Thursday, January 13, 2011

Adventures in spray basting and free motion quilting

I'm proud of myself, I tried two need things in my quilting world this week...spray basting and free motion quilting in a loopy fashion.  Neither quite went as planned, and I'm glad to be done with both of them.  Let's start with the spray basting...

I bought a can of June Tailor's basting spray as a Christmas present to myself.  I've been wanting to try spray basting for a while, because I positively despise pin basting.  I decided it would be good to start with something small, so I chose to spray baste the patchwork quilt that I'm sending along with the doll I'm making for my niece's birthday.  I sprayed the heck out of my batting, just like the instructions said, without thinking first.  My piece of batting was larger than both my back and front pieces.

This was not my smartest moment here.  I realized this after I smoothed the batting out on my back piece and found myself sticking to the batting that was sticking out.  Did I stop there?  Nope.  Did I trim the excess batting?  Nope.  I flipped it over, sprayed the other side of my batting and smoothed on my front.

Did I then do some trimming?  Nope.  I started quilting.

The darn batting stuck to my machine several times and it dawned on me why I was having troubles, and so I hope my lesson is officially learned.  I think I'll try spray basting again - maybe on a baby quilt?  Another small-ish project, for sure, until I feel more confident in it.  Other than my own silly error, it was definitely an enjoyable experience.  Being able to quilt without stopping every five seconds to take out a pin was pretty darn awesome.

I felt truly inspired yesterday when I hopped onto Flickr and saw what Lynne's been up to.  She's just starting to FMQ and is already trying stitches I haven't attempted, so I thought it was as good a time as any to try a new FMQ style.  I opted for some loopy meandering stitches.  I did some drawing first, to get a feel for it, and then did a small 5" practice square.  It's quite possible that my practice was a full-on waste of time since the stitches totally disappeared into the over-busy fabric.

I had a rough time at first trying to get the hang of the loops - should they all go the same direction?   Should they all be the same size?  I knew I was overthinking it, so I just turned up the music on my iPod and let go.  I really liked the look of the loops though, at the end of the project.  I will definitely try this kind of FMQ again.  It was actually a lot of fun.  If only binding were as much fun...


  1. It is so pretty ! I am hoping to fmq..once I can get a shop that sells me a fmq foot !!

    ..good job ;)

  2. When my batting is larger than the quilt front and back and I have 'over' sprayed that area I just stick some scrap strips along the sides. This way it doesn't stick to anything else and I can use the sides to practice - make sure my tension is correct and all that! I LOVE SPRAY BASTING!!! On my list of TOP INVENTIONS (right after canned frosting. ;0 ).

  3. I really do like the basting spray, but you do have to be careful where you spray it. I tend to think "less is more". I have a Gammill longarm machine and I use basting spray to secure the sides when I'm doing a pantograph. Works like a dream.
    I am enjoying your blog- and I do like the FMQ you did!

  4. Oh but binding is as much fun! I LOVE spray basting - it has saved me so much time and effort. I still use safety pins, but compared to what I was doing before (basting with a needle and thread) it makes a world of difference. I honestly can't believe I ever did that.
    The loops look awesome.

  5. I've been meaning to try spray basting...perhaps you've inspired me to give it a go!

  6. I really like spray basting for smaller projects, baby quilts, etc...definitly the overspray can be an issue though! I've tried spray basting on bigger projects, but ended up with big puckers from moving the quilt around so much...I'm like you, really not a huge fan of pin basting, but on bigger projects you can just put a few pins to keep the backing in place, and it works like a charm!
    Your loops look great! I need to try loopy FMQ sometime...

  7. Impressed with the FMQ! Completely impressed!!

  8. YAY, glad you tried the spray basting. I really love it. One thing I've found that helps is having someone to help me (usually hubby). I usually only use this for small quilts, but I did a twin quilt with spray and it worked fabulous.
    Great job on the FMQ, I'm so scared to try this too.

  9. I really like your free motion quilting! It looks original, not like the plain old swirly-whirls :) you've inspired me to give it a shot!

  10. Looks great! I love spray baste, but, I have to say that June Tailor is the worst I have ever used. I preffer 505 or Sulky. I have done up to 85" quilts and don't have any issues with puckering. The secret I think is to spray on the batting, not the fabric, and to smooth, smooth smooth while pressing down lightly to kinda set the layers.

  11. Whoo looks grand. And good for you for letting go of the FMQ. That's part of what I'm doing while quilting. My mother taught me about the spray basting and will never pin. As for my first try it was pin, quilt 4 lines, look, find mistakes, rip the quilt lines out, cry, call Mom, get advice about spray basting, try again, and it WORKED.

  12. Love your loopy quilting! I did that on my Christmas tree skirt, and it does take some getting used to. I need more practice for sure.

    About spray basting...I've tried it a few times, and I kind of hate it! I should give it another try, but I think I'll stick with the pins, as much as they frustrate me.

  13. Your spray basting story cracks me up. : ) I would love to try spray basting but how the heck do you that when it's 12 degrees and snowy out?

    The loopy quilting looks great! When I did a few quilts on the long-arm, I tried to do more of a meandering, stippling stitch, but I kept ending up with loops! So finally I just went with it. I guess my brain is just naturally loopy. Literally.

  14. I have used 505 Fix and Spray (best price I've seen is at Connecting Threads) and I'm not sure I would use anything else! It's so flexible that you can move and rearrange if necessary. I have only used it inside and have never had problems with overspray on my tile floor. I don't spray the heck out of things, either, and my bottle lasted through 2 large lap quilts (almost twin sized) and 1 baby quilt. I would try it again. I just found you through Margaret's Hope Chest and love what you have going on! Thanks!


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Welcome! I'm Elizabeth, mom to a mood teen boy and a chatty six-year-old girl and I sew for my sanity. Let's get to quilting, shall we?
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