Friday 11 July 2008

How to get off the floor

If, like me, you dont like basting on the floor (my knees wont let me...and I've received several questioning emails on this topic, so I know I'm not alone...), here is how I baste at table level.

This is a technique I've seen on YouTube.

I believe in sharing quilting knowledge, so here goes!

At my local hardware store, I
purchased a 'door frame' which is two straight pieces of wood, and that was the closest
thing I could get - it was long enough and had a smooth polished surface (V. important!). It doesnt warp or distort with age.

My two pieces are 2.10m approx.

I have a high table, its a collapsible trestle table from Officeworks. And I added plumbing tubes to the legs to give it more height.

I iron my quilt top and backing. Then I wind up on each board length one front and one back so they are both wound up. The right side of the fabric is facing inside when wound. I help myself with a bit of masking tape so that it winds perfectly straight. I wind up the whole quilt top. Same with the back. Then I place the back board first on the table. I unwind from the board about half a metre. I then position the batting on top of it. Of top of this, I unwind about half a metre of the quilt top. Now I have a 3 layer sandwhich.

I secure the edge firmly with clips. I smooth out the three layers, pinning as I go, and unwinding a little more each time. The batting is loose between the two boards so I keep this in check as I unwind the boards, constantly smoothing the layers out to ensure they are mathcing. The boards are heavy enough not to more. Then I hand baste the large areas- especially on straight seams, pin some others until the whole quilt is basted, this usally takes about a day for a 80 inch quilt. I know I'm slow, bit I like to baste more than is necessary.

I continue unrolling the quilt and I can do it sitting down because everything is secure on the table.

Today while I was basting away, my dear friend Grace rang me and naturally I was complaining about pricking my fingers with the needles...and she gave me a great tip....use an old toothbrush (pluck the bristles out) sand it into a smooth surface and VOILA this tool is ideal for hand basting! THANK YOU GRACE! This is a valuable tool for me now.....everytime you dig the needle through 3 layers and come up again, you can save your finger tips and pull up the needle easily with a rocking motion.


  1. Thank you, I might give it a try though I'm worried about the lack of tension on the backing fabric. But it obviously works for you, so hopefully it will for me too.

  2. Gorgeous quilt, wow and so fast, you are amazing, I cannot wait to see how you quilt this beauty, thank you for sharing your journey, simply fabulous.... Ronda K Beyer

  3. About tension on the backing fabric, I did not have any problems because the boards were heavy and did not move. When I unwound the first half metre, I pulled both top and bottom fabrics taunt, and then weighted them down flat before unwinding further.

    I recommend that if you're considering trying this method, that you view it on under "basting" and its demonstrated by Sharon Schamber.Hope this helps!

    The only difference between my adapted method and the one shown is that my boards are bigger and heavier, 4 1/2 inch wide, 2.10metre long and 1 inch thick.

  4. I think this is the Sharon Schamber method from UTube and I have used it (for smaller quilts) and found it works wonderfully well.

    Esther your quilts are magnificent!!

    I'm on TQS too!



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