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Thread: A quilting issue I need help with

  1. #1
    Super Member MollieSue's Avatar
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    I'm hoping someone can give me some ideas! :-)
    I've always pinned my quilts on the floor, and I machine quilt them, usually just in the ditch. My problem has always been that apparently I'm not pulling them taut enough while pinning - and always get excess quilt top, while quilting it. How do you all get your quilt top/batting/backing taut? I learned about the spray adhesive for the first time on this board, but still would need to get it all tight enough before using that. Right?
    Also, I don't remember who wrote about it, but I had never heard of water soluble thread either! I really appreciate all the info I've been picking up!
    Thank you,
    Diana :-)

  2. #2
    Senior Member MAXIES2's Avatar
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    http://www.quiltingboard.com/posts/list/13892.page

    Go halfway down to read Shadows method, it may help
    Katherine

  3. #3
    Super Member Marcia's Avatar
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    Hi Diana-

    I baste my quilts on the floor too. And I mean floor--not carpet. My first step is to tape the backing to the floor using clear mailing tape. I tape a piece about 6" long at the center top, then smooth and tape the center bottom, then the same on the center of the sides. Next I smooth and do tape each of the corners. I go back and fill in with tape on the sides and top and bottom. I do not tape every inch all the way around. I just use pieces about 5-6" long and usually leave 5-6" in between each piece of tape too.

    Then I lay my batting on top and smooth it. Then I add my quilt top and begin pinning.

    I hope this helps you.

  4. #4
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    I do the same as Marcia with the taping onto the floor. Then I lay my batting then the top flattening both. Then I pull the batting and top from one end back to the middle. I spray the spray basting on this half of the backing then lay the batting and top back down and flatten. Then do the same for the other end. The pull just the top back halfway and spray the batting to the halfway mark of the quilt and lay the top on and flatten. Then do the same from the other end.


  5. #5

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    Diana...I live on the edge when I baste the quilts! Here it goes...the truth will come out now!:0) I use packing tape when I baste...yes, it is true! All the tabo of tape is going to hit the board!LOL I tape the backing down on the floor all the way around in short, packing tape pieces about 3" or so..whatever rips off at the moment of my royal taping. I pull taunt the backing...once down, I then tape the batting...then the top...once all taped and taunt on the floor (this is excercise and I do about 3...one after another)Then I pin. I pin about a hand width apart. The only time I have had any issues is when I taped down my 4th quilt and was short on pins so I improvised and went further apart w/my pinning. Bad idea on that! Otherwise, it has been a good show for the quilting. I have a friend that adds clamps on her edges and lets it hang on a table, then bastes. I haven't tried that as this works so far for me:)Maybe when I can't get up anymore I'll go to the table:)Skeat.......just remember to tape only the edges and when all is basted...remove tape before quilting!

  6. #6
    Super Member MollieSue's Avatar
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    No wonder I've always had issues doing this - never would have dreamt I needed to be taping it to the floor! Who would have thunk it? lol!!! I have carpet everywhere, so hopefully I can get the tape to stick. lol!!
    Thank you all very much!! I've copied these all into Word, so I can print them off! Along with the thread Katherine mentioned. I do want to try that spray adhesive!
    Thank you all again! I really appreciate it! Much more of a motivation to quilt if I know I'm less likely to half wreck it with the quilting part!
    Diana :)

  7. #7
    Super Member Prism99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Diana Rainer
    My problem has always been that apparently I'm not pulling them taut enough while pinning - and always get excess quilt top, while quilting it. How do you all get your quilt top/batting/backing taut? I learned about the spray adhesive for the first time on this board, but still would need to get it all tight enough before using that. Right?
    You know, it's not necessary to have the batting or the top drum tight. In fact, I think that actually causes problems as the fabric is going to want to spring back into a more natural position after it has been stretched. All that is necessary when you layer is ensuring that each layer is flat, stays flat ,and does not develop ripples.

    From what you described, it sounds to me as if the fabric in your top is stretching when you machine quilt. To prevent stretching of the top, I would recommend spray starching it before you layer. Starch will stabilize the top and will help keep the fabric from stretching while you are handling it. If you search back, there have been some recent threads on starching and spray starching quilt tops and backings. Starching backings helps prevent puckers from developing when you quilt.

    Also, check if your machine allows you to adjust the pressure on the presser foot. If it does, lighten up on the pressure to allow for the thickness of the quilt sandwich.

    If you have been stretching your backing drum tight, that could actually cause of the excess fabric you end up with in the top when you quilt. In that case, your top has been layered to a stretched backing. When the backing is released from whatever was making it taut, it relaxes and shrinks -- creating excess fabric in the top. You need your top layer to be matched to your bottom layer.

    I think all the concern about making a backing taut comes from the past when quilters used old-fashioned frames. There was a tendency for large quilts to sag in the middle (from the weight), so one would compensate by pulling the backing extra tight before layering. In that situation, though, the quilt was never released from the frame until after it had been hand quilted. At that point, releasing tension simply allowed the quilt to "puff up" a little between the hand quilting stitches. That is very different from releasing the tension on the backing before the sandwich is quilted.

    Just be aware that if you starch backing and top, and also use polyester batting, spray basting alone may not be enough to keep your quilt sandwich stable. Spray basting works best with cotton (or primarily cotton) battings and some people report that starch prevents the basting spray from holding. In this case, machine basting with the invisible thread in addition to spray basting might be a good idea.

  8. #8
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    I use painters tape and it sticks fine to the carpet, masking tape would too. It works great! :)

  9. #9
    Super Member MollieSue's Avatar
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    Thank you, Prism! I did read something about spray starch, but it must not have stuck in my head. I'll find it again, and reread! Also, I do use polyester batting. So you're suggesting starching both top & bottom, using the spray adhesive, and then the water soluble thread?

  10. #10
    Super Member Prism99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Diana Rainer
    Thank you, Prism! I did read something about spray starch, but it must not have stuck in my head. I'll find it again, and reread! Also, I do use polyester batting. So you're suggesting starching both top & bottom, using the spray adhesive, and then the water soluble thread?
    I've never used that particular combination but, if I were going to try it, that's what I would try. You might want to find someone here who has actually done it that way -- or at least used spray basting with starched backing and top and polyester batting.

    Any chance you would switch to an 80% cotton batting? My softest, longest-lasting quilts were made with 100% cotton batting so I'm very partial to it. I'm one of those who doesn't like Warm 'n' Natural for comfy quilts, though -- too stiff a drape. It's great for wall-hangings because of its stability (the needlepunched scrim), but I like old-fashioned 100% cotton with no scrim for quilts that are going to get heavy use. With a cotton batting, you wouldn't need to machine baste with invisible thread; basting spray loves cotton batting. I have never had a shifting problem with basting spray even when the backing has been heavily starched, but I think the reason is that cotton batting.

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