Thursday, September 22, 2011

Basting & Quilting : Across the Sea QAL

I hope your quilts are coming along nicely at this stage. We're in the final stages now and I'm really looking forward to seeing your finished quilts appearing in the Flickr group. Today myself and Jennifer both are giving a little advice on basting and quilting. I don't have too many pics or a proper tutorial today - I baste in my playroom which is the only room I have enough floor space in to baste, so I can only do it in the evenings when the kids are in bed. Hence, no decent photos! Sorry :-)

First things first - you need to figure out how your quilts line up. The front and back are designed so that the crosses on the back mirror the cross blocks on the front and should line up pretty perfectly.  So before you do anything else, lay your back down on the floor, right side down, and then lay your quilt top on top of it, right side up. Figure out which of your blocks in the quilt front have blocks lined up on the back, and mark them with a pin.

Now you are ready to start basting your quilt. I learned to baste using Elizabeth Hartman's great basting tutorial over on Oh, Fransson! and I don't believe in reinventing the wheel, so if this is your first quilt, head over there, read up on it and get basting. This method works perfectly for lining up your crosses. (Links to other tutorials also available here)

Once you know which crosses you need to match, front and back, lay out your batting on the floor and smooth your quilt top over it. Place a pin in each corner of the blocks you are matching up.

When you are placing your pins, be as accurate as you can be, taking a tiny amount of fabric. 

Once you have each corner marked and your quilt top smoothed out on your batting, roll it up and then place your quilt back right side down on the floor. I use masking tape to hold it in place. This is the stage I hate - I don't have a huge amount of space, so I have to crawl around trying to get it all even and taut! Once you have that stage done, roll your quilt top and batting out over it. Starting with the top or bottom row (whichever you prefer) start matching the points you marked with your pins with the correct block corners in your quilt back.


They should match up easily. If not, unless you had been planning to do some outline handquilting of your crosses, don't worry about it! Sorry, is that quilting heresy? I'm not sure! I just know that for me, quilting is supposed to be fun so I try not to get bogged down in points being totally precise unless its absolutely necessary. There are lots of different reasons your back and front might not match completely accurately- I had some problems myself when basting, even though I checked the match when I made them and it was perfect. But I put down my problems to some over-enthusiastic steam ironing (bad me!) before basting which I think distorted some of my seams.

Once you have the blocks matched, proceed to baste the rest of your quilt sandwich. I use curved safety pins for this and pin every few inches - probably about every 3-4". I always start from the middle and work out. Curved safety pins are miles better than the regular sort and worth paying an extra little bit for.  Basting is pretty hard on the back and knees so don't hang around - get it done and finished asap! You can also spray baste your quilt - Jennifer has more info about this process over on her post today!

Now your quilt sandwich is basted, you're ready to quilt! How you quilt is obviously a personal choice. I am going to free motion quilt this baby quilt and can't wait to get started now! I think it would also lend itself to straightline quilting, or some simple lines outlining each block. If you haven't quilted before, check out the links to tutorials over on the Flickr group. You could also have a look at my post about my first attempt at free motion quilting if you want a giggle!

Ok, that's all for today folks. If you have questions just let me know!