Thursday, March 30, 2017

Batting Cage

What do you do with your batting scraps? I know a lot of people toss them, and if they are really skinny I  do too. I have heard of people using them for Swiffer cloths, or only piecing them for small projects but not large ones. 

My batting scraps? Well first of all, I store all the scraps in a pop up hamper, thus caging it. You can stuff a LOT of batting scraps in a pop up hamper, trust me on this! When it's full, it's time to deal with the mess. I divide the batting by type, cotton, polyester, or wool. 

Once it's divided, I cut each length into even strips. My personal limit is 2" wide strips for cotton batting, and 3" wide strips for polyester or wool batting. If it's any smaller than that, it should have been tossed in the trash instead of the batting hamper. I do cut the strips as wide as I can get from the scrap, but since most have been cut with scissors when I trimmed a quilt, it's usually uneven. 

Here are my polyester batting scraps cut into strips. At this point, any uneven bits get tossed. I'm not into making dog beds or stuffed animals, so out it goes. 

This week, I started with my cotton batting scraps, and I ended up with two throw sized battings. I love Warm and Natural batting precisely because it's so easy to piece the scraps together. I feel like I get to use every bit of it. 

I haven't started piecing my polyester batting scraps yet, I just got them all trimmed today. The narrower pieces I will piece into batting for some placemats I'm making, and the larger pieces will get pieced into larger battings. 

I've seen lots of different ways to piece batting together. There are fusibles you can use, but I'm cheap and don't want to spend money on fusibles to piece batting. I've seen people cut wavy lines so you can't find the edges in the finished project. Let me tell you a little secret. I've pieced dozens of battings, all with straight edges, and I have never, ever been able to feel the stitching in the finished project! I wouldn't use a pieced batting for a tied project, but if it will be quilted, nothing should shift, and the zig zag I piece it with should have no strain on it after quilting. 

I've tried overlapping edges, which I know some people like, but I don't prefer that, I prefer just butting the edges together, and using a zig zag stitch to sew the strips together. I use cheap thread to do this, no need to be wasting high quality thread on this project. 

This is my presser foot of choice for joining batting scraps. It's the Bernina #5 foot, but if you don't have a Bernina, just check to see if you can get a Blind Hem Foot, since that's what this is. I'm not doing a blind hem, but if you notice that "blade" of sorts running down the center of the foot, that's what I butt the batting up to, one piece on each side, and then it zig zags over each side equally. 

With the presser foot flipped around, you can see the "blade" goes back a little bit, and the stitches are actually formed over that section. This is perfect for joining batting because you'll likely want to use a wide zigzag, and because the stitches are formed over that bar, they are a little looser and you'll get no puckers or pulling!

Tomorrow I'll be starting to piece all these polyester batting scraps. I'm going to have the tackle the wool scraps at another time, because I need to get these placemats done, but I'll have time to deal with all the polyester scraps first. It doesn't really take that long to piece up some battings from scraps, and how cool is it to end up with what feels like free batting???

Here is Mr LJ, snuggling with a bear my mom made for him. He had been fussing, and DD#2 said he calmed right down when she gave him the bear. He must have known it was made with love by his great-grandmother! 

Friday, March 24, 2017

First Finish of 2017!!!

This was seeming to be the quilt that never ends. It wasn't really the quilt's fault, it was more the interruptions that never end. At any rate, it's finally finished!

This quilt is for my youngest granddaughter, and her mom and I were debating binding color. I had planned on purple, but grabbed some yellow on a whim, and I prefer the yellow. 

You can see I went askew when I laid out the backing for  pinbasting. No harm, no foul in my book, I had enough excess backing that I didn't run into problems, so I'm not going to fret over it. No photos do these fabrics justice, the colors are stunning in person. I had some border fabric from this line, and since I changed my plans on the front of the quilt, I decided the backing was a great place to use that border fabric up. A large scale border fabric like this was likely to languish in my stash, and it's better used than stashed indefinitely. 

Although I have a bunch of quilts to make, I'm going to be working on some small projects for a bit. I have several things in the mending pile, and I hope to tackle all those in the next day or so. Then I'll be making some simple placemats and potholders for DD#1 so she'll have some when they move out. The placemats are already cut out, I'm just using rectangles of novelty fabrics. I was hoping to use up some batting scraps on the placemats, so I'll have to piece some batting together to use with those. 

I'm hoping getting some small projects done will get me back in the swing of things. There are still lots of interruptions around here, both daily stuff and bigger things. I'm planning a bridal shower for April, and a big birthday party for May. There will be people moving out, a wedding, work on the house, then someone moving in all in the next couple months! Never a dull moment around here!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017


I know I haven't blogged in almost a month, but I like to keep this mainly on quilting, and I have been too stressed to sew. It's pretty bad when you are so stressed, you can't do the thing that is most likely to relieve some stress.

BUT...yesterday I made myself do some sewing. I STILL haven't finished quilting Miss A's fairy quilt, and the quilting on it is simple. I was bound and determined to get some quilting on it, and then I spread it out to get a feel how it's looking.

You can see the only basting pins left are along the bottom. I finished quilting the top yesterday.

I tried to get a good angle on the quilting, so you can see how much texture that giant spiral adds, as compared to the unquilted section. I used a washable wool batting, and I am always so impressed with wool batting. The quilt still feels pretty soft, even with this dense quilting on it.

Now that I can see how much/little there is left to quilt, I'm hoping I can get the quilting finished this week. I know if I got a quilt finished, it would give me a much needed boost.