Mar 15, 2014

D258-60: Happy Quilting Day!

Today is Worldwide Quilting Day!  I am very glad there is such a thing :D  I celebrated by buying a few quilting tools to see if they make life easier.
(The metal thimble is my usual, and the new plastic one is for quilters, but it's too big!  I'll have to make a fabric cap for my finger!  It's meant to be worn the other way around, I suspect, but I'm using it in place of my fingernail.)

I spoke with my sister-in-law a few nights ago, who has an extensive career as a seamstress and wedding dress maker.  She has made quite a few quilts but still doesn't count herself as much of a quilter...which means she knows waaaay more than me.

I've watched and read about the process of basting as a stitch, but how to approach a whole quilt is different.  I wanted to ask her about how to start, especially since my quilting will go from side to side.  A lot of the basting advice I've seen look like this:
  1. Tape down backing squarely
  2. Lay down batting
  3. Lay down top quarterly
  4. Begin in the middle and baste towards an edge, then the opposite edge.
  5. Then baste from the middle to the other two edges.
  6. Baste in even intervals parallel to both your first two basting lines (which will be in a cross form).
Then they talk about the quilting beginning from the middle and working it's way out.  

I've gotten a walking foot specially because I knew I'd be doing straight stitching on quilts - I love the repetition of straight lines in some modern designs - and I've had frustrating experiences with layers shuffling in the past.  I wondered if that might still be a problem with a walking foot and if basting would make a difference, and it does. So...

Tip of the day: If you're quilting path has a direction, baste perpendicular to that.  I'm basting in a north-south direction because my quilting will be east-west.

My basting is quite frequent, but I'm being finicky as I've not machine quilted before.  I ruined a fingernail (heavens!) with my straight-needle basting so I splurged $3 and bought a curved one.  

I'm not sure I love it yet - it's thick, it's hard to get a small stitch length and it's a bit flippy while wearing a thimble - but I suspect it's still better than a straight needle, especially if the holes can be worked out later.  The plastic thimble was in case the curved needles didn't workout, but I forgot how small my digits are - it almost slides to my second knuckle.  Still, trying out new toys is hardly a hard ask.  

Hope you were able to enjoy World Quilting Day somewhere too, even if it was simply to be under one! (A quilt, I mean, not a quilter.  Although...)

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