I basted the May TIF challenge last night and wondered how other quilters baste their quilts. I always pin baste, whether I’m machine quilting or hand quilting. I thread basted a quilt once with horrible results. That one experience turned me off from thread basting forever.
I made a Sunbonnet Sue wall quilt for my mom, about 40 inches square. I decided to hand quilt the Sue blocks because I hand appliquéd them. I took my time and used the recommended spacing. When I started quilting everything started shifting. I kept catching my rings in the basting threads and pulling them, then trying to readjust the top by smoothing out the fabric. By the time I finished quilting the center, the backing was a couple inches shorter than the bottom of the quilt. I sewed a strip of fabric to the original backing so I could finish the quilting. In hindsight, I should have basted in a smaller grid to prevent all that shifting.
I also like to use basting spray to hold everything in place when I pin, but I only use the Sulky brand. I tried another brand once. I’m sure a chemist could tell me exactly what happened and why. When I sprayed the stuff onto my quilt backing at retreat one year, it came out of the can in black flecks. I ran into the bathroom to try washing it off. I ended up with a gray splotch on my white backing that never did come out. The quilt, a tree skirt, turned out fine, and since no one ever sees the back the gray splotch didn’t matter.