Basting. (Sigh) I lied, it isn't the best. You know how in many quilt books when they get to this stage of quilting they have these instructions for basting...... either 1) Baste. or 2) Invite some friends over, serve lunch, and they will help you baste your quilt. Hah! I am convinced caller ID was invented by quilters, so they can screen calls when their fellow quilters are at this crucial basting stage.
I have tried many techniques and I'm not particularly happy with any of them (stay with me, there is hope at the end of this post). For many years I did the traditional, move all the furniture out of the room - lay down the quilt layers - and spend the rest of the day on your hands and knees approach.
Frankly, life is just too short to have to do that anymore. It works wonderfully, especially if you are hand quilting, but there has just got to be a better way. Now I've tried this floor approach with both sew basting and pin basting. Pin basting does cut down on the floor time just a little bit, but then you have a quilt studded with safety pins and you have to move or remove them every time you reposition your hoop. Not good.
Next, I purchased a quilt frame with the intention that I would use it to baste quilts.Great idea, huh? I would load the 3 layers onto the 3 different rails and SIT in a comfortable chair and baste at my leisure. If only.
I couldn't get the quilt layers to load evenly and my basted quilt was a lumpy mess.
Onto the next solution. Someone invented adhesive spray. Yes, I admit I have used it and have used it a lot the last several years. I have been happy with the results and while the quilt is still layered out on the floor - the time on your knees is cut from half a day down to 30 minutes. Hooray!
Spray basting??!! I know. "But what about the chemicals in your quilt?" Well, I'm not sure. You can read the report on it here. I will say that I haven't had any problems with it, I don't know what will happen in 30 years or so. Nobody does. I used 505 spray. The report does say that they didn't find any problems with 505 spray.... not yet, anyway. Contrary to popular opinion, the spray does not make it difficult to needle the quilt. Not at all.
I also always wash my quilt when I am done quilting it. (Between this spray, the chalk marks, and the dog hair - it HAS to be washed) So why aren't I gaga over this product?? Well, that unknown factor does make me hesitate for my "heirloom" type quilts. I know that if you have spent time piecing your quilt and are going to hand quilt it - maybe for the first time - you have reservations too. That said, if you are making a quilt that you will machine quilt and it is one of those "use it up" type quilts.... this stuff is awesome.
So now what? I needed to find another way. Not only to save my back and knees, but to save my marriage. Did I mention that Bill helps me baste all my quilts? I believe we have had only about 5 loud disagreements in our marriage. Four of these occurred while we were on the floor basting a quilt.
I started to hear about a new technique. I watched the videos on youtube. My first reaction was that it was very similar to my "quilt frame" idea and that made me dismiss it at first. Then I watched the videos again. I believe she is onto something.
It also came recommended by quilters who really know what they are doing. You can read Janet's post about it here. I even had Bill watch the videos and he has picked out the lumber. I think her tip about the starching of the backing is key. I will post again when I baste a quilt using this technique. Dare I say, I am looking forward to it?
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