Tuesday, May 4, 2010

1st Quilt Ever -- Basting!

Gather together some supplies! It's time to get your quilt ready to be quilted!

Here's what you need:

~ your quilt top, freshly pressed
~ your quilt back, freshly pressed
~ batting
~ masking tape or packing tape
~ safety pins
~ a spoon (yes, really!)

You also need an area on a hard floor large enough for your quilt to be spread out on, with an additional foot or so around each side for you to maneuver in. If you have tile or linoleum, or even a concrete floor in your basement, YAY! If you have hardwood floors, NOT YAY! I wouldn't recommend basting your quilt on your hardwood floor -- the tape and/or the pins could hurt it. Borrow someone else's floor for this step!

Before you start: If you are starting with a brand new package of safety pins, you will notice that they come CLOSED. This will annoy you when you finally get down on the floor to pin-baste your quilt! Take a little time to sit in front of your favorite television show (or blog!) and open them all. And store them OPEN from here on out! :o)

Start by taping your quilt back to the floor, right side DOWN.
First you will tape the two short sides, lining up the edges with lines on your floor, if you have them. Pull the fabric taut as you go -- you don't want any ease in your quilt back!

I line up my quilt back so that one corner is lined up on my tile's grout lines.

Next you will tape the two long sides, pulling them taut, out from the center.

YES, you want to use long, continuous strips of tape the WHOLE WAY AROUND. Don't skimp on the tape, folks!! You don't want your quilt back to be bunchy!!

Next you will gently layer your batting on top of your quilt back. Continue working from the same corner -- I am starting at the corner I lined up square on my tile lines. Carefully and gently spread the batting over the quilt back. Avoid actually climbing on top of the taped back -- this could pop your tape.

As you spread your batting you might end up with these weird, unavoidable little creasy-bumps in your batting. Gently pat them down and get them to lay flat.

Ta-Da! Batting spread! (Obviously I used a batting larger than crib size -- yours should be fitting much more nicely than mine!)

Gently layer your quilt top on top of the batting, again starting from the same corner, but in a little from the edge. You want about 1/2" of batting and backing to be peeking out from under the edge of your quilt top.

Carefully smooth your quilt top over the batting until it is flat.

You're ready to pin!

I start by dumping out a little pile of pins on my quilt. They're easier to grab without stabbing yourself if they are laid flat rather than in a container!

Start pinning from that same corner! I like to pin right along the edges. I usually place pins around 5" apart in a grid pattern all over the quilt.

You will pin in "rows" -- put in five or six pins along this edge, moving away from the corner as you go. Then start on the front edge again and put in more pins, starting at the front edge and moving away from yourself. (My photo shows a side view of this process.)

Spread out your quilt ahead of you as you pin, away from that starting corner -- you WILL end up with some ease as you go, as shown in this photo. You are spreading the quilt top flat as you pin to avoid any tucks or bubbles come quilting time!

Here's a little tip! Remember that spoon? It is going to save your poor little fingers during pinning! With your right hand (if you are right-handed!), poke your pin down until you feel the floor, then back up and through the quilt. With the spoon in your left hand, place the right edge of the spoon under the point of your pin. Tilt the right edge of the spoon up to close the pin, and use your right hand to guide the pin into the -- what do you call it?? -- SAFETY part of the pin! Make sense? Try it! Practice! It will save your poor left-hand fingers from wearing out! :o)

A little think-ahead moment!! If you are planning to do straight-line quilting along the seam lines of your quilt, you do not want to place pins on those seams. You will be seriously annoyed if you have to remove a pin every 5" as you sew! :o)

However, if you plan to free-motion quilt, it doesn't matter where those pins lie. Just go for it!

Do your best to avoid climbing on top of your quilt. There comes a point when you just have to -- but try to sit only on the part that has already been pinned.

When you've got it all pinned and it comes time to trim those edges, you may be tempted to cut right along the edges of your quilt top. DON'T DO IT!! :o) Give yourself at least 1/2" all the way around your quilt. There are two reasons for this: #1 As you quilt it is very likely that your top will stretch even more -- especially with straight-line quilting, if that's what you are planning. By leaving that extra 1/2" or so, you are giving your quilt top a little "wiggle room." You don't want your top to end up longer over the edges of your back! #2: We are doing a fairly fatty binding. You want something to fill that binding! If you trim your batting and back too close to the edge, your binding will end up flat and empty... and sad! Give yourself a little room! :o)

DONE! Pinned! Ready to be quilted!! Find somewhere to place your quilt where it won't get folded up or mashed -- over your ironing board or stair railing (that's where mine is!) or guest bed or... somewhere flat! :o) And gear yourself up to talk quilting TOMORROW! :o)


Leslie said...

you make that looks and sound so easy

Anonymous said...

You amaze me! I loved reading this Care, I have never been taught these things about putting the quilt sandwich together. Love how your top turned out too:)

Kelly Rachel said...

This is a great tutorial! I never would have thought of a spoon before. My fingers thank you. :D

Christine said...

Can you say anything about the color and type of thread we will need for quilting?

Twyla said...

What great tips! I really needed this.

Anonymous said...

Great photos, you make it look easy! For closing those pins a grapefruit spoon or sturdy plastic knife hold the pin nicely.

My Handmadehappiness said...

so i am here eventually practice quilting tomorrow :)))) xx

Angie said...

My darning foot finally came in today! I'm hoping to baste tonight and practice tomorrow. Hopefully I can find the time this weekend to get started on the real deal! I'm so excited! Thanks so much for the amazing tutorials!

Manda said...

Basting this very minute. Might finish 1 of my 3 quilts before Christmas!

Unknown said...

Love all of your tutorials ! You are very detailed and make quilting for a beginner so much easier ! Thanks for taking so much time and sharing all this great info !!

Den said...

Thanks for the nitty gritty you don't get from books!