Tuesday, February 12, 2008

My Scrap Quilt

basting the quilt sandwichWARNING - If you habitually read Bean Sprouts with images turned off and if you think this quilt might be for you and if you want it to be a surprise, then don't click on the picture.

My scrap quilt is coming along nicely. The centre (the bit made up of patches) is finished, and the borders are added. In other words the top (the bit you're supposed to look at) is complete and it's time to baste the quilt sandwich. I made a back by sewing together about a dozen biggish pieces of fabric from my stash, then I laid it on the floor and placed the batting (stuffing) and the top onto it.

Because the top is large these three layers need to be held together temporarily whilst I am machine-quilting it. At first I tried to do it with a quilt tack gun. This is the same thing shops use to hold price labels onto clothes with a plastic tag. Unfortunately when I had shot hundreds of little plastic tags through the quilt and turned it over there were lots of wrinkles and folds on the back. This is no good, but I couldn't face snipping the tags and basting it with the gun again because my back was in agony. I had to try another way.

I've never used spray baste before. It's a sort of glue you spray onto the batting and lie the fabric on top. You can unpeel it and reposition if it isn't quite right. I bought a can and gave it a try - now I'm a reluctant convert. A convert because it does exactly what it says on the tin. Reluctant because I'm not happy about relying on a product that comes in an aerosol can when there is a low-impact alternative. However I had to balance the impact on the environment with the impact on my back, and the spray can came out a clear winner (but I've been told that a basting technique explained in Harriet Hargrave's book Heirloom Machine Quilting will solve all my problems - I'll let you know how it goes when the book arrives).

By eleven o'clock last night the quilt was basted to my satisfaction. This morning I made a label and slip-stitched it to the back, so the quilting stitches will go all the way through it and make the label impossible to remove. And I've begun to stitch-in-the-ditch (machine quilt straight lines along all the major seams). Once that's done the fun can start and I can add decorative free-motion quilting - a bit like free-hand drawing with a sewing machine. I still have no idea what designs I will use. That's how I usually work - I create one stage at a time and then stare at it for a bit until inspiration strikes about what to do next. I don't usually plan the whole quilt with blocks, setting, borders, backing, quilting and binding all clear in my head before I begin work.

It could be weeks before this quilt is finished. It depends how carried away I get with the quilting. I usually quilt things to death, with lots of very close stitching lines. But this is a big quilt and I might be able to resist the temptation to stipple all over it as that would take forever. I think a few big motifs are more in order for the centre, with some kind of pattern in the border, such as feathers.

8 comments:

kethry said...

know *exactly* what you mean about the back issue and quilting.. in fact i swore after i did the two i sent you pics of way back when that i would never do another one!! the air was blue after i'd finished it.

having said that, i wouldn't mind doing one of those quilts without any padding - the kind you can put on the bed, as a cover. maybe a project for march. or april. or something. heh.

keth
xx

Steph in Roker said...

The patchwork I've done has then been sewn with a back piece to make a duvet cover, with buttons or a zip at the bottom, to slip what we call a duvet, or an eiderdown in American (I think) inside. I've never quilted. Mel has an amazing book with examples of patchwork which has then been quilted in a different number of ways to show how the quilting can dramatically change the appearance of a pieced thing, quilt, whatsit. You know what I mean.

Aunt Debbi/kurts mom said...

I tried to use the quilt tack gun thing once. Same results you had wavy back. Now I just masking tape the back to the floor and use big safety pins to hold it all together. That keeps the back smooth for me. I can't use the spray stuff, it is too hard to hand quilt through.

Skipweasel said...

Couldn't you spray the back with a thin layer of treacle? It'd wash out OK, but stick nicely in the mean time. (remove tongue fully from cheek before replying).

kathyann said...

love the colours of your quilt,its worth persevering to get it finished,but it can be so annoying when the thing keeps puckering up!love from Kathyann and the girls at meg's mum's muffins

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