Oh how glorious to have a mostly uncluttered space to work in! I pieced together the backing for the baby quilt and taped it to my work table, then dug around in my batting stash (yes, somehow I have acquired a stash of batting) for a large enough piece of the right kind. I had lots of choices, some I have not even tried yet, but in the end, I opted for what has become one of my favorite and dependable battings: Hobbs Heirloom 80/20. I don't have to worry about bearding (a concern since this has darker fabrics in it and I know it will have multiple washings) and it provides enough loft to show off some quilting. I generally buy the largest size of known quantity battings as it is cheaper with less waste in the long run. Still, I'm often left with pieces not quite long or wide enough and narrow pieces too big to discard. My solution is to splice pieces of batting together. Anyone else out there do this?
I chalk it up to several things, not least of all being raised by parents who lived through the depravities of The Great Depression, impressing upon me the importance of "using it up or doing without", and my own experiences living through the infancy of the environmental movement which often touted the same message but for a different reason. I probably would not have thought to splice together batting had it not been for the influence of batting and machine quilting guru, Harriet Hargrave. She is proof that knowledge of your materials and techniques is never wasted, that good and reliable results are not just luck. Her book, Heirloom Machine Quilting (newer editions available), has been a well-thumbed reference on my shelf for twenty years and has an extensive section on batting. And in it, I learned how to splice batting together.
|Click on the photo to better see my stitches|
Ok, I have to admit I was in a bit of a hurry this time when I pulled out her book to refresh my memory. The page above is technically showing how to splice batting when using the quilt-as-you-go method. I totally forgot her primary method shown earlier in the book, one that eliminates the hard line and ridge left from the traditional method of butting and whipstitching pieces together. Ideally, one should overlap the two pieces of batting 6 to 8 inches so that you can make a serpentine cut, removing the end of each layer afterward, and using a herringbone stitch to complete the join. Oh well, I don't think on this quilt it will matter much. It always takes me a minute to get my head around this stitch though, as it is done "backwards" to me. For a right handed person like me, the needle takes a bite right to left, but then rather than continuing to stitch to the left, you "back up" to the right for the next stitch. When done loosely as she suggests, this stitch allows for some movement in the batting and really doesn't show through the quilt top.
|Still a smidgen of clutter at the end of the table but not in my way.|
And here it is, said quilt top, completing the sandwich and mostly pin basted. I keep my basting safety pins in an Almond Rocha tin and close the pins with the help of some kind of cuticle stick that has worked well for decades. I sure wasn't using it on my cuticles!
I managed to snap this photo from an upstairs window of my snow removal elf, hard at work yesterday, getting on top of our latest storm. We went from no snow on the ground except for a few small piles here and there from plowing to another 10 to 13 inches in the last 24 hours. The winds kicked up today while the temps dropped, so drifting has been a bit of an issue. But this guy is so cute the way he's quick to apologize if I come out and he hasn't totally cleared my side of the driveway. Today when I went out to clear my steps and short sidewalk, I was a little surprised to see he had removed what fell overnight from his side and not mine, unusual for him. He was working at the end of his driveway and hurried over to explain to me that with the direction the wind was blowing, all he'd be doing with his snow blower was watching the snow blow right back onto the driveway. Believe me, I know how demoralizing that is, having had the experience of tossing a shovelful of snow to the side only to have it blown back into my face. But really, how lucky am I to have this guy as a neighbor?