Friday, May 2, 2014

large and in charge man quilt


I have finally finished up the largest quilt myself and Bertha (my machine) have ever quilted, and my arms have lived to tell the tale!  Prior to this quilt, my Swoon quilt had taken the cake as the largest quilt I'd worked on (measuring 90" square), however the Man Quilt has topped the list, weighing in at a hefty 90" x 102".  

I think Bertha was dying for the attention, because she quilted like a champ.  No skipped stitches, no tension issues and no broken needles.  I think she was afraid I'd leave her neglected for another month if she gave me any issues!  Whatever the reason, quilting this behemoth went incredibly smoothly, and gave my shoulders and upper back a workout in the meantime.  


Having completed this generous queen size quilt, I'm actually toying with the idea of tackling a king size quilt for our own bed.  Now that we have broken the dogs (for the most part) of calling our bed their bed, I can rest easy knowing that it wouldn't be destroyed by the fur children.  I can't quite picture what sort of pattern I'd like, I'm thinking something geometric, chevrons of some sort perhaps?  Anyways, I digress, back to the quilt at hand.


I mentioned in my post about the quilt top that I had tried a new method of basting, and I'd report back once I saw how things turned out.  I gave table basting a try and have to say I'm pretty impressed with the results.  I'm a hard core basting-on-the-floor gal and have always preferred basting spray to pins, so this idea of basting on a table, and with pins took me way outside of my comfort zone.  I had read multiple positive reviews on this method so I decided to give it a shot.  The main appeal for me, was knowing that I likely wouldn't be able to baste this giant all in one session, and I really don't have the space in my house to leave a quilt this large just laying around for days on end without it getting trampled on, and the dogs making it their new personal queen size pet bed.

I completely forgot to snap pictures as I went with this method, but I basically used a mash up of these two tutorials found here and here.  I  set up my quilt layers like the second post described and held them taut using clamps, as I couldn't fit the entire quilt top on my table all at once.  Once all three layers (backing, batting and quilt top) were nice and smooth and secured to the table with the clamps, I went to town pin basting, like the first post describes. Once I had pin basted the area that was smooth on the table top, I unclamped the quilt layers, and shifted the entire quilt to repeat the process with an unbasted section. I repeated this until the entire quilt was basted.


I can happily report that this method was a success!  I had zero puckers on the quilt back and was able to spend 10 minutes here and there working on basting the quilt when I had a few spare moments, AND I didn't have to spend hours on my hands and knees basting a quilt this size.  

I still would have to say I prefer my spray basting method, and will use that method whenever I can, but for a larger quilt that I can't/don't want to baste all in one session, this table basting method will be my go to.  I will say the main downside was spending all that extra time removing the pins, although this is just a downside (in my opinion) to pin basting itself, whether on floor or on a table.


I gifted this quilt to my brother on Easter, and am happy to report that he loves it!  The above picture is one he snapped on his phone of the quilt already living on his bed.  I'm glad to have this quilt finished and off to its new home.  I'm in the middle of stitching together a sweet and simply strip quilt for a baby boy, and am envisioning the quilting to feel like a walk in the park in comparison to this big guy!



  1. What a handsome quilt!!! Your color & fabric choices are wonderful.
    I'm glad to hear about your experience table basting -- I've been thinking about giving this a try, but didn't know much about it -- and was a little scared that it wouldn't work!

  2. Wow, it's huge! Such a great quilt though, and I love that boxy quilting.

  3. Woah, that's a huge quilt to quilt yourself on a normal machine. A mammoth effort Jess! Well done.