What Do You Prefer? Basting Ideas…

Basting Tools I am hoping this will be a new spotlight in my blog at least once a month I will post a “Tool Tip” about the tools we use in our quilting. These will consist of products I’ve actually used, use, and own. Last night I was reviewing a craftsy class I signed up for by Leah Day. I was reminded that I would like to try the Pinmoors she recommends. When I went to her website and saw the price, I nearly fainted, I couldn’t believe how expensive they were. So I went to Amazon.. my best shopping friend on the net. They to my own astonishment do not carry them. This really was a shock to my system, I can’t even remember the last time I couldn’t find something on Amazon if ever. I’ve been a customer for over ten years, so that was pretty surprising. So, off to google.com, where I found a bevy of searches for the Pinmoors. The odd thing is that at the Pinmoors site, there are two things you won’t find at Leah’s site, first, the pinmoors are actually cheaper for the same amount, and you can order whichever color your heart desires. Well suffice it to say tho, I did not order any, they are just still to expensive for my cheapskate ways. I don’t consider myself a cheapskate, and I am a firm believer in the theory that you need the proper tools for the job. However, I have used safety pins for years and I like the good old fashioned safety pin type basting. In my first quilt, I used the thread type of basting, but I found it hard to deal with, because I must have used to large of a basting stitch. My first quilt was basted by hand, and quilted by hand. It was machine pieced. It wasn’t long after that I started looking for other solutions to make basting better for quilting. I took many classes for machine quilting and most of those women all used the hand basting methods as well. I then took a class where the teacher used safety pins and I was sold. I couldn’t even believe I hadn’t thought of it myself. So I purchased the proper safety pins and have never regretted it, nor had rust problems that other people seem to have. I do have the problems with the soreness after awhile, but I know when it’s time to take a break and when it’s ok to work again. So, today, I was out and about paying our rent for the month, and the internet bill at the base. In case you don’t know we are here in Italy with my husband working for the US military. I dropped into the office store on the second part of the base to look at some bookshelves. I was also on the hunt for a decent lamp as well. I still can’t find a lamp, but I did find just by pure accident some ear plugs. It got me to thinking about those Pinmoors again and how much they look like those pinmoors. My guess is those pinmoors need to be soft and squishy like to push the pin into, so I bought some. Surprisingly, the ear plugs contain 80 earplugs and were a cost of just $11.00. A pretty big difference to the $34.50 and $38.95 costs at the Pinmoor website and Leah Day‘s website. It’s nothing here against Leah Day, I have the highest respect and admiration for her and I really like her and her site, I’ve purchased things from her, so my guess is that the Pinmoor site may have dropped there price and aren’t willing to give Leah a break on that pricing, which they should consider doing since I think she’s probably the biggest reason that quilters would buy them. At the same time, I’ve read many reviews about them as well. People like me think they are to expensive, others won’t consider them because of the cost, and others who have purchased them found them in some cases to be difficult to use. So, out of curiosity today, I purchased those earplugs and check them out.. Let’s have a look.. So sorry about the blurriness of this images, no matter what I did I just couldn’t get a good picture. They are better when clicked on.

This is the packaging it comes in. Very cool actually.

I’m sure you could find these cheaper than the $10.98 I paid for them. 80 per pack, Amazon has a 200 pack for $33.00 or $21.98, for Prime members, not that it’s a better deal, but it is still cheaper. There are probably other brands that are far less as well.

3M Ear Plugs


How the package looks once opened. It was an easy container to open, I just cut off the white packaging tape on the sides, and was able to open the container easily.

When the container is opened.


I’ve laid them out on just a piece of fabric with a piece of fleece, and fabric underneath it. I easily placed/pushed the pins into the earplug, and even felt I could cut these in half and still have plenty of room. This image shows some of them cut in half, and others are pinned into the fabric. Another thing to think about is that if you do cut them in half, you have 160 of them for $11.00.. that’s not to shabby.

These earplugs squish very easily, it was not difficult to push the pin into the fabric and then thru the earplug.

How they look on your fabric


I purposely squeezed one of the earplugs to show how easily they are to manipulate.

Squeezing the earplug


When I let the pressure off from my fingers, it easily bounced back to normal within about 30 seconds or so.

Earplug refreshes like a pillow


Closing the Lid is easy.

Closing the Lid


it secures into place and even when tipped over it remained in place. I gather you will eventually have to replace the container, but I can’t imagine that the earplugs won’t wear out at some point either. It would be important to probably keep Pinmoors or the earplugs  in a closed environment as well, so they don’t dry out.

Lid Closed


All in all, one could probably buy some 1/2 to 1-inch foam at the fabric shop, cut it up and use it as well. Foam is very very cheap, can you imagine how many you could cut up with even just a 1/2 yard of foam. If I were anywhere near a fabric store, I might have tried it out to see how I felt, but I can see why the Pinmoors could potentially become popular. However, at that price tag, they will keep even a believer in the proper tools like myself away.

Other products I have used for basting are:

The Quiltak

Next to safety pins, this is probably my most favorite tool. I really love it. I’ve never had any problems with it. I use it for small projects, but it’s best use is “tacking” all my ufos together if I don’t place them in freezer bags. This was an expensive tool and it still is expensive as you have to replace the tacks as you run out and they can get expensive, once in awhile you will have to replace the little tool that tacks into the fabric as well, but in the 15 or so years now that I’ve used this tool, I have only replaced it once.

The only bad thing imho about this tool is that when your cutting the tacks out, you do need to be super careful not to cut your fabric as well.

The Quiltak

My favorite tool is of course the safety pin.

Don’t scrimp, be sure you are purchasing nickel-plated pins. Anything else may and probably will rust. Try not to get your pins in water. Store them in a secure container. I store mine in a old Tupperware container, however any container will suffice that has a lid that won’t pop off easily.

The negatives about safety pins are that they can be hard to fasten, (this is why I use large ones so they aren’t as bad) and they can make your hand and fingers start to hurt when basting large quilts. However, they are by far and away the most secure item to use for basting.

Safety Pins

Last but not least and definitely not anything I own anymore is the Basting thread…

I believe this is good if your a hand quilter, or using a frame to quilt with, otherwise, I just wouldn’t use this based on the fact that the thread breaks easily, and does not secure the top well.

cotton basting-qpr

I’d love to hear your thoughts, please comment so we can talk about what your favorite basting tools and methods are.

Update as of July 2015, I do not use the ear plugs any longer, I am perfectly content with safety pins. I’d like to add a tip, if you remove a safety pin and notice it has left a hole, use a quarter or a credit card of sorts and scrape it along the edge back and forth across the hole, the hole will disappear.


6 thoughts on “What Do You Prefer? Basting Ideas…

  1. I have Pinmoors that I have been using for several months. I, too, was put off by the price, but a local quilt shop had them and I waited until sale day (25% off) and bought a smaller package. I had tried to use ear plugs, but to me, they would squish up and be harder to manipulate and easier to stick your finger while you are putting them on the pin. I have used basting spray with the pins and I have also used the fusible batting with the pins. For me, it seems to help keep things under control better if I have dual systems at work.

  2. I am a saftey pin baster too. I have tried thread and spray but, just seem to do better with the safety pins. Very informative post, thank-you.

  3. When I first heard about Pinmoors over a year ago (from Leah Day too) I too was intrigued and nearly fainted at the price! I use 100’s of safety pins to pin-baste a quilt and it would cost a small fortune to invest in Pinmoors. I too got to thinking about something cheap and I had a pool noodle (a long tubular toy used in swimming pools made out of foam). I sliced a piece off and cut them into about the Pinmoor size. The pins went in easily. I tried them in a small quilt. They pinned to the quilt well enough, but as I began to actually quilt and things move around, the little foam pieces would fall off. So I figured that my foam wasn’t dense enough to hold the pins for long. I then read that Pinmoors are actually made out of silicone (same stuff that baby bottle nipples and pacifiers are made out of) so that’s why they would hold the pins in place without falling out. Silicone is not a cheap product. I searched around looking for silicone like in a tube shape, thinking I could cut them the size I wanted. I found some hollow silicone tubes online and when I did find the solid silicone, well it was either too costly or came in a huge quantity.

    The more I thought about the Pinmoors versus safety pins the more I realized that you still have to stop and pullout the pin or safety pin anyhow. Plus if you are like me I pin baste a few quilts at a time and then quilt them while I am in a quilting mood. I have thousands of safety pins and bought them half price at Joann Fabrics when they have sales. When using Pinmoors you have to remove the pin and the Pinmoor as you quilt. So you have to have a pincushion and a box to toss the Pinmoors into and that means it takes just as long or longer to deal use them. I’ll stick to safety pins.

    Have you actually tried quilting using the ear plugs? I wonder if they stay attached as you quilt or fall off like my experiment did with the pool noodle?

    1. Hi Daryl,

      I did eventually try the ear plugs, but found I just didn’t care for them. Your right when you say you need two containers to store them in, and that’s just another thing I do not need. I ended up giving the ear plugs away and I still use and love safety pins. I just think they are best for basting. Thanks so much for your comment, very well thought out and read.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *