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Hi. I am looking for suggestions on how to baste a large quilt.  I live in a condo and so am limited on space.  I've always done smaller quilts on the floor, but that leads to stiffness.  I have finished quite a large top and now need to baste it together.  Should I try basting on the floor or a bed?

 

Thanks for the ideas.

 

Lisa

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When I'm doing a big quilt, I always start basting in the "middle" of the quilt and then work my way outward to the edges in a clockwise (or counter clock wise) fashion like the ripples of water move outward if you drop a stone in it.

The best place I've ever found to baste big quilts is on my kitchen table. (Even a coffee table or desk will work beautifully-I'm not aiming for height, just a decent space that is firm and flat) I clear it off, and "center" my back, then batting, then top draped equally over the surface ( "centered"). Then I take 4-8-16 heavy objects (phone books, hand weights, bricks, stones, large cans of food etc.) and "weight" all the layers equally on all four sides. (If I'm working on a coffee table or another surface where the quilt drops all over the floor-I'll put the "weights" on the floor so I can baste more on the top) I start on one side and then move to the side opposite (important) of the first one I weighted, and gently stretch and weight that side. Then I do the other two sides. This pulls the "middle" of all my layers tightly against the table and I pin it first, and slowly move out to all four sides from there.

Once I have the middle done, I pull the part I've basted across the table to one side, move the weights around until I have the layers "tight" again and then work on the new section. When I get close to any edge/side, or whenever my quilt doesn't reach the floor, I put the weights on the table on all four sides and then shift my quilt up/down or side/side when I need a new space to baste.

You know...you sparked an idea with this post! My hubby and I are big "rice sock" fans. You know the heavy pillow things that are filled with beans/beads/rice etc that you heat in the microwave and then put on sore muscles? Why not just make long, thin tubes of fabric and fill them with rice/beans etc and use them as "quilt" weights for basting?
Hi.

Thanks for the information about centering the quilt on the kitchen table. My table is quite large and I already use it for quilting. I liked the suggestion about draping it and working around from the sides. I'll have try that.

I think that the rice sock idea is great. I might have to try that as well. I love those socks as they help with sore muscles.

Thanks.
Ask at the library, church or community park & rec center if you can use a table & baste it there. I've used tables downstairs at my sister's church while she was in choir practice (weeknights when no one else is using the hall). I use pins--(gilt safety pins, sold just for this, in large quantity)--it goes faster than actual thread basting. You could probably get it done in an hour to hour-and-a-half.

Bring some wet-wipes to wipe down the table first, just in case its not really clean.
I didn't think about the library. My mom has suggested a church, but since I don't go to church; I'd feel uncomfortable about asking. But now that you said something, I might stop at my condo association's community center and see if I can't use the tables there. And, you are right about brining some wet wipes. I went to a quilt meeting held at an elementary school and the table I sat it was sticky!

Thanks for the suggestion. BTW, I use safety pins. I bought a tool to help close them and to help save on my fingers. Best $5 spent yet.
I agree with Aili....and since my dh is the pastor of the church it's a no brainer for me to use the facility when the rooms aren't being used and I'll pull 2 tables together and then lay out the layers of the quilt to be basted. To make it easier on my back I swipe a chair on wheels and sit myself down and have fun rolling around the 'tabled' quilt as I baste (being ever-so-kind-to-my-back) and will stand sometimes for the long reach in the middle. Totally agree with wiping the table off first! :D Have fun!
I've done mine on a folding table. place backing, batting, and top on table, then smooth out and clip the quilt onto the table with large binder clips or what ever you have. baste the center, then move, reclip and baste till it's all done.
Oooooooooooooh I like this idea! I have these huge "chip clip" type things that would work great to anchor it to the top of the table....thanks for sharing!
These are all really good suggestions! I think that I am going to have to try one or two!

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