|On Basting in a Small Space
||[Mar. 15th, 2010|09:13 am]
The baby quilts are pieced and ready to be basted. The flannel backing fabric has been washed and dried (2x) and pieced, after investigation proved that it had shrunk more than I hoped (though less than I feared.) New green fabric has been purchased for binding, since I had to go to the store to buy extra backing fabric anyway, and since making the binding was going to wipe out my stash of really excellent leaf-greens entirely. I like the people these quilts are for, but not enough to denude my stash of excellent leaf-green fabrics.
I debated how to baste these quilts; the available space here in the RV is pretty small. I do have a table which expanded with the leaf in place would be wide enough to support the middle of the quilt. I dimly recall reading on someone’s blog about an excellent method for basting using a table and binding clips: mark the backing and batting centers, lay everything out, and hold each layer down with binding clips on the edge of the table as you add it. Everything stays smooth and perfect for basting; once the center section is basted, move everything over and fasten it all down again. Unfortunately the details are fuzzy, the reading was a few years back, and darned if I can find that post now.
I was ironing the flannel backing on the bed with a large folded rectangle of padding consisting of two sets of sheets to protect the bedding (my regular ironing ‘board’ is one of those 12” square ironing/cutting pads, which is a little small for that sort of thing) when I had an inspiration. The baby quilts come to just about half of the surface of our bed. I laid the flannel backing out on the bed right side down and smoothed it out. It clung to the quilt on the bed, and I pinned it in place all around the edges of the flannel, then laid the batting over the backing and trimmed it to fit and smoothed it into place. Finally the quilt top was laid in place, centered using the thread markings I’d previously made on the backing. Once everything was smoothed down and straight, I unleashed my secret weapon, a thin sheet of rigid plastic from a poster frame I’d bought long ago. The plastic slid neatly under the quilt sandwich through a gap made by removing a few of the pins around the edge.
Working with my fingertips between the bordering pins to move the sandwich as little as possible, I eased the plastic around under the quilt and put in the basting safety pins over the plastic. It was easy to feel where the plastic was in place and easy to get the pins through all the layers. I thread basted around the outer edge and in one block where I ran out of safety pins. Next time, the process could be improved by replacing the pins making the gap after the plastic is inserted and thread basting the edges of the quilt first, before pin basting the center.
Storage is always at a premium in the RV, so I didn’t bring my special wooden-handled brass doodad to close the pins; a teaspoon from the silverware drawer worked just fine. Now the first quilt is basted and the quilting pattern chosen; the next step is to make up a test sandwich (leftover flannel and batting) and try out the quilting method.
Head on over to Judy L’s blog for Design Wall Monday to see what everyone else is up to this week, at least quilt-wise.