Thursday, August 16, 2012

my favorite basting method

Admittedly with the longarm I haven't had to baste anything in a while, but back in the day this was my favorite method of basting.  It's one no one really mentions and I'm not sure why, because the results are excellent, especially for larger quilts.

It's not something revolutionary, though your back may think it is.  It's table basting.

That's right, no more crawling around on the floor!

Of course the essential part to this is tables.  Most quilt shops have classroom areas with large tables all of the same height and when there aren't classes in progress, most will loan out the space for basting!  No quilt shop nearby?  Try a community center or church or other organization that you're associated with.  But a quilt shop really is the best, and not just because you can do a little shopping.

Move the tables together until you have a surface large enough to accomadate your quilt back, then baste just like you would on the floor, minus the sore back and knees!  Of course there are a few things you should keep in mind.  If you're planning on taping your backing, ask first to make sure that's ok.  And use good quality painter's tape that you know will come off easily.  Some places won't allow tape, if that's the case extra large bulldog clips will often work or you may have to invest in some clamps from the hardware store.  Or just find another place that lets you use tape!  Also I've only ever used pins when table basting.  If you want to spray baste I'd also ask about that before starting.  The shop owner may be concerned about residue on the tables or have staff whose lungs, like mine, can't handle stuff in spray cans.

One of the best reasons to table baste at a quilt shop has to do with batting.  Working on a large quilt at home it's almost impossible to get the batting perfectly smooth.  Well, at a quilt shop everyone is going to be coming by to see what you're working on.  So there'll always be an extra set of hands to help you give the batting those few extra tugs that get rid of all the creases and fullness.  I've found this really is the secret to basting that works and doesn't need constant re-adjustment when you sew.  And hey, talking to other quilters is just fun - even if they love brown and batiks, you can still learn from each other!


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  1. Hmmm, interesting. I despise basting. And I usually do it on the floor unless it's a particularly small project.

    Brown and batiks. hehe

  2. Hmm, good thinking, I wonder if my local fabric shop would lend me some space!

  3. Thanks for the inspiration... Every time I crawl around the floor pinning a quilt, I wonder if that's how they invented Pilates... Like the idea of using clamps on a table!

  4. That's the way I was taught and I have always been wishing for something faster and easier with less pinning... But I think it's the best method there is!!

  5. don't ever say the word batiks again. ever! ugh!

    1. oh! and i spy my favorite, er i mean our favorite AH hatch fabric! yum! thanks for the basting tip!

  6. ha! browns and batiks! i have never table basted, never heard of it.

  7. I do baby quilts on my table top and love it! I never thought of trying to tug the batting a little flatter, but that makes sense. Next time I'm calling my husband!

  8. I have table basted small quilts successfully on a large banquet size table from COSTCO, but I can't imagine how you could do it with a large quilt. If you put two tables together, won't the seam between the tables cause a problem?