Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Pin Basting - A Cautionary Tale

Thank you for all your get well wishes!  I feel much better.  Funny, well enough to quilt, but not nearly well enough for housework.

Fabric APB!!
Julie is looking for a red fabric and I know how she is feeling.  Without the help of generous quilters I never could have finished my Mothers Garden quilt.   Please pop over to her post and see if you can help her.

On Sunday coco assisted me in the sewing room while I finished the Log Cabin top.  What a nice pup.

Today was quilt basting day.  I decided to offer step by step of how I pin baste on my table.  This method can be used with any sized table, even a card table.  A folded banquet table works well or you can make a table with plywood and 2 upturned trash barrels.

Line the surface with cutting mats.  I cut a really old one for the small spaces.

Fold each layer in half and half again to find the center.  Mark with a safety pin.

Lay the backing face down, centering the pin with the center of the table.

Using extra large binder clips, secure the backing to table.  Be careful not to stretch the fabric too much.   Also try and keep the fabric grain straight in both directions.  If you have a pieced back it is a good idea to secure those areas.

I like to let the batting "rest" out of the package for a day or so.  Here is coco helping it to relax.  Good girl.

Smooth the batting over the backing careful not to stretch or pull it.  Match the center pins on the backing and batting - and don't forget to remove the one from the backing so it's not quilted in.  (I used an old photo here, cause I forgot to take one this morning)

Last spring I quilted the backing to my daughters quilt on upside down, so now I'm going to mark the upper right hand corner and make sure both layers are the right way - duh....

All set for pinning!

I try to come up with a pinning plan and do the whole quilt the same way in each block.  This makes it easier to remove them later, I think. 

It is a good idea to add a few extra where the blocks meet and may shift.  I follow the rule of quilting the grid first, then filling in later.

Release all the binder clips before you close the pins.  This will take stress off the quilt.

This is really important:  Enlist all family member or guests that are hanging about to help you close the pins.  Thanks, honey.

After the center section is finished, shift the whole quit to the other side.  Binder clip the basted edges first, then smooth the layers and binder clip the backing again, and pin as before.  Repeat until all sides are basted.

Here comes the CAUTIONARY portion of this tutorial.  Do as I say, not as I do.

Do you notice anything strange about the bottom of this quilt?  Does it look like the backing will be long enough for top? 

I love being human.  I really do.  It is so funny sometimes.  As I'm preparing this whole thing to blog about, I have somehow miscalculated my backing and I'm short not just on the bottom, but the top as well.

JOY!  RAPTURE!  If I only had a brain.

This has given me such an interesting creative opportunity!  Hope you are having a fun week!


Diane said...

Thanks so much for sharing how you do that! I have been pin basting on the floor until now and my back does not appreciate it! I really wanted to try it on a table and was going to look for a tutorial on youtube, but you saved me the trouble. Also, Coco is so helpful, I think she earned a treat for assisting with this post. :) And for keeping it real, I am sure I'm not the only one who can relate to that! Thanks again, this was really helpful.

Me and My Stitches said...

Thanks for the help on my fabric plea! Were there any choice words when you discovered the short fabric? I would have been doing more than a little grumbling! I hate basting and it seems that no matter what I do it's never enough. I like to have mine machine basted, but have a hard time justifying that expense!

Laurie in Iowa said...

Emma and Owen hope I get back to quilting one day soon. They're looking forward to 'helping' me as much as Coco has been helping you.
Good dog!

OT Quilter said...

Great tutorial, Barb. Feeling well enough for quilting but not for housework is a good thing, I think! I just pin basted a quilt on Sunday; I taped safety pins to the center of my table and the center of each side, thanks to a tip from Cindy Needham. Cocoa and Rich are good assistants!

Pat said...

Love your post on so many levels. - the tutorial is great, a beautiful log cabin quilt, Coco assisting and that super guy of yours helping out. Really like seeing your green grass through the windows!! Is it Spring yet?

Carrie P. said...

Oh no! yes, be creative! Love how Coco likes to help.

Janet said...

Thanks for sharing this. I have a big table - I need to try this! It probably would work for thread basting too. Good job finishing up your long standing ufo. It looks great! We all make miscalculations at times :0)

Pattypiecer said...

Barb; Thanks for reminding us that we are all human and make mistakes, we just have to look at them as another learning experience, laugh at ourselves and move on. Good Job!!!!

Sujata Shah said...


Thanks for the lovely tutorial and a good laugh. I am so glad to know you are well enough to quilt and blog about boo-boos that come along. Makes me feel better about my mistakes while basting.
I use my table all the time for basting. Never put family and guests to work. Good tip. I am using it next time for sure!

Karen M said...

Thank you so much for this post. You have made me feel so much better. I can't tell you how many times I have had to refigure the size of my quilt backing because I have miscalculated the first time. It isn't even geometry. It's just addition and I can't even do that right. Sigh. Isn't addition an elementary school skill? I am a professor for crying out loud (but math is not my area).

Ruth said...

I like your system! Been there & done that with the backing being too short. What fun!!

One Minnesota Quilter said...

Ha-ha...great post. I thought Co-co had a snarky look on his face when he was sitting on the batting....he was way ahead of you on this one!! :D

We have ALL been there!!


Anonymous said...

Glad you are feeling better again, I just pin basted my log cabin and I do it just like you on the table, the funny thing my backing was not placed right and one side just a little short. Will I eer learn to check twice..... Grin

Kyle said...

I'm glad you're so health conscience. It's good to avoid housework and to recruit family members to help baste, especially when you're recuperating! Sorry your backing was short.

Janet O. said...

I have always pin basted on the floor and I have wondered about trying it on a table. You have certainly shown me everything I need to know.
I loved the human element in the whole story. : )

Karen said...

What a pretty quilt. Wish I could say I've never done that, but, I can't say it. Your new back will be that much more interesting.

Jan said...

Two Wows for you today -
1 for getting this together so darn fast.
1 for laughing instead of swearing when you found out the backing was too short. (Did you just sew on extra at each end, or unpin?)

Maureen said...

Thanks for sharing how you baste. Sure beats crawling around on the floor! Though I do get some puppy love when I'm down there. lol So glad you finished this top - what fun fabrics on the back. Will you just add more backing to fix your oops? Seems there is always something that can go wrong no matter how careful one is. Hope it isn't too painful of a fix.

Kyle said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
libbyquilter said...

oh, gosh dang it~! don't ya hate it when that happens~!? lol
love the shot of Coco relaxing the batting.


libbyquilter said...

oh, gosh dang it~! don't ya hate it when that happens~!? lol
love the shot of Coco relaxing the batting.


baukje said...

Very helpful and Coco is GREAT too.

antique quilter said...

had to laugh at the picture of Coco in the middle of the blocks! too funny!!!! great idea to baste on a table I may have to think bout that and see if it would work on our kitchen table too. surely would save my back!
Wow so nice of Rich to help, lucky you!!!!!
have fun quilting it and I can't wait to see the back of the quilt too!

Thimbleanna said...

You're SO funny! Sorry about the little mistake -- think of the fun you'll have fixing it. I see you have a helpful hubby like mine. I enlist everyone's help -- on the last quilt, Mom un-pinned all the pins to get them ready and hubby helped close.

Thanks for posting about the table -- what a great idea. I used to lay my quilt out on the entry tile floor, but it's wood now, so I can't do that. I go to my mom's entry tile now, but I know someday I'll have to move to my pingpong table. And, thanks to you, I now know how to do that!

Nancy said...

Helpful photos and step-by-steps for this process. Looks like some really interesting fabrics on the backing... look forward to your show & tell. Let us know how you solve the problem of the too short backing. I envision you lying on the floor, hand sewing some extensions on each end! Coco by your side of course.

Chantal said...

So happy to hear you are feeling better! Of course housework takes a whole different level of health!!!
I love the log cabin - just stunning! Coco is so sweet and good company too I bet. So sorry about the back of your quilt. Yes, I have done that too!!! And yes, it is wonderful to be human.

Lane said...

Been there, done that...once that I'll admit to (maybe more, I'm just not sayin'). You will find a creative solution...but can you do it without pulling all those pins? Lane

audrey said...

Thanks for the tutorial! We (my mom & I) used to pin baste on her large table, but we used duct tape instead of the big clips. Those look like they would work so much better!

Pinkadot Quilts said...

You made me chuckle....you are definitely keeping it real,

Anonymous said...

Onward to a speedy recovery!

Thanks for the great tutorial. I like the helpers. :-)

May I suggest a large can of tomatoes under each table leg. It would save your back quite a bit.If you prefer some bed risers, but they cost $$ and I rather spend it on fabric!

Rachaeldaisy said...

This is such a great demonstration!! My table would be two small for basting,I have wondered about the planks option. I've never heard of pinning after taking the clamps off, it's those little tips that make all the difference! Thanks for the photo of Rich helping, I've tried to entice Phil to help with pinning but he runs a mile, I just showed him the photo.. Coco is such a cutie!! I noticed you've used some very fun fabrics on the back of your quilt, shame it was a bit short, oops, I look forward to seeing how you fix it.

Anonymous said...

Poop! the basting process isn't tedious enough w/o finding that out at the end? If I were you, I would chalk it up to P.N.F.H. (post nasal fuzzy headedness) syndrome...lol. If it isn't integral to the design or bed size, I would hack off a row of the l.c. blocks on each end...voila...another instant runner...lol. Jill

Lori said...

Harriet Hargrave shows this way step by step in one of her books. I'm pretty sure her backing would never be too short! lol
Loved your step by step way better!! It's much more typical of the average quilter.

Anonymous said...

Oh gosh! I have done this too and I have only been quilting for.....25 years! Yikes! Silver anniversary for quilting? Maybe I should buy myself a gift....LOL

Kim said...

Oh dear, please tell me you could add more to the back without having to unpin all that area. What a Dear husband you have to help you close the pins....what a sweet picture too.

Tell us how you resolved this little oversight. I just love the log cabins blocks it is going to a real beautiful quilt and well worth the effort even if you had to pin it twice.

Happy Sewing

OPQuilt said...

Your Coco is a really great helper! Fun to see this tutorial--like many of your readers, I'm tired of lolly-gagging around on the floor, so the table top idea is brilliant.

But I have to say I love this Log Cabin, maybe because it is an 18-year old UFO and is now coming to completion. But I love the close-ups seeing all the different fabrics. It's wonderful!

Maxine said...

I noticed that CoCo was nowhere to be found when your hubby was closing up the pins.. :) Thanks for sharing!