Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Straightforward - in theory...

Yesterday, despite best intentions, instead of cracking on with, and only cracking on with, blanket finishing, my quilt called me and distracted me.

In theory I have done what I am calling "pin basting", no idea if that is a real thing or not?  Anyhow, I saw on lots of other blogs people pinning their quilt top, wadding and backing fabric using these special nifty curved safety pins.


They are made for this - see, the packet says so!


I thought that I would then tack it all together with some contrasting thread to keep it firmly in place before starting the actual quilting.  I spread the backing fabric on the floor and smoothed it all out.  Then I turned it over so that the right side was facing down, not up...  Repeat the whole spreading and smoothing thing.  Top with batting.  This stuff is like Velcro!  Top with quilt top.  Smooth, spread, smooth, spread on and on and on.  Decide that I have had enough and start to pin along one edge.  You have to start somewhere after all.  Then I carried on pinning until I couldn't bear to add any more pins.  I had tried to be really careful to keep everything really flat and held taut all the time.  It looked great. 


It doesn't look so smooth in the picture because this was taken after I had picked it up - I put it back down for the picture!

Picked it up to fold it up and put away before carrying on another day - because that blanket really does need to be finished.  Only to find the back was a mass of wrinkles and rucks and tucks like you would not believe.  Agghhh!!!  It looks as though a herd of wildebeest had just run over it.



I think a different approach is required which will involve moving the living room furniture to the very edges of the room and working on the floor in there where there is more space. 

Note to self.  In future, the first time you make something, do not make a massive version.  Start with a place mat.  Or a coaster... 

I KNOW that quilting is not easy, that is why I am always in such awe of quilters, but I didn't think the pinning would be so hard!

You can guess what I will be doing again today can't you!

Amy

50 comments:

  1. I think this is the most difficult part of making a quilt. I read Crazy Mom Quilts and she has a tutorial for assembling the layers efficiently and without the wildebeest effect (http://crazymomquilts.blogspot.co.uk/2007/09/one-way-to-baste-quilt.html). The backing of your quilt is just beautiful! Good luck with the next attempt.

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  2. I have only made a couple of quilts and am still really scared of the whole process. I went to a class but it has finished now and there are no more near me. There are a couple of things I learnt though that might help you. When pinning all the layers together you should start at the middle and work out. If you are going to machine quilt then you just need to pin the layers togehter. If you are going to do the quilting by hand then you should tack the layers together (with thread). Hope that helps.

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  3. The fabrics all look wonderful together, it will be stunning when finished. In my experience its better to start from the middle and work out, it stays flatter. Good luck.

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  4. I'm in awe that you are trying to quilt. It's on my list of things to learn to do one day! I often tell Matt we learn more by mistakes than getting it right first time, but I'm not sure I'd take that well having clearly spent hours on something. At least with the horrid weather you're not missing out being outside! Hope it goes better today. x

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  5. I use a spray basting glue which has always worked well for me. I made a huge king size quilt for Rebekah when she got married and decided that it was too big for me to quilt so I had that one professionally done!

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  6. I have made a lot of quilts, Amy, but always struggle with pinning the layers. The big ones are the most difficult. Those pins are good, and I have a set of them, plus the quilt basting spray glue mentioned by Julie. I try to tape the bottom layer to the floor or large table to start off, pulling it as taut as I can. Then add the wadding then the top using the spray glue. As others say, you need to work from the middle out, and keep smoothing as you go. Despite all the above, I always end up with a few lumps and bumps on the back. Happy quilting! xx

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    1. yes, this is a method that I learned too. I made a single bed quilt with the help of a class. When we were ready to baste our quilts, we all got together as a group to stretch each other's quilt layers over a large table, starting with the bottom layer - I can't remember how we secured the edges though - possibly with tape? Then the wadding, and then the top. With people on each edge of the quilt we could stretch it out evenly. Some people held the quilt taut while others got on with the pinning which made it a lot easier and quicker. That is one handy aspect of a quilting group. Even if there are some lumps and bumps, especially if it is a cotton quilt, it will shrink a little with washing and these variations combined with shrinkage add to the character of a hand-made quilt. I wouldn't worry too much as it is still beautiful and functional. I look forward to reading about your next quilt adventure.
      Have fun xx

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  7. The saying Patience is a virtue comes to mind

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  8. That's exactly how I found it when I was making my Monster Quilt for William. Good Luck taming those wilder beast x

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  9. Amy - it's absolutely beautiful. I've always had a yearning to quilt but have never done it. Love that fabric in the last two shots. xx

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  10. I've only made one quilt, so no expert, but I used those pins which were great and did it on the floor (carpet, as the fabric 'stuck' to it better, but I like Patricia's tape idea...) I did read about starting from the centre, for pinning and quilting, and this was good as the layers do 'walk' a bit and could have ended up not centred over each other otherwise. Btw, Don't know what machine you've got, but I managed to quilt mine with my old '70s machine and no walking foot, though I did have to make sure the fabric wasn't creasing under the presser foot. I just love your backing fabric! Looking forward to seeing it finished! Jen PS love your 2015 thoughts to live by : )

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  11. Oh no! I have always wanted to try wilting but I'm too nervous. I can totally sympathise with this bit am not able to offer any advice. Keep going it will be stunning. As I said to my crochet ladies why start on a single granny square when we can make a whole blanket. Just jump straight in and be committed. Looks like that is what you are doing. Best of luck. X

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  12. OK, I'm lucky that I've got a long-arm machine, but when I do pin baste, I do the same as Patricia and have also used dog clips on my table to keep the backing stretched. I've been quilting since 1977 and will do a post about my journey some time this year. Perseverance, patience and a sense of humour is all you need. Have fun and take care.

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  13. I've never made a quilt so never thought how difficult this process would be. Hope you manage to sort it out, it will look wonderful when it's finished.

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  14. I have to move all the furniture to the sides of the room when I lay out a quilt, so it becomes a massive operation! I use the pins and have found them to be very useful, and as others have said start from the centre and move outwards. I use a walking foot when quilting which I think really helps to stop the fabric slipping, but even so I still get little puckers sometimes where the lines cross. Another tutorial I have found useful for machine binding is from Red Pepper Quilts - http://www.redpepperquilts.com/2009/11/binding-tutorial.html I'm looking forward to seeing the finished quilt! xx

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  15. How frustrating after all the careful work, love the fabrics, its going to look stunning when you have finished it. God luck on the next try. So I two tops waiting for this stage so I am waiting in anticipation to see how you get on xcx

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  16. I'd love to quilt, but it just plain scares me! xxx

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  17. ive used spray on adhesive both times and found it very good, did still pin at corners etc though :) xxx

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  18. It will look lovely when it is all finished. All this talk of quilts lately is making me want to root out my half finished one.

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  19. Arghhhhhhhh! I know that was so frustrating for you! My hats off to your perseverance!! And, I love those pins... wonder what I could use them for??? Hmmmm.... Good luck on your second attempt!! blessings ~ tanna

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  20. I have layered and pinned, spray glued sometimes, my quilts on the floor since I started quilting. Now I find that my back and joints do not like it at all. I am going to buy a Little Grace Quilting frame, it is an investment that will last me years, if I estimate 20 quilts a year for 10 years the cost per quilt is much less than sending it out to a long arm quilter. I expect it to do much more than 20 and for more years than 10.

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    1. I like your maths and it makes a lot of sense to work it out as quilts per frame.

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  21. Just wonderful.
    love the colors.
    I make hand tied quilts.
    Love the fancy ones but no patience. :)
    Woolie Hugs

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  22. I'm doing patchwork at the moment. I'm hoping it will be a small blanket when it's finished. I'll try and remember to smooth out the backing fabric and pin the layers together as neatly as I can when I get to that stage. Do let us know how you get on with your blanket--I'll appreciate all the tips and advice you can share. x

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  23. Amy, good thing you looked at the back side! Otherwise, you might have sewn in all those lumps and had pleats where you didn't intend for them to be!

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  24. well now, isn't that an interesting twist on safety pins!! In knitting they make coilless ones so that they do not snag the knit. Lovely blanket!!

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  25. What a crazy process! Good luck with it; hope you get it worked out!

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  26. What a big job!
    I love the blue and grey together.
    Miss

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  27. I've never seen curved safety pins before - great idea! The quilt is going to be beautiful, I know you've worked so hard on it!

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  28. I find basting the worse part of quilting, it kills my back and knees. I use a foam gardening mat to kneel on and usually have my husband help. On quilts for adults I use spray glue which is a permanent re positioning glue which means you can lift and restick the fabric back down again until you get all the tucks out flat. I then pin. I dont use glue on baby quilts as Im not sure about the toxicity of it and also its not really required on small quilts. I often find that even with all this work on the basting that when I finish the quilting the layers arnt still square so I make sure I have plenty of spare fabric and wadding around the edge that I can trim off when the quilting is finished. I hope this helps. Your quilt looks very pretty and I look forward to seeing it completed :) You shouldnt really need to tack with stitches if you have pinned with your curved pins. Have fun! x

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  29. I admire your patience, quilting is something that terrifies me :) Love the colors!

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  30. Way to go! You were very ambitious to tackle such a big quilting project and it's going to be WONDERFUL! Space is often a problem with creating. I like entire tables cleared for my "doings" and that isn't always easy.

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  31. I've only done small quilts and still had problems, good that you caught the wrinkles in time.

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  32. The sandwiching phase can be really tricky. I've never tried the curved safety pins, I always use regular ones. You'll have to tell us how they work out for you.

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  33. Oh dear, you will have an aching back after that work!

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  34. hugs quilting can be very frustrating I still have not mastered those half square triangles which are suppose to be easy-lol I gave up on the quilting pins years ago-and found for me better to hand baste in all directions instead-the quilt stays put much better for me doing it that way instead-good luck

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  35. Amy I feel your frustration and therefore I don't quilt. Hang in there and try again. It's going to be a labour of love and will be beautiful. A creation by 'you'!

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  36. Did you find the curved pins easier to use than the flat? I thought about getting some but we had plenty of the normal ones. The pattern is looking fab. Mine came out reasonably flat after pinning on the floor. Putting the pins in and taking them out again took me ages- had 100 of them. Hope you manage to get it flat- not sure if it needs to be absolutely flat because you get a slightly crinkly effect when machining it all together anyway (says me, the expert! :o) ) xx

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  37. I am so in awe of quilters also! My Aunt is a wonderful quilter and she made me a blanket for my college graduation and it's a treasured possession!! She tried showing me the basics of quilting and I freaked out. Way too much math involved, as well as just some basic sewing skills...where I definitely lack.
    Guess I'll stick to scrapbooking. Lol You look like you're doing great though Amy so don't give up!! xo

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  38. I admire your patience! Think I will stick to my place mats lol. Your quilt is going to be lovely when finished and good luck with it.

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  39. I'm a traditional girl so always tack the layers together workiing from the middle out. I've never found that pins hold the layers together enough though other members of my quilt group find it works for them. They mostly use spray glue these days which I've only just started experimenting with on smaller pieces. Good luck - it'll all be worth it in the end! x

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  40. it's lovely, don't get disheartened. I use curved pins, I think they're really good, I'm not a fan of glue though. Taping the bottom layer down is a good idea, and be patient x

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  41. I love making patchwork quilts and I think the sandwiching of the layers is the hardest bit of all. I don't do mine on the floor as it would kill my back so I just pin on my sewing table sliding it over the edges as needed. The day I bought those bent safety pins was a real eye-opener for me.I wouldn't be without them now. :o)

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  42. Lots and lots and lots of smoothing out is all I usually do. Oh, and make sure your backing fabric reaches over the whole of the quilt top. It's quite frustrating to put in seven hundred and eighty-two pins only to find out your backing fabric doesn't reach the edge of the quilt top in one corner. Ask me how I know. My knees were so sore that day. But I HAD to re-do it all at once, just the way I am unfortunately. The quilt looks lovely, it will of course all be worth it in the end. My favourite bit is hand sewing the binding to the back. I just love taking out those final pins to leave a soft, cosy, finished thing. CJ xx

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  43. I love that you have jumped in and tackled a big job. I think the quilt is lovely and who knew about curved safety pins?
    Hugs,
    Meredith

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  44. I wish I could give you some pearls of wisdom Amy but I wouldn't have a clue, your patience will pay off in the end. :) xx

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  45. Hello Amy,thanks for your comment on my blog, it will be interesting for me to see how your crocheted log cabin blanket progresses and I look forward to your posts for that. I am not wise on quilting and I see there's lots of tips above me from other's and I hope they help you with your quilting project. I will be making a quilt this year however so I am sure I will be coming back here to see how you're getting along with it.
    I agree with your post in trying something small first, just to get a feel for how it all comes together and I am storing that tip for myself.
    Have a good day x
    (Myrtles Craft Studio)

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  46. I'm still catching up on commenting on everyone's blog so I am hoping that you have managed to resolve the problem by now.

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  47. Oh, I feel your pain, Amy!!! So frustrating, isn't it?! My best tip is to tape the backing taut to the floor with painter's tape before you start layering the batting and then the top to your "quilt sandwich". I know a lot of people get great results with spray basting, but I can't do that during this time of year, because the temperature needs to be warm-ish in order for the adhesive spray to stick. Mountain problems! Haha! Best of luck!!! *hugs* :)

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  48. This has been such an interesting post, Amy, with lots of great advice! It is good to know that it is a tricky stage of quilting whether one is a brand new beginner or an experienced quilter and not necessarily anything wrong with what you are doing. Just something that takes trial, error and practice I suppose.

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