Archive for April 25th, 2009


IMG_3379, originally uploaded by Shear Delight.

I finished this quilt top yesterday (see those beautifully square corners! I’m so proud) and now it’s on to basting and quilting.

My first quilt was done entirely by hand from a kit and the instructions that came with it said to thread baste it. So naturally when I moved to my second and third quilts (done on a machine) I thread basted those as well. Bad idea! They were both pucker city! Thread basting didn’t keep things from slipping and sliding as they moved quickly through the machine and the basting thread often got caught in my machine, gumming things up anymore. I made it through both quilts but this time I vowed to do things differently!

Pin basting is usually recommended as the method of choice when machine quilting, just remember to take the pins out before quilting over them.

You will need:

  • Curved quilting pins
  • A knitting needle, crochet hook or similar device (to help pin everything in place)
  • Painter’s Tape (or other low tack tape)

Step 1:

Lay your quilt back wrong side up on a large flat surface


Step 2:

Starting at one end start taping your quilt down, making sure to smooth out the wrinkles as you go.


You want the fabric to be taunt but not stretched.


I didn’t tape all the way around this time because I was skeptical and wanted to be able to reach under the quilt if need be to get a safety pin through. This wasn’t ever necessary and next time I will tape around the entire perimeter of my quilt.


Step 3:

Lay out your batting (I used Warm and Natural, I got 10 yards of it using a 40% off coupon at Jo-Ann’s).


As you can see my batting isn’t large enough to cover the quilt. I was using two pieces left over from my previous quilts. It’s not a big deal. You can easily whip stitch two pieces of batting together to complete your quilt.


Make sure you when you join the two pieces you butt them up next to one another without any gaps. But, don’t stitch too tightly or you will create a ridge in the middle of your quilt.

Step 4:

Lay your quilt top right side up on top of your batting.


Smooth out any wrinkles, moving from the center outward.

Step 5:

Go grab these


I recommend opening all of your safety pins before you start and then storing them open you when are done. This relieves some strain on your wrists during the project and shortens the amount of time it would take to baste your quilt. Plus those things are a pain, the less you deal with them the better.

The knitting needle is used to assist in closing the pin. This video demonstrates the idea. I don’t have the special tool that she does but after attempting to close exactly one pin on my own I immediately started searching for a substitute.


Once the pointy end of your safety pin comes up through the fabric you want to slide your knitting needle underneath to hold it in place.


Then it’s much easier to close your pin.


Step 6:

Start basting in the middle of your quilt and work outwards.


The general consensus is that you want to pin every 4-6 inches. Ensuring that you smooth out any remaining wrinkles as you go.


The more pins you use the more secure everything will be but remember you will have to unpin these as you quilt, so sometimes less is more.

If you, like me, were a little skeptical that the pins would slide all the way through, here is a picture of the backside.


Step 7:

Remove the tape and move on to quilting. Most people recommend having four more inches of batting and backing around the entire quilt but if you are sending this out to be quilted on a long arm machine you should see what they require/recommend.


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