Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Most Important Part of Machine Quilting...

The most important part of machine quilting is the basting. Repeat after me: The Most Important Part of Machine Quilting is the Basting.

For 20 years I pin basted. I would put on a movie and place a safety pin every 4 inches across the entire surface of the quilt sandwich. I actually enjoyed this process and found it relaxing. It worked fairly well to stabilize the 3 layers of the quilt sandwich and I was satisfied with the results. The only drawback was removing the safety pins as I quilted. Many times I would nearly run over the top of them if I was concentrating on my stitching, and not so much on the pins coming along into the path of the needle.

Thanks to Patsy Thompson I now use Basting Spray. After watching one of her DVD's I decided to give spray basting a try. That was 2 years ago and I haven't gone back to pin basting yet.
Click Images to Enlarge:

Basting spray can be found at your local quilt shop, fabric stores and department stores. One can will do several large quilts. The most important part of using basting spray is.......shaking the can very well for at least 2 minutes! If it isn't shaken well, the adhesive will not stick and your quilt sandwich will come apart.........ask me how I know this? So......shake it well......until you feel like you are shaking pudding. You will be amazed at how well this holds the layers together......it really works!

The second most important thing is to spray baste outdoors. The fumes can be a bit overwhelming. I suggest a warm day with no wind. If spraying indoors, the adhesive can travel through the air and land on your........sewing machine.........not good. I try to keep my basting to outdoors when possible. On rainy days, the garage is a good location to spray baste, or a covered patio area.

For a large quilt I set up 2 of these banquet tables to support most of the quilt. Today I am preparing a 40 x 40 inch wall quilt, so I only needed one table. Layer the quilt sandwich, shake the can very well, and spray each layer individually, press the next layer on top, spray it, then press the final quilt top layer down. The quilt sandwich will stick together immediately.......providing you have shaken the can of baste spray very well. The first time you do this it is good to have a friend help you. I can now baste a king size quilt by myself without any problems.

Now that the quilt sandwich is basted, the next thing I do is spray my quilting surface with Silicone Spray. I love this product. It makes the surface so slippery, the quilt sandwich just glides across the tables like it's on ice skates.

I use several tables in front and beside my sewing machine to fully support the quilt sandwich, and all of these are sprayed with silicone. It will not harm your tables, I even spray it on the bed of my sewing machine. It will not harm your machine. The silicone dries immediately and you can get right to work machine quilting.

My quilt sandwich is in place, it is fully supported by the tables, it doesn't hang off the edge, I am now ready to get to work.

Free Motion or Darning Feet.........which one to choose? This one came with my machine. It is a large plastic, oval shaped foot. It does a good job, but I cannot do precision work with it, as it doesn't allow me to see intricate details very well.

This darning foot is a small circle and works very well. I purchased it when I realized the first darning foot obstructed my view.

This has become my very favorite foot for free-motion quilting. It is a circle with a bite out of the side. See how good my view is as I look down through the foot. I can do very detailed and precise quilting and see just exactly where the needle is going. I love this foot!

I have basted, prepared my work surface with silicone, chosen the darning foot........all I need now are my favorite tunes on the stereo and 12 hours to get this baby quilted!

CLICK HERE to view My Quilts

To see more New Work CLICK HERE

To see more Thread Shed CLICK HERE

To see more Free Motion Work CLICK HERE

Everything is Better when it is Quilted,


taylorsoutback said...

Amen LuAnn - I spray basted my quilt Saturday in the basement with the door partially opened - the next best thing to outdoors. But I can see one thing I am fighting - you have so much more room to your left then I do...must make manipulating a large top a lot easier! Think I will move things around this morning...thanks for the great photos and I am jealous of your wonderful green surroundings!

Bethany said...

I do like spray basting, but I must not be shaking it hard enough. I end up pinning anyway so I gave up. Fusible batting would do the same thing and I'd have to keep pressing it with my iron. I'll have to try shaking the can for my next project and see how it works.

Lynn said...

I've been working on my free motion quilting. I love this foot - might need to get one for myself - thanks for the tip

Vicki said...

beautiful quilt. I haven't tried spray basting yet, I should give it a try.

LuAnn Kessi said...

Hi Vicki,
Don't hesitate......run out and get a can of basting spray......and shake, shake, shake it well.
Start with a small size quilt until you get the hang of it. Good Luck!
LuAnn in Oregon

Linda said...

What a beautiful quilt! Loved visiting.


Cindy's Stitching said...

that is just stunning. love the colors

Julie said...

I have never heard of basting in a can. I am wondering if you can roll the large quilts up (you know, for maneuverability)? Will it still hold the layers together?

I have not machine quilted yet, but I have one small and two mediums tops waiting for my courage to show up!
Julie in WA

LuAnn Kessi said...

Hi Julie,
I don't recommend rolling the quilts up, the roll is too heavy and stiff and difficult to move around. I fluff and stuff or bunch and cruch the quilt under the throat area. Never put more than half the quilt under the throat space. I do recommend to beginner machine quilters to start out with tiny projects like placemats and tablerunners to perfect their free-motion quilting skills, then move up to baby quilts, lap quilts, etc.

Toni Whitney said...

Luann, your quilt's are beautiful! Would you ever consider trading for a painting?