Wednesday, 18 March 2015

Basting a large quilt

Whilst collecting quilts to take to the Auction of Promises, it occurred to me how many WIP I have. Many of the tops have been completed (or almost completed) and I have backs for but haven't basted. The reason? I hate basting. REALLY hate it.

I've watched numerous videos and read tons of articles where people show you how to baste but they always use little baby quilts or smaller. I don't make quilts that small - all of mine are lap size or bigger. The mechanics of moving that weight of quilt around tires me out just thinking about it. 

My technique is fairly straight forward but does include a bit of manual labour. I dare anyone to find a basting technique for larger quilts that doesn't.

1. Find a willing victim. My housemate is now very experienced (and bless him, willing!) in basting.

2. Clear out a large area with a hard surface. I use our tiled conservatory floor. Make sure it's as clean as you can get it.

3. Grab some pins or curved safety pins, some sticky tape (I find masking tape the best) and something to baste with (I use spray but pins and tags work well too).

4. Fold your backing material in half lengthwise and mark each edge of the fold with a pin or safety pin inserted exactly in the crease of the fold. This marks the centre of each short side. Unfold the back and refold it widthwise. Mark the centre of each long side with a pin or safety pin. Your back should now have a pin in the middle of each side.

5. Unfold the back and lay it out, as smoothly as you can, on your surface with the wrong side up. Smooth out as many wrinkles as you can and tape down the edges, about every 5-6". Don't over stretch the back - you want it smooth, not taut. 

6. Lay your batting on top of the back, ensuring that it's as evenly spread out as possible. Smooth out any big wrinkles but don't worry too much about small ones - they'll quilt out.

7. If you are using basting spray, fold your batting back away from half of your quilt and spray the exposed wrong side of the back lightly with basting spray. Relay the batting back on top and smooth out, repeat with the other half of the back and batting. You should be able to tell when you reach the mid point of the batting where you've already sprayed as it won't lift easily from the back anymore.

8. Repeat step 4 with your quilt top.

9. Lay your quilt top down on top of your batting, wrong side down ensuring that the pins marking the centre of the sides of the quilt top line up with the pins in the centre of the backing. They won't lay perfectly on top of each other because your top will be smaller than your backing but they should be in line.

10. Either pin all over with curved safety pins or repeat step 7 if you are using basting spray.

11. Carefully remove the masking tape from the backing and quilt your sandwich!

If this doesn't motivate me to do some basting, nothing will!

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