Easy Basting…..

No…..I am not talking about cooking the Thanksgiving turkey…..I am talking about getting a quilt layered and ready to quilt.


It started in a Houston class with machine quilter, Christa Watson. It was a wonderful class and in passing, she mentioned that she bastes her quilts on her design wall.

I have heard that people do this but I could never figure out how you sprayed it without it getting ALL OVER EVERYWHERE!! But, she mentioned that she sprayed the pieces outside and then transferred them to her studio and pinned them on the design wall.

Okay…..that might work!!!

On Sunday I started out in the garage…..

….and ended up with a perfectly basted quilt in my studio……

I filmed it as I worked thru the process and present this video to show you the nitty gritty.

The video is 23 minutes long but it is all done in real-time, meaning that it took less than 20 minutes to baste the quilt!!

Have a watch and see if this is something that you might like to try……

Obviously, I wouldn’t have the room to do this with a full-size quilt but it worked well for this large lap quilt.

Here it is after I trimmed it, pressed it, and added a few safety pins around the edge….

Tomorrow I will get started with the quilting process.

Stay tuned for more about the quilting of this fun sampler quilt!!

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Should my quilt be judged?

I am the chairman of my local guild quilt show that is coming up in March.

Several of our members have expressed reluctance to have their quilts judged prior to the show…

This is what I wrote to them……

Many people are nervous about having their quilts judged. They may be worried that their work is not “good enough” or they may not be happy having someone else tell them what is wrong with their piece. Although these are completely understandable, I would like to encourage you to enter your quilts in the upcoming show AND to have them undergo the judging process!

When a judge looks at a quilt, she is an independent, un-biased individual who is looking at your quilt with the idea of ranking your quilt against the others in the category, but also with the idea of giving helpful comments that can move you further along in your quilting career.

In almost every case, the judge’s first comment is about something good in your quilt. It may be your design, your choice of colors, or the subject matter of the quilt.

She will then start looking at more detail, assessing the skill level that you have brought to your creation. Yes, she may say something that you do not like or agree with, but in most cases, she will give feedback that you can use to make a better quilt the next time.

In my own case, I have normally had a pretty good idea of what a judge was going to like about my quilt or what she was going to say needed improvement!!

My suggestion to each of you is that you make the very best quilt that you can make (knowing that your skill is slowly improving) and submit them proudly for judging. Remember that we all started out slow…even the judge!

If you are still on the fence about having your quilt judged, I love this flowchart from Jenny Lyon that wonderfully describes how we should feel about the process…..

How do you feel about having your quilt’s judged??

Just PIN IT!!!

Two years ago I added on to my studio and completely reorganized it, upgrading several aspects of the room.

One of those was to build a larger design wall and then figure out which pins were best to use.

I started out with my normal quilt pins…..round head and flower head……

They were long and thin and didn’t work well at all!!

Next, I bought these “Magic Pins”……

….thinking that the “handle” would be easy to use.

Unfortunately, they were very thin and bent with just the slightest resistance.

Okay….thin pins don’t work, how about short, thicker ones??

I tried these……

…and found that they worked quite well.

The only problem that I had was when I was trying to hold a bunch of layers of fabric on the wall. Then, they would either bend or come loose and the fabrics would topple to the floor.

Last month, I attended a training session for our guild and the instructor mentioned that she used Corsage pins on her design wall……

The heads are large, making them easy to grip.

The pins are long, meaning that they can EASILY hold a bunch of fabric layers

IF they bend, they can easily be straightened out again!!

And they are amazing for holding quilts in place…..

I now believe that I have answered the question of which pins to use on a design wall.

As I said in the title of this post……


Cutting 60-degree diamonds

Yesterday I was talking about getting organized to make my “Diamond Explosion” quilt and was pleased to find that I could piece the 60-degree diamonds easily.

Now it was time to cut the real fabrics and get started!!

I knew that I could cut the diamonds just using my regular straight ruler….I had done it back in May…..

….but it wouldn’t be as easy since I needed to cut the fabrics one at a time, rather than having them stitched together.

I really like Deb Tucker Rulers and decided to purchase her 60-degree wedge tool…..

Using this tool, I can cut out strips of fabric and then cut the diamonds easily from the strips!!

I settled on a 3-inch finished diamond which meant that my strip was cut 3.5-inches.

The first step was to make the initial cut to start the diamond shape. To do this, I placed the ruler on the strip, being sure that the lines were parallel to the cut edge of the strip…..

A quick slice, and we were ready to go…..

Next, I placed the ruler so that the 6.5-inch mark was at the point I had just created (6.5….because it was 2 times the 3-inch finished size, plus 1/2 inch for the seam allowance)….

Another slice…..

…..and I had a diamond……

As I pieced, I ended up needing some half diamonds and went back to the ruler for those.

In this case, the ruler was placed on the 3.5-inch line……

…..which meant that the top point was missing…..

And, NO….that was not a mistake!!

Having the point clipped off meant that it was SUPER easy to line the piece up when I was ready to sew it in place…..

Once I had a bunch of diamonds cut, I immediately started piecing……

…and then realized that I had other pieces that should have been added BEFORE I sewed these!!!

So, I will leave it here……with seam ripper in hand!!

Come back next week for more of the diamond piecing odyssey!!!