Friday, January 31, 2014

Merry Cat-mas! Another Finish!

Yay! Another one of the 26 ... DONE!  It's now hanging on the wall in my sewing room/guest room and I do not care that it's past the season.  Even my husband said it's a cool quilt when I hung it on the huge wall for pictures.  We both agree that it is sad that the panel was not printed square, but all in all, I am so happy that I persevered (well, we won't talk about the few, ahem, several, years it sat in a drawer or hung on my design wall as I both avoided and loved it.  And the end result?  I just love it.

I have TONS of pictures of it, and I hope they show off all the FMQ, since I do not have photography lights, and it's raining outside today, so scratch the natural lighting idea too. These are all taken with my iPad.

Interesting how there is a ray of natural light showing on the left side of the quilt in the above picture!  "Merry Cat-mas" measures 51 X 32.5".

Here is the bottom corner where the label is:

I put to use once again, the knowledge and confidence I gained from taking Angela Walters' Free Motion Quilting with Feathers class on Craftsy, when I decided to just go for it and freehand quilt them.  I did the custom feather; she teaches you several different ones in the course.  I even used a variegated thread so they would pop even more, just took a big breath and went for it!  I used Aurifil 3817.  I'm really happy with how it turned out.


The panel quilt pattern, by Laurel Burch, is called Holiday Cards.  There are 23 'cards' to the panel.  I FMQ'ed each one.  First of all I put on my walking foot, and stitched in the ditch in three places:  where the panel meets the first border of black sparkle fabric, and then along both seams of the fiery-coloured zinger.  I also stitched the frame of each card.

Then, it was fun-time!  I went to town.
Don't you just love the two flower-covered cats?  And that tree made up of.... CATS!  Love it.

This girl (goddess) kissing a bird was interesting.  I remembered Leah Day's fabulous hair on her "Express Your Love" goddess, and, although this girl has a very small amount of hair, thinking of Leah's goddess made me want to accentuate her hair strands rather than just outline the edges.  So I did, and I love it.  For the flowery parts of her upper head, I started outlining and then I decided to do miniature spirals similar to what they have been doing this week in the Free Motion Quilting Project.

I handled each tree differently.  For the one made of cats, I quilted each cat's outline (phew!). For the green one at the bottom in the above picture, I picked 5 of the animal ornaments and outlined them. For the tree made up of birds, I quilted each bird as well as the ribbons. I got more adventurous with thread colour as I worked my way through each card.

My favourite kitty on the panel. Quilted with orange Sulky rayon.

THIS was adventurous for me: using the same orange rayon in the bobbin so you see the cat on the back! I love her.
Yes, more adventurous on the front as well as the back!  Angela Walters did this on the latest quilt she posted about.  I am going to do this too...very soon I hope.

For the tree of reindeer you see here, I outlined it, and then simply echoed the tree outline inside, rather than outlining each of the reindeer.
 Howling wolves...so cute.  Bet they're howling "Hallelujah!"  Again, I got a little more daring, using a Gutermann turquoise rayon and instead of outlining some of the gold stars, I did a loopy loose stipple with stars.

I love the peace moon, placed in a restful bottom corner of the panel.  I used Madeira silver polyneon here, and then in a few other cards of the panel.
Here is the back! You can see a few other cards where I tried matching the bobbin to the top thread.  That ray of light kind of shows up on the left in this picture too!  The black skinny strip at the top is the hanging sleeve.


And there's the label I made.  You can read about it, as well as the construction of the back here.  I decided to machine sew the binding down.  I almost always sew my bindings down onto the back by hand, but I thought I'd like to get the quilt DONE, and because it's a wall-hanging where one doesn't see the back (however, I will definitely be showing people this back!) I'd sew it down by machine.  It worked quite well, and I did a pretty decent job, though it doesn't give as smooth a finish as hand-sewing would.

It's such a good feeling to have it finally done and hanging on the wall.

I am linking up today with Leah Day for FMQ Project Link Up.  One of these days I hope to figure out how to get her button on my blog.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Binding Tip - Aha! Moment #6

This isn't a tutorial; it's just a simple trick I figured out through trial and error. 

Once you've prepared your binding (I like 2 1/4" double-fold) pick a spot to begin sewing it to the quilt, and pin the binding there.  Leave a 4-6" tail hanging. 


Next, loosely run the binding along the quilt edge, not sewing it, just matching the raw edges and making sure of a couple of things.  First, you want to be sure you've sewn enough length of binding!  Second, you are checking that no mitred joins in the binding end up at, or near, a corner.  This creates too much bulk and the binding will not lie nice and flat. 

If, as you line up the binding with the quilt edge, this happens, simply adjust the beginning pin spot accordingly (move it backwards or forwards to get the mitre away from the corner) and then repeat the process.  You might have to adjust the binding a few times, maybe only once, and maybe, if you're lucky, not at all!

I will explain the reason for leaving a 4-6" tail of binding when I write about how to join the seams so you have a continuously bound quilt that is impossible to tell where you joined the ends of your binding together.  Many tutorials talk about tucking in the final end, but I have a much better method.  ;-)

"Merry Cat-mas" is finished!  Woot woot!  I will post the final pics tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Yoga thoughts

We spent this past weekend in Palm Beach.  I've tried to put into words here some of the stark contrasts we experienced.  Because Pete Seeger died yesterday, CBC played many of his songs today.  One of my favourites is "Turn! Turn! Turn!".  The lyrics struck me in view of the lessons of the past several days.

To everything - turn, turn, turn
There is a season - turn, turn, turn
And a time for every purpose under heaven

A time to build up, a time to break down
A time to dance, a time to mourn
A time to cast away stones
A time to gather stones together 

I was at a Yin workshop with renowned New York yogini Sarah Powers, during which time Joe had originally planned to golf, to people-watch and to gaze at the Atlantic Ocean.  Well, the golf did not happen.  He wasn't worried, however, since people-watching, ocean-gazing, and hopefully some boat-ogling would fill his time nicely while I was in class.  The ocean did not disappoint, especially on Saturday:



Neither did the cars, something he was entirely unprepared for. He was the most animated I have ever seen him about all the Ferraris, Lamborghinis, Bentleys, even a MacLaren SLR and an SLS Roadster, and many, many more.  We're talking half a million dollar or more cars.

A 1965 Aston Martin DB5 worth anywhere from $500 000 to $1.2 million

He spent a little time gazing at the yachts, and had some great people-watching stories.  We have never in our life seen such opulence up close and unabashedly on display.



Meanwhile, there I was, soaking up the teachings of Sarah as she led us through pranayama, meditation, and both yin and yang yoga asanas, feeling serene and simple at the end of each class. . . and leaving the hotel where the workshop was, seeing another Rolls or Land Rover go by, then driving past estates worth $50-100+ million. . .  I said to my daughter, Dayna, that our jaws were sore -- from dropping open so much!!

I've been contemplating Sarah's teachings over the past few days: her thoughts on the importance of knowing yourself, of accepting yourself, of being of benefit to all others, basically finding a balance in life, a balance between the yin and the yang.  She also said that to celebrate someone else's happiness, and/or success takes a tremendous amount of maturity.  This is something at which my sister Linda excels.  So perhaps that's the lesson: not to be jealous or disapproving of all that wealth; rather just enjoy the gazing! Be happy and grateful for your own riches.

One of the nuggets of wisdom Sarah imparted was "No matter how privileged in health and worldly possessions we may be, these things are both tenuous. We need to remember that."  I think she didn't mean for us to obsess about the potential of losing our health and our riches, but to be appreciative of all that we have.  For my part, I am so thankful for such a wonderful husband.  I have such gratitude for all the navigation he did all weekend:  I did not have to stress about where to park, how to get to the hotel, how to get to a restaurant, how to get back to the highway to get home...

The physical side of yoga is about lengthening, creating space, and then softening; this is how we should try to live our life.  Meet life from the softness of the belly, as opposed to the hardness of the head.  Easy to say, harder to do in all situations.

A time to gain, a time to lose
A time to rend, a time to sew
A time to love, a time to hate
A time of peace, I swear it's not too late! 

I LOVE that second line!  Unfortunately I did not sew at all this evening; I spent over two hours composing this!  Sigh.  Note to self: write shorter posts.  I did manage to get in a good amount of quilting today on "Merry Cat-mas"; I have finished all the 'cards' and was about to start the border feathers.  Tomorrow is going to be "a time to sew"!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Love those Labels - Aha! Moment Tip #5

This is a topic about which I am passionate.

Why sew a label onto your quilt back?

It's a record of who made the quilt, where it was made, who for, what fabrics (100% cotton for example) what date it was finished, perhaps the reason it was made (birthday, new home, wedding to name a few).  In short it's the 5W's of the quilt, and invaluable to future generations.

I have one antique quilt I bought years ago in a shop in Dunvegan, Alberta.  From the pattern and colours, it is most likely from the 1930s.  However, there is no label, nothing to go by, so unless I get it appraised, which I fully intend to do ONE of these days, I really have no clue about the history of this quilt.  I feel sad about that; the quilt is kind of a lost soul to me.

On my first quilts, I usually hand sewed labels onto the quilt back after I had completed all of the quilting and bound the quilt
See how the label 'floats' on the backing?  And super-easy to remove without a trace


I then wrote a piece for our guild newsletter on the importance of labeling quilts.  When researching the topic, I found a tip to put them on BEFORE quilting so they get quilted and are harder to remove. In the picture below, you can see that the lines of quilting go right through the label. This is one I hand sewed down onto the backing fabric before I layered the quilt.

Micron Pigma Pens, my favourite tool for writing on my labels
A note about the above Pigma Micron Pens: they really last.  I prefer black, but have used both the brown and blue.  This little runner has been washed every year or more since I finished it 12 years ago.  For this picture, I went over my writing, as it had faded a little.  I'd say that's pretty good results for a long-lasting pen! Your LQS will carry them, but I've also found them at Staples too...and just discovered them on Amazon!
 
Another hand-sewn down label, applied pre-quilting to the backing fabric

Who would remove a label and why?  Quilts are valuable.  Obviously, to the maker and to the receiver, they are invaluable because of the emotions attached.  However, it is a fact that they are worth a lot of money; fabric and batting are not cheap.  Take a look on Etsy and even baby quilts measuring a mere 48" square can be $150 and usually more depending on the intricacy of the pattern and the quilting.

Today, I have progressed to the point where as much as possible, I sew my label as an integral piece of the backing.
This was a little serendipitous on this lap quilt, as I did not have enough of the red/black check fabric, so I had to create a side strip. I was able to work in my label as a piece of that strip!

This way, if someone tries to remove it, not only will they have to rip out the quilting stitches, but they will also have to rip the label out of the backing, leaving a hole through which the batting will be visible.  This would ruin the quilt back, as well as be a lot of work.

Although it's barely discernible, this label IS pieced into the backing

Finally, I have now also progressed to the level of enjoying creating my own labels.  I still have lots of pre-printed ones, and there are many beautiful pre-printed labels available to purchase off the bolt.  However, I am finding I truly do enjoy this added step in the creative process of quilt-making.  :-)

I believe this was my first hand-created label, made from a leftover square in a square from the top. However, I applied it after the quilting, so this one would be a snap to pick off.


One of my favourites that I've created.
There is also the cat label I created for the back of "Merry Cat-mas" that you can see here.  I don't always set out to make my own label, but sometimes the pre-printed ones just don't go with the character of the quilt.  It can be a lot of fun!


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Quilt Basting Spray in Action

Here is how I used Sullivan's QBS to baste my "Merry Cat-mas" quilt.

1.  Lay the backing down on a clean surface, with the wrong side up.  Beginning at the middle of one of the sides, put a piece of masking tape or painter's tape (which I prefer, but didn't have in the condo here) in the centre.  I like to put one more piece on either side of that centre piece so I have 3.  Do the same at the opposite side, smoothing out the quilt top, giving it a slight tug before you put the first piece down on that opposite side to create a mild tension across the backing.  Work your way across the two opposite sides, taping every 3-4".  Once the first two opposing sides are taped down, repeat the process with the remaining two sides.  At this point you should check your backing for stray threads you might have omitted to cut if you pieced the backing.  It's not a bad idea to run a lint brush over the backing to remove any unwanted fuzz. . . or cat hair!

2.  Place a couple of old towels along two of the sides, or all four sides if you have enough old towels.  I keep two for this purpose, and move them around the quilt back as I apply the spray.  This protects the floor from overspray.  The instructions are on the can; the only thing I do differently is not always wait the full 3-5 minutes for the spray to become tacky.  I've had no variance in results.

I also advise being light on the spray; you just want it to hold the layers, and in almost 100% of my quilts, I pull the basted quilt up off the floor, and head over to my machine and start the quilting right there, so you are already anchoring the layers together.  No need to overkill the adhesive.



3. Lay down the batting, centering it over the backing.  I like to lay the seeds part (I usually use Warm 'n Natural) down so the smooth whitest side is face up.  They have really improved their needled cotton; there are few leaves/stems, or seeds, as I like to call them.

I left the fold here on purpose so you can see how it is possible to lift, reposition, and smooth back down the batting again and again until you are happy with the results.

4. Here the batting is smoothed out as perfectly as it is going to get.  My backing pieces were not all even at the bottom edge; you can see the longest piece peeking out here.  I didn't trim them evenly in case, (and yup, I speak from experience) god forbid, the quilt top was positioned a little off and there was no backing beneath it.  Sigh.  Yes, I've had to cut a strip of fabric, pull back the backing from the batting and piece in the strip so that I have 3 layers once more for the inch or so at that point.  Not fun.

Apply the spray once more to the batting, as you did to the backing.  Remember less is more.


5. Lay the quilt top on top of the batting, smoothing out, repositioning, adjusting as much as you like until you are happy with the smoothness of the top, the alignment of the top with the backing (it's easy to lift edges and check for alignment, especially if you have a pieced backing as I do).  You can even grab your 15" square and gently tug things to square.  It will hold.  However, it will remain tacky for some time, so if, as you begin to quilt, you find you want to reposition a wonky bit, it's totally do-able.  For example, I will be sure my fiery zinger is nice and straight before I quilt in the ditch.

6.  I pull my quilt up off the floor, and usually the tape stays stuck to the floor, so there are only a few to pull off the edges of the quilt back!  You can see a few on the one edge in the picture below.


Then I like to take it to my cutting table, or, here in the condo, my kitchen counter, and smooth out the back.  I don't put a ton of pressure into the smoothing out process here, as I have found it can then cause some wrinkling in the front and before you know it, you're back and forthing and getting irritated.  So again, just gently smooth it out.  It's not stuck down permanently, nor is it at all hard to smooth it out.  Are you getting how big a fan I am of this spray?!

Okay!  Back to quilting!  I've completed all the outlining and stitch in the ditch quilting and I'm now free motion quilting on "card" number 4 of the 22!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Tactile Healing

On a day that has been the worst day in a very long time in my life, it has been a small pleasure, but one I am very thankful for:  that of experiencing that excited feeling, small flutters in my belly, that I get when I am feeling the softness, the weight of a quilt in progress.  It is the change from quilt top to soon-to-be finished quilt that I realize I just love.  The anticipation is akin to that of a child in the midst of opening a present.  : -)

I am still at the outlining each "card" on the panel, using Sulky 40-wt gold rayon, but already I am loving the way it is quilting up, loving handling the layers.  I keep peaking at the back, and it gives me a small thrill too.


Although I LOVE my Avanté, and the (steep) learning curve I am on as I practise and practise on her, I will never lose my love of quilting on my DSM, my beloved Bernina.  The machine quilting set-up here is not the greatest, but as the music plays, and the rhythm of the machine soothes me, I find myself calming down and realizing this too, shall pass.


Sidenote about the QBS:  do you see those annoying wrinkles from excess fabric due to the wonky unsquare panel?  I was able to gently lift and smooth out one or two here and there.  I will continue to do so as I work on this quilt.  I am hoping the quilting in the final border will help to distribute and/or disguise the fullness.  I wanted to point out that one is able to do this, that the QBS is still tacky, more than 24 hours after I basted this quilt.  In my past experience, it will continue to be tacky for many many days.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Merry Cat-mas Quilt

Well finally.  I know now WHY I have had this top sitting and sitting.

Pic I took in December of one of the 26 projects waiting to be quilted

I've pulled it out a couple of times, hung it on my design wall, and then taken it off again after a few weeks in favour of a different project.  My gf and I bought the panel on one of our self-made quilt shop hops, so that would put it back in the early 2000s, maybe 2005-ish.  I remember her frustration while piecing it at one of our Fall Retreats when she discovered the panel was not square.  In fact, she stopped piecing the quilt top.

You can see my 15" square (yes with a bite taken out of one corner; let's just say the ruler got into a tussle with my vacuum cleaner and, well, the vacuum cleaner won) lined up with the side edge, but look how much out the lower edge is!  We all know that being out only multiplies as you add more strips and pieces.  When I decided to piece this quilt top, a few years ago, I just went for it, doing the best I could, hoping for the best.  And I was pleased with the result, even though the final black border was a little ripply.

I'd bought a beautiful piece of Laurel's kitty fabric in this same line, "The Holiday Collection" at Cotton Patch that I planned to use as a pretty back.  You can see it in the first picture.  Each of the times I put the finished top on my design wall, I found I couldn't bring myself to use that piece on the back; it was calling (meowing, lol) to me to be the star in a quilt top.

Star?  Well!  I bought Marti Michell's Wonder Triangles to make the Peaky and Spike pieces one needs for a triangle in a square.  I plan to do Christa's Modern Trees Quiltalong sometime this year, which requires the Tri Recs ruler. I couldn't find it at JoAnn's so I picked this one up.  I'm hoping it is the same tool.  I decided to do a couple of practice 54-40 or Fight star blocks using some of the kitty fabric, the leftover orange/purple zinger fabric, and black, just to see how I liked the ruler.  Well, I really really like the ruler! This made piecing those sharp points a snap.  Percolating on the back burner of my brain, was the idea to make these practice blocks into a cool back for this quilt.

Don't they just sing?!
I made an Ohio Star too, just for fun, and also because I wanted 3 stars, an odd number. Besides, the kitties have won, and they ARE going to star, LOL, in their very own quilt top.  How I love black!  It makes the purple and orange fabric look like it is on fire doesn't it?

Here is the finished back:
I forgot to bring my pre-printed labels fabric down with me, so I made one.  I am not exactly thrilled with the garish white, but I wanted the writing to be visible. I cannot draw, but white kitty's face isn't too bad I must say!  I looked at purring Bella while I tried to get the nose and mouth details down.

Making the label gave me an idea for another Aha! Moment Tip post to write, too!  To soften the white cat somewhat, I machine-appliquéd the flying kitty placing a heart on her back.  I intended this quilt to be a wallhanging, but with such an interesting back, I think it could be an adorable lap quilt.  I will put a hanging sleeve on it regardless.  I took advantage of Craftsy's Flash sale on the weekend to buy Mimi Dietrich's "Finishing School: Edges and Bindings".  I see one of the lessons is on attaching a sleeve, so although I have attached many sleeves to many quilts, I will watch her lesson to see if I can pick up any new tips.  I think you can always learn something from taking a class, especially with a pro.  :-)


Sunday, January 19, 2014

Benefits of a Board - Aha Moment Tip #4

I thought I'd have written my post about using the QBS on my Laurel Burch quilt by now, but I confess, I've gone a little crazy with creating a cool back, so it is not quite at the basting stage yet.

Here is my revelation that happened, as so many "Aha!" moments do, by accident.  My sister and I had had a garage sale in late summer where I spied a small old ironing board with little screw-in peg-legs of hers.  I saw it and thought, "Perfect to take to my guild's Fall Retreat!" which was coming up.  So she said to just take it, which I most happily did!  It changed my pressing life.

Any awkwardness at the small size (maybe 2/3, if that, of a regular-sized ironing board) was overcome by the fanTAStic sharp seams I got with little pressure from my iron.  The firmness of the board was delightful. 

Once I got home, I set the little board on top of my regular ironing board, and there I had another revelation: the stability of the iron was greatly increased; no more grabbing it frantically if I bumped my ironing board, or pulled with a little too much oomph on a quilt top, sending the iron to wobbling alarmingly.

Later, once my darling husband built my beautiful sewing room in our acreage home in Alberta (such a view I had there, forest flora and fauna to die for), I put the little ironing board on one end of my large cutting table for a terrific pressing area. 

June 


A different angle - December
Today,  in our new Kingsville home, I have it again at one end of a cutting table we fashioned out of two of the cabinets from the Alberta home with a piece of 3/4" particle board on top of them.  Outside of replacing the cover twice now, it continues to serve me very well.

Here, in the Florida condo, it wasn't long before I had to create a similar pressing surface, as the ironing board feels like a pillow after being so used to such a firm surface.  So, we went to Lowe's where we found a 3/4 X 12 X 36" knotty pine board.  I brought it home, covered it with some ironing board cover fabric from JoAnn's, followed by a piece of cotton,. I glued, with minimal success, the ironing board fabric to the board, but the cotton fabric is large enough to wrap underneath the pine, so it's held in place quite nicely.






Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Turning Twenty Around the Block

Another finish!  Well, the top that is.


However, that was my goal when I brought this project with me this year, to make the top.  I will quilt it on my Avanté sometime in April or May once I'm back home in Kingsville.  I've already got a potential all-over design in my head, and yup, it's one of Angela Walters' from the Free Motion Quilting With Feathers class I took on Craftsy.  Still, I may do something a little different in each of the block centres, the squares of brown floral theme fabric.  This quilt is BIG, measuring 82.5 X 98.5".  Notice how it hangs right to the floor at the bottom of our bed, and it's tucked under the pillows too!

At this point, I'm not a fan, nor will I be rushing out to make another.  But that could change once I quilt it.  However, I have enjoyed making three quilts using this similar method: the yellow floral "Sunny Days" quilt, which was a Bunny Hill design, and the red, green and brown "A Dent in my Stash...maybe?!" quilt from that same post, Jan. 14.  That pattern was a freebie at a quilt show in Edmonton from a cute shop in Saskatchewan.  I pulled fabric from my stash only, making myself work with what I had.  It was fun!

Here are the pictures (some from previous posts) of this quilt, which is, as yet, nameless:

The original picture, 1 of 26 projects I've brought with me this winter to complete.


Here are all the pieces set out ready for assembly.


Here are the blocks that make up the centre before cornerstones and sashing on the design wall.  This is a picture I took for my post about value in quilts.  I hadn't sewn the blocks together yet, and row 5 is not in this picture.


Here it is on the ironing board (which has just given me an idea for another Aha moment post! Hint: notice the 3/4" board on top of my ironing board?)  But I interrupt myself.  This picture was showing the Book It method of construction, and how to set up the paired blocks once seams are sewn, ready for pressing.

And here is the centre, complete, but for the sashing and cornerstornes.  I used the red for the four cornerstones, and 16" strips of all of the other fabrics sewn end to end to make the sashing.  The final 6.5" border was optional, but I chose to do it, since I'd already bought the 2.5 yards of fabric it required, and also because it would make it fit our queen-sized bed better.

Oh!  A plug for another LQS:  I bought the 20 fat quarters, the border fabric and the book at Cotton Patch Quilt Shop here in Sarasota.  Laura and Tim have a great shop, with three wonderful Bassett Hounds.  Each year on January 1, she has a fat quarter sale, and it was at one of those that I bought the fabric and book for this quilt -- I'm going with maybe only 2 or 3 years ago?  Not as bad of a blast from my quilting past as SOME of these 26 projects I've brought. . . .  The fat quarter in the "Sunny Days" quilt and the Bunny Hill pattern (I love her stuff) were from yet another fat quarter sale of hers.  Okay, I'll 'fess up: the "Sunny Days" quilt fat quarters were from Jan. 1, 2008 sale.








Stick It To Ya! Aha Tip #3


Years ago I taught many Stack 'n Whack classes.  I was the first to show this kaleidoscope-style of quilting to my guild, thanks to seeing Bethany on Alex Anderson's 'Simply Quilts' HGTV show.  I taught the course at my LQS, love this acronym, (Local Quilt Shop, for my non-quilting sister's benefit!)  It was during the teaching of this course, that I first heard of gluing the layers of the quilt sandwich together.

As I carefully explained how to tape down the backing, smooth the batting over it, and then lay the quilt top down, smoothing and squaring it, pin-basting about every 4", about the width of your fist, one lady piped up suddenly, "Have you heard of spray glue? I just spray glue the three layers together!  Then you can quilt away.  You can throw the quilt in a corner, leave it in a heap for a few days, come back a few days later, and pick up quilting where you left off!  When you're done, just throw it in the machine and the glue washes out!  It changed my life!"  I looked at her like she was from outer space.  Spray GLUE?!  Are you INSANE?!  Well I thought that but all I really said, was, "Really?! I've never heard of anything like that. Tell me more!" Meanwhile my mind was whirling:  quilt without every getting jabbed by a pin, or breaking a needle on a pin, or breaking your fingernail trying to close the safety pins??  I'm IN!

So, she told me about Sullivan's The Original Quilt Basting Spray, as well as 505 Spray and Fix.  Sulky does make kk2000, but I haven't used it for a long time.  Well, that very day, on the way home from teaching that class, I stopped and bought some 505!

The first quilts my girlfriend and I tried the spray on were our Trip Around the World quilts, both approximately double-bed-sized quilts, made in 2000.  Outside of three issues:
1. smell (pretty strong)
2. the tacky residue left on the floor from the overspray, and
3. gumminess that was a little difficult to scrub off our fingers, we were ecstatic with the results.  Ecstatic.  It held beautifully, did not gum up the needle, and gave no issues with the Sulky Holoshimmer thread I used to quilt mine.  The first quilts basted with QBS were quilted on my darling old faithful, Elna, bought in 1979, that I still have, and that still stitches beautifully. She loved the QBS.

Now, I know there is the school of thought that you should NOT put chemicals on quilts, what could happen to the fibres over time (remember issues with indigo dyes?), what about discoloration, a spray glue is toxic and can be inhaled.  All true.  Leah Day does not believe in using them, see her excellent post with some very informative links here.  And I love all things Leah.  So it is definitely a personal choice.

Personally?  I LOVE spray basting.  I have used Spray & Fix 505, Sullivan's QBS, as well as Sulky's kk2000, and once (shh! don't tell) I even bought a crafts spray adhesive at either Lowe's or Home Depot and used that.  (Well, it was half the price of the others.)  It gummed up my needle most annoyingly, so I've stuck to the ones in the fabric stores ever since.  I have never ever had an issue with the fabric yellowing.  I have never had an issue of the glue causing any problems whatsoever with my quilts.  And I have quilted many many quilts using QBS.  I have washed and washed the quilts, and all are just beautiful still.  They range from bed quilts, to lap quilts, to wallhangings, tablerunners, and most recently, to tack my Snowman Placemats here and there.

I love the fact that I can reposition my top either during the basting process, when the backing is still taped to the floor, or later, when I am quilting, and perhaps find an area that needs smoothing out.  The tackiness remains, though not as strong as when you first apply the QBS, for some time.  I also flip my quilts over once I've spray basted the layers, prior to beginning to quilt.  I smooth out the backing to ensure there are no wrinkles.  The basting spray  allows you to do this with ease.

Here are a few examples of quilts basted with QBS on our bed and in our condo:
"Floral Stars" 2007  56X77.5"
Close-up



I found it so freeing to be able to quilt intricate designs without worrying about pins.  I traced both the border and the triangle motif onto goldleaf paper (another aha for me) pinned it to the quilt top, and quilted away, not worrying about hitting pins that might have been hiding under the paper, had I not used QBS.

"Frost Bite" lap quilt 2004
This one has a flannel backing, flannels and some brushed cottons on the top, as well as the heavy wool snowmen heads, all of which were applied pre-quilting. The spray worked fabulously with these varied fabrics.  I quilted a couple of snowflakes with Sulky metallic thread, on each of the snowmen, no problems at all.
"Sunny Days" lap quilt 2008


"Indianapolis" 2011  66.5X77"
The ivory/tan floral fabric in this quilt was not affected at all by the spray.  It still is fine today, no discoloration.

"A Dent in My Stash...maybe!"  2009  65X75"
This one has a flannel backing.  The adhesive performance of the spray was just as good as with a cotton.

No name quilt 2012  90X91"
I was a little hesitant about using the spray with the ivory batiks in here, but there was not an issue.  I've washed the quilt and put it in the dryer so it has a nice crinkle to it.  The ivories are all great. Apparently Rocco thought his grey colouring showed off this quilt's colours!

How in the world did I quilt such a monster on my DSM?  By using my most favourite Aha! Moment tip (secret) yet.  Stay tuned!

I made the above quilt with an event in mind that did not occur, so I am going to try to sell it at the quilt sale in Sarasota in February.  The top is 100% batiks and the back is a red with black marbling cotton. I quilted it with Sulky Blendables on my Bernina in a large all-over meander. The border is a vine-style heart motif.  If I cannot sell it, it might eventually go to my grandson, who loves red.  It's based on Karla Alexander's "Red Onion" quilt pattern in her Stack a New Deck book.  I've made several from that book.

Although I can't show you a picture of the oldest quilt basted with QBS, my Trip Around the World quilt, as it's up north in Kingsville, I can assure you that I have not experienced any issues with QBS on my quilts.  These quilts are used a lot, washed at least once a year, sometimes more, have animals that snuggle on or sometimes under them, humans that wrap them around their bodies, legs, haul them around from chair to bed and back again, and all are surviving very well!

Since my Avanté remains in Kingsville, I will be quilting some larger quilts once again on my DSM.  There is Laurel Burch wallhanging quilt that just needs quilting, as well as a large bed quilt, two more of my 26 projects I brought with me.  Stay tuned for posts about those.