Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Tool, tips and cotton batting

If you have ever seen those concentric circle rulers and didn't know what on earth they were for, well here is one use for them. When I want a lovely curvy line for the spines of my feathers, I place the ruler along a line and match the marks on the ruler against the line and then make my mark. You could in this instance just as easily use a large dinner plate with a couple of marks on it but none of mine have a round edge.

When I got to doing the third baby quilt I found I was a few inches short in one corner on the batting. This was a Saturday lunch time, I wanted to get on and my local quilt shop does not carry the same brand of batting anyway. So here is how I join two bits of batting together.
Lay the one bit of batting over the other, give yourself a few inches overlap. Then through the top layer only, cut a wavy line.

With a large zig zag stitch sew over the cut line. It is important not to pull the batting out of shape.
Flip it over and very gently tear away the excess batting against the stitching line. Once in the quilt, this join disappears completely. If you join with a straight line it doesn't! Believe me on this one.

The Grace hand quilting frame wins my award for the worst instructions I have ever come across and that includes Ikea. On the other hand now I have pinned three quilts on it, it is quite simple. (if I hadn't been in a rush on this one, I might not have wound the backing fabric rotated through 90°, duh. I think to fold it up and unfold it is a two person job.

One the left is the first baby quilt and it has been washed and tumble dried. On the right is the one I have just finished and it is unwashed. There is slightly different quilting in each but you can see the instant "antiqued" look you get with cotton batting. I have never done what they suggest on the instructions about rinsing it and drying it to preshrink it. My gut feeling is if you don't want this look then use a batting which does not shrink.

Here they are side by side showing how much shrinkage there is! The one on the right has a wavy edge as someone suggested pressing the binding over as it makes sewing it down easier. I haven't found out yet if it's true but if I wasn't going to wash it, I'd be more than a little unhappy with the waviness. I suppose you could iron it all over but then you would loose the puffiness and texture of the quilting. The washing will undo the effects of pressing it..


  1. I really do like the 'after washing' effect. Somehow it just seems to integrate everything. I must admit that I don't like the idea of pressing the binding over as it must make it harder to get that lovely fit over the layers when you have crease to work with.

  2. I join batting like this also. These quilts are simply beautiful, they are really come along. Lucky babies!

  3. I always pre-wash my fabrics, but the whole "crinkly" look is really growing on me...and I think I might try a couple without pre-washing.

    I have one of those concentric rulers (bought it with a book to do a wedding ring quilt...yea, real beginner here...I haven't touched the book).

    I've only ever joined 2 pieces of batting in a straight line, but that was for small wall hangings....I'll have to try your way next time :-)

    The quilts look beautiful! Lucky babies who get those :-)

  4. I think it's Sharon Schamber who recommends pressing the binding. If I remember right, it's to push the binding out away from the top so there's more to bring to the back.
    I'm primarily a machine quilter and have joined battings like you've done. Unfortunately, I've had to do it when the quilt is already mounted. I hand baste the 2 together because the machine quilting will secure them.
    I love your baby quilts and the design you quilted on them. I use mostly an 80/20 blend so have only about 3% shrinkage and they're still safe enough for babies.

  5. Those are stunning baby quilts!!! You do beautiful work!