Thread Talk from My Sewing Machine #52

thread-talk1Hello Friends, every now and then, I receive questions on how close I pin baste my quilt sandwiches.  I thought I would share with you an in-action photo from a quilt I completed a couple of weeks ago.

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My general approach to pin-basting is “pin it to death”.  My pins are about 1 1/2″ to 2″ apart, closer if the quilt is to be a special heirloom or show quilt.  I probably don’t need to have my pins so close, but I like to be safe than sorry.

Now, if you look at the photo again – you will see I take out enough pins to make an area (~4-6″ radius) around the needle for quilting.  I often stop while quilting to take out pins.  If in doubt whether a pin is going to be in my way, I’d go ahead and take the pin out.  I always regret it later if I don’t…. ask me how I know, ha!

If you have any basting tips (not necessarily pin-basting), please feel free to share.  I am always ready to learn something new, and there is plenty to be learned for sure in the vast world of quilting.

Thanks for stopping by.  I’d better get back to work.  Till later!

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Click here to read my other Thread Talk posts.

Thread Talk feature in THE QUILTER (December 2011/January 2012)

Be on a lookout for the upcoming issue of The Quilter (December2011/January 2012). The magazine will be on sale November 8th, but I suspect some of you who subscribe have already received your copies in the mail:


One of my Thread Talk posts “Swirly Tails” was picked up by the editor for publish. I am so excited!


In the issue, you will also find my quilt projects – a playful version of Coxcombs and Berries,


and Winter Bouquets:

[After you have a chance to look at my Thread Talk feature in the magazine, should you have any suggestions or thoughts for the editor (whether good or bad), you may email them to me at wendy2@wendysheppard.net. I will compile your thoughts and send them along.]

p.s. #1 I am waiting for the aforementioned quilts to return to me from the editor for more picture-taking before I share about them on the blog.

p.s. #2 I have resumed working – sneak peeks within the next couple of days.

p.s. #3 A Thread Talk post about feather quilting is coming in the very near future!

Thread Talk from my Sewing Machine #23


Linda left her comment on my last post:

“You must have added the last bit of quilting after the quilt was bound, right? Love the little every-other-curls along that edge.”


I have to disappoint Linda as my answer to that question is “no”. :) I am sure I am not the first person who thought this up, but recently I have been using the following border treatment for my quilt. Look at the schematic below closely:


1. This only works on a non-pieced border, as in border strips made of one long rectangle, or at best borders with corner squares.

2. The schematic shows my method for a 3″ finished border.

3. Instead of cutting my strips 3.5″ before piecing, I cut my strips 4.5″ for a “pretend” border of 4″.

4. After the border strips are pieced to the quilt center, I measure and mark 2.75″ from the edge of the quilt center around the border. That delineates the outer limit of the my quilting. The 1/4″ left from the 3″ finished border will be taken up by the width of the binding strip that is going to show on the front of the quilt – I use my 1/4″ foot to sew my binding strip onto my quilt.

5. All the above is done before I even baste my quilt sandwich.

6. I then quilt my quilt as normal.

7. After the quilt is quilted, I check for ripples and unevenness on the quilt. If the quilt looks rippled, uneven and wouldn’t lay flat, I would wet quilt and square up the quilt that way.

8. Usually, when I leave an extra space beyond the outer limit of my quilting (in this case that extra 1″ in my pretend border), I don’t have to wet my quilt for squaring if the entire quilt is evenly quilted. Then I proceed to trim 1/4″ beyond the quilting outer limited, taking care to square up the corners.

9. The quilted quilt top is now ready for me to attach my binding.  What I have, in this case, are feathers quilted right against the binding, but not covered by the binding!

I hope I am making sense… please let me know if I am sounding a bit delusional, by all means!