Saturday, April 27, 2013

Pin Basting Tutorial

Yesterday I pin basted my newest quilt... a summer one that bright and cheery in blues, lime, turquoise and aqua. When I teach machine quilting, I talk about how to pin baste at home on the kitchen floor and thought maybe I should do a tutorial. Pin basting on tables in easier on the back but this method works for me so I stick with it.
 First you need to clear a large space on the floor. You can do this on carpet also but put something over the carpet (large piece of cardboard, etc) so that the pins don't hook onto the carpet loops.
 Once the floor is cleared I tape the backing of the quilt to the floor using packing tape. Make sure the backing is well pressed and pull it smooth. Don't pull it so tight that it springs back when realeased later... just tight enough to make it smooth. This is place RIGHT side down.
Here's a picture of the corner that's taped. I turn one edge of the tape under so that it's easy to pull off later.
 Now you can spread the batting over the backing, again smoothing it out without stretching too much.... just get out the lumps. 
 The top goes on next, RIGHT side UP. Center the quilt top on the backing (you might have to keep peeking) so that the seam in the back is straight. If you have a striped backing, make sure the top is running straight with that also. Smooth out any lumps and make sure borders look nice and straight BECAUSE what you see is pretty much what you get. If it's pinned crooked, it will be quilted crooked.
 Now it's time to start pinning. If you have a wood floor like I do, you might want to slide a large poster board sheet under the backing to protect the floor as you pin... or use your largest cutting mat.
Here's my pile of pins (above). I don't close them when done... just pop them into my pin container and then dump them out when I start pinning again. See that wooden tool? I wouldn't do this without it.

It helps close the pins so that you don't have bleeding fingertips. A spoon or a crochet hook can be used also but I like this the best. Available at quilt shops (Hearts to Holly has it... ask for the "antique" basting tool.. inside joke:) It runs under $10 and is WELL worth it.


Pin A LOT! Put in enough pins so that you can't lay your hand down without touching a couple.. probably every 4" or so. Make sure to pin right to the edge and the CORNERS. You don't want the backing flipping away from the top and batting while you're quilting. It'll get stitched folded over and you'll be ripping out stitches... no fun. This is experience talking!

 Seems like a lot of pinning but it's worth it. I used over 500 pins with this quilt (76 x 84)
 Once it's all pinned, I trim away some of the excess leaving about an inch of batting a backing hanging over. You don't need more than that. The quilt shrinks up as you quilt but it shrinks evenly.. all three layers together. Remove the tape and you work around the edges trimming with scissors.
 Roll it up from both ends to meet in the middle. It's now packaged perfectly for your sewing machine.
Next I'll do a tutorial on machine quilting using your domestic machine. Mine is an older Pfaff and I'm able to quilt most of my quilts at home. This one above is about the largest I do. I use a thin cotton batting to keep it flatter... easier to work with. PLUS cotton sticks to the cotton backing and quilt top so that I don't have shifting and puckering as I quilt.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Hand quilting another quilter's UFO

Yes, I know. I haven't been on here in a LONG time. Sometimes quilting just has to take a backseat to life. Last few days have been spent downstate with mom so I've been able to do a little hand work.
My sister found this quilt top at an estate sale. It was pieced, layered and partially hand quilted by a lady in her 90's. Maryann said it was the one she was working on before she passed away. 
 Waiting at U of M for mom to have her procedure is always long and boring so I brought this along. When I came downstate I brought my template. This is one of my favorite designs for hand quilting edges of quilts. I marked it with a regular pencil (it'll come out in the wash easily).
Just before we were called in to see her post op, I finished the last of the hand quilting. :) It's a baby sized quilt... maybe Mary can donate it to the church auction or save it for her daughter (never know... she might decided to have children). All it needs is the binding and to find it a home.

At home right now there are a few projects on my sewing table. One is a modern (quick and easy) summer quilt in some beautiful aquas, blues and yellows with plenty of white thrown in. The final border is going on and then it'll be ready for me to machine quilt.
The other project (I'm just starting this one) is a sample for the shop. It's from Benartex. .
It's called sailing away and uses the Cabana II line. This is a new line at Hearts to Holly Quilt Shop. You can see the fabric line and get the free pattern here:
BUT of course, Sue at Hearts to Holly will have kits. I think this will be a great quilt for the guys in the family. It's not too large... perfect to pack on the boat this summer. Or to hang in a den.

American Jane beauty

My American Jane quilt is coming along nicely but not without many HICCUPS. I added a small border on the New York Beauty center... A bla...