Basting Sunday

On Sunday afternoon, I decided that I wanted to accomplish one item on my To-do list…..get two quilts basted and ready for quilting.

The first one was another Charity quilt that I will use to practice Free motion quilting with a ruler. For this one, I was using batting that had been given to me so I used a spray baste. I previously talked about spray basting in this post, but I did noted one change that I would make the next time.

So, this time I used a sharpie and marked the outline of the quilt top on the batting so that I would know exactly where the spray needed to go……

With the first one accomplished, it was time to move on to my Brown Stripe quilt and was using Fusible batting for this one. My favorite batting is Hobbes Heirloom 80/20 Fusible……

I used to lay out all three layers of the quilt and iron them all at once, but I was never completely happy with how the backing looked. Several years ago I changed the process, starting out by slightly stretching the batting and taping it to the floor.

Then I spread the backing out over the batting and smooth it in place…..

Now I take the iron and slowly iron from the center of the quilt out to each edge, vertical first, then horizontal and finally diagonally…..

I normally accomplish this by kneeling on the quilt and ironing heavily…..

When it is ironed in place, I remove the masking tape and turn the quilt over so that the batting is facing up…..

One nice thing about this method is that you can easily see the back of the quilt and can ensure that the top is straight.

Now I place the top on the batting, smooth it out and start the ironing process again.

But, this time my knees (particularly the replacement) were NOT happy kneeling so I decided to keep standing and just bend from the waist to do the ironing……

This is where the “WOW” moment happened…… As I ironed, I realized that I had previously been pressing down HARD with the iron which meant that sometimes the seams were distorted. Ironing while standing meant that I was pressing lightly with the iron but letting the steam do all of the work!! The result was a better basted piece with very little distortion…..AND no sore knees!!!

Once the top was ironed, I trimmed the excess batting and backing fabric but got a LITTLE too close here…..


I let it sit until it had dried completely and then moved it to the guest bedroom to wait until I can start the quilting process…..

It fits really well in this room!!!!

I have not made all of the decisions about how to quilt this, but I am pretty sure that I am going to do the “square spiral” design in all of the white blocks. I will do one, see how it looks and then keep going with others…..or pick out the quilting and find another idea!!!


My first project when getting home was to start quilting on my Henna whole-cloth quilt.   I had finished marking it just before we left on our trip and I was ready to get started on it…..IMG_5541

I was planning to use two battings with this and was concerned about how to get it basted properly.   Many years ago I had used spray basting with great results so I pulled out the can and started basting.  In about an hour it was ready to hit the machine!!

When I first started, things were going great but as I worked further out from the center I started having trouble with my needle getting gummed up and skipping stitches!!   I kept persevering but when it got to the point that I was having to re-start about every 6 inches, I decided that I needed to chuck it and start over!!!…….ARGH!!!!!…….IMG_6397

In thinking about this, I believe that the problem was that I over-sprayed AND, with two battings, there were THREE layers of spray!!

This is really disappointing to me, but I know of some things that I wanted to do differently so now I have the chance to do it!!

For the first tracing, I had borrowed a wonderful light box from a quilting friend, and I have now used this disaster as an excuse to purchase one for myself….it arrives from Amazon today!!!

Also, I am rethinking using the blue wash-out markers as they were pretty expensive and I wasn’t particularly happy with the crispness of the lines.  I did some research and read that many people have used “Crayola Ultra Clean Washable markers” with great results.  A package of Fine Point markers arrived yesterday…..IMG_6404

Today I started doing a product test with them and the first test was perfect.   I marked the lines…..IMG_6405

…..ironed them heavily and then washed them out….completely clean.

BUT, in reading the instructions it suggests that you should wash them out as soon as possible, so I am a bit concerned if I don’t get to the quilting just after I mark it.  To that, end, I have run another test and will let it sit for a time before I use them to mark.

I am actually having Rotator-Cuff surgery next Thursday so wont be quilting for a while so that should give some time for the test piece to “ferment”!!

I also realized (about 3/4 of the way thru marking) that, if I ironed freezer paper to the back of the fabric, it made the marking SO much easier and SO much more accurate.   I am looking forward to using this technique to make sure that my circles are true!!

Finally, I was a bit concerned that, when I squared up the project, I would end up cutting off the corner peacock’s head so I am going to give it a bit more room this time.

I need to re-think the two battings a bit as both were from my stash and I am not sure exactly what one of them was made from  (I really should mark them)!!   I am  thinking that I will use a fusible batting for the bottom one and that way I can just iron it on.   I need to do some research about which “fluffy” batting to use this time!!   I am thinking that I will do safety pin basting to finish out the project although I really hate to add the bulk to the piece that I am trying to push thru my machine!!

Anyway….it will be a better project this time!!!BAB29976D4507623

Here’s to the return of creative time…..

On Saturday, I officially declared an end to tax season.   It has been a good time and my clients were wonderful as usual, but it is truly wonderful to know that tomorrow I don’t have to sit at my desk all day long!!

Even better is the fact that my quilt guild is having a 4 day retreat starting on Tuesday and I am going!!!   It is a UFO retreat where everyone works on their own projects and I am looking forward to several days of quilting on the Aussie fabric quilt that I made back in December.

So, on Saturday, Michael helped me to move the furniture out of the way and I got organized to baste the quilt.  I use a Hobbes Heirloom Fusible Batting and love that I can baste a quilt in less than an hour, just using my iron.

The first step was to lay the batting out on the floor and iron the backing fabric to it……..


The batting sticks a little to the carpet but doesn’t seem to make much difference.

I then turned it over so that the batting side was up and ironed the quilt top to the batting….


So, in about 45 minutes, the quilt sandwich is ready to go.


Then I headed upstairs to get everything ready for the retreat.   As I said, I am going to be quilting on a large quilt, so this meant that I want to take the drop-in table for my sewing machine, the board that sits under it to bring it up to the correct height, another folding table in case I need an extra, my swivel chair (so that I can raise it to the right height),  my 16 inch square ruler and 24 inch rectangle ruler (in case I get it finished and want to square it up before I add binding),  oh yeah, I need to take the binding that I made to go with it.  I wonder if I will need an Ott light….better take one just in case.   Now, am I REALLY going to be happy just quilting for almost 3+ days….maybe I should take along a hand project, but that requires at least three more boxes of stuff…..

Anyway, after an hour of trying to figure out what I would need, my stack looked like this…..


I guess that it is good that I am driving by myself!!!

Basting Saturday (Take 2)

The other quilt that I worked on Saturday was a “White on White” quilt that I have had for a number of years but simply haven’t gotten around to doing.

The top was given to me by Elsie, who was a member of our guild. She had started hand quilting it, but hadn’t gotten very far along. I took out her hand quilting, thinking that I would use the piece to practice my machine work. ……. This was maybe 5 or 6 years ago

Then I decided that I wanted to add some trapunto to the piece, so spent quite a bit of time getting the extra batting sewed on and ready to quilt.

The piece had a pillow-top that I was not interested in, so I cut it off, practiced my quilting and then tried washing out the blue lines. Well, they did not immediately come out!!!! I contacted the company that made the piece and they told me that it was only guaranteed to come out for about 2 years. She did suggest that I try washing it in Shout and Oxi-Clean, and that seemed to help remove the lines.

The bottom line here is that I have NO idea whether the lines will wash out once I finish the quilting, but have decided that it is a good practice piece regardless.

I had planned to pin-baste this quilt, but decided that I would just use a Basting Spray and get it over with. Who knows if that will further hinder the line’s disappearing act.

I had thought I would use a variegated King Tut thread, but didn’t like the way it looked in the final analysis, so have decided to just use a beige thread and let the texture do the talking….hopefully with no interruptions from the nasty blue lines!!!!