Noodlin’ about

Not quite as aimless and lazy as it sounds, actually.

I used the pool noodle method to layer and spray baste the Bonnard quilt. I got it done in the space of about 2 hours, a record! Plus I don’t have a stinkin’ backache, pricked and sore fingers or pin holes in the fabric. I didn’t do it exactly the way shown on the YouTube video which gave me the idea, which I think would need two people to be successful with a quilt this size, just to keep things taut and smooth. I broke it down into two stages. Here’s how.

First job was to assemble my noodles. I’m using regular foam pool noodles. I cut and fitted together one whole noodle and part of another so they were the exact width of the backing. They’ll cut with an ordinary sharp kitchen knife, no special equipment needed. Then, to stop them bending in the middle, I pushed a broomstick up the centre channel, which also held the extended section on; it’s a tight fit.

Then I taped the backing good side down to the edge of the table, and pulled the rest of it across the table and smoothed it down, taping the first 24 inches of the sides as well, to hold things flat. On top of this I laid the edge of the batting and pulled the rest of that across the table too, so both layers lay flat and reasonably smooth. At this point, I took the decision that I wouldn’t attempt to do the quilt top as well, as I didn’t feel confident I could get all three layers smooth. So on this pass, I layered and basted only the backing and batting.

I pinned the edge of the batting to the noodle, and rolled the batting up carefully, ensuring it was straight by checking the edges. I then sprayed the leading, taped, edge of the backing, aligned the batting to the taped edge and carefully unrolled to the edge of the sprayed area, smoothing the batting onto the backing, spreading in an outwards motion from the centre. I was careful to cover any exposed parts of both the batting and backing, as well as the table top. I untaped the edge of the backing and pulled it down so a new section was on the table top.

I continued spraying a section, unrolling and smoothing the batting, until I reached the opposite side, exposing the edge of the batting pinned to the noodle. I unpinned, smoothed out this final section, and trimmed away excess batting flush with the edge of the backing.

I then pinned this flush edge to the noodle and rolled backing and batting together onto the noodle except for the final table-width. I then took the quilt top, and right side up, aligned the top edge with the top edge of the batting/backing but leaving about 1.25 inches of backing clear. I then rolled the remainder of the quilt top onto a second noodle.

After that, it was a repeat of the backing. Spray a section, smooth out, pull forward, spray the next section, etc. Finally, I flipped the sandwich over and smoothed out the backing again, as it became a little wrinkled while the top was going on.

If you want to try this yourself, you’ll need:

Pressed and smoothed quilt top and backing, and batting cut to size
Masking tape
2 – 4 pool noodles, depending on how big your quilt is
2 broom sticks or pieces of dowel the same size
Glass head pins (not as big as flower head, but easier to extract from the foam than dressmaker’s pins)
8 – 10 sheets of butcher’s paper or a plastic drop sheet
Spray baste ( I use 505)
A large table in a clean, dry area with no wind to blow the spray about.
Fabric scissors

If you haven’t tried this before, I urge you to give it a go, especially if you’re over the floor grovelling needed for pin basting. Actually, if you’re sensitive to the spray, this process would work quite well for thread basting too, but you’ll need a curved upholstery needle for the quickest results.

Job done. Smooth layers, trimmed out, and ready to start hand quilting.Β  I must go and find my hoop…

39 thoughts on “Noodlin’ about

  1. nettyg says:

    A never-easy job done well and easily. You’ll be feeling chuffed. Warm work though with a quilt in your lap.

    • katechiconi says:

      I’m stoked! I’m going to sit at the table with most of the quilt spread on it, and rest the hoop against the edge of the table. Hopefully that’ll deal with the weight and most of the heat. And I’ll have the air con running full whack because it’s going to be hot, hot, hot up here next week.

  2. tialys says:

    Great job ! Beats crawling about on the floor doesn’t it?

    • katechiconi says:

      It certainly does! It’s harder than it looks in the video if you’re working with a larger quilt; you can’t just waft all the layers around, as they’re heavy and stick together, particularly the batting, but it is very good at keeping things taut and smooth and the foam is perfect because you can pin into it and it’s light.

      • tialys says:

        I think I told you I did this with the quilt I eventually decided to send off to be professionally quilted so had to unpeel it all. It worked well though although I did have my husband’s help and we used a length of plastic drainpipe! If I do it again I’ll definitely go for the noodles as being able to pin into it would be a big bonus.

      • katechiconi says:

        Noodles are also better because they’re not slippery, and the fabric grips onto the textured foam more than pvd pipe. I’m really happy with the smoothness of the result.

  3. kathyreeves says:

    This sounds great! Hurrah for you!

  4. I loved seeing this and watching the video. You are right. It’s better than on the floor. Now I’ll go get some pool noodles. πŸ˜‰ You have the best tips.

    • katechiconi says:

      I’m not taking any credit here, I got the idea from YouTube πŸ™‚ But I do prefer my double-pass variation if I have to do it alone. If I had the Husband around, I’d probably try for all three layers at once.

      • No husband here so it’s always alone. πŸ™‚ Just passing on the tips makes my life easier. I don’t have time to hunt them all down and you do such a wonderful job of finding the best tips. πŸ™‚ Thanks again.

  5. Barbara says:

    How very clever to think of this methode and then execute it too, without a hitch!

    Barbara, with love and admiration.

    • katechiconi says:

      I really can’t take credit for the original idea, but I have adapted it to suit my needs and situation πŸ™‚ It has worked very well, and quilting has begun. Another post about that tomorrow!

  6. craftycreeky says:

    Great job, I think I’ll have to look into investing in some noodles πŸ™‚

  7. Kathy D says:

    Thanks for the picture tutorial! That worked great. Don’t know if they have the noodles out yet but will keep my eyes peeled for them. I did see Easter candy out a few days after the new year.

    • katechiconi says:

      We got hot cross buns for Easter out in store the day after they took the Christmas decorations down… madness. We get pool noodles out at Christmas because it’s our big summer holiday here!

  8. Lynda says:

    Well done! Now to find a spot outside to do this. Hm, maybe a folding ping-pong table from Craig’s list? Yes, that might do nicely!

  9. anne54 says:

    Anything that makes life easier is a bonus. As a non-quilter I am always amazed at the stages of the quilting process, and how each one has different needs and techniques. Have fun with the hand quilting.

    • katechiconi says:

      One of the hardest and most physically demanding parts of making a quilt is getting those three layers smooth, flat and held together so they don’t move. Anything at all that makes the process easier is worth sharing!

  10. This is why I will never attempt quilting.
    You have done a magnificent job, though πŸ˜‰

    • katechiconi says:

      Smaller pieces are much less demanding, though. And Quilt As You Go is a doddle by comparison. You could do that easily, I know. But to each her own πŸ™‚

      • The whole EPP thing has been on my mind since I heard about it, from you and Carla. It’s led me to come up with an idea based on the same technique but with bigger pieces and with something other than paper. And a random design. Experiment time later this month πŸ™‚

      • katechiconi says:

        That sounds really interesting. Can’t wait to see what you’ve come up with.

  11. I spray basted my first quilt this week! Are you proud of me? πŸ™‚ It was only a baby so I did not need to use noodles. I am glad to hear that this method worked for you – anything to avoid backache and floor grovelling.

  12. rutigt says:

    Sounds interesting! I think I must try this!!!

  13. Great explanation of this noodle technique! I feel lucky to not having to do any basting on the floor anymore! One of the perks of owning a longarm. If I hadn’t gotten one of those, I would be using your technique. So clever!

    • katechiconi says:

      I don’t take credit for the original idea, but I have adapted it a bit for basting a larger quilt. And I think if I had access to a longarm, I’d use it to thread baste the quilt for hand quilting!

      • Yes, I would too!!!
        Just don’t have time to focus on hand quilting at the moment. I have a fabulous improv quilt on the design wall. I have been working on it a bit every evening. It is turning out so much better than I had thought when I started.

      • katechiconi says:

        I’ll look forward to seeing that in due course. And of course, I still want to see the finished F2F quilt!

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