Wednesday, 18 March 2009

Amy quilt - tips for layering a quilt

Hi all,

I just found this other photo of the Amy quilt from last week, before the builder knocked a hole in the wall and when I had layered the quilt and pinned it together. The photo shows me with Bella who had managed to sneak around the door and run across the quilt top to great me, I was aghast... her feet I thought.... but she had not just come in from the garden where she likes to dig holes, thank heavens! She was scooped up by me very quickly and Pete took the shot. If you look closely (all the piccies on the blog can be clicked on to make them bigger) you will see that Bella is giving me a friendly, sorry, type of lick. You will also see the safety pins in place where I have been busy layering the quilt.

TIP How to Layer a Quilt

If you have a big enough floor space with a fitted carpet it is easy to stretch and layer the 3 pieces together. Start with the base layer and make sure it is absolutely square and flat, no ripples must be present. Then pin with safety pins to the carpet below and stretch the fabric as you go to keep the base very taught. You do not, repeat do not close the pins, just push them well in and they will lay flat on their side. You should not have any that will stick up and prick you because you will be kneeling on the whole quilt sandwich later. These first pins stay in place and are all placed on the edges of the base layer, don't put any at all in the middle, just keep to the very edges and make sure they are all well pushed into the carpet. The idea is that the base layer cannot move!

Next lay on the wadding and flatten it and make sure it overlaps the backing fabric. Take time to smooth out any wrinkles because you do not pin the wadding at all. You don't really attempt to stretch it either and I know its hard when you are crawling about all over it but you must get it flat flat flat. (Obviously a big room helps but if you are like me then you end up on the quilt on your knees a lot.)

Next, very carefully lay on the quilt top and square it up and flatten it too. Try not to mess up the wadding as you do so, but because it was not pinned it should still respond to smoothing whilst the top will too, so you are kind of working with both. Patience is all!

So when no wrinkles are in evidence start to pin the quilt right through the 3 layers into the carpet with open safety pins like you did when you started with the base layer. Always start in the middle for this bit and work out in a circle from the middle. Keep working out gradually edging towards the sides, pin and smooth, pin and smooth. When all the quilt is pinned down stand back and assess, if any bits are not right, you guessed it, do that piece again.

Lastly, you need to close all the safety pins, start in the middle again and carefully pick up each pin, ease it slightly out of the carpet and do it up. This will give you sore fingers so be careful. Check that you have not missed any pins and that all are done up.

Now remember the base layer was first pinned round the edges only to keep it from moving so you need to go round the very edges of the quilt and remove the open pins which are just pinning the base layer only to the carpet. This frees up the whole quilt so then carefully ease the quilt sandwich up from the carpet. You have usually missed a 'middle' pin but you will feel it tug and then you can quickly do it up without any harm being done.

I have used this method very successfully and never ruined a carpet or my quilt, but obviously use some discretion, don't try it if you feel it is not for you. You need time, and good knees. The photo shows you the finished result as I had just done up the last safety pin when Bella decided to join me and you can see the surface is stretched tight and all snug.

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