When I finished quilting my Outlined Plus mini last week, the quilt did not lay flat due to the straight line quilting on the bias. You can see the waves below, this was definitely not attractive so I blocked the quilt to flatten it. Some people had asked about blocking a quilt so I took some pictures to show my process.
I do not block all of my quilts, I typically block quilts for magazines, show quilts, and minis. I find that blocking makes the quilt lie flat and hang really nicely. I usually do not block bed quilts or anything larger than a lap size (I find that these usually lay pretty flat and even if they are a little wavy, you can’t really tell on a bed).
Disclaimer – This is how I block my quilts, if you have a very delicate quilt or are worried about color bleeding, I suggest you alter or augment these directions.
I block my quilts after quilting and before trimming any of the excess backing and batting off.
Step 1 – Give the quilt a bath.
I fill my bathtub with warm (not hot or cold) water and immerse the quilt for 5-10 minutes. I gently move the quilt around in the water once and while. I do not add anything to the water (no soap or detergent, Color Catchers, or Synthrapol).
Step 2 – Give the quilt a spin.
I carry the quilt over to my washer machine and run it in the spin cycle for 3-5 minutes. This gets a lot of the water out of the quilt.
Step 3 – Give the quilt some shape.
I take my spun quilt and place it on my wall to wall carpeting. (If you are worried about the quilt bleeding onto the carpet you can place a towel or sheet between the quilt and the carpet). I slowly begin to flatten the quilt out, smoothing and tugging the quilt around to get the quilt to lie flat and the seams to be straight. Some people use a laser level to help with the straightness.
I use T-pins to pin the quilt to the carpet (my husband picked these up for me at Harbor Freight Tools, but they are available in virtually any hardware store and most craft stores). I place the T pins in the batting all around the quilt top.