Sunday, July 20, 2008

How to Make a Quilt Sandwich

We quilters live with one fear: that we'll spend about a thousand hours making a spectacular quilt, give it to someone we love and they will use it for a picnic cloth.

So today's how-to will demonstrate one small step in quilting, basting, or as we quilters call it, making a quilt sandwich. I'm sure you'll appreciate the effort involved.

  • Move the couch back and clear a space on the floor. Vacuum the area. Feel a little guilty about the wii fit sitting there unused. No need to vacuum the rest of the floor. We're quilting here, not doing housework.
  • Lay out the quilt back and go to get the masking tape to tape it down. Remember that you left the tape in the car because you've been driving all over town taping up posters for Drama Girl's play. Note with dismay that after Jungle Boy watered the lawn, he left the hose draped all over the steps in an attempt to kill you. Reminisce about how much fun he used to think it was to wind the hose up.
  • Tape down the back of the quilt with masking tape. Yell at the cat when she sits on it. She's not in the picture because I yelled at her. Quilts in progress are cat magnets.


  • Lay out the batting that you have carefully measured to match the back of the quilt.

  • Notice that you don't seem to have measured as carefully as you thought. Carefully fold up the batting and go out to the garage where you store all your batting to look for a piece the right size. Because you must have a piece the right size.
  • Scream when you unfold a piece and find a spider in it.

  • After going through a dozen bags of batting, unfolding them all and vowing to 1) label them with their dimensions someday and 2) make cute table runners or something with all these nice batting scraps, realize that you do not have a piece the right size after all.
  • Go untape the quilt back because you don't want the cat to sit on it. Take the kids on a road trip.

  • Get distracted in the store looking at Wizard of Oz fabric. Bore kids to point of insanity. Smile inside at your ability to do this.
  • Bring the batting home, tape the quilt back to the floor again, put the batting down. Trim excess to fit. Save that extra batting for the spiders.

  • Lay out the quilt top. Listen with satisfaction as girls both start begging that they get to keep this one. Daydream about family feuds over your deathbed over splitting up the quilts.


  • Get down on your hands and knees with your big peanut butter jar full of open safety pins, and begin pin basting all three layers together, trying to ignore the nagging feeling that you are probably scratching up your hardwood floors.

  • A million pins later

  • Get up off the floor and realize your back and knees hurt. Untape quilt back from floor. Now you're ready to quilt it. The basting was the easy part. Now the real work begins.

33 people stopped folding laundry to write:

Goddess in Progress said...

hehehehehehehe.

1. Dogs, like cats, love quilts in progress.
2. I couldn't find my masking tape AT ALL, so just spread it out and hoped it would just give it a "homemade" feel.
3. My impromptu trip to the quilt shop was because I couldn't find the fabric for the binding that I was SURE I had, and my not-yet-1-year-olds screamed bloody murder as I daydreamed about what I'd make with the super-adorable Very Hungry Caterpillar fabric.
4. I scraped up my dining room table for the smaller quilts, and the floor for the larger one.

Though I know my wee babies clearly won't appreciate their nearly-finished quilt, I also know I'm going to be disappointed when my brother and sister-in-law get theirs this week and don't fully comprehend how many hours in front of the sewing machine were involved... :-)

Beth said...

2/3, that is a beautiful quilt! I can see why your daughters want to keep that one!

~Beth

Auds at Barking Mad said...

OK that spider...I would have just given up there and called it a day. Spiders do that to me.

Oh and can I send you all my scraps and have you make a quilt for me? Pretty please? No? Well, ok then.

BTW, that's a gorgeous quilt. Green eyed with envy here.

noble pig said...

Oh man I am so jealous, I wish I could do that. Could you teach me to sew?

Lidian said...

You are so talented! It looks beautiful. My mom made quilts too and I remember her doing this, it is really tricky...

TONYA said...

Rolling on the floor laughing. That was hilarious.

That was the best tutorial I've read. I have a couple of quilts I've been dying to start but had absolutely no idea where to begin having never quilted before. You are now my go-to-gal :) Lucky you.

eileen said...

This is absolutely hilarious! I am going to add this to my "Fun tutorials" list on my sidebar please and thank you!

Monkey Memories said...

That is absolutely gorgeous! I'm totally jealous! And congrats on your Golden Doobie!

Jocasta said...

Thankfully I've never used my one and only quilt for picnicking

Cheryl Lage said...

Oh it is SOOOO pretty! Still quite convinced I could never do it...you lost me at "spider." ;)

Gerb said...

OK, I like to pretend I'm a quilter but mine don't even come CLOSE to what you can do. I'd take one of your quilts, even with flaws, and display it proudly. Just beautiful.

compulsivereader said...

Guinea Pigs are the same way with quilts! I love that quilt it's so very pretty. As for the wizard of Oz fabric - pretty awesome right! I have it (and the hungry caterpillar too...) Can't wait to get working on my next quilt!

Steph said...

I would nag to keep that quilt, too. I wish I had the skill to do more than just, you know, *admire things like this.

H.E.Eigler said...

I'd be fighting for that one too - it's gorgeous! And this post was hilarious....that spider was GROSS. Thanks so much for stopping by and the lovely comment. I appreciate it :)

The Apron Queen said...

You get things done about the same way I do! My cats also love to sit on freshly ironed aprons that I haven't put away yet. :)

For your daily dose of vintage goodness & a bit of silliness, stop by Confessions of an Apron Queen

The Apron Queen said...

Oh dang. I forgot to say how beautiful that quilt is. I am jealous of your talent. And patience!

Wanda said...

Can't wait to hear /see your tutorial for the next step of quilting! Take lots of photos!
Great work on the tutorial, the humor and the quilt!

Peg - Happy In Quilting said...

well done excellent tutorial...

manager mom said...

That is SO pretty. I made the mistake of telling my daughter we'd make a quilt from her baby clothes. I don't know a needle from a firehose. Now she's all excited and I can't figure out how to make anything.

Starlett said...

OMG, I laughed so hard I hurt all over. Thanks, I need that so badly!!!!

Blarney said...

When I was young Mom & I used to help the Ladies Group at church make the raffle quilt (1st place prize) for the year.
Thanks for stopping by my blog today and thanks for the wonderful memory of my Mom.

standing still said...

That quilt is so beautiful, and you are a very, very funny writer. You need to meet my friend, aka Chesty LaRue who is also a great sewer ... of the costuming sort. check her out: http://akachestylarue.typepad.com/aka_chesty_larue/

angie said...

It is a lovely quilt and I hope the recipients appreciate the love and attention you put into it! I've always used straight pins to baste and swore profusely as I tacked it together. The safety pins are ingenious! I loved the part where you took your time looking at fabric :-)

Debbie said...

I would have stopped at the spider, never to continue.

texasholly said...

First, the quilt is amazing. Totally love it and would promise to fight for it after your death.

Second, hahaha. Love the spider the best.

Thanks so much for linking today!

Reluctant Housewife said...

Isn't it always like that? - trying to get stuff done, but having to deal with spiders, roadtrips and bored kids to do it. Too funny. Beautiful quilt.

lzyjo said...

Great tutorial! Very entertaining. I see what I did wrong, now. I had a little problem with the backing shifting a few inches, ie, too short on one side and too long on the other side, doh! Thanks for the tip of taping the backing to the floor.

...dotty... said...

I can't get down on the floor to do it that way anymore, so thank GOD for basting frames. But I thoroughly enjoyed the tutorial, as it reminded me how many things conspire to keep us from our biggest love........fondling the quilt !

Save the fight and just send that gorgeous quilt to me........if you don't agree, I warn you right now......they're gonna run across a copy in my estate !
Thanks for the light moment -- "A happy heart makes the face cheerful, but heartache crushes the spirit"..........Proverbs 15:13

Leslie said...

This is just what I needed on a stormy Monday morning! I found a little picture in Goodwill a while back. Underneath a snippet of a quilt was embroidered "Blessed are the children of Piecemakers....for they shall inherit the quilts!"

Katie said...

You are hilarious! Just want you to know that basting on the hardwood floor ALSO attracts DOGS and PUPPIES. If you look at my main page you will see the pic of my dog Louie in the weirdest spot on top of my batting.

They just can't understand why you would lay something down that's soo soft and cuddly and not want them to lay on top of it. LOL = D

Wenche said...

Except for the spiders, this both looks and sounds like my home when I'm making my sandwiches :)

shopgirl said...

Thank you for every piece of that post. It was funny and helpful and best of all, REAL. The too small batting, the stash of unmeasured batting, the spider... Excellent. ! Thank you.

Shannon @ Fabrics N Quilts said...

and you make it sound so glamorous! I think that last step is why I switched to spray basting...too hard to get off the floor!

Thanks for a hilarious start to my week!
Shannon
www.fabricsnquilts.com

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