|The First Pins are In!|
I had difficulties with the ironing and starching of the quilt top and backing, which I was doing on a regular ironing board with Niagara spray starch and lots of steam. I am a child of the Permanent Press generation, and I have no experience with starch. No, scratch that -- I once attempted to launder and starch my husband's dress shirts, and he asked me never to do so again because people would make fun of him if he went to work looking like that. So I ended up creating all kinds of distortion and stretching with my bungled pressing and starching process, and my mom came to the rescue and helped me get everything nice and flat again afterwards. I think the problem was that the weight of the quilt top was pulling and stretching around the tapered end of the ironing board, because I had a series of "bubbles" at regular intervals going down the center of the quilt top and backing, each bubble uniformly the size and shape of the ironing board tip. Maybe I shouldn't have used steam? Maybe I was using too much starch at once, getting everything too wet before pressing? Ideally, I think that job would have gone better on a larger rectangular surface, like if I wrapped the top of my cutting table with heat proof padding like a drapery workroom table. Next time!
|Backing Centered and Clamped, Wrong Side Up|
A word about my table: My cutting table is about 30" tall, with a 72" x 54" surface. Bigger is not better, in this case. I want my husband to rebuild it so it's only 36" wide, because I'm having to reach too much to get at the center of the table. It is also taking up too much real estate in my studio, which I'm planning to completely reconfigure this summer for a more workable floorplan that can accommodate a desk with a computer near my sewing machine. I find I'm using the computer more and more in my sewing, not just with the embroidery software, but to access online manuals, sewing blogs, tutorials, etc. I also like to set one of the boys up in my room sometimes when they have a school project to work on that requires a lot of concentration, and a little computer desk would be perfect for that as well.
|Batting Smoothed in Place Over Backing Fabric|
By the way, why am I using silk batting? I have wanted to try silk batting ever since I took a hand quilting class with Dierdra McElroy of Roxanne International several years ago. She passed around a hand quilted sample with silk batting, and it was just the snuggliest, softest, lightest thing you could imagine. Wendy Sheppard raves about how well this particular silk batting does for machine quilting, remaining soft and drapable no matter how densely she quilts it, so I decided to give it a try. The manufacturer says to expect approximately 5% shrinkage with this batting. It's actually a 90/10 silk/poly blend that can be quilted up to 3 1/2" apart, and the washing instructions are "hand wash in tepid water and dry flat." Hmm... I don't do hand washing, but my fancy washing machine has a hand wash cycle that should do the trick. The "dry flat" part may be more of a challenge, but maybe I can get away with machine drying it on low heat, delicate cycle? Maybe I can at least partially machine dry, and then find someplace in the house where I can lay it out flat over towels, where the dogs can't get at it? We'll see.
No more tangents! Back to my project!
|All Three Layers, Ready for Basting|
|Curved Safety Pins for Basting and Kwik Klip Tool|
Now that I'm going over all of this in my head again, I'm glad I have less than 10 safety pins in the quilt so far, because I want to double check to make sure that the appliqued Scrabble label on the quilt backing is completely underneath the quilt top, so I won't cut part of it off when I trim off the excess backing fabric. It would be REALLY ANNOYING to spend hours pin basting the entire quilt and then have to take all the pins out, shift the layers, and start over again!