Tips And Tools – Spray Basting & Love

Well, as you’ve probably noticed, this post is a day late. Usually, it’s title is  “Tip And Tools Tuesday”, but, life has a way of, shall we say, rearranging my plans? So, it’s a Wednesday edition of Tips And Tools.

I’m excited to share with you some things I’ve learned about the two topics listed above. So, here goes.

I used to pin-baste my machine quilting projects in very much the same manner as I did this hand-quilting project.

Since I have learned about spray basting, I do that exclusively when machine quilting.

Pins do work, yes, but, there is more room for shifting, puckers, and tucks with pins holding the three layers together.  With spray basting, virtually every inch of the quilt top clings to the batting. The same is true with the backing.  When my quilt sandwich has been spray-basted, it moves as one under my sewing machine needle, and I’m free to go in any direction at any time without stopping to remove a pin.

When I first learned about spray-basting, I would lay a sheet out on the grass, (as instructed), then, lay the quilt backing wrong-side up on that. Then, I’d lightly spray the basting glue over the entire surface of the backing. It worked just fine. The only thing I really didn’t like about that process, was, little bitty insects that might be on the blades of grass, would hop onto my quilt backing, and therefore, into the glue.  I don’t like picking little bugs out of glue. 🙁    Or, trying to remove them from the glue that was now on my fingers.    Double  🙁 

So, I decided to use a frame that I had built for photographing my quilts. This gets the entire process up and out of the grass, and is easier on my back, as well. I just set it up in the driveway.

The legs fold out to give the frame a height of seven feet.

I usually just leave the legs folded up and drape a bed sheet over the frame to keep the glue off of it. When I’m finished spray basting, I just toss the sheet in the laundry and wash it to remove the glue.

Here I’ve got the backing fabric for the Southern Bell quilt that I finished for a friend. Her mother-in-law, Mrs. Bea, had passed away and she asked if I would finish a quilt that Bea had started. She had appliqued the Southern Belle blocks. I added sashing, cornerstones, backing, batting, machine quilting, and binding. You can read about it in my previous post, To Honor Mrs. Bea.

Though it appears closer, I’m holding the spray can about 15 inches away from the fabric.

Follow the directions on the can of whichever spray-basting product you use. I make sure that I use a product that is acid-free, states plainly that it won’t gum up the needle, and washes out when the quilt is laundered. Before, and periodically during spraying, I shake the can very well to make sure that the glue and the propellant are well mixed.

When I’ve sprayed the backing, I fold it up and set it aside. Then I place the quilt top, wrong-side up on the covered frame and spray it as I did the backing. Lightly, and evenly.

To assemble the backing, batting, and quilt top sandwich, I used to use our kitchen table. All instructions I’d seen suggested using a large table. I’d lay the backing down, smooth it as best I could, then layer the batting and quilt top, smoothing each layer as I went. The “smoothing” part did not usually go very smoothly.  It was sometimes quite difficult to get the layers smooth.  Then, quilt designer and author, Christa Watson, posted about how she tried out the idea of using her design wall to assemble the spray-basted layers, and about how well she liked doing it that way. I gave it a try.

Oh, happy day, happy day!

This method was so very easy compared to laying it on the table. Gravity helped to smooth out the backing which I then pinned around the top and sides.

For the Just Buzzing Through quilt, I cut two pieces of white muslin 1 and 1/2 yards each. Then sewed them together along the selvedge edge. Trimmed the seam to 1/4″, removing the selvedges,  and pressed the seam open. I trimmed the length to 4″ longer than the quilt top.

I marked the top, center of the backing with two pins. Then, I folded the batting in half, length-wise, and placed the fold at the center two pins of the backing, lining up the top of the batting with the top of the backing. I put a few pins in the left layer of batting, and unfolded it to the right. Again, gravity was my friend, in that, it was so easy to readjust the batting over the backing and smooth it out. All of the weight of the batting was NOT resting on the glued backing, as would have been the case, had I used the kitchen table again. It was SOOOO easy to adjust and smooth out! I pinned the top and sides in place. 

I added the quilt top in the same manner, but started it about two inches lower than the backing and batting.

So easy to smooth out the quilt top!

The next thing to do was iron the layers. Ironing helps to smooth out any little wrinkles in the quilt top and sets the glue. I start in the center and work my way to one end, smoothing and adjusting as needed. Then, I go back to the center and work my way to the other end. I DID NOT HAVE TO MAKE ANY ADJUSTSMENTS TO THE QUILT TOP! That has NEVER happened before. I’ve always had to separate the top from the batting to eliminate wrinkles. Not this time! I couldn’t believe it! I did have to adjust the backing, but, only once toward one end. AMAZING!!!!!!! This is now my “go to” method for assembling the spray-basted layers.

I really hope you will give spray-basting a try. Especially, if you have a design wall. You will be glad you did!

Now, on to the “Love” portion of this post’s title.

This week, my husband and I celebrated our forty-first wedding anniversary. For forty-one years, the most wonderful man I’ve ever met, has put up with me. I’m grateful that he has!

He gave me the most beautiful card.  Not just for the pretty picture on the front, but, for what it said inside.  It described “love” perfectly.  Not, “infatuation”, not “sparks flying”, not, “butterflies and rainbows”, (although, those things are part of it)  but a true picture of love.

Here is what the writer of the card wrote:

Celebrating US on our anniversary.

Remember the thrill of it all when we first started out?      Me, too.     But that was only the beginning.

When we first fell in love, we believed we’d always feel exactly the same way, every minute, day in and day out.

But then we learned that love is a choice we make again and again.

We choose each other over all the distractions.   We say yes to tomorrow, even when we’re shaking our heads ever the way today might be going.

We decide that love is what matters most.     For me, that means standing by the best choice I ever made…YOU!

This is me and my Sweetheart about five years ago.

Here’s to the next forty-one years!

Today is a good day for spray-basting, and love!


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