Sunday, August 31, 2014

HQ Sweet Sixteen Sunday - How to Baste a full size quilt without pins!

You know the feeling, your totally elated because you just finished your quilt top, but then you remember you now have to baste it and the thought of all those pins and sore aching fingers make you put your beautiful quilt top away for 'later'.

That was exactly what happen with this quilt top. I made it probably 2 ½ years ago. This was made so long ago that my style of quilt making has totally changed! Even my husband looked at it and said... "Thats a bit old fashioned for you isn't it!" From someone who has absolutely no interest in quilts I took that as a sign that I really should have finished this quilt a loooong time ago. hehehe

Ohh well, it was meant to be, because now I have a quilt that I have no emotional attachment too. This means I can play and practice different quilting techniques without worrying about the result having to be just right!

As always when I'm stuck for ideas on how to quilt a project, I pull out a few simple tools and start playing. I had the best night last night! I grabbed some paper and a pencil and just one template. I feel like having a pile of templates gets me distracted and I jump from template to template without pushing myself to come up with different designs that work.

Last night I chose the HQ oval template and started drawing some 6 inch squares (actually they were a bit smaller so I could fit 2 on a page). I started by drawing the oval in the middle of the block and then tried to fill up the block.

 First I filled the square up with regular feathers.
Then I tried changing the top of the feathers to an almost heart shape...
Then I tried using the full oval shape and just kept adding more and more ovals. This was looking quite messy until I started filling some of the areas with fills. I love how this one turned out!

My sister saw the 'heart' shaped feathers and thought they kind of looked like hibiscus flower petals. She challenged me to draw a hibiscus flower design.
I drew the first one on the left looking at flowers on google images and then I went to town just playing with my own imagination. I love how the echo and background fill made such a huge difference!

Anyway I got distracted, back to basting :)

I used to hate, and I mean really 'Hate' basting. I was told I had to stick my backing to a table (or floor or wall), lay the batting on top and then pin all the layers together. There's many reasons that I disliked doing this. First of all, I usually needed help or my fingers would be so sore I wouldn't be able to quilt my quilt for a week after!

I have a bad knee which meant I couldn't get down on the floor, so I had to work on my dining table and I kept scratching my table top with all those pins.

Another reason is all those pins made my quilt top so heavy that the drag was terrible! It's hard enough quilting a quilt on a small sewing machine, add in all the extra weight of 2000 pins and it just makes everything harder.

The main reason though is when you pin baste a quilt you are only holding together the layers where there is a pin! Sounds silly, but unless you put a pin in every single inch, there is just no way I could get a quilt pin basted that eliminated all the shifting. 

Then I discovered Basting spray! (can you hear the angels singing!) ;)

I just want to start by saying, not all basting sprays are great, some are pretty awful, but I have found that the 101 quilt basting spray by Helmers is awesome! You only need a small amount and it sticks all the layers together over the entire quilt surface (not just where the pins are) and pretty much eliminates the shifting.

This week for HQ Sweet Sixteen sunday I wanted to create a video that shows you how I baste a full size quilt. I use this technique for all my quilts, even king size quilts can be basted on an ironing board!! Grab a cuppa and I hope you find this video helpful.

Hugs Paula
Tools used include:
Helmar 101 Basting Spray
Matilda's own Wool/cotton/polyester batting
HQ Sweet Sixteen Basting feature


  1. All I have to say is...if you presented me with the same oval and asked me to fill in a'd end up with repeating ovals. I'm not kidding so please count yourself very blessed and talented!!!

    Now on to the basting is fast...but typically it is bad for the environment/ozone because it is an aerosol. At the same time....I"m thinking driving around in cars is bad for the environment too and probably much more damaging...and I do that all the time.