Tuesday, April 8, 2008

How I Baste

Good morning!! Well, I've been busy, if I do say so myself. Yesterday was a day of basting. I do this quite often, so I take it for granted that everyone else does as well. But I know that is not true. Not everyone machine quilts, and not everyone pin-bastes. Those of you who do can skip this post. Those of you who are still interested are invited to see how I pin-baste.

The first thing I do rearrange the furniture and put up basting tables. I have three of these 8' tables, yesterday I only needed two of them. The leg extensions were cut from PVC pipe. Mine are 10" long, because I'm fairly tall.

Once the tables are up, I press the back and stretch it on the table. I use the term "stretch" loosely. It is not taut, but it is also not loose. I pull it so that there are no folds or puckers, but it is still so loose that the weave of the fabric is not distorted. You can see that I use both plastic clips and masking tape to secure the back to the table.

Once the back is smooth, I spread the batting. I prefer working with cotton, because it grabs to the backing and lies flat. Polyester has a mind of its own, and is more challenging to baste. (haha! Do you see our rabbit ears in the background? They really are hooked up to our new HDTV. We don't do cable! :)

If you have any overhang, you might want to check under the table for lurkers...

The top is then spread on the batting, and smoothed as squarely as possible. The rulers help assure that the edges are square. It's not often that I will "eyeball" a quilt, unless it is obvious that it is nowhere near square to begin with...

Finally, I pin in the areas that I will not be quilting. On this particular quilt, I will be stitching in the ditch before doing any free motion. Once the stabilizing quilting (in the ditch) is finished, I'll pull out the pins and then do the free-motion.

Here is the pin placement. More is better, when it comes to pin-basting. The last thing I want is to have the three layers shifting, so I am careful to be sure that all three layers are more than secure.

After this, I close the pins and trim the back/batting to within 1" of the top on all sides. And now, it's good to go.

Yesterday I basted three quilts, and they are all waiting for my attention. If I don't post in the next few days, you can theorize that I am quilting...either that, or playing in the garden... :)

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