Sometimes it’s amazing how much you can really get done when you just do one thing at a time. I’ve been machine quilting this UFO quilt, and while my mind has been free to wander and think about other projects, I haven’t let myself get sidetracked and actually do any other projects. I’m almost done with the main quilting in the center of the quilt, and it feels like the whole quilt is half done already, even though I know it’s really not. After the main quilting on the whole thing, I have tiny grids and stippling left to do, so that will take a while.
One thing I discovered about a UFO that’s been sitting around this long: I basted this quilt with batting and backing at least 3 or 4 years ago, and then didn’t continue on with the quilting for whatever reason. Except for brief moments when it got unfolded to look at it or show it to someone, it’s been folded flat on a shelf with other quilts and quilt tops piled on top of it. As I’m working on it, Ivve realized that the batting is quite compressed and flat, which makes it much less bulky to push through the machine. Wow! What an epiphany!
When I get ready to baste a quilt, I take the batting out of the bag and unroll it to let it fluff up, and sometimes I even pop it in the dryer on fluff to really puff it up. I don’t know where I learned that, probably from a machine quilting book at some point, and I’ve always told my quilting students to do that too. But what if we’ve been shooting ourselves in the foot all this time? We fluff and puff the batting before basting, only to have to fight with it to squish it though the machine when we quilt the quilt.
It’ll be interesting to see what happens when I wash this quilt that I’m working on right now. Will the batting puff up in the quilting designs the same way as other quilts? I think the next time I baste a quilt, I’m leaving the batting compressed to see how it goes. Maybe just this simple thing will make machine quilting large quilts that much easier. What do you do when you baste a quilt??