Sunday, September 21, 2014

Pretty Practice Pieces

I've been making up a lot of smallish quilt sandwiches lately for free-motion quilting practice, and just general play. I'm even using the "dailyfmq" hashtag over on Instagram, further stepping out of my comfort zone and confronting my fear of joining in. Scary!
So today I thought I'd make good on my promise and show how I baste those cute little quilt sandwiches so they can become pretty practice pieces.

I start with two pieces of fabric cut the same size, and a piece of batting just a bit larger. I then take them over to my ironing board where the magic happens.
I lay the backing fabric down, "wrong" side up and press it with a hot iron (no steam) to get it nice and flat.
The 'Hot Wheels' Wall Track in the background is not essential. :P
 I spray the backing fabric with starch. Lots of it.  Then I lay the batting over the top of it and smooth it down so it's nice and flat as well, and press the batting. Again with no steam.
You can see here that the backing is pretty wet with the starch.

After pressing it and smoothing it out with the iron I'm ready to spray the batting with lots of starch, just like I did with the backing fabric. Then I lay the top piece of fabric on it, "right" side up.

I'll smooth it out and press it down a bit with my hands before pressing it with the iron, because the iron kind of sets the starch, sticking it in place.
See the starch seeping through from underneath on the picture above? That's kind of what you want to happen. That way you know there's been enough starch to stick it together. Just keep pressing it with your iron until it's all dry again.

When it's pressed and dry you should have a fairly sturdy, basted mini-quilt sandwich.
I just realised it looks like it's standing up by itself! But no, it's me holding it.

Sometimes after being pressed and pushed around a bit with the iron, the edges of batting that stick out from the fabric can become a bit fuzzy so I just trim them off with my rotary cutter so they can't make my sandwich all fuzzy.

And then they're ready to play with. :D (I actually love this method so much that I'll always pre-baste my large quilts this way before pin-basting now. It may seem a bit of a hassle but the results are well worth the extra step. And it's not actually that much more effort for me, because I  always used to spray my backing and quilt top with starch and press them before basting, anyway. This way I just kind of press them together.)

I found this design in one of my notebooks, but I'm not sure if I made it up myself or drew it from a book or a video. I do know I'd never actually quilted it before, though.

After the original design from my notebook I went in and added some pebbles. These are my best pebbles yet! I was making sure I kept my eye looking ahead to where I wanted to go, not where the needle currently was.

And after the pebbles there was still more space begging to be filled so I filled it with some fun feather-y things.


1 comment:

  1. I enjoyed reading this post about your FMQ sandwiches. I am intrigued about your use of starch as a basting spray. I have not tied that. I use basting spray, which is very sticky. Have you ever tried basting spray and compared it to starch? Just wondering
    Happy quilting!


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