

By the way, doesn't the back of the giant log cabin look interesting all nicely taped out.

Basting - 3 place the batting down

Then I carefully place the batting, so as not to disturb the back. I try to lay it straight on one edge and then place it over the entire back.

Basting - 4 smooth the batting out

This photo is an attempt to show you the smoothing process. Once I have the batting laid out, I sit or kneel in the middle of the quilt toward one end. I carefully smooth the batting onto the back with my hands, moving from the centre to the edges. This process needs to be done carefully so you don't pull the backing away from the tape. Also don't stretch the batting, just smooth it so it sticks to the back. You do get rolls like the one in the picture as you go. I move my body carefully down the quilt and keep smoothing from the centre to each edge.

Basting - 5 the batting is smoothed and trimmed

When the batting is all smoothed, you can see the seams on the back. This back was a great one to use as an example because it has so many seams to see. On this back, once I had smoothed the batting I also trimmed the batting to be the same size as the back rather than leaving the batting bigger than the back. I wanted to try to keep the top straight on the back so I needed to be able to see the back's edges.

Basting - 6 place the top on the batting

Then carefully place the top onto the batting. I started in the top right corner and worked to keep it straight along the top and the edges. It is important to do this gently so as not to mess up the batting.

Basting - 7 smooth out the top

Then I smooth the top in place, just like the batting. I sit or kneel on the top, and gently smooth from the  centre to the edges. Again being careful to not distort the top or the batting. All this smoothing causes the batting to adhere to both the back and the top so that when I am quilting, there is far less likelihood of any puckers.

Basting - 8 the top is smooth and in place

Here are all three layers, ready for pins. It is far easier to baste when the back is about 3" - 5" larger than the top. I have that amount at the bottom of this quilt sandwich but you can see there was only an inch to spare on either side (you know, I forgot to measure twice, that skimpy back was not on purpose). I don't recommend a back with this little to spare, it is a bit tricky to keep everything that straight.

Basting - 9 Pin the layers

Then I get my bowl of pins and pin the layers. Again, I sit or kneel on the quilt and pin from centre to the edges. I pin all I can reach and carefully move my body so I don't disturb the layers.

Pins make the quilt sandwich heavy and that extra weight makes the quilting harder, so I do not use more than necessary. I place them about a hand width (4" - 5") apart and stagger each row. I use quilters safety pins, they have a curve bent in them to make it easier to pin from the top of the layers.

Basting - 10 All done

And here it is all pinned. After this, carefully remove the tape from the back and the floor, fold or roll the sandwich and head off to quilt it. Oh, and I also put the furniture back.

This process took me 1.25 hours, including the time to take the photos - it is not that long. I do recommend getting up part way through the pinning and having a good stretch once or twice.

I have to admit that I really like this quiet, chemical free, process of readying my quilt for the quilting. I hope to spend the evening quilting this one, and likely tomorrow too. I have watched Rhonda's, from Quilter in the Gap, videos from the Duo QAL for all her pointers and the plan is for an all over stipple on this quilt, so I am ready to go.

I hope you are enjoying the weekend.