A Leap Forward on the Girly Quilt

After a few days of slow-going hand quilting, I was ready to tackle a project with big immediate obvious results. I also wanted to tidy up some of the sewing detritus in the living room, as the clutter was starting to get to me.

So I finished piecing together the top of what I’m calling The Girly Quilt, and then I pieced the back, and then I sandwiched it all together, and then I tidied up.

girlyquilttop

This tutorial from Film in the Fridge is probably the best spray basting tutorial I’ve seen out there, and it’s very close to how I approach things. Although I don’t wear a mask when I’m spraying since I’m punk rock and like to live dangerously.

Here’s a rundown of my process:

  1. Move the ottomans (ottomen?), roll up the rug and give the floor a good vacuuming;
  2. Spread out the quilt batting and smoosh flat;
  3. Lay out your freshly-pressed quilt top on the batting, allowing for a few inches of excess batting along the edges;
  4. Pin the quilt top and the batting together along the top edge;
  5. Gently fold the quilt top back until you reach your row of pins;
  6. Begin spraying and smoothing: working in about 12 inch wide sections, spray the batting with the basting spray and then unfold and smooth down the quilt top, working towards your knees and out to the edges;
  7. Continue spraying and smoothing until you have reached the bottom edge of the quilt, and then go back up to the top: take out your row of pins and spray down those top few inches;
  8. Trim away any excess quilt batting and let the basting spray set for 10 minutes;
  9. Flip over your half-sandwich and repeat 3 to 7 to secure the quilt backing to the sandwich;
  10. Allow the basting spray to set for a few hours before rolling or folding the sandwich (I wanted the living room back in order, so I spread out the sandwich on the bed).

Generally good things to note:

  • Many spray basting tutorials suggest that you put your quilt backing right-side-down on the floor and then smooth your batting on top of it. This is how I did my first quilt in the past, and it was terrible: so much more difficult to make sure that the backing is smooth and wrinkle free.
  • The Film in the Fridge advice to use notches to ensure that your pieced back lines up with your pieced top is very, very smart. Do that!
  • Okay, yeah: I don’t wear a mask but I do keep a window open when using the basting spray. Common sense!

Also, when re-researching quilt basting tips and tricks, I found this tutorial from Color Me Quilty that involves using two boards and a table for basting, rather than crawling around on the floor. It looks like such a good neat trick and I’d like to try it sometime–once I have a table that’s long enough to accommodate a 50-inch-wide-plus quilt.

I would say, however, that the advantage to basting on the floor is that, after crawling around on my hands and knees, curling up on the couch with some hand-quilting was awfully nice.

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