Friday, 25 April 2014

Free Motion Quilting and more on the Microstitch gun

After I posted earlier this week I had a few questions about the Microstitch gun I had mentioned. I had heard about it from a friend and recently my supplier of reasonably priced basting spray (which I love) has stopped shipping it (something about spray cans and the Royal Mail....). And me and pin basting are not friends....

Before I go any further, I paid for mine, I'm not being asked to review by a supplier etc,. I got mine from Amazon in the UK for approx £23. It works by firing little plastic tags through the layers of your quilt - like the tags you get on new clothes, but smaller. The gun came with 1800 tags half in white and half in black.

I basted four quilts: The City Sampler at 90"x 90", a lap quilt and two baby quilts, and I used about half of the supplied tags. It seems pretty easy to buy additional tags and probably works out cheaper than the basting spray overall.

If you aren't comfortable spray basting larger quilts, then this is a good alternative - I have basted and quilted a 116" x 116" quilt with no bother though. This system also removes the need to for chemical glue and spray which is another good thing in a house with a new baby.

There were a couple of disadvantages with the basting: to put the tag through the layers, you push the needle on the gun through all layers and pull the trigger. The needle is not tiny. With regular cotton I think it will be fine and washing will return the threads, but with the finer weaaves such as Art Gallery I'm not so sure. I'll have to pop a tag in an Art Gallery part of my Arabella Hexagon quilt and report back.

The needle was a bit temperamental, but I quickly learned what I was doing wrong, and could avoid it for the most part, and knew how to fix it once there was a problem.

The final disadvantage versus spray basting (but not pin basting) is the need to list the quilt from the table to get the needle through.

Today I quilted this, pieced by my mother-in-law. It quilted up just as well as spray basted quilts. I purposely quilted over a couple of the tags and I had no issues at all.

So far, so good. I have a feeling that the most annoying part will be going over the quilt and removing all the tags once I'm done - for this reason I basted in a grid so finding the tags would be easier.

My weekend will be a combination of more quilting - two baby quilts - the plan is spirals. Big ones. And a grizzly baby who had her first immunisations today.


Swedish Scrapper said...

Hmmmm......interesting follow up. I've wanted to try already basting but can't due to asthma, so I sure have been curious about this alternative. Seems to me that, as you said, removing the little buggers later could be a chore. So are pins. Definitely going to consider this, thanks!

ittehgaps said...

I have been basting with one of these basting guns for several yrs. My mother had a very old kit that was meant to be used to attach buttons and when I started quilting I tried it on my quilt. Back in the 70s long before they were even used in retail stores to attach price tags. It is efficient for the most part. But every once in a while it will jam and you have to be careful unjamming as I bent a needle and had to replace it. Not sure if it has to do with the quality of the tags. Depending on the nap of your carpet you can baste without worrying about it sticking to the carpet. Do NOT baste on a berber or looped carpet! There is a plastic grid you can get to lift your quilt off the work surface. I use a strip of similar gridded plastic that was used as a light cover for fluorescent lights that I salvaged from the garbage when we were remodeling our basement yrs ago. I have never pin basted a quilt. I have used spray baste and an old fashioned curved needle and thread. I usually snip about half the tags as I come to them in my quilting but also go over it when I am done to remove all the rest. Not a big deal because it gives me a chance for a thorough inspection. I find the basting gun to be the easiest. Cindy

Andrea @ Mouse in My Pocket said...

Thanks so much for this review. I've never seen a micro stitch gun, and the concept seems really interesting. As of now, I'm pin basting everything. I do have spray baste, but I've never gotten the hang of it.

Ada Kopitopoulou said...

This is very useful. I am pin basting, but was thinking about bying a sray. This gun seems a nice alternative. thank you.