Thursday, April 23, 2009

basting in a tight confined space....

Cathi mentioned in her comment that she was amazed at how I got big quilts pinned/basted in such a limited space. Well that sounds like a great idea for a post!! It's not easy but if you work methodically you can get it done with ease. Here's how I do mine.

My room has a center cutting table from Joann's. Most of you have probably seen it at some point. The big white one with the drop leaf sides. I keep one side open all the time for cutting with one side down because otherwise I'd never be able to move in here! I don't have the floor space to lay out anything, and it would be covered in cat hair if I did, even if I vacuumed 10 times before starting! Besides WHO exactly would be getting on the floor? Not me!! Kim has a wonderful system of using two folding table together to lay out her quilts and I thought of doing that in my dining room but I realized I'd have to use paint can or bricks to bring it up to the height I needed so I didn't end up bent over the table.

My room is packed! Just look at the enlarged picture above. My design wall has tubs on the floor under it and my Juki sit right there waiting for me to need her. The drop leaf is down as you can see, and I used my small ironing board to show off the border, but you can see the area for walking in the picture. I can walk around three sides of the current system and the other left side is doable but being so fat I really have to squeeze if my sewing machine table has the leaf up for quilting too. When I made the table I included a 12" drop section to give me more table top for quilting. Piecing can be done with the leaf down.

So to the good stuff...how do you baste a big quilt in such a small space? First, I use a big table from Joann's that's 36 x 70. It's also 34" or so from the ground. That allows me to pin with no bending over at all. I start at one of the corners and lay out my backing on the table pulling it taut but not stretched...we all know the rules for layering right? I usually let it hand over about 2-3" inches off the table and that gives me the extra I need so I can lay the top right at the edge of the table. I use the big clips to hold it to my table top. I can pin half the quilt from one side and move to the other to pin the second side. Above shows it all laud out ready to start pinning.

Once I get that first full table section clipped I pull off all the clips and slide the quilt over keeping the top edge the same, just so the last pins are on the table edge. I clip down that basted edge and and then carefully pull back the top and batting just enough to smooth out the backing, making sure it's taut and clip it again...then the batting... clipping it down. Then I smooth out the top and pin everything on that table top. Smooth fro the center out towards the edges. If I have to move it again I do! This quilt was small enough to only need one move, but you keep moving section by section until the whole top width of the quilt is pinned.

Now the whole top edge is done. SO I un-clip and slide it down to do the bottom to the corner...if it fits. OR in this case I turned the quilt, getting the whole bottom in one section on the length of the table. Go through all the layer again clipping. Here's a little map I drew to show how I work. The black lines are the table orientation and the red arrows show how you move, section to section.
The 4 Seasons was small so I did section 1, then moved to #2, and was able to turn the quilt so all of the lower 15 " or so could be on the table for Section 3! For a larger quilt, just move along getting that top section done, then slide down to 4...moving back across the center, then work out the bottom the best way it fits.

It's all in keeping it very methodical, one table sized section at a time. The size of the room I can't help for the time being. Hubby's offered to switch bedrooms, or even let me have the whole front of the house...but I make this work for me until I have to space to invest in a big frame with rollers...then watch out!

10 comments:

Emilio said...

http://deciloquequierass.blogspot.com/

Good Bloog my friend!! Congratulations!!

good luck!! See you!

Darlene said...

I'm always amazed at how much you accomplish, Judy! Great show of your way of doing!

Quilt Hollow said...

We do what works don't we! When there is a will there is a way!! All those years in the military I was in confined spaces and just did what I could and made it work. Love that illustration too!

Jeanette said...

Thanks for showing how you do it. It's always easier to see with pictures.

Karen said...

Thanks for sharing. I, too, wondered how you were doing the basting in limited space.

clipping path said...

This is really great work. "Super". Great show of your work. Thanks for sharing.

Regards,
background removal

magy said...

That quilt is awesome.. Great work.
Maggey

Shasta said...

It is a beautiful quilt. Thanks for the tutorial - I generally use the floor, but I would really like to try to figure out how to use a table, but like you, I'd have to do it in sections.

amandajean said...

that way of basting sure beats crawling around on the floor to baste. (my current method.) thanks for the tips on the too small quilt backing. i had to patch in a section of backing, but i squeaked by. now, unto the next! :)

disa said...

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