Friday, June 26, 2009

Basting and Batting


Basting


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 backing

Batting

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.

32 comments:

  1. ooh just found your blog via wee wonderfuls and love what you're doing! re basting spray, I've had very limited success with it... first of all i ended up spraying half my carpet with it (which hasnt actually caused any long term issues, but had me freaked out for a bit) then i found it almost impossible to lay my batting down on my backing in one smooth motion so kept having to pull up bits to reposition it, by which time it was losing its tack anyway...
    and then came the problem when i went to use the can of spray on the second quilt and the nozzle was all clogged up (although i had followed the instructions to stop this happening) and it came spraying out the side onto my hands and me. Sticky mess! I've recently given up thread basting my quilts and switched to pins. And i am totally trying your masking tape trick on the next quilt!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I just recently started using BASTING PRAY and I LOVE IT! I will never go back to pinning! I just lay out newspapers in the garage to protect my work, then lay out the batting, spray, and spread the backing over it... smoothing it out nicely. Then I flip it over, spray the batting again, and spread the top over it. (if its a larger quilt, spray half, spread out, then spray the other half.) Voila! Done in about 5 minutes instead of 45 minutes of pinning! And its SO much easier to quilt without taking out pins! I HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT! :-)
    And I use Warm and Natural or Warm and White batting, although if I can get a deal, I adore the cotton/bamboo blend! So soft!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Great info - thanks for posting your method. Re: basting spray, I have had success with it. I found that I don't need to use as much as the packaging indicates, but I also reinforce it with some pins. You do need to spray it in a very well ventilated space, though - the fumes are horrible.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Thanks for the post on basting. I am attempting my first quilt - so I need all the info I can get my hands on!! Love the sneak peak of the pieced backing too : )

    ReplyDelete
  5. That's pretty much how I baste my quilts, too! Only I don't use as many pins - I get sick of crawling around on my knees!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Quote of the day: "There is little joy in basting a quilt"

    ReplyDelete
  7. I use either basting spray or the fusible batting. Personally, I prefer the fusible batting over the spray, it's easier to deal with. I will NEVER pin baste again. It goes so much faster. I have seen no long term or even short term issue with the spray or fusing affecting the fabric. However, I do always wash my quilts after I quilt them.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I use basting spray for most of my quilts, reinforced with a few basting pins, because I have a bad back, and leaning over the floor for long periods of time is a killer, and pins get in the way while quilting. I like bamboo/cotton blend batting because it tends to adhere naturally to the fabric.

    ReplyDelete
  9. oh i remember those days... i used to pin the backing to carpet and go from there... but now that i have a 10ft frame there is no more basting!!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thank you so so much! What I was doing was NOT working, so I am thrilled to have a new method to try.

    Thanks for taking the time to explain.

    ReplyDelete
  11. I baste like you do. (I think we went to the same machine quilting workshop!!)
    I've used the basting spray. It works well but totally gums up your machine. I now have the luxury of an old machine that I use for tasks like spray basted quilting but I hardly use it these days.
    Andi :-)

    ReplyDelete
  12. I can say that this is the BEST basting method...tape, pull, tap, pull, then layer and layer, and pin, pin, pin. It may be a day on the floor but its a day well spent. Just ask Deb!

    ReplyDelete
  13. I baste quilts on the floor this way, too. I've never thought about which way to place the scrim. I'll have to pay more attention next time. Really love your Block Party quilt!

    ReplyDelete
  14. yep, wished i had read this before using basting spray.

    this sounds amazing, simple and straightforward, and (most importantly) clean. please continue using this method. do not use basting spray. especially do not use basting spray while trying to use your rug as "traction" and wood floor as "square/straight edging". we've only just gotten all the sticky off the floor. one goo thing, the rug doesn't slide as much anymore.

    i'm using your method next time. thanks!

    ReplyDelete
  15. A nice little read thanks, Rita - scrim down, thanks, I often wondered. Prewash and SOAK? - no I haven't but will try - the modern quilts look nice kept crisp - where do you buy SOAK, please?
    Hugs - Lurline♥

    ReplyDelete
  16. thanks for the tips...this quilt looks lovely

    ReplyDelete
  17. Oh my goodness you couldn't have had better timing on this. I'll be basting my second quilt soon and this will come quite in handy! LOVE YOUR QUILTS!!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Hi Rita,
    Thanks for your lovely words about my finished quilt! Your inspiration and advice helped me get there.
    I always enjoy reading your blog :-) so please accept the Lemonade and Lovely Blog awards from me, to pass on if you feel inspired! Susie

    ReplyDelete
  19. you are way more patient than me! I am a spray baster all the way and have been for years. I have not yet encountered any difficulties or complaints and have sprayed everything from quilts for our use at home to baby gift quilts. I always wash the quilts (I use SOAK too) before gifting them and have never had anyway report any issues of irritation or allergy, so I think it must essentially all remove in the first wash or so. It pays to tape down the backing as you already do, then roll your batting firmly around a mailing tube or similar, and starting at the top end of your backing spray along the width and down a couple of inches, then unroll enough batting to cover the sprayed area, make sure it's all smooth with your hand, then carry on, section by section til you're done. Repeat with quilt top. I've don so many now I will do a cot-sized half the quilt at a time, and a twin quilt in quarters! What can i say, I'm lazy! The spray is way more forgiving than you might think and there is nothing to worry about caching your machine foot on.

    ReplyDelete
  20. posting again to say that Matilda's was my fave batting until recently when my fave local quilt store started stocking a 240cm wide 50% cotton/50% bamboo batting for $26m!! It is soft and silky, quilts like butter, washes like a dream and drapes beautifully. The quilts feel light but are very warm. And the bamboo is antibacterial and great for items for children and babies.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I love your blog and have learned so much from you. I will definitely try out your method for basting my next quilt. I have just finished my second quilt yesterday and am a little dissapointed with the finish, it is a little poofy and has pulled with the machine as i sewed on the binding (i unpicked it twice it is better but still not great). My husband thinks I am nuts and it looks great, i guess i like a flatter smooth finish not the crinkly look.

    ReplyDelete
  22. What a wonderful post with some fantastic tips and ideas for those who quilt on home machines. I have always wondered what Matilda's batting is like. It is very difficult to find it here in the states. I bet it is very nice to work with.

    ReplyDelete
  23. well I'm just busy scraping myself off the floor after I fainted with delight at the beauty of the quilt top! You seriously have an amazing eye for colour combinations. The information you have provided her e is invaluable Rita - I'm a ways off needing it (just concentrating on getting the seams matching!) but I will be back to read it again no doubt :)

    ReplyDelete
  24. Beautiful quilt! I love your border with the AB dots. I spray basted my recent baby quilt and had great success. My quilt along quilt is so much bigger and I did spray baste is after taping it all out on my wood floor. Ugh...sticky mess on the floor, although it washed right off with water, my knees are BRUISED! Still, and I was basting it on Tuesday!!!! I was about done when dh suggested I use his volleyball kneepads...world of difference! I am using my Stitch Regulator on this quilt and it seems to be getting gummed up. I quilted for 5 hours last night and had to clean off the needle and bottom of the BSR a few times. Today I just can't get it to work as well and not sure if there is something gummed up or what. :S Not sure if the spray basting is worth it afterall.

    ReplyDelete
  25. I appreciate this post so much!!! I have yet to finish my first quilt and am worried about getting wrinkles when I'm quilting. Seeing pictures of exactly how you do it give me confidence that I can do it too. Thank-you!!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Thank you for the impetus to get my current quilt backing finished so I can put the quilt on the frame. The thought of basting, whether spray or pin, makes me shudder. I often wish I had a bigger/better quilting machine and frame, but I remember now why I love my Little Gracie II. No basting! I just roll the layers onto the frame and start quilting. It takes about 20 minutes to load the quilt, which is VASTLY better than basting.

    However, if basting is unavoidable, I read an interesting suggestion for saving your knees (it's also good if you don't have enough floor space to lay out a quilt). Use the wall instead. Do everything exactly as you do on the floor, but do it vertically instead.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Great colors in that quilt! You have wonderful taste.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I've never sprayed or pinned, I always use a needle and thread! I've never managed to get pins that work and I only use spray on very small projects. Thanks for the tips, I love your quilts.

    ReplyDelete
  29. The backs of my quilts sometimes pucker or fold. Am I not pinning enough? Or am I not making the backing tight enough when I tape it down? I am about to straight line quilt for the first time, I usually stiple... I'm a little nervous!

    ReplyDelete
  30. If you ever decide to spray baste, make sure it is in a well ventilated area! Otherwise you will face dire consequences-headache, dizziness, clammy sweating, discomfort and stomach upset. A sad lesson learned :(

    ReplyDelete
  31. Thank you so much for these tips - I have used a similar method, but I think I haven't pulled the layers taut enough as I have gotten some puckering/wrinkling. Your work is always so crisp. I will have to keep practicing.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Thank you for these tips - I have used a similar method, but I think I haven't pulled the layers taut enough as I've had some puckering/wrinkling. Your work is always so crisp... will have to keep practicing!!!

    ReplyDelete

Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment!

Feel free to ask questions and I will answer either here or by email, as is appropriate.