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Help with pinning layers

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Glenda posted on Sat, Jan 28 2012 4:06 PM

 

Greetings All,

I am fairly new to quilting.  I have made a rag quilt and some small projects like table toppers and wall hangings.  I am pretty much self taught, although I did take one machine applique class.  I have put together my first full size quilt top.  Tonight, I spent four hours crawling around on the floor trying to pin my quilt top to the batting and backing.  All looked well from the top side of things.  I started in the middle and worked my way around evenly on all sides.  However, when I was finally finished (and my fingers felt like I had been massaging sandpapers for three days) I picked the quilt up.  I was so disappointed.  No matter that I smoothed and tried so hard to keep all the fabrics flat, I have wrinkles in between the pins.  Can anyone give me any advice on doing this?  I have heard of tacking the layers to the wall, but I live in a small place and I don't have that kind of wall space.  I had to move my furniture to the kitchen just to have a large enough area to lay the quilt flat.  I am frustrated and will appreciate any advice...especially if it comes with pictures....LOL

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Nana replied on Sat, Jan 28 2012 10:24 PM

Gini

I was wondering the same thing.  I have sprayed the batting and smoothed the top over it before.

Vinton, Virginia

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NINAV replied on Sat, Jan 28 2012 10:49 PM

I like to tape my backing with blue painters tape and then smooth the batting with the tape and then the top.  I start in the middle and work to the sides pinning.

 

 

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Glenda, I don't pin anymore but when I did the first one (on the floor on my hands and knees)I quickly decided there had to be an easier way. I bought 2 folding banquet tables at Costco and put them together in the living room, then my husband made extensions to set the legs into so they were taller and I did not have to bend over, works great. I taped the back, with painters tape, to the table and then the batting and the top got taped and then I pinned starting in the middle and working out one 1/4 at a time. I still use one of the tables as a cutting table.

Life is like a quilt...bits & pieces, joy & sorrow, stitched with love

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BTW Glenda, Hi and welcome to QCA!

Life is like a quilt...bits & pieces, joy & sorrow, stitched with love

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Dara replied on Sun, Jan 29 2012 5:43 PM

The batting tends to soak up and internalize the spray whereas on the fabric the spray stays on the surface and seems to adhear (sp?) better.  I was using polyester batting so that may have something to do with the results I got.  If the batting has a scrim then spraying it would probably give the same results as spraying on the fabric.

    Mineral Wells, West Virginia

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Hi Glenda, welcome.

I do what Spud does... put 2 utility tables together and tape the backing down, layer the batting and top, then pin.  Hopefully that would work for you since they fold up and can be put away when you're not using them.  Crawling around on the floor can be back-breaking, not to  mention hard on the knees!

There is a handy tool called a Kwik Klip that saves your finger tips when pin basting.

 

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Glenda replied on Sun, Jan 29 2012 6:08 PM

 

Hi Sheri,

It really was hard on the back and knees!  I saw that tool for pinning.  I started using a spoon by the time I was ready to take the pins out.  It seemed to help my fingers.  I think I will try some folding tables or have my hubby build something.  I felt that the whole pinning thing was much harder than it should be...:)

 

I do appreciate all the wonderful advice I have gotten.  I will probably try again tomorrow and I will let everyone know how it goes!

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Glenda replied on Sun, Jan 29 2012 6:09 PM

Thank you so much, for your welcome and your advice.  I am almost ready to try again with the pinning.  I think I have a pretty good picture of what went wrong and how to fix it now!  I will be sure to let you know how it goes the second time around.

 

Glenda

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Marie replied on Sun, Jan 29 2012 7:56 PM

Glenda, I use a grapefruit spoon when I pin my quilts, the grooves are perfect for that job.

Millbury, MA

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Agnes replied on Mon, Jan 30 2012 11:00 PM

Beth:
I was using polyester batting so that may have something to do with the results I got.  If the batting has a scrim then spraying it would probably give the same results

Thanks, Beth, for  your explanation. I first tried spray in the 90s and was very dissatisfied and blamed it on the polyester batting. Now I am using 80 cotton/ 20 poly and am very happy with the spray on this first quilt. I quilted about 15% of it Sunday and can't wait to use it again on the next project.

Agnes in NW Ontario

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Glenda--

I also use the blue painter's tape that others have mentioned to secure the individual layers, but lately I discovered that once that's done, if I take the pvc clamps from one of those quilting frames and clamp the whole sandwich to my table before pinning, it keeps everything extra secure and smooth.  I used to use butterfly clamps from an office supply for this step, but sometimes had trouble opening the clamps because my hand strength isn't what it used to be.  A crochet hook works great for helping to close the basting pins.

 

Kissimmee, FL

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MNnancy replied on Tue, Jan 31 2012 12:27 PM

Joyce Brenden:
 A crochet hook works great for helping to close the basting pins.

That's a clever idea, Joyce.  You should send that in to the magazine tip columns.


On the banks of the Mississippi River in north central Minnesota (Brainerd lakes area)

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Lori replied on Tue, Jan 31 2012 12:37 PM

I have a smooth board that I put over top of my formal dining room table.  It gives me a huge amount of work space and protests my table from my pinning.  Plus it keeps me from crawling around on the floor.  I can also clamp or binder clip the backing to the board, so I don't have issues with wrinkles.   Good luck!

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abcd replied on Tue, Jan 31 2012 1:15 PM

Just reminiscing here, but the first time I tried to put a quilt together, it was a baby quilt, and I tied the ends of the backing to legs of my dining chairs, pulled it taut, then pinned the batting and top layer straight down into the carpet with those big pin thingies that look like staples, THEN I pinned with safety pins.  What a PITA!  This was over 30 years ago - then I read how Alex Anderson did the same thing when she started, but she was working on a bigger quilt.... yes, good times!  Good times!  :D

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Glenda replied on Sun, Feb 5 2012 11:46 PM

Hi Bella.

Yep, I don't think I am going to try the floor thing again.  I bought one folding table.  I think I will buy another one the next time I have a few dollars.  clamping it down to the table sounds like a better idea!  I am also going to try the spray.  next time, I think.

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