Monday, April 07, 2008

basting quilt #2

You know, for a knit blogger I certainly talk a lot about quilting! Don't worry, it is a phase, and as soon as I finish baby quilt number 2, I'm done until the next person tells me there is a baby on the way.
Today, I "pinned" baby quilt number 2 and so I thought I might spend this entry explaining that process.

Pinning is actually how I baste my quilt layers. You see anything that can be called a quilt is actually a set of layers that are sewn together (either by hand or machine). You can also tie quilts, which is just another way of holding them together--with ties that are sewn through the layers. I usually machine quilt my baby quilts. I've done hand quilting, enough to know that I prefer hand quilting whole cloth, because I have trouble keeping my stitches even over seams. Anyway, in order to keep those layers together when you are sewing you have to somehow baste them.

For my baby quilts, I use three layers: The top, batting, and a piece of fabric for the back. You don't have to use three layers, some backings are thick enough that you'd want to only have two (I'm thinking of the Minkee backed quilts my mother in law made for my girls). Sometimes the top is thick enough that batting would make it impossible to quilt--Like in the case of the denim quilt I want to make someday.

In today's quilt, I've used a piece of leftover fabric for the back (most of the time, I buy fabric on sale for this purpose). In other quilts I've done all kinds of things like used fabric that I meant to use in the top, but didn't get used, bought sale fabric especially for the quilt, or just bought something really on sale (like 50% off). I have even made a double sided quilt (for my husband's college roommate's first child because my husband and I couldn't agree on a color scheme--so I made both).
Usually, I use Warm and Natural batting. I like the way it feels and how it quilts. But today I used a batting called--a touch of cashmere that Karen mailed me a while back, when I was complaining about how I was broke and wasn't buying ANY more fabric or yarn. But oh sigh I had quilts to make. It was a really great package--it had yarn in it too!

Some people baste their layers together with needle and thread and do really long basting stitches. Others, use this gizmo quilting places sell that put plastic tags in your quilts. I use safety pins. I use safety pins because that's how my mother in law does it and she taught me to quilt. Of course she taught me using an old table that she expands out to fit her quilts. She also uses binder clips to hold the backing to the table. I use the kitchen floor and tape. Seriously--this is really about using what you have.

I spread the backing fabric face down (ok there have been times I've forgotten this!) and I tape it slightly stretched and very smooth to the floor with painter's tape. Then I lay the batting over it and smooth it out and then the top. After I have it very smooth, I start in the center and pin all the layers together with safety pins. This all sounds really easy, but many a time, I've had to reposition everything to get everything just right (and don't get me started about the double quilt--I've blocked that basting out of my memory even though I had major help with it).
I always feel like I use too many pins, but I aim for about 3-4 inches apart. While, I'm on the floor, I also clip any loose threads. As I quilt, I'll remove the pins. I try to store my safety pins open in a food storage box. Yes, I prick my fingers when I'm pinning sometimes, but I don't have to close, then open every pin.

Probably the only disadvantage to basting this way--for me--is the fact that I'm all bent over for the majority of the time I'm pinning. I try to think of it as an additional yoga workout and try to breathe deeply and stretch my legs in different ways.

1 comment:

garn said...

Your quilts look great! Love the snail trail pattern. Cute for a baby.

I baste the same way, on the floor only I use thread instead of pins. I did one with my mom at her house this same way, on the kitchen floor, and we marked up her linolium floor like you wouldn't believe. I felt so bad.

SO happy you have a blog! Love the little pigs.