Nice Cans!

My quilting life has improved dramatically thanks to the purchase of these two beautiful cans:

Why had I never used spray starch before?!  When I was ironing out the quilt-top for Baby Henry’s quilt I noticed that some of the older fabrics I had used were stretching a little bit as I pressed.  I had pre-washed everything, but sometimes cheapo and old fabrics stretch – thems the breaks.   I had heard that spraying starch after ironing would help stabilize the quilt-top and make my life easier.  Boy, did it!  Another benefit is that I had this quilt-top draped over the back of a door for over 10 days, waiting to have a backing made and become a quilt-sandwich.  It stayed crisp and pressed for that entire time!

By the time I was ready to baste Henry’s quilt I had read THIS WONDERFUL HOW-TO by Film in the Fridge extolling the benefits of 505 basting spray.   For a long time I had heard spray-basters wonder: what the heck are pin-basters doing?!  Now I am one of those spray-basters!   NO MORE PINS FOR ME.

Pin-basting sucks, and I suck at it.  I have never NOT stretched my fabric too far while attempting to create a perfect flat sandwich and I ALWAYS have to readjust my basting at least 10 times before finishing quilting a blanket.   I’ve had great success in my short machine-quilting life, but not for lack of elbow grease and curse words during the basting and re-basting processes.

You guys – what would have taken me seriously close to 90 minutes (not including the time to clean the kitchen floor properly and move the furniture around in there so I have enough room) and a LOT of swearing, not to mention sore knees and lower back took me MAYBE only 20 MINUTES from absolute “hey-maybe-I-should-baste” start to finish.

Read the tutorial for a guide on how to do it.   The only other note I have to offer is in regards to spray-off.  Elizabeth does not put anything under her batting because she has a room with a carpet she doesn’t care about (and she’s never noticed the carpet being sticky or affected by the spray).  I am not lucky enough to have such a room, so I laid a large fleece blanket I have down on my carpet, and then put the batting on top of it.  I then ironed my batting so it was super flat.  Then I placed my quilt-top on top of the batting and ironed the top.  I let the quilt cool-down (the can of 505 says the fumes are flammable enough times to make me a little paranoid), and then I started the spraying process as Elizabeth describes.   After I was done basting my quilt, I throw my fleece blanket in the wash!  No worries about sticky carpets – just in case.

I’ve only used the spray baste on baby quilts.  I’ve read people who regularly make queen-size quilts that the spray basting still holds up perfectly for larger blankets.  I know I will definitely be trying it as a first-resort on all future quilting projects I have planned!

One last note: although I haven’t read of any problems about starch or spray baste gumming needles, I have heard some people be concerned about giving sprayed blankets to babies.   Simple: just wash your blankets before gifting them!  The sprays are both water-soluble.


Filed under Techniques

4 responses to “Nice Cans!

  1. Thanks for the spray starch tip! I’ve been considering getting some myself, after hearing people extol the virtues of Mary Ellen’s Best Press…but I’ve had very bad luck with spray basting! 😦 I always get wrinkles on the back of my quilts when I use it, yuck!

    • Oh no! Maybe try ironing the quilt backing to the batting first before lifting it up to spray? I’m just a beginning with the spray-baste, but I hope it keeps going as well for me as it did for this first try.

  2. I always spray baste! Recently I didn’t want to go “all the way” to the basement to spray baste a mug rug, so I pinned it, and I swear it took longer to pin baste than it would have to simply go downstairs! Hmph!
    I know Latifah ( tapes her quilt back to the garage wall, then sprays for the batting, smoothing it out, then sprays for the top, and smooths that out. She never has wrinkles or gaps or blobs. And if it’s good enough for the president of the LA Modern Quilt Guild, then it’s good enough for me! 🙂

    I joined the LAMQG about 2 months before my little girl was born, and she just kept on going with me after she was born. 🙂 I just wore her in my Moby wrap at the meetings and at the group sews. She even got an award at the one year anniversary for being the only member to have gone to every meeting since she was born. 🙂 Take your little guy with you to the meetings! It’s not that hard. 🙂

    • That’s a great method for spray-basting! I wish I had more open spaces in my home, but a well ventilated living room is doing the trick. Thank goodness it’s warm enough I can finally open the windows again!

      I love my Moby wrap and used it with my first! I’ll have to see how the whole sleeping situation goes. I have to get up for work (I work at home) at 4am and with a two-year-old and a newborn, our A2MQG meetings may be past my bedtime : (

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