The biggest issue stalling me in the last couple of months was basting. Swoon is 80" x 80" and I needed to move some furniture in my living room (my sofas) in order to have enough floor space to baste it. But moving furniture is easier said than done with the 2 big kids confined to the house in miserable November weather. So off I went to my friend Google to find out about table basting alternatives, having seen a link to a tutorial for board basting a few months ago.
I read quite a few, and decided to try this method, using clamps. I ran over to the hardware shop yesterday, but the clamps were more expensive than I anticipated and I was too cheap to buy more than four. Really, for this to work, I would need at least 8, probably 10. I think I'll do some searching online for cheaper options for next time, because I really liked this method. No crawling round the floor, and working in defined sections makes it feel quite quick, although realistically I'm not sure it really is any quicker than doing it on the floor. My knees and back definitely liked it better though.
I was pretty happy with the results - it wasn't absolutely perfect on the back, but its a huge quilt, my first time trying it, I only had 4 clamps and its for my own bed so a couple of minor puckers here and there are not going to bother me. I think a bit of practice would sort out those issues very quickly. This is a great option for me. I normally baste on the playroom floor which is not that fair on my kids and their constant in-and-out looking for toys, walking across my quilt sandwich drives me nuts. So I'll be using this method again for definite.
Once it was done, I moved on to quilting it today. I was nervous about this, it's by far the biggest quilt I've ever tackled on my machine. I had considered sending it to a long arm quilter but decided against it for cost and other reasons in the end. It took a little while to get a flow going - getting used to the weight of it! It's seriously heavy with the batting in there. But, on the advice of my buddy Fiona (BetsyGreyCrafts) who quilted hers just before me, I did it block by block, and about half way through the first (humoungous) block, it just fell into place.
Of course, once I really was moving with it, I had to stop and give the kids baths and do bedtime. But I returned to it once all that was out of the way and in another hour and a half, I realised I had 6 of the 9 blocks quilted. No broken threads. No snarls. No needles snapping. One bobbin change. Pretty much perfect quilting - I couldn't quite believe how easily it had flowed.
So, one more column to do and then it's on to binding. Can't wait.