Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Couple of questions

Madigan enjoys the quilting process too ...
I am a self taught quilter ... been at it for about 2 1/2 years ... and for the most part have loved the experience!

But sometimes ... I am challenged.  And it seems that a BIG quilt magnifies some of the challenges ... so I thought I would share a few of the ones I experienced this week as I attempted to lay this queen size quilt out for basting ...

First ... how in the heck do you get the batting to laid out smoothly without tearing it?
Quilt batting just out of the bag

Second ... does anyone else get this weird wrinkling on one section of the batting (I think it's coming from the center of the bag) and do you know how to get rid of it?

Special wrinkled section in the middle
Third ... what tricks do you have to try to make sure that the top of the quilt is laid straight on the bottom of the quilt?  I try to butt it up against a wall and then do a consistent measurement, but wondering if anyone else has any good thoughts on how to do it effectively?
Measuring quilt top distance from wall
Fourth and final ... it's a big quilt, and invariable some squares get stretched out.  How do I account for this stretching when quilting so that it doesn't bunch up?
Green & gray blocks stretched out
Any thoughts you have would be welcome ... both for me and the other 104 readers of this blog!

All the best


  1. 1. I lay it out on carpet with no tape. The carpet grabs it enough. And I challenge anyone to find a pucker in one of my quilts.
    2. The stretch is annoying & the reason I prefer to buy off the roll (plus it's easier to manage scraps)
    3. Not sure where I saw it (maybe Katie Pedersen), but I notch the edge of the batting at important seam lines. Still hard to achieve perfection but it works pretty well.
    4. If it's really noticeable when you're sandwiching it's probably worth it to tighten up a seam or two. But sometimes you don't notice until quilting. When you quilt into a bubble, quilt through the middle of the bubble first, then the middle of the half bubbles, until the extra is evenly distributed.

    And I love the colorful quilt! I'm not usually a big fan of pink but I love how it pops here.

  2. I think Dan R hit the nail on the head with buying batting off the roll if you can, Do you iron or hang your batting before basting?
    A for your third question I use a horribly wasteful method, that is more than likely against the quilting "rules" but it works for me :) I make sure my backing is roughly 3-4" wider and longer than the top, if it's pieced I take into account I'll lose the edges, spay bast the heck out of it and lay the batting onto it. I cut the batting abut 1" smaller than the backing. this means when I lay the top over the 2 layers I can still see the outer edges of the backing to line everything up. I've also ben known to notch the edges of the backing if it's not wide enough to use the first method. Hope that makes sense!
    I love your quilt and the beautiful quilt model in the 1st photo!

  3. because I am a long arm quilter I too get my batting by the roll. when customers bring their own batting to me i drape it overnight so that it relaxes. you can try that.
    when i come up against stretched borders, blocks, i spritz them a little and the press. this usually take out a lot of the stretch. try it! of course it's easy to quilt out fullness if you are doing close quilting. :)
    i must say that for such a short time quilting, you are awesome!!

  4. I agree with rooee. Open up the package and drape it over a sofa over night. If it's cotton, try running it in the drier on no heat fluff for a few minutes. Basically, the batting needs to forget it was mashed into a bag. I also make sure my backing and batting are at least 2" larger then my top on all sides. Since I hand quilt and use a hoop this makes life simpler. It will also help when adjusting the top so it's not stretched. There isn't the need to meet a corner or side. I always use my eye to see if the piece is square.

  5. OK, here goes:

    1. I tape my batting to the floor - starting with one side, tape the corners down, then go to the other side and pull it taut, tape it down. Then one piece in the middle of each side to hold it in place and keep it from bowing.
    2. I've had that weird wrinkling, but didn't find that it made any difference after the quilt was washed. But hanging it up to let it relax is a good idea.
    3. I put my back on the batting first (I use spray basting). Then I trim the batt to the same size as the backing and flip the whole piece over, taping it to the floor again. Then, because your batting is the same size as your back, you can easily center the top on it. If you've got specific features on your back that you need lined up with your top, notching the edge of your backing/batting sandwich is a good idea. If your backing is wide enough, you can do big notches to make it easier to see across the quilt!
    4. As annoying as stretching is, I do find that if I carefully spread out the excess over an area, after it's washed you don't really notice it.

    Good luck!!

  6. I actually put a tutorial on my blog about the battling bubbles and wrinkles. Haven't tried draping it over the back of the couch overnight...

  7. I always put my batting in the dryer with a wet dishtowel for 10-15 minutes before I lay it out. This helps get rid of many of the wrinkles.

    I use the planks in my hardwood floor to try to line up the top and the back, but I'm not very good at this :) It helps if you trim the batting a little smaller than the back.

  8. I drape the batting over a chair over night and sometimes iron parts of it if it is wrinkled (that is a pain to do though !!)
    I use my kitchen island for basting and don't have many tricks, although am happy to read other people's ideas here!!
    I tend to spend a lot of time smoothing, and smoothing ...and smoothing.
    Love your quilt!

  9. I also buy off the roll,Lisa. I find if I put the batting in the drier it sometimes drier has a steam setting that works really well. My favorite batting is Warm and Natural.

  10. great questions Lisa - I'm really liking the responses and suggestions. I'm going to have to give Dan's carpet method a try. Currently, I use the kitchen floor for its tile grid, or the downstairs wood floor for helping me line things up. I buy off the roll, for the most part, but when I don't I take the batting out of the bag as soon as I can so that it relaxes. I'll drape it over a bed in the spare room. Since most of my quilts have been small to medium, I haven't had too much trouble with bubbles and stretches that I wasn't able to easily quilt out.
    I agree with rooee - you are awesome!

  11. I guess I do a bit of this & a bit of that as above really :-)
    I always buy my wadding off the bolt & I always allow a good 4 ins extra all around, likewise for the backing fabric.
    I lay the backing on my tiled conservatory floor & tape it down on all sides with masking tape - taut :-)
    I find I can then smooth the wadding down on top working from the centre outwards ( kills the knees!) & then the quilt top.
    I baste from the centre of the quilt outwards using quilters safety pins ( the curved ones) if anything I tend to over baste :-)
    Like you Lisa I love to make big quilts although I'm still a relative newcomer to the world of quilting!
    ......and back in the day I too had a setter, albeit red. His name was William & I loved him dearly :-)

  12. I know your quilt is done now, but I'll answer your questions since I just found your blog!
    1. I only buy Warm and Natural or Warm and White batting, and I don't have tearing issues. I also don't lay my batting out until it's going onto my backing fabric. So I don't let it "rest".
    2. I buy my batting on the roll at good 'ole JoAnn Fabrics. I tend to buy when it's on sale, so I'll get something like 10 yards at a time. It doesn't end up with that funky section. (My mom likes prepackaged batting, and she sometimes has this issue.)
    3. There is almost always a seam somewhere in my backing. So as I'm smoothing my top down on the sandwich, I feel for a seam in the backing and try to keep it lined up with my seams on the quilt top.
    4. The stretching....when I fmq, I do small sections at a time and I put a little bit of tension on the sandwich. There are inevitably small bubbles in the top, and doing this allows me to quilt everything flat. I know people you can't quilt out these sections, but I have - on both a short-arm quilting machine and a standard sewing machine. ;)
    I hope that helps you!
    PS I live in Seattle, too! :)


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