Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Basting - no, not the turkey!

People are always asking why I baste quilts.  And by baste I mean  B-A-S-T-E -- the entire quilt, not just down the sides as I go.  In the very (yes VERY) near future I'll be filming how I load a quilt and perhaps I'll make it a not-so-square quilt so I can share why I baste so much.

I'll start here... I don't load the *usual* way.  As in, I don't use the roller to attach my quilt top.  No, I don't really float my quilt top either.  I temporarily float it.  I load my backing fabric just like everyone and then I load my quilt top, basting across the top and down the sides.  I then baste across the quilt usually twice, this gives me about 8 inches between the basting lines.  I then roll the backing fabric forward a full advance and again baste down the sides of the quilt top and across the quilt top dividing the advanced area into approximately 8" segments.  I baste at every 2.5".  The baste feature on my Gammill makes this super easy.  I continue to do this until I reach the bottom of the quilt top.  Now the entire quilt top is attached to the batting and backing.  I can roll back and forth as much as I need to, nothing is laying on the floor, life is wonderful.  And.... the best part of basting a quilt top is there are NO surprises.

This post all started because today I'm loading Donna's Spring Bouquet quilt.  I started to baste and there was this

Whoops.  Not perfect, also not the end of the world.  Contrary to what many people will say, this can totally be fixed while on the frame.

First, start with oodles of pins.  Space out the excess fabric evenly.  Remember that the excess may go beyond the area in front of you.  Also smooth the fabric as best you can in the border areas and pin accordingly.

Then, grab your machine and slowly baste the edge.  I have my basting mode set at 1/2" and I slowly and carefully go down the edge over all those pins easing the fabric as I go.

I then, baste back and forth across the entire border area about every 2" smoothing the fabric as I baste.  Now please realize, there is still excess fabric, it is just dispersed evenly over the entire area now instead of waves on the edges.  This will still require some pretty serious background fills to suck up the excess, pebbles always work great.

Remember before I mentioned about the excess extending beyond the area in front of you?  See, there is still a small amount of excess in this border.  Follow the same procedure as above:

Pin like a mad person:

Baste edge, then baste entire border area:

Then remove pins.  When quilting time comes, this will most likely be quilted with one hand pushing the machine and the other hand smoothing the fabric between basting areas.

And that is it.  Clear as mud right?  It just takes a little time and effort, but I would much rather do this than cry over a tuck or pleated fabric.  And no, I would never tell the piecer to come get her quilt -- not when it can be corrected so easily.

Aren't you all glad during the basting it started rumbling and I unplugged.  Just enough time to share all of this with you!  Now waiting for the rumbling to end -- stay tuned for beautiful after pictures -- well, once I finish the quilting.  Hopefully I'll be starting soon!

20 comments:

  1. I love it when you share your knowledge and expertise. I sometimes wish I could just sit in the corner and watch my favorite professional....you being one of them....and hopefully what I watch will stick in my brain and come out in my own quilting. Thank you for taking time out of your day to share with us.

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  2. Thank you so much, Karen! This is very helpful!

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  3. Thanks again for sharing your insight!! Now this is something I will most likely start doing.

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  4. Thank you for showing how you do this. Can't wait to see the quilt quilted.

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  5. Nice! Thanks for sharing and taking the time to document how you do this. I appreciate it.

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  6. Thank you so much Karen. Your information is so helpful and I can't wait to see this quilt finished.

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  7. Thank You Karen for sharing your knowledge. I would have (maybe) figured this out on my own, but only after many, many, ....many quilts down the road. Also love the fact that you can work on a project for a while and not be stepping all over it. Looking forward to your video on this subject - and keep them coming, we will be watching.

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  8. Karen, as a beginner longarmer I want to personally thank you for so graciously sharing your expertise with us. Reading this blog was like a breath of fresh air. I have read many a post from a professional quilter who feels like others like me should purchase this knowledge if we are to obtain it. You have inspired me both personally and professionally. Cant wait to take classes from you one day!

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  9. Thanks for sharing. Awesome technique. Sharon

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  10. Thanks so much, I look forward to the video's. This is very interesting for someone interested in purchasing a long arm.

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  11. Thank you!! So looking forward to the video.

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  12. Thanks for sharing this info. I have eased in some small waves, but still had problems. I have never basted a quilt like you do, but will be doing it in the future. Again, thank you!

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  13. merci merci I will try for my next top. Happy to read your blog here in Guingamp (France)

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  14. I can't wait for the video, so see how you quilt once it's basted and all the little wrinkles disappear as you go

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  15. Thank you Thank you...it was much clearer than mud!

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  16. I'm glad I stumbled onto this blog. That post was excellent. I mostly hand quilt and that technique will still be super helpful when I baste. Thanks

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  17. Karen, I am so impressed. Love the detailed pictures and explanation. thank you thank you!!!!!

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  18. I'm so grateful you shared this! I don't have a longarm yet, but I will one day, so I am collecting every bit of advice and experience that I can. :) What a gorgeous quilt to get to work on, too.

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  19. Very well explained!! I love this tutorial Karen! Thank you so much for sharing it with us. I wish my Gammill had the new electronics that would do the basting; instead I have to manipulate it to get it done. Someday I will get a new one. Meantime, I will try this method of dealing with surplus! I love the fact that the quilt is all basted before starting. Very anxious to see the video too!

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  20. Karen, thanks so much for explaining this to a green-horn as myself! I recently purchased a Longarm and really have no idea how to handle these trouble spots. My question is concerning the basting across the entire quilt... Do you then remove those basting lines? If so, do they come out easily, even after they may have been sewn across? Maybe I'm not understanding it 100%... A video would be so awesome!! I love love love your work and really appreciate your blog! So many helpful ideas!! Thank you!!!!

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