Monday, August 1, 2011


I spent the last week in Wisconsin and somewhere I lost my voice.  Seriously, it's completely gone.  My kids are getting really good at charades.  I'm alternating feeling like crud trying to cough up a lung and feeling ok.  This morning I was feeling ok, but not great.  I hadn't touched the sewing machine in more than a week and so I thought I just finish up the project I left out on the cutting table, frankenbatting.

I collect scraps of batting the way most people collect fabric scraps.  If it's more than 2 inches wide I keep it.  I use the narrow ratty bits for upholstering bow holders that I make for any little girls who come near me.  The wider pieces I sew together until I have pieces big enough for quilts.  Usually I wait until I need the batting before trying to piece it together.  I'm often impatient and rarely want to sew more than two or three pieces together when I’m ready to get a quilt basted.  This leaves me with a huge pile of batting scraps in the corner.  It takes too long to sort through so I just cut from the new stuff.

With my recent foray into pillows this seemed like the perfect time to use up the medium to little pieces.  I pulled out all the scraps and sorted them by length and started sewing. Originally I kept like batting together, but I’ve realized once it is quilted no one can tell if it was warm and natural or warm and white or whatever other brand of cotton batting I’ve used in the last 18 months. All my batting is cotton and sort of the same thickness, but not exactly the same. I got one piece big enough for a lap quilt and a bunch of cuts big enough for pillows and I decided some of what I had been holding on to was too junky to bother with, so it went in the stuffing bag.

When I sew batting together, I use the zig zag stitch that makes lots of little stitches across the width. It seems to bunch less. I just butt the edges together and zig zag across the top to hold them together. you don’t have to be neat or precise. Today I learned an important lesson, that I want to share with you. Two words, WALKING FOOT. Why, oh why, was I not using my walking foot this whole time? It pulls and bunches so much less, particularly the bits that are a little sticky from spray baste.

I’m going to add sewing up batting to my list of end of project chores. At the end of every project I like to put all the fabric away and put the scraps in the jar and generally tidy up, otherwise it gets out of control. Now I’ll also sew the new batting scraps to the old ones, so I’m ready to go when the quilt needs sandwiching.

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