Friday, July 8, 2011

The Information Two Lane Roadway

The internet is a wonderful thing where we can share all kinds of information. Sometimes people ask me questions, and I'd really LIKE to help, but their comments come through as "no reply" so I can't answer them directly. Or I'll decide to write a public response, but a couple days will go by and I'll have really exciting stuff to write about, like shaving my legs, and then I'll forget about answering questions. So I just want to say I'm sorry if I'm not always very helpful.

Sometimes I'm asked questions and I don't really know the answer, but I'll give the person my opinion anyway. That's what I thought I'd do tonight.

Ruby asked about pinning quilts and how to get a quilt back nice and tight so it doesn't wrinkle when quilting. Truthfully, I struggle with the same problem.

It seems like back in the good old days, when I'd haul my quilting stuff down to the quilt shop and use their tables to pin, my quilt backs ended up being stretched out nicer than they seem to be now, when I pin my quilts at home. Why? I'm still using tables, still clamping down the layers, still doing just about everything the same. My only guess is that I might be using fewer clamps since my tables are thicker, they're harder to clamp, and I only have eight clamps.

The quilt I'm working on now? Here's a photo showing the back looking like it's in danger of me quilting folds into it:

Of course, in looking at it, you might say there aren't enough pins--and that's true. I've found that no matter now many pins I put into a quilt, by the time I get to the outer borders, I need to un-pin, smooth out and adjust the layers again, and re-pin. So I just use a few pins in the outside border--less to remove that way.

When I finish the center part all around--which is pretty much where I'm at in the section shown above--I'll smooth and re-pin the remaining areas, pinning more heavily.

Please, if any of you have tips to share about successful pinning, leave a comment because my normal wealth of information is suffering a bout of poverty on this subject.

I've started a new e-mail folder called "questions" where I can better keep track of the stuff you might want to talk about--whether I actually have an answer or just want to make something up. That way, when I run out of stories about the dumb things people do and I've already told you all about ME, I can check the folder and pick a topic YOU want to discuss. Because you know it's all about YOU, right? Okay, you're right--it's not. But I'm still happy you stopped by to visit.


Pink-a-Palooza said...

Hi Kim, I alwayus used spray baste(10yrs) till I got a used longarm this spring. No mo basting! lol
I never worried about what the back of the quilt was going to be like cause the spray keeps it stuck till u wash it...

Suzan said...

Like Pink-a-Palooza, I don't pin baste. I started spray basting about 4 or 5 years ago and have not pin basted since. It can be messy and you have to ventilate like crazy but (for me) it is totally worth it. I can honestly state that I have never had a wrinkle in a backing since I started using spray.

lesliemy said...

Yep, I spray baste or use a fusible batting. Hate the pins as they make a large project so heavy and are hard on my hands. I pin corners sometimes.

Sharon M. said...

I have a nice open area in my bedroom (wood floors) and lay out my backing, then use masking tape to secure it, first taping opposite corners, then in the middles of each side. That backing is SMOOTH when I finish! Then position the batting and top, and smooth it out by hand starting from the middle to the sides. When I pin, I use a gazillion pins, and they're about a hands-width apart.

I don't have a long-arm machine. Any machine-quilting is done on my regular Bernina. I don't free-motion quilt (not brave enough yet) but get nice results just doing straight lines with my walking foot.

I do use my dining room table for smaller quilts, again using the masking tape. I also hand-quilt some of my quilts, even large bed quilts, and after pin-basting them, I then carry them out to the dining room table and hand-baste them, taking pins out as I go. Alot of work, yes, but I get smooth quilts.

The pinning on the floor method really exercises the legs, and I'm not sure how many more quilts I have in me to do that to. I did pay a longarmer to machine-baste a huge (103" x 103") for me and it was worth it.

Hope this wasn't too long!
I will confess though, that after going through all the pining routing, and machine-quilting one of my larger quilts, I turned it over and discovered a nice "pleat" in the middle - - I just pressed it down and tacked it down by hand - looked like just another seam in the backing!

Anonymous said...

Hi Kim, when I pin I do 1 side then peg it to the washing line ( loads of pegs across the top) then I put up 2 props and let the quilt fall. I then pin starting at the top and smooth it as I go.

Sally said...

I have trouble with the spray basting also. Do you pin or tape the back down when you spray baste and where do you do it so that you don't have spray all over the place? I end up doing most of my quilting by

Anonymous said...

I have a very generous friend, with a longarm and a statler. ( hi Linda!) If I do want to do one myself at the sewing machine, I use masking tape to tape my backing to the living room carpet. Then I use lots of safety pins. I find the batting makes a difference. My top choice is warm and natural or white. I find a cotton batting sticks better to the top and backing. Every time I try to use a poly batting I get puckers. Helen

Patty said...

I put two 4x8 tables together and clamp the backing to that then postiion the batting and clamp again. I also use a ton of pins and have never had a pucker or pleat.

Pam W. said...

Hi there,
I starch the dickens out of my backing (yes, regular old spray starch), then lay it out on my dining room table. Layer on the batting and the top. No more taping to the floor, no more binder clips. The back is stiff enough that I can just slide my cutting mat under it (so I don't mess up the finish on my table) and safety pin the layers together. Start from the center and pin outward. Since I have started using a lot of starch, I no longer struggle with quilting creases into the back - even when I scrunch up the quilt to quilt it on my DSM. Downside is that you need to wash the quilt a couple of times to get all of the starch out, but that's OK with me.

Jen in NY said...

The comments have been very interesting, because I do have the same pinning problem you do Kim...I have to take them out once I get to the borders and repin. I've tried spray basting, but that didn't help me...maybe I need to use more of it. I have a sneaking suspicion that I don't use enough pins...I admit I get lazy pinning. It's just such a pain to unpin while I'm free-motion quilting. But I've got to try something diferent, b/c the last quilt I did had some serious back puckers.