Friday, May 6, 2011

Basting and Quilting Supernova

It's been fun to participate in the Supernova Quilt Along. Lee's been posting steps every Thursday, and a week ago, we received our last instructions: "It's time to quilt." 

Since I'm a sit-down quilter, pin-basting was my first step. Several years ago I learned that when you pin-baste a quilt, you shouldn't line-up your pins or pin in a grid pattern. If you insert pins in a uniform pattern, you're putting tension on one particular area and leaving gaps in other areas. If you pin randomly, all areas have some tension.

To fit the solar/space-like appearance of the pieced quilt design, and in keeping with the "nova" theme, I decided to use my 1/8"-thick set of nested oval templates to trace oval quilting patterns. Also, the curved shapes contrast with the linear piecing - one of the quilting concepts I like to follow. I used a white chalk-o-liner and a wash-out marker to draw ovals and circles.

Using gray Aurifil 50-weight thread on top, and gray Bottom Line in the bobbin, I approached this as a sort of quilt-as-you-go. I'd trace and quilt some parts, stop to reassess, and then trace and quilt some other parts.

Along the outside edges, to complete the "ray" look I was going for, I free-motion quilted straight lines. I didn't use a walking foot because I don't have a walking foot for my Pfaff Grand Quilter.

As I've been quilting, I've wondered whether anyone else - or everyone else - marks their quilts after they've pin-basted. Certainly it makes more sense to mark first, so you can see the design in its entirety, and strategically position the safety pins. But on the other hand, if you're using chalk to mark a quilt, it can dust off in the basting process.

For me, it's difficult to picture the whole quilt design. Rather, I first need to see if my idea is going to work. If it does, I can expand it from there. If it doesn't, I can unquilt... though I'd like to think that sort of thing is happening less and less. 

When do you mark your quilting designs? Linda


  1. I had never heard that I shouldn't be using a grid to put in my pins, although, I'm not real careful about that anyway, and am more prone to a random pattern. I've not done much marking before quilting to be honest, because I'm usually doing it freehand. I doubt that I could quilt a straight line w/o my walking have a steady hand, my friend. Great post, Linda...I'm looking forward to seeing your completed quilt!

  2. I also random pin baste but mostly because I am a lazy quilter and just put them where I think they need to go. It's good to know that there is a real purpose to my method. I mark my quilts as I go also since I do find that the chalk (which I really like) gets dusted off too easily. I love the nested templates you use and I finally purchased a set of the circles recently. They are great for machine quilting and for figuring out sizes, etc. The quilt looks fabulous and I'm looking forward to seeing the finished project.

  3. Oh no, the quilt police are coming - I pin in a grid!!! Since I'm not that good, it hasn't been a detriment so far. I don't usually mark, I use mostly free form all over designs. But if I do, I mark as I go. Can't wait to see the finished project!

  4. I mark my quilt when I do machine quilting...It helps a lot.
    Love your quilting!

  5. Your quilt turned out really nice. I love the way you continued the rays into the border. The colors look great with your background. Good Job!!



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