Thursday was Quilt Club again, and the day that I’d designated to finally assemble and quilt my rainbow Bargello with the elaborate back. I’d left all the components there the last time and Stef had promised to clean the floor so I had a good area to assemble and pin-baste my quilt sarnie. The first clue that I might have problems was the fact that I couldn’t get my tape to stick to the floor (possibly due to some residual cleaning product left behind). This meant that getting the back stretched out nice and tight was extremely difficult. I wrestled with the back and the batting anyway, then laid down the top and basted it as well as I could, dreading what I was going to see when I lifted it.
It was as we’d all feared – the back was far too wrinkled to quilt nicely. I wasn’t surprised, but sighed a bit and unpinned the whole thing. A couple of options were suggested – use clips and a table to pin the sandwich in sections, or pin in stages – back to batting, then top to back and batting (which would require a third pinning to get all the pins on top of the quilt). I opted for the former, and Stef and I carefully clipped and stretched and pinned the damn thing. I felt much more confident this time, the fabric had felt tighter, but when we looked at the back it appeared very little better than my first attempt, which was extremely disappointing.
A closer study of the backing fabric revealed that it was probably not 100% cotton and had a stretchiness to it that, on top of the piecing I’d done, was making the basting more difficult than it should have been. After some thought and some more unpinning, Stef suggested a modification of option 2 – pin the back to the wadding only, quilt them together to stabilise the annoying stretchy fabric, and then pin the top on and quilt again. In the last half-hour of the session, she helped me clip, stretch and pin the back and batting together (again!) and now I’m busy laying down lines of quilting along the major seams of my pieced areas and across the larger unpieced areas perpendicular to the direction the top will be quilted in. I really hope it works, or I probably shall cry.