I was taught a technique of piecing batting together so there would not be any waste when I was young. There was always stories that went along with why this was done. In the early 20th century women was still carding their own in remote rural areas. All the trimmings was saved and used from commercial bats by the women I grew up around. The smallest pieces could be used in stuffing toys and larger pieces would be sewn together in lap quilting as you go. This is a hand technique that I still use today. I like the process of quilting and tend not to be in a big hurry to finish. Also the price of batting is very expensive now for a bed size quilt. I like to stick with one type of batting from the same manufacture. My favorite is 80% cotton and 20% polyester. There are several new types of batting made with different fibers that are new to quilting. My choice is because I live in a hot climate and this is a comfortable choice to sleep under.
I decided that I had enough scrap batting that I could use for my sampler quilt. Since this project is a quilt by section technique, it was an ideal way of using up this scrap. I have two bags of Fairfield Cotton Classic trimmings.
To sort all of this out. I use an ironing board and iron set on low. The temperature is just warm enough to smooth out the batting. I don’t want to melt the polyester that is worked into the cotton. There is enough polly to make this batting easy to needle by hand. It is also soft and breaths so it is ideal for hot climates with cool nights. Polly you sweat under and cotton is too heavy. I use my rulers to measure out the size of the block with the pieces that fit together. I am only going to piece at the most 3 pieces together for my 16 inch block. In this next picture I have 15 blocks sorted out ready to stitch together.
I have chosen black thread and large stitches for illustration. This is a basic a modern taylor tack stitch that is used to add interfacing to suiting. There are times when iron interfacing will not work. You don’t have to put a knot in the thread and you use one strand to stitch with. The two pieces are butted together and not over lapped so make a smooth seam. This is important if you were hand quilting. You start by inserting the needle away from you and take one stitch on one side. You can leave a thread tail.
Now you cross over to the other side and take the same stitch. Pulling the thread gently until the sides butt together.
Continue until you have finished the seam in completed. You can leave a tail at the end and no need to knot it. I use a smaller stitch for this. I usually do this in front of the TV using a tray for support. It goes fast and don’t take too long.
This holds the pieces together and will remain that way. Quilting helps hold it in place. I rough cut the pieces and after it is sew together I will square it up to the size I need. If I need to I can pull the thread out of the first or last stitch so I don’t have to cut through the thread and keep the tail. You don’t need a long tail just enough so you don’t pull the first stitch out while working with it.
Most of us today have wonderful stitches on our machines that can be used to butt together batting with. The elastic stitch that goes back and forth is a good choice. Just set it at the widest and longest stitch length. I still like doing it by hand in a quilt like this. A charity quilt I would use my machine. I want it to feel like it was cut from whole pieces. There will be plenty of quilting on each block to hold it all together while washing. This is a good technique to know how to do in case you need to add a piece of batting to a special quilt.
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