Saturday, June 29, 2013

The least favourite part of quilting

for me, is basting.  It's definitely the least creative part of the process, so  I've come up with a couple of things to make it less painful and help me get it over with. 
Think knee pads and a nail file (I always end up with a snag from manipulating all those pins).   Oh, and it doesn't hurt to crank up some tunes to sing along while I'm at it. 
 Whatever gets it done, right? ;o)
Pinned and ready for quilting!
 Complaining aside, I know I'm really fortunate to have ample floor space to do my basting.  The laminate floor works wonderfully - I am able to use the lines created by the flooring pieces as a straight edge guide for laying things out.  Plus, no worries about leaving scratch marks with the basting pins as would be the case with a wood floor.  There was a time that the only available floor space I had for basting was on carpet.  I still can't believe how I made that work! LOL  Where there's a will there's a way. ;o)

Where would I be without green painter's tape to use for my quilts?  I use it for securing the backing fabric to the floor for basting, for labelling quilt blocks when I'm assembling a top and I use it for making quilting guidelines when I want to stitch straight lines.

It just so happened that this week, I had two tops ready for basting at the same time, so I had a marathon evening of basting them both.  Whew.  Now that the yucky part in the process is over, I can get back to the fun stuff! Bring on the quilting....

My version of Impromptu just before I stuck it full of basting pins. ;o)
So now you know my little secret about what I don't enjoy in quilt making and my three "make it easier" tips (or tools) - knee pads, a nail file and painter's tape!
How about you?  What's the least appealing part of making a quilt for you?  Have any tips for making things easier?
Happy Canada Day long weekend!!!


  1. Wow, well done Katherine! Basting is my least favourite part too! I can’t work on the floor due to back problems, and my table has an oval shape, so... I have a numer of quilt tops laying round, waiting to be basted!

  2. I actually enjoy all the processes...until any one of them goes on for too long. LOL I can't do the floor thing either. When a proper sized table is not available, I use a sheet of smooth paneling that has had the rough edges sanded. I place it on top of a table or even on a bed. I LOVE both of those quilts, Katherine!

  3. These are both so beautiful! Lucky you, now you have done the unpleasant basting and can enjoy quilting. I don't even have enough free space on the floor ... x Teje

  4. I don't know how anyone quilts without a quilting machine. I only have a mid arm machine, but am so thankful for that whenever I see you guys basting your quilts! I think I would stop quilting or pay to have mine quilted if I had to pin baste them. Why don't you have a quilting machine? Is it the space or the money or do you like torturing yourself :)

  5. Hi!!!! Love your quilts and thanks for the tips!!!

  6. Yep, basting is also my least favourite but I try to get it done as soon as possible after finishing a quilt top, and get more than one at the same time, if I can since I have to move furniture.

    What really speeds it up for me is something I saw on someone else blog just over a year or so ago. I spread out the batting, smooth it, lay the quilt top over it and smooth that out. I trim the batting to 2" around and then roll the top up. THEN I spread out the back, straighten, smooth, tape. Rolling the top out goes quickly, it's completely aligned and square to the back, and I don't spend nearly as much time smoothing. Less puckers and less instances of the stupid tape letting go because I couldn't get that stupid bubble or fold out of the backing… Saves me at least 20 min a quilt. Genius. I forget whose blog it was but she was brilliant.

  7. I don't know any quilters who like basting, it's a pain.
    We used to have a local long arm quilter who had 2 teenage sons. They boys used to use the long arm to baste quilts for us, $20 per quilt.
    Worth every penny :)

  8. basting isn't fun. I used to do the floor thing, until I started using Wendy Butlers method from her Craftsy class, Machine Quilting: Free Motion and More. Now, I use it ALL THE TIME! You use a craft table. One that has a thin enough top to use binder clips on. If I had a ping pong table, I think it would be perfect for really large quilts. Taking her class just to learn this method is worth saving your knees!!! And no more frantically cleaning the floor before basting. I have 2 dogs and no amount of cleaning gets all the dog hair up! And lets face it, every year it gets harder and harder to get up and down from the floor. I just scoot my adjustable sewing chair over and pump it up high enough to reach, and I'm good to go;) Plus she shows you haw to line up the backing with the batting and the top. Her whole class was great but this was my favorite learned thing!!


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