Monday, January 23, 2012

Thread Basting a Quilt for the First Time

I've only made a few quilts before, and they were all wall hanging sized, more than 6 years ago. I fell in love with this Stepping Stones project sheet and just had to make it! I finally got the Kona black backing yardage delivered after I had finished the quilt top, and I was ready to baste this little puzzle.

I had never made anything this large, and I was trying to figure out where I would spread it out to pin baste it. I would need to buy basting pins and a Kwik Klip if I decided to do that.

It's still less than 60 inches square, but with apartment living and 2 dogs, it can be a daunting task on the floor.

I stumbled upon Sharon Schamber's You Tube videos and pondered the possibility of using her technique of hand basting (even if machine quilting) with wooden boards on a table, used as the frame. What a revelation!

I wasn't sure it would work for machine quilting (let alone without a longarm), but just look at her stunning quilts!

I realized quickly that she would not steer me astray, even though I am a newbie.

And then, I just happened to read that Mel Brooks of Milly Bee Quilting, in New Zealand, used this method on her lovely quilt, too: Meet Gaia! Wow! This gave me a new resolve!

So I bought a thimble, size 8 DMC white perle cotton, and 2 painted baseboards at Home Depot. I had them shortened to 8 feet, just long enough for this table that I could set up when needed. I followed Sharon's instructions, watching the videos several times.

After the first column of basting, I realized that being left-handed, I should have started on the left side, and not the right, to avoid wasting thread when crossing over between columns. Doh! I'm a slooooow learner.

I was still worried sick that my backing was not tight enough and I would end up with lots of tucks and pleats, but I just stuck with it...

I took a break for dinner and then returned to finish it. Whew!