I spent today on the floor - no not scrubbing it! - but basting the Block Party Quilt.
There is little joy in basting a quilt and having received a few emails asking how I go about basting my quilts I can give you a little run down of what works best for me. There are many ways to baste a quilt and this is just one way.
I start by making a backing sufficiently big enough (ie 4 inches larger than the quilt top all around). The back has to be nice and flat - no nasty ripples or waves.
1. I tape the backing face down onto the floor with masking tape. I tape each corner down first, ensuring the top is firm, quite firm, probably much tighter than you would think necessary. Gently pull the fabric tight. But it should not be stretched out of shape. Using masking tape, tape around the edges, pulling the backing so that it is firm. I use 4-5 inches of tape at very close intervals (often most of the edges are taped).
Pinning the outside edges first
2. Place the batting on top, again taping it firmly to the floor. (I usually just tape the corners and tape the sides in one or two places). If the batting has a scrim, which my batting usually does, ensure it is facing down. The scrim is a netting type of fabric that helps to support the fibers..
3. Place the quilt on top, ensure it is centered and lined up with the backing. Start pinning along the bottom edge. Start at the center of the quilt working out to the corners. As I pin I ensure that the quilt top is taut also. Then pin along the left and right side of the quilt. The top edge of the quilt is done last.
I pin the outside of the whole quilt first which is contrary to most basting instructions. Once the edges are all pinned, I pin the rest of the quilt.I place a pin every 3 to 4 inches which means using a lot of pins. And there you have it, a basted quilt.
This is how I baste most of my quilts, there is however no right or wrong way to baste a quilt, and if you baste your quilts differently, and if it is working for you, then great, stick with what works for you! I have not tried basting spray and would love to hear your experience with it and if you know of any possible long term effects it may have on the fabric.
A sneak peek at the pieced backingBatting
I use Matilda's Own Batting, either 100% cotton or a wool/cotton blend. It has a scrim which also helps to stabilize the quilt sandwich. I often wash the batting before use, although manufacturer's instructions indicate that this batting does not shrink noticeably.
I wash my batting by allowing it to soak in warm water in the bathtub. I add a product called SOAK to the water, which is a no-rinse cleaning product. It takes at least 4 hours for the water to be absorbed into the closely compacted fibers (I often leave it to soak overnight). I then drain the water and spin it in the washing machine at high speed to extract water. I either line dry the batting or if pushed for time, I will dry it in the dryer.
Although I realize that washing the batting is often unnecessary, I like to think that the batting inside my quilts is able to withstand many washes and does not in future distort the shape of the quilt. I have not had any problems subjecting this brand of batting to this rigorous procedure.
EDITED TO ADD: Matilda's Own batting now comes pre-washed and pre-shrunk and I no longer wash the batting prior to use.