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.
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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!
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Everything is Better when it is Quilted,