Time after time, whether it's on blogs, Instagram, Facebook, or whatever social media people are using, I hear the majority of quilters grumbling and mumbling over their least favorite step of the quilting process... basting. Aching knees and backs are top of the list of annoyances, and I often wonder if my newbie quilter naivety gets the better of me trying to figure out why the mere thought of basting is almost like a curse word.
With all this in consideration, I have to say that I am lucky to have an extremely talented and experienced quilter in my family. The unfortunate part of the story is that I did not start quilting until I moved to Germany. So, all those tips and short cuts have to be shared from abroad, or crunched into all too short visiting times when we can travel home. This past summer while traveling home, my aunt shared with me how she bastes quilts, which I thought I would share with you. I really have to say that this method is probably the very reason why I don't hate basting:
Granted, I realize that not everyone has space in their home for this technique, but I am blessed with at least a little space to spread out. I have four 1m x 70 cm Ikea tables that I scoot together. My aunt uses a foldable buffet table, and even elevates it using four custom cut pvc pipes. (bed risers are a good alternative if you live in the US) I don't use the risers since I would need twelve! I'm sure this method would even work with a good size dining table.
Start by finding the center of your table. This is easy and obvious in my case, but you could also mark your center with a toothpick that had been taped to the table center. It is also helpful to mark the center of the tops and sides of your table (you'll use these markings later) I then fold my quilt backing in half wrong sides together and then in half again. This gives you the center of your quilt back. Place the folded corner on the marked center of your table.
Gently unfold the quilt backing on one side. Here I unlfolded the length of the table and used a paper weight to keep the backing from slipping. Then you can gently unfold the rest of the quilt back. Smooth the quilt back in place.
Here comes the fun part of visiting your local hardware store to find something that is generally not used for quilting, but seems as if it was just made for it! Smooth the quilt back out and using plastic clamps, secure the quilt back to the table. I generally clip one or two clamps on one side, and then clamp one or two on the other side until the quilt back is properly taut.
Repeat same steps with the batting, smoothing as you go.
Carefully remove the clamp from the quilt back and re-clamp to the table, now with both the batting and the quilt back.
Repeat again with the quilt top, but this time right sides together. Be sure to align your quilt top up with the markings that you have on your table. (center, and side and top centers)
Carefully remove the clamps and re-clamp now all three layers including the quilt top to the table, smoothing as you go.
Now you are ready to start pinning! I usually use a rolling chair and sit while I am pinning, and can easily scoot from section to section. I have to admit that I was a little surprised how quickly this went, even with taking pictures!
(***NOTE*** no cuss words were used in the production of this basting project)
How do you baste your quilts? Any tips? Do you use this method or a completely different method?