Friday, February 27, 2015

Basted Badly, and Basted Again. On To the Quilting!

Basted... And Basted Again
Several hundred safety pins later, my thumbs are sore, but my quilt is FINALLY basted and ready for quilting!

The internet is rife with tutorials instructing quilters to crawl around a hardwood floor on their hands and knees to accomplish the basting procedure, but I don't do hands and knees.  I prefer to baste my quilts on a standing height worktable, without inflicting any agony on my hands and knees, and I've done this successfully in the past -- but not on tables that were pushed up against the wall like this one is.  I opted to move the worktable back up against the wall when I remodeled my studio in order to economize space.  Since my worktable base consists of kitchen cabinetry and wooden cubby units and my butcher block work surface weighs over 700 pounds, it's not like I could just scoot the whole thing out a few feet from the wall temporarily, either.  I thought I remembered that I had somehow managed to baste a similarly sized kiddo quilt with Minky backing on this new worktable two years ago, but I could not for the life of me remember how I managed to do that. 

So I decided to wing it.  I spray basted with 505 and then I pinned like a madwoman.  And then I flipped the quilt over after a couple of hours of pinning and discovered THIS:

Backing Side Up, The Wrinkle Of Doom
Ugh, right?!  I had worked with the top 2/3 of the quilt that fit on the table first, then spun it around to do the other side, but that slippery Minky formed a crease all the way across the quilt where it had been hanging over the side of the table.  If I left it that way I would have horrible pleats and puckers all over the back every time my line of quilting stitches crossed over the Minky Mountain Range on the back of my quilt.  So today I had to take all of the pins out of the bottom third of the quilt, pull that Minky taut, and repin.  I think it's good now, but note to self here -- next time I baste a quilt, I need to have Bernie get the folding utility table out of storage.  We can set it up in  the middle of my studio temporarily and raise the legs to a comfortable height with pieces of PVC pipe.  That way I can tape or clamp the backing in place to the table edges on all sides, do my pinning from the center out, and when I'm working on the outside edges the weight of the pinned areas of the quilt will help to keep the backing taut and wrinkle free.  Actually, now that I'm thinking about it, I'm pretty sure that's how I basted the last quilt I completed, the raffle quilt for the kids' school.  It's probably how I did the Dresden plate Minky quilt, too, and I'll bet I'm hallucinating this whole idea that I managed to do it on the new work table.

(In case you're interested in the CORRECT way to baste your quilt on a table surface rather than the floor, there are excellent instructions in the book Quilts! Quilts! Quilts! by Diana McClun and Laura Nownes). 

Essential Basting Supplies: Curved Safety Pins, Kwik Klip Pin Closer, and Pinot Grigio

Meanwhile, I'm just excited that the basting is behind me and I get to start quilting tomorrow!  I am not 100% sure how I'm going to quilt this one, but I do know that I'm going to start by stitching in the ditch along all of the non-black patches and along the borders.  I haven't decided whether I'm going to do that with black thread or with monofilament nylon "invisible" thread.  My new Westalee ruler foot and quilting rulers finally showed up a few days ago, so I'll probably want to test out some ruler work on this quilt.  Stay posted!

I'm linking up with WIPs on Wednesday at Esther's blog.  Have a great week.


Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

I baste mine on the floor and have a good technique for me but I only do small quilts usually and I have a carpeted floor and using T-tacks I pin the backing to the floor it doesn't shift and holds it tight - spread the batting and top on pressing firmly to make sure it is all wrinkle free - I pin no adhesive for me - I have heard of all ways to do basting and I don't think I have heard one person say that it is the favorite part of quilting! Now I do use my 3 roller for all my big quilts and there is no basting for that and I think that is the best way!!

Barbara Sindlinger said...

Ugh. I hate when the bottom gets a wrinkle. Sorry it was such a pain. The only way that works for me unfortunately is on the floor on my hands and knees. It's not comfortable but I never get wrinkles in the back. I hope that glass of wine will help with the sore fingers.

Joanie's Trendy Quilts said...

Basting a quilt is difficult whether on a table top or the floor. I have used the floor, tabletop and the Sharon Schamber's method of using 2- 1x4 boards. Best results usually are the floor for me with lot less redoing. And in the end it is quicker. But it is more painful crawling on that floor. Happy you finally finished your! It is a beautiful quilt!

Rebecca Grace said...

Thanks, Joanie! I have two big dogs so 5 minutes after I vacuum there is black fur all over the place again. And this quilt being for a baby, you never know what babies will be sensitive to so I’m trying to be really careful not to get any dog fur inside the layers of the quilt where they can’t be removed by laundering. So that’s a big reason I didn’t want to baste on the floor as well. Also I’m working on a King sized pineapple log cabin quilt right now so I’m thinking ahead to when I have to baste THAT monster and if I have to crawl into the center of the quilt on the floor to put the basting pins in I think THAT would likely cause distortions. I love the table top basting method and I’ve used it successfully on several quilts back when I had a rectangular kitchen table that I could baste on, but now my kitchen table is a hexagon and it won’t work for that. I think it’s going to be worth it for me to get a special table for basting that folds up for storage when I’m not using it.

Thanks for stopping by!

Rebecca said...

I am great on getting down on the floor...its the getting up that's a killer.
Got a question..
When you are done with the first quilting run of "in the ditch and around the nonblack blocks Do you find that stabilizes the quilt enough so that you can take out most of the pins?

Rebecca Grace said...

Hi, Rebecca! I will take out the pins as I come to them throughout quilting. A lot of the pins will come out when I do the ditch quilting, like all the pins in the 1” squares, but I will leave most of the pins in the background areas until I am ready to do the quilting and the pins are in the way. Better to be safe than sorry – especially with shifty slippery Minky! The fact that I spray basted with 505 prior to pinning will help, too.

Thanks for stopping by!

Jenny K. Lyon said...

Oh Rebecca you must see Patsy Thompson's You Tube on spray basting ON THE WALL!! It's here and I've used it and it works beautifully:
I did not have success with the Sharon Schamber method.
I found Minky pesky to quilt. And I want to know what you think about the Westalee rulers!

Rebecca Grace said...

Thanks for sharing that video, Jenny! I had heard people talking about a wal basting method, and I never knew what they were talking about. Do you think this wall method would work well for Minky, though? Minky stretches in one direction -- wouldn't the weight of the backing cause the Minky to stretch and distort on the wall? My other issue is that my studio has a weird slanted ceiling and I only have one good sized flat wall, and that's my design wall. But I guess I could pin up newspaper over the flannel design wall and make it do double duty. I have bookmarked the video for future reference and I'll try it next time I have something smaller that has regular cotton batting. Thanks for taking the time to send me the link!

Quilting Stories said...

This is not the mot pleasant part of quilting! As regards me, I fold each 3 layers in two lengthwise, then lay them on a table marked in the middle and I bast with large stitches, starting from the middle to the corners.

Rebecca Grace said...

Hi, Christine! Yes, that’s the way I baste for hand quilting, too. The problem was that my table is up against the wall and too heavy to move, so I could not start from the center out like I used to. I usually baste with pins alone for machine quilting, but I wanted the “extra security” of spray basting to help control the slippery stretch factors of the Minky backing.

Thanks for stopping by!

Glenda said...

WOW I love the look of this quilt great colours they pull me in. Yes I'm sure you deserved that wine after all the basting LOL. Cheers Glenda Australia.

Esther Aliu said...

Hi Rebecca Grace, I think basting is such a tedious and tiring part of quilting, I always want to get mine over and done with as quickly as possible! I have also done the planks on the floor method and it is more accurate but also more physically involved. On the plus side, you'll be ready to quilt now and your quilt top is a stunner!

Carrie P. said...

Yes, layering quilts can be tough. I will use the spray on small things sometimes. My big quilts I send to the long armer.