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!