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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
    Power Poster 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
    Power Poster 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.

  11. #11
    Super Member Carol W's Avatar
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    Thank you for all the great hints.

  12. #12
    Super Member MollieSue's Avatar
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    Thank you Prism! I've never used cotton batting, must be time to try it! :) I've never even looked at it, just assumed polyester would be cheaper.
    Diana :)

  13. #13
    Power Poster sewnsewer2's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marcia
    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.
    I do this too except I tape about every 3 inches apart and then I spray and lay my batting down and smooth it starting in the center working outward. I spray again and lay my top on that way too. Then I pin about a hands width apart and I never have a problem quilting it.

  14. #14
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    Since I have carpet, I use T-pins to tack the backing to the carpet. Then I lay the batting down & the top. I then T-pin the top to the floor & use the safety pins to baste everything together.

  15. #15
    Super Member MollieSue's Avatar
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    Thanks Jannie! I would never have thought of using t pins!
    Diana :D

  16. #16
    Super Member ScubaK's Avatar
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    When I had an area to "tape" a quilt I did what Skeat and the others did...
    I taped my backing then the middle and then the top....then pinned and pinned...
    But, I have found that I can tape a backing creatively to my dining table and legs (queen size or smaller on a small table), spray and then layer and spray then layer then pin...
    It works...
    But the BIGGEST Thing!!!! for me was...the spring back...after quilting the middle
    I found when starting in the middle to quilt, if I took the time to adjust the pins (after doing that first round or straight seam) then I didn't get any wrinkles...I didn't have to baste as much after getting the first middle (round) done then worked out from there.
    Hope this helps...
    Kirsten

  17. #17
    Super Member tuesy's Avatar
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    I'm still pretty new to quilting, but here's what I do. I put that big huge cardboard cutting mat on top of my rolling cutting board. It measures out to be about 60". Then I lay my backing down, spray with 505, lay my W&N on top of that, then spray 505 again, then put my top on. After each piece is layed down, I smooth from the center out. I then start pinning. When the top is all pinned and I need to pin more, I can move the cardboard cutting mat over a bit and finish smoothing/pinning. It keeps me off the floor as I have arthuritis in my knees. Getting down on the floor is not a problem, it's the getting up that I have the problem with. :lol:

  18. #18
    Super Member Marcia's Avatar
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    So, Diana--have you pinned a quilt yet with all your new suggestions? If so, what did you do and how did it work out for you?

  19. #19
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    Sharon Schamber has a nice easy way to baste a quilt using baseboards. You can sit in a chair and do it. She had a free how to video on her website. It may still be there. I baste her way for a large quilt. She had a free video of the basting stitch used by tailors. She wins every show she enters so when she demos I watch. :D

  20. #20
    Super Member MollieSue's Avatar
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    Thank you all for your tips!
    No, I haven't tried the quilting ideas yet Marcia. I got sidetracked by trying to make the Warm Wishes quilt. lol!!! Right now I'd probably start with taping, or using the t pins, the layers down as I can't really spend the money on the spray right now.
    This is a quilt top I bought on Ebay a couple of years ago. It was suppose to be 30's & 40's fabrics, but I liked it anyways so it was ok. It's hand sewn. I first tried machine quilting it, then had all the issues. Then I thought I'd hand quilt it. Ha. Patience is not one of my virtues. lol!!
    Thank you all again!!!! :D
    Attached Images Attached Images

  21. #21
    Super Member Rose Marie's Avatar
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    I cannot get down on the floor either so figured a way to use my cutting table.
    This is for up to lap top size, larger quilt tops I send out.
    I use those white table clips that slide over the edge of the table. You can use those big black clips for office use. But they are bulkey.
    I do stretch the backing a little as I clip around the table.
    If the quilt is bigger than the table I do it in two stages, unclip and move for second section.
    I lay the 80/20 batting on top of backing and smooth out.
    Lay the top on and stretch a little as I clip it on. Then I pin it with bent pins. I used the spray a few times but it is riskey when you have to do your quilt in sections.
    Once it is pinned then I unclip and move the quilt for the next section and clip again. So far it has worked out for me this way.
    I bought my cutting table at Joanns for around 50 dollars and worth every penny. The clips are made for the one inch depth of the table.
    It is only 35 inches wide so have to move the quilt to do it all.

  22. #22
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    There is a great two-part YouTube video detailing a very clever method for basting a quilt together. I tried it on a crib sized and it worked very well. I am sure it would equally well for a larger quilt as well.

    Part One:
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bhwNylePFAA


  23. #23
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    The You Tube video is Sharon Schamber. It's nice they are there. I have used her method on a king size quilt and it worked great. I could baste a little or a lot at one sitting.

  24. #24
    Super Member Rose Marie's Avatar
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    Do you have to hand baste?
    How about spray basting instead? Or even pins.
    Anyone tried this?

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    Rose Marie, Sharon shows you a fab basting stitch that goes very, very quickly. The plus is you can put the project away indefinitely once it is basted (pins will eventually rust and deform the fabric with little holes too).

    As you quilt, you pull out the basting in the area you are working in (I would probably leave it in and pull it later, but Sharon is working at competition level, so probably needs to pull it first).

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