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Batting for hand quilting a baby quilt
by Amanda Yantis-Davis
(Bakersfield, CA, USA )
Finished top side of quilt
My best friend had a baby and I gave birth to the idea that I could make him a quilt. Now he is 2 months old and I have yet to find a machine to make his quilt on so I started sewing... by hand...
I'm to the part where I need to put in the batting. My quilt is only about 17 x 17 inches.
What kind of batting should I use? How much? And what kind of binding do I do to finish it? I will find a machine to finish the binding on. And to sew the squares I've made with different fabrics.
First of all...
Good on you! for making this for your friend.
A quilt is a special gift because every stitch is taken with the recipient in mind.
Also, don't fret that the baby is 2 months old already. The first quilt I made was for the birth of my son...except the quilt wasn't actually finished until he was two years old...most quilters have had the same experience along the way. It just means you're on your way to being a quilter!
Now let's get down to business...
First, I have hand quilted only one wallhanging...thoroughly enjoyed the process but don't regularly have the time to practice.
When I quilted that quilt, I used Mountain Mist's Blue Ribbon, All Cotton batting. Joann Fabric and Craft Stores do carry this batting for about $7 for a crib size batting.
In the picture below, you can see that it is pretty thin (it'll be easier to get your needle through), the wood top of the desk kind of shows through the fibers. One side is very smooth, the other is bumpier with cotton fiber. The package instructs that the quilting be no further apart than 1-1/2" to 2". That's so the batting doesn't bunch up when the quilt is washed. It further instructs not to prewash the batting.
Mountain Mist, Blue Ribbon Batting
A Joann's or other 'big box' store may also carry Warm and Natural quilt batting.
It, too, is a 100% cotton batting.
However, it is needlepunched with a scrim.
Those two qualities would make it more difficult to get the needle through when compared with the Mountain Mist.
Cut both your batting and your backing 19" square. You'll need the couple of extra inches to hold onto as you quilt the edges.
The only thing you should do differently is to baste the layers together with a hand-sewing needle and thread and omit the safety pins. Make your basting stitches about an inch or just a bit longer.
As you quilt the layers together by hand, you will clip the basting threads and remove those portions as you quilt (you don't want to stitch the basting thread into the quilt).
The video below by AlwaysBeQuilting goes through the basics of the hand quilting stitch. She covers the quilter's knot, the rocking stitch and how to pop the knots through the quilt top and into the batting.
Notice that she does use a hoop for hand quilting. I did, too, though mine was rectangular and made from what looked like PVC pipe.
Remember as you're quilting this first quilt you are simply trying for even sized stitches, and not making the smallest stitch. You stitches will get smaller with practice if you continue to hand quilt your quilts.
Breathe and enjoy the process!
Readers, do share your experience with hand quilting (especially for that first quilt). Just use the 'comments' link found below!
Amanda, good luck to you. If you have questions as you get to the binding, let me know and I'll do my best to help!
Julie Baird Editor
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