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Saturday, December 19, 2009

Using a Basting Gun

Recently I purchased a basting gun. A woman from my guild had demonstrated its use, and said the magic words "it takes so much less time..."

I have a terrible time basting my quilts together! It once took me three hours to baste a 4' x 4' quilt! Every time we baste stuff together at the guild, I seem to keep up well enough, yet everyone is surprised to hear how long it takes me when I'm alone.

The basting gun fires tiny plastic tags through the layers of the quilt. They look like the tags that hold the prices onto garments you buy in the store, except they are only 1/4 of an inch long.

Some of the women in the guild still prefer to baste by hand, since they can stretch the backing tight and tape it to a table. With the gun, you can't do that, since you have to put a grid under the area being basted, so the basting is perhaps a little looser than most of them are accustomed to.

Well, it went together like a dream. Twenty minutes from start to finish, just over 100 darts went in and my quilt was basted and ready for action.

But taking it out - that was quite a different matter!

One hundred darts went in, but it seemed like thousands when it came to taking them out! And to add insult to injury, my backing fabric was a molleton, and about twenty of the darts had simply slipped inside the quilt, so I was only able to remove half the dart! I'm sure the other halves will eventually work themselves loose, and the recipients of this particular quilt will simply find it odd that I hadn't thought to remove these things...

Next time, I'll be more precise in my placement. Go in straight lines instead of going "pow! pow! pow!" willy-nilly!

And there still remains the problem of finding the removal tool: Nobody seems to stock it! It looks like a seam ripper with two long sides, or a cuticle pusher with a slot in the middle. I came uncomfortably close to snipping my fabric when removing the darts and am now looking high and low to find this remover tool. Funny that the quilt supply shops will sell the gun, the barbs, the grid, and replacement needles, but not the tool to remove the darts!

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