Marking, Sandwiching, Basting
Marking fabric for a quilt, especially for a large project, always presents interesting challenges. There are many very good options available now, such as water erasable, air erasable, iron away, etc., which all work well for smaller projects. However, when working on a 106" x 66" quilt, that will take weeks to finish, all of the above options have their drawbacks. Quite by accident, while travelling in Germany this summer, I found a chalk cartridge set called "Kreideminen-Set", by hoechstmass Signet (I have seen it on eBay since then), that made marking the quilt a very easy process, even on the dark coloured fabric. Being chalk, I knew that it would be necessary to remark some of it. However, when that time came, the chalk marks were still visible enough to use as a guide, and at that point, I used an air erasable pen on one area at a time. I found this procedure much more efficient then wiping off the water erasable marks once the quilting has been done.
It was necessary to do the sandwiching and basting in stages, because I do not have a very large layout space available in our apartment in France. The size of the table is 82" x 42". The finished size of the tablecloth is 104" x 64", (allows for an 11" drop). I cut the backing fabric in one piece, larger then the quilt size, centred the batting to match the dimensions of the table top (cut larger at approx. 86" x 46") on top, then centred the marked quilt fabric on top of the batting (cut larger at approx. 84" x 44"). These 3 layers were then sandwiched and basted, and prepared for free motion machine quilting. This reduced size was much easier to manage considering the limited space that is available to me in our apartment. It was also necessary to reduce the bulk for the sewing machine I have here. It's a Bernina 350, which sews beautifully like all Berninas do, but the space between needle and arm is noticeably smaller then on a "normal" Bernina.
Once this whole centre section was machine quilted, I squared and trimmed the finished fabric top and batting to the correct dimensions and was ready to proceed to the borders.