Thursday, January 27, 2022

Basting by Longarm, Quilting by Hand!

It was another day in the QPO Studio with Martha!

Why do we tend to apologize for projects that have lingered?

"All in good time!" is as good an explanation as there ever was.

Somewhere in the early early 2000s there was a mail order block of the month series for a "Civil War" quilt.  Fabrics came in small packages along with a pages of drawn templates and from there it was up to each maker to either trace, cut, mark and hand piece as Martha did, or measure the templates using the dimensions for rotary cutting as others chose to do.

No matter the method, this 2 blocks a month project with large blocks made a LARGE quilt.

And then the conundrum - how to quilt this?

Hand quilting a queen-sized quilt (I think this one measured 87'' X 87'' with borders) can be a big and daunting project - 

Do we quilt it by the block?  Do we do an over-all thing like cross hatching, diagonal lines, clam shells or Baptist fans?

But perhaps the most daunting of all is finding a space to baste it well so you can begin.

Not everyone has room for a 3 rail frame in their home should they wish to hand quilt, or the skills required to push a large quilt through a small opening in a domestic sewing machine, not to mention the learning curve required.

Martha thought that the Baptist fans I am so in love with would be the perfect touch for her hand pieced quilt top - a mere 20 years after the piecing was completed.  Sometimes it just takes that long to know what to do with it!

We loaded backing, batting and quilt top into the long arm with the intent to just easily baste the layers so she can mark the fans with a quilting template and chalk as I have done previously.

Large stitches make basting removal easy.

Each time I move my hoop I use my seam ripper to slice through about every 4th basting stitch or so - and then pull the bobbin thread on the underside to remove that line of basting one hoopful at a time.

I know she will find this process easy and rewarding and this quilt will come to life with the hand quilting she will be putting into it.

It's 15 degrees this morning.  Hand quilting is the perfect way to stay warm in the evenings while watching TV!

Wavy line basting -

Before I had my long arm machine computerized, I used to just do a huge old meander with a very long basting stitch.  That works wonderfully as well.

In this case, we used a computerized serpentine pattern to anchor everything.

Having stitches go up and down as well as across will keep things nice and flat and the tension on the fabric even, more than just straight line basting would. (That has a tendency to push and pull while quilting.)

Your long arm quilter may be happy to baste like this for you.  It may cost just about as much as regular machine quilting that stays in.  It takes just as long to load, and nearly as long to baste as it does to machine quilt.

But the ease of being ready to sit and stitch without having to crawl on a floor to baste a large quilt with pins or thread makes it worth it.

It's likely cheaper than a chiropractic visit!

Coming off the machine -

Even though this quilt is square, we loaded it sideways so we could have the backing seams also running top to bottom along the length of the roller bar, instead of backing seams wrapping around and around and around the bar.

20 years before the hand quilting begins?  

"All in good time!" is good enough!

I hope she will share update photos with me so I can share with you how this is coming along.

Our fun isn't over - we have a play date set for Monday.  Lunch out and a round of antique mall hopping is in order!  We've spent a lot of time in the studio, and deserve a day off.

Quilting DONE!

I'm now on to the binding stage of this finish - and it feels so good!

I'll have more to share tomorrow after taking more photos.

Let me tell you - long term hand quilting projects like this can get DIRTY.  Just from the handling.  And the occasional sleeping cat.

As soon as I get the binding on this quilt is getting a good soak and wash.

And I think today is the day I start getting things ready to pull the NEXT finish into the line up.

Are you thinking of finishing up some of your long-term time out projects, too?

It doesn't matter when you started - it's a matter of when you finish!

And remember: "All in good time!" is good enough!

Only a few days remaining!

The introductory price for Cherry Crunch is marked 25% off in the digital pattern section of the Quiltville Store.  No coupon needed!  Price reduction good through 1/31/22.

I have placed some OTHER Winter themed patterns ALSO at 25% off with no coupon required!
Forever Mine PDF pattern includes the runner too!

On sale at 25% off through 2/13/22
Warm Hands, Warm Heart & Winter Blues are both 25% off through 1/31/22.

If this is your first time downloading digital patterns from my store to a computer click HERE.

If you intend to download to an iPhone/iPad click HERE.

Quiltville Quote of the Day -

When we are feeling down, it's hard to look beyond our own problems and find the beauty that is out there.
But it is there! Look beyond yourself!

Have a terrific Thursday, everyone!



  1. I made that Civil War repro quilt - Women's Voices. It's the first large quilt that I hand quilted. It lives on the guest room bed.

  2. I am buying the backing fabric for On Ringo Lake this weekend. This top has been done for a while now and it's time to get it quilted and finished. Just finished Grassy Creek too. I have 4 quilts that need finishing. Great start to the year getting those to the quilter. Almost time to start something new. Thank you for the inspiration and motivation!

  3. Took 3 Tops to the long-armer yesterday. One was just a jelly-roll quilt done 7 yr ago and finally getting quilted. Other 2 were done last year and will be welcome additions to my linen closet. It is fun to go looking for one thing and find items you have forgotten about. Am now working on kits from 2006 Amish Country Shop hop I forgot I even had. Stay warm and Have a great day!

  4. My sons family have sold their house and are temporarily moving into our house. We have an apartment situation in the back where my sewing room was. 3 Bedrooms, a full bath and a door to give them privacy in the hall. We have used it in the past for my daughter's family. My sewing room is now in our bedroom and yesterday I finally sat down and got the binding on the front of Grassy Creek. It felt so good. Now I have a binding to work on in the chaos!! LOL

  5. I love your Blog Uplift Comment today, "When Life knocks you down, roll over and look at the stars."
    It's also true that stars are like our dear and cherished friends, "You may not always see them but you know they are always there."

  6. Good morning Bonnie,

    You have long been an inspiration for me. I've made many of your patterns and have plans for many more. (boxes of shirts, strips, strings and crumbs :)

    Today seems like the time to share my own "All in good time" "Quilt Rescue."

    I purchased a quilt top at a garage sale in Sun City, AZ about 10 years ago. It was musty from long term storage and the seller could give me NO information about it's origin.

    It reminded me of my grandmother's depression era quilts. It is hand pieced from patterned feed sacks and coarse muslin (perhaps flour sacks as some printing is still visible).

    My "All in good time" came last week. I wanted to maintain as much depression era integrity as possible (yet working only from stash) in finishing this quilt. Backing was pieced from worn vintage muslin sacks with scraps of 1930s reproductions appliqued over the worn areas. Binding is scrappy reproduction fabrics as well. My hands won't allow me to hand quilt so it was machine quilted.

    Without information you have shared, I would never have realized that this top had potential and it is now a favorite.

    Thanks for all you do!

    Marilyn Parks
    Sun City, AZ

    Sent from Yahoo Mail on Android

  7. I've got a bunch of Rockabilly Swing blocks done & yesterday I started Rocky Road to Grayson. These are long-term projects for me but super fun. Thanks for the patterns!

  8. What an awesome thought "All in Good time". Quilting takes Time. What a way to spend our Days. Getting there on the Current Mystery. Those pieced setting Triangles are awesome might have to use them on another Quilt, in the future of course.

  9. I'm curious about how we select the sizes of our quilts. I tend to make most of my quilts either queen/king or twin size unless it's a special baby quilt. When I read of unusual sizes, I wonder how these will fit as a bed quilt. I know some are lap quilts and would definitely be smaller, but take for instance, this quilt described above. 87" X 87" is not the customary size for a twin or a double, so how would this be used??? Just trying to learn more.

  10. When you wash your quilt that you hand quilted, what precautions do you take so that the colors don't run. Any special tips you can share?

  11. Karen in Kentucky, my grandma made most of her quilts about 68”-70” wide because at the time fabric was only 36” wide and she wanted to use two widths of fabric for the backing.

  12. I'm still working on Rhododendron Trail. Yesterday finished adding wings. Today I'll be working on garnet and neutral quarter square triangles. 88 done, more than that to go. All in good time!

  13. I finally got the hand quilted stitches out of the Amish quilt.
    Since it has been sitting around for 5+ years, I washed the top and ordered backing. The black backing arrived yesterday and I washed it too and now have to iron it. Once that is done, it goes to the quilter. I promised myself last year that it will get done this year, and now it will.

  14. Oh Lord, thank you Bonnie! I still have 2 queen size quilts for Grandkids to hand quilt and I was dreading the basting process. I am getting a little too old to climb on top of a table to baste the center and last year's knee replacement wouldn't make it comfortable either. I got a longarm in July, and now I know I can just baste those bad boys on the longarm.

  15. I love the ideas of basting on a long arm to secure all the layers to be able to hand quilt! I love to hand quilt, but do not have the space as you said to lay out a queen size quilt and baste on the floor. I will have to keep this in mind once I can manage to finish the next queen size quilt. Thanks for sharing, best wished to Martha as she hand quilts it.

  16. What stitch length do you use for basting on your longarm?


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