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Hand Basting for Machine Quilting

Hand Basting for Machine Quilting

Old 08-25-2015, 11:47 PM
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Default Hand Basting for Machine Quilting

Recently I made a baby quilt (40 x 48") and basted it with a large "Z" stitch before machine quilting a random stipple. Although I'm an ox as far as hand stitching is concerned, this was easy (since it's not a finish stitch), held the quilt together (I used two layers of flannel for batting) and was easy to remove (I used orange thread on a blue quilt). I have used the safety pin method and frankly, it was so onerous it put me off making another quilt for a few years.

Is hand basting recommended for machine quilting? If so, how close together should the basting be? Any pointers on thread, technique, etc.?

Sorry if this question has been asked before. I did a search but nothing popped up that seemed to match.

James
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Old 08-26-2015, 01:17 AM
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I don't machine quilt..I'm a hand quilter. But I've done both pin and thread basting. Usually do the thread basting when working on larger quilts as it helps keep the weight of the sandwich a bit lighter and easier to move around. I can't think of a reason why thread basting would not be acceptable for machine quilting.

When I thread baste, I usually stitch about a hand-width apart in both directions. Actually do the same with pins.

I'm sure others will be along shortly who are more informed regarding machine quilting.
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Old 08-26-2015, 02:10 AM
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Thanks for your response; I wondered in particular what spacing was best. My concern was that the machine-quilted stitches would make the basting a nuisance to remove but 95% of it was a cinch. Is there a stitch that "locks" the layers a bit better than my short-long-short method? It worked out OK and there were no puckers, but the basting felt like it was getting loose, especially at the edges.
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Old 08-26-2015, 03:20 AM
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My quilting teacher told us to keep our hand basting lines no more than a hands-width apart.
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Old 08-26-2015, 03:49 AM
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That confirms what NJ Quilter said, thanks. Is there a stitch that "locks" the layers a bit better than my short-long-short method?
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Old 08-26-2015, 04:18 AM
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I haven't hand basted a quilt in years. The last one I remember doing I used a running stitch, starting in the middle and making an X through the quilt. Then I filled in with more running stitches. They were close together and the stitch length was about an inch top and bottom. I machined right over the basting stitches and removed them later. It wasn't hard to remove them. I hated basting, I felt I could make another quilt top in the time it took me to baste. One time with pins and I knew I would never do that again. Awful things.
I haven't basted any other way then washable glue now. It suits me perfectly.
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Old 08-26-2015, 04:18 AM
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I don't think there's a specific basting stitch, any running stitch will do. I quilt on my long arm, but recently made a baby quilt where I needed the backing placement to match the front. I made the sandwich then basted with water soluble thread. After quilting and binding I threw the quilt in the wash to remove the basting stitches. About 10 years ago I got a huge (like 1.5#) spool of water soluble thread on ebay and have found lots of uses for it.
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Old 08-26-2015, 04:20 AM
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The problem that might come up when you baste with thread (whether by hand or machine) before machine quilting is that you might have trouble removing the basting stitches, particularly if the machine quilting needle happens to pierce the basting thread (which will happen more often than you would think). You can remove the basting thread as you go, but depending on the type of quilting design you're doing, that might either slow you down or loosen up the quilt sandwich. I guess that's where pin basting has an advantage (and like you I hated pin basting). You can also baste using water soluble thread, although I have only done that when machine basting and don't know how well that thread would perform when hand basting.
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Old 08-26-2015, 04:32 AM
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Originally Posted by dunster View Post
You can also baste using water soluble thread, although I have only done that when machine basting and don't know how well that thread would perform when hand basting.
I don't see the point of basting by hand if it's water soluble. Thanks so much, everybody! I didn't even know there was such a thing as water-soluble thread. The best invention since sliced bread!
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Old 08-26-2015, 05:06 AM
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Wait a minute - how do you hold the layers in position to machine baste a full-size quilt with water-soluble thread? I guess you have to do it by hand, right? I didn't think this through, rushed off and bought a big spool of water-soluble thread.
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