Saturday, December 05, 2015

From the Deli : Board Basting a Quilt Sandwich

I happened to catch a video on this novel board basting technique by Sharon Schamber.  It could have only been developed by a long-arm quilter who uses the rods to keep the back and top straight and even in the machine quilting process.  The boards serve a similar purpose in this technique, but because they are flat (not round), they stay put better.     Here's another blogger demonstrating the technique (I think this is where I first stumbled upon it.)   Since Sharon S. and Color Me Quilty explained it so well, I won't make this a tutorial, but I will highly recommend this method as no nonsense, quick and easy.  Look at how FLAT the sandwich is.  I've always had trouble with this step in the past.  I LOVE this technique!

I asked my husband to cut some pine boards 8 ft x 3 inches x 3/4 in.  8 ft would cover the largest quilt I'd be able to make (a Double), and these boards will fit in my car (barely) so I can take them to Quilt camp where I will have the space to use them properly.   I had him make a 2nd set 6-1/2 feet long for twin-size quilts.  In the meantime, I need to label and store them, so they don't get used for something else.  Doh!   What do you suggest for binding the boards together?

At Quilt Camp last month, pin basting a quilt was my main project.  I thought it would take most of the day on Saturday.  With this board basting technique, it took only about 1 hour and 15 minutes to work up a large Twin quilt.  It was amazingly fast, easy, and orderly.  I can't believe I never tried it, nor heard of it before.

A few tips that I think made the process easier for me :
1) Used the 6-1/2 foot boards, appropriately sized for this quilt.
2) Since the quilt I was working on was a Twin Long (half of a King), I used a queen-size batting.  I like Hobbs 80/20 cotton poly because I love how it crinkles up for an antique look after it's washed, and the quilt tops and batting sort of stick to it (without spray adhesive) while you're working out this basting step.
3) The Backing :  2 yards of a 108 in quilt backing.  These are so wonderful and so worth the price!  No messing with trying to piece together a backing to get it the right size.  And these come starched so they lay nice and flat (after you've ironed out the folds).  It behaves nicely.   2 yards fit my quilt just about perfectly with only about 6-inches to cut off.
4) Used 2 large tables together as my work space.  The Quilt top and bottom were wound onto the boards.  I used painter's tape to start them out evenly on the boards.  That helped keep them even throughout the winding process.  The batting hung freely in between.  I smoothed thing out as I went.

What you see pictured is a smallish Christmas Quilt top made by my dear Auntie Rosita who died a few weeks ago.  I asked Unca Ray if I could have this top to finish it.  He said yes.   It will be a good one to try quilting on the Featherweight as it's small.

At this step, though, I can't bring myself to do the hand basting with the herringbone stitch, as Susan S. demoed in the video  I struggle too much with hand stitching, tangled threads, and stitches that pull out -- but maybe someday I'll take that step.    It's not an appropriate technique for the quilt I have in mind -- pin basting should work.  But I will still need to make sure the quilt sandwich is properly lined up and even, and this board basting technique makes it look so much easier than taping and struggling with those too-large pieces of fabric.

Have any of you, my gentle readers, used this technique?
What did you think?
I'm definitely sold on it!

1 comment:

The Idaho Beauty said...

This reminds me a bit of the Grace Company system on the full size quilting frame I once owned when I actually handquilted double and queen-size quilts. No need to baste prior to putting in the frame as there are separate bars for backing and top, and there is a similar rolling sequence except your "boards" are being held up by the frame ends and there are cogs to keep them from unrolling while you quilt. So I can see how this board basting method would really work slick. If you are interested in how the Grace frame works, you can look at this pdf instruction, starting at about page 8:

As for keeping your boards together when not in use, I used long strips of selvage I'd saved to keep the bars together when the frame was broken down for moving. Just wrapped one a few times around and tie a bow. Do this at each end and several places in the middle. You can also wrap in an old sheet first to protect from dust.