Tuesday, January 8, 2008

More basting info

I was asked for a little more info on my hand basting. I use very long needles, John James long darner size 7. The bigger the number the smaller the needle. I have tried 9's but they kept snapping in half. I have found the 7's to be thin enough and sturdy enough to do the job. They will get a bend in them after you have basted awhile but I keep using them until it is bent too far.

The thread I use is the finest quality 2 ply that I can find. I like the Mettler, fine embroidery, size 60/2. That number means size 60, 2 ply. This is a silk finish thread that pulls through the quilt like a dream. I have tried the cheap, hairy basting threads on the market and they take forever to pull through the layers. I want to baste fast and easily.

My basting rows are approximately 6-7" apart, about the length from my thumb to little finger, so that is my measuring stick. If the pattern is 6" blocks, then it is along the edge of every block, so sometimes I am able to just use the quilt pattern to gauge the distance. I never baste over the top of a seam where 2 blocks join, always to one side of it when I do a row of basting.

You always baste from the center out so find the center of the quilt and do one row to the top, one to the bottom, and one to each side. These are your center lines which all other basting will start from. When I am finished I have rows going both directions all over the quilt, in other words it looks like squares, or a plaid. Your basting rows are your guide when quilting to see whether the top is moving. If, as you approach a basting row, the top starts humping up, you know you have to ease it in before you reach the basting row.

This little quilt is another old one, made from Debby Caffrey's "Noodle Soup" book. All of the blocks are on the bias so it is tricky keeping it square to sew on the border.


Anonymous said...

"Noodle Soup" all blocks on the bias. That is quite an accomplishment, and I can see it would be quite tricky making the entire piece yet alone your comment about the border. But you did it again; another one of your treasures.

Your basting lesson is so helpful. I have used long needle with BIG EYE, darners for years with my tailoring projects. It makes good sense to follow through with your technique with quilts. Thanks. J~MT

meggie said...

How interesting. I baste in that pattern you have described. However I never knew or thought much about the thread or needles I use!

That quilt is very pretty.

TB said...

This is very useful information. Thanks!

Ailsa (Cape Pincushion) said...

Thank you, extremely helpful! I just looked through all your basting posts. Now I know exactly what to do!