Basting and Quilting

I am always curious how other quilters put together their 'quilt-sandwich' and basting process. I was lucky enough to quilt my sister-in-laws quilt for her and mid-baste remembered to take pictures to show the process!

I lay out the quilt bottom and and pull it very taut and then tape it down every 3-4 inches with painters tape. Every few strips I reinforce the tape with another piece crossed over. I think getting the bottom part as stretched out and tight as possible is the key to a pucker-free quilt. I try lining one edge up against the grout line on my tiles, but i'm not too stressed about this on the bottom (more concerning if you are perfectly matching a backing design to the top design)

Then I lay my piece of batting on top (i'm highly partial to warm & natural batting in cream. I like it because it is thinner and very soft (not that you feel the batting but I still like the idea). I make sure to leave about 1-2 extra inches on the quilt bottom and batting. I have found that my quilts don't shift much and I usually end up cutting this off, but it is a safety measure.

Next, I lay the quilt top on top of the batting and center it leaving the 1-2 inches of batting / backing and if I have done any piecing on the back (which i usually do) I try to match it up where i would like it to be (i.e. center, etc). Then I cut off the extra batting around the quilt. i should mention that I like to buy my batting in bulk off the roll. It comes by the yard and is about 120 inches tall (i think) - I can usually get it around $6.00 / yard at Jo-ann's with a coupon. The extra leftover is perfect for baby quilts or smaller projects.

Once I have trimmed the batting, I smooth out the top and start pinning. This is not fun on the tile floor so I try to go as fast as possible! I pin in rows about 2-4 inches apart and go from the center out. The more pins the less chance of puckering.

After the pinning ceremony is completed I start working on the lines for quilting if needed. I chose a lattice design for this quilt crossing through the squares. To be exact i decided to lay down chalk lines. I do this is a very scientific way: I go to the garage and get my husbands 60" ruler from his construction days and lay it across the quilt matching corners as best as possible and using my chalk tool I draw lines. I have realized that once the quilting is done it's hard to find the crooked lines, so I guess it really isn't all that scientific at all - but I do find it extremely helpful to have the chalk lines as guides. Once this is done - it's off to the sewing machine with my walking foot - a must!


A Finish!

I did manage to finish 'Rocketboy' in 2010, just didn't get to post the pics. I was waiting for someone a bit taller to help me take pictures, but that never seemed to happen with good light outside. I think you can see the different parts with all the pictures and my sweet 7 year old holding his quilt!
The pic above is the back of the quilt and shows the back of the squares that i quilted in my variation of the 'square in square' method.

The rest of the quilting was straight line quilting anywhere from 1/4" to 1 1/2" apart. Mostly horizontal with vertical lines between the squares.

The front of the quilt! I still absolutely love the colors on this as it came together. Gray is probably my new favorite color and I've paired it with 2 shades of orange.

I know it's impossible to tell, but i did go bold on the color of quilting thread. Inside the 3 blocks I did an aqua blue and for the rest of the quilt I did an orange. I did stick with gray on the backside.

The picture above shows a good look at the square in square quilting on the frontside, inside the big square blocks.

I love how the binding turned out and the orange dots matched perfectly. I love combining different fabric lines for great combinations!

Finally, there was no pattern for this quilt. I found much inspiration from 3 particular blogs: Tallgrass Prairie Studio - Jacquie is my go-to for modern ways to quilt the quilt
Film in the Fridge - Ashley has the best ideas for modern pieced, quaint backings
Red Pepper Quilts - Rita gave me the original inspiration for the front of the quilt with the 3 big blocks - then i branched out from there - ironically my front inspiration came from one of her backings, which you can find a pic of here!
My goal was to only use items from my stash and mostly solid fabrics. I only had 4 fat quarters in the pattern (1 FQ per pattern). I did cheat and buy the binding. Everything else i had! Yippee!


love to quilt...

here is a sneak peek at the quilting on the rocketboy quilt....it all started with a little square in a square..
here is square number 2 up close.

i love to straight line quilt with my awesome walking foot!

another view -

i think i just finished debating how to finish the small top portion and then the larger bottom portion - overall the quilting has gone fairly fast - i think i started about 3 days ago, but my quilting spurts are short and limited. A sick child at home today helped me get in a good couple hours. hoping to finish over the holiday weekend!


the finale...

This is the final chapter on these placemats - they are finished and shipped off...a complete set of 5 times 2. I had fun making them and especially trying my hand at new quilting styles that I had been wanting to try. I think hands down my favorite is still straight line and the square within a square quilting method - both to do and look at.

Flower pattern

Square pattern (see the chalk lines?!)

More squares, or rather funky rectangles...

Simple, straight lines
I'm forcing myself to get down on the hard, tile floor and baste together the Rocketboy quilt after I finish this post. I want to quilt it, just dread the basting! I'm also working on starting a Christmas table runner that I hope to get done before the holiday!



I finished the fall table runner I was quilting for my mom last week, binding and all. I realized about 1/3 of the way through that I picked a rather 'over-zealous' quilting pattern as usual and it seemed to take forever to finish in my short spurts of free - time.
Up close you can see that I quilted a maple & oak leaf and then a tree pattern to match the shapes in the fabric.

I used a burnt orange color thread and a chocolate corduroy for the binding - Love Love Love the binding - I am going to do this more often - I really like the added texture it adds!

The backing may be my favorite part - I really like the pattern and I had to cut it to get it to fit the length so i added a little personal patchwork touch to it! I hope she likes it!

the entire back

I think you could easily reverse it and do both sides - i used a flannel remnant as the 'batting' so it is nice and then for the table - which i think gives it a more modern look and feel!


Placemat progress

I must say i'm a bit over sewing with this fabric....and i'm sure you are too! Hopefully this is the next to last post on the placemats! I have the final four quilted and waiting on binding. I do love how the quilting turned out though and because the placemats are 12"x18" it isn't a perfect square pattern..

I have consolidated my strips into this jar to keep them together and off the cutting / work table. I have added some solid strips from my scrap pile to give a little more diversity in the blocks. I'm not sure how many blocks i'm doing yet, but i have a feeling i may run out of this fabric stash - which really is the end-goal! I'm working on blocks 8-12 on these and have been doing them in group of 4 for no reason in particular...

One final strip to sew on the bottom of the rocketboy backing then on to the basting. Also piecing a backing for a table runner i'm quilting....hope to do today before the harvest festival...if i can get a certain little one down for a nap...happy sewing!


Rocketboy Update

My lovely quilt top all folded nice and neat with the binding fabric placed on top waiting for me to finish piecing the back (which i'm heading over to now)

A sneak peek at the top....

a close-up...

and the finale! i love this one and can't wait to quilt it - i think i know what i'm going to do...just need to pick out the thread color.....bold or subtle?