Sunday, June 9, 2013

Basting Away

 December 60" x 60"

This is my newest quilt "December" and the photo is the same as when I last blogged about it.  As you can see, there are no borders.

After many, many hours of consternation and trial and error, including some great ideas from my quilt group, I came up with a border appliqué design and thank goodness, the top is finally finished.  You can see a sneak preview below.  

Since this is not one of my larger quilts, I decided I'd tackle the machine quilting myself.  It has long been my goal to do all my own quilting, but I've never had the courage to tackle those 90" x 90" quilts.  

At this point otherwise, I'd be joyfully handing my quilt top off to my machine quilter.  Let her decide on the quilting design (though I usually had some ideas).  And no layering and basting required on my part!

In the past, I hand quilted most my quilts, so I've done my share of crawling on the floor and pin basting.  You know, it just never seemed right to be working on the floor like that.  Much less how not right the body felt afterward. 

I came upon Sharon Shamber's wonderful video about how to hand baste a quilt of any size while seated at a table.  I followed her instructions step by step and was able to accomplish this at my dining room table.  My herringbone basting stitch is a bit uneven, but  I was trying to avoid stitching on my appliqué motifs.   There are no puckers on the back and no pins to deal with.  I love the way I can smooth the quilt out, whereas with safety pins you can't do this.  It's also so much lighter and easier to handle without all those pins.  And it didn't take any longer to hand baste than it would to pin baste, believe it or not.  

Hand basting "December" in progress

Since starting this quilt,  I've been planning how to quilt it and what quilting designs to use.  With my large and very detailed central appliqués, there isn't space for much quilting but I will be outline stitching in and around all those snowflakes as my first step. 

Sue Nickels' new book: "Fabulous Feathers & Fillers" is wonderful and after reading it, I was able to draw my own feather design for the open spaces in my borders. 

I'm experimenting with different threads on sample sandwiches at this point, and then it's Happy Quilting Time!  

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