This week I added the final row of blocks to my sister’s postage stamp quilt. Each block is 16 little 2” squares of alternating light and dark fabrics in as many different colours as I could gather from my scrap bin. There were no new purchases for the top of this quilt at all (however the batting and backing were purchased specially – shh). While making this top it was really fun to look back and remember the stories of the experiments, successes and “okay, not doing that again”s that each fabric could tell.
It’s a big quilt top at 76 x 68”. When it was all pieced I just couldn’t quite face getting down on my knees for hours to baste it on the living room floor. (I think at 5months pregnant it’s ok to look for shortcuts here and there). So I decided to try using the dining room table. We have a heat protector and a vinyl table cloth on it so I was reasonably confident I could avoid sticking pins in my nice wooden table top.
The first third was easy. Just lay out and smooth the backing, layer the batting, and then add the top. I oriented everything to the top right corner because I knew I would have excess batting and backing to cut away and wanted to maximise the usability of the scraps.
Pin regularly. Here the postage stamp design was helpful to get regular pinning spots.
Once that portion had been pinned I trimmed the excess batting and backing leaving about 2” extra all around the top to allow for shifting during quilting. Then I grabbed a strong cardboard tube that I saved from a few years ago when I ordered some curtain fabric online. It has been sooooo useful over the years for rolling large quilts and once again it proved perfect for the job. I simply rolled the basted section up and then moved it across the table so I could start work smoothing the next quilt section.
And repeat for the final section.
Voila!! A pin pasted quilt without an aching back and knees. Success.
Now I know I’m taking a risk just pin pasting this. I could have thread basted it or added spray basting glue as I went. The table top method didn’t prevent this, my own laziness did. I’m (reasonably) confident that my quilting pattern will enable me to smooth as I go. My first line will be the long centre spine. Then I’ll be working my way out in lines every 4 inches (two squares) on one side so I can smooth outwards as I go. The advantage of pin basting is that you can reposition if you need to as you go along. Once one side is done I’ll come out from the centre spine on the other side in similar parallel lines, again smoothing as I go if needed. Finally I’ll add the perpendicular lines (again middle out to top and bottom edges) to complete the quilting. I’ll let you know how it turns out. Fingers crossed.