• Quilt Batting

    Quilt batting is made from several fibers. Polyester and cotton are the most available with polyester being the most inexpensive. A cotton polyester blend batting is also available. There are quilt battings available in wool and silk and they are the most expensive to purchase. Cotton, wool, and silk are natural fibers whereas polyester is man made.

    If you prefer your quilt to be all cotton, then you would want to choose cotton batting. There are several brands of cotton batting available. Ask what brand your local quilt store recommends. Purchase a small batting and try it on a wall quilt or crib quilt.

    It is unwise to start a full size bed quilt with an unfamiliar batting. Many quilters have begun quilting only to find that they don't like the batting for how it quilts or the stiffness after quilting. So it is best to make a small project to try out an unfamiliar brand of batting.

    Have a quilting get together were several friends purchase a crib size bat of different fibers and brands. Cut the battings into usable sizes and label them carefully. Each quilter can then try each batting on a small project with minimal expense. And it is always helpful to hear another quilter's point of view.

    When choosing batting be sure to read the package directions concerning the distance of quilting, whether it should be pre washed and any other instructions particular to that type of batting or brand.

    Some battings ask for quilting to be as close as three inches and some allow a six or nine inch distance for quilting stitches. The type of batting you choose may depend on how much or how little quilting you wish to do for that particular project. You may want to use a different batting for different applications.

    Below are the common sizes of quilting batting made by most manufacturers. Keep this handy reference when purchasing batting for your quilt.

    Batting Sizes
    King -- 120 x 120
    Queen -- 90 x 108
    Full -- 84 x 96
    Twin -- 72 x 90
    Baby -- 45 x 60
    Craft -- 34 x 45

    Below are common sizes of mattress. The measurements are of the top of the mattress. The thickness of the mattress can vary so the size of the quilt will need to compensate for the thickness of the mattress.

    Be sure to add the mattress measurement plus the "drop" on both sides to compensate for the thickness of the mattress.

    Mattress Sizes
    Twin -- 39 x 75
    Long Twin -- 39 x 80
    Full -- 54 x 75
    Long Full -- 54 x 80
    Queen -- 60 x 80
    King -- 76 x 80
    California King -- 72 x 84

    How To Keep Everything Straight!

    If you buy several pieces of fabric for a specific project be sure put it all in a separate bag, basket, or plastic container. You want to keep these special fabrics separate from your main stash so you don't use them for another project. It could be quite disconcerting to find that a special fabric you purchased for a project was almost gone before you are ready to begin.

    If you are simply collecting fabrics of a certain type such as "I Spy" fabrics or rose blossom fabrics you will also want to keep them all together before starting the project. Sometimes it might take several months or years to collect enough of a particular type fabric before you will begin cutting and sewing.

    Everyone has a way to sort and organized. Some quilters store their fabric on open shelving and while that may work for some, it doesn't work where there is dust or pets. Some quilters use bags, baskets, or boxes.

    I prefer clear plastic storage containers to keep the fabric clean and away from dust and dirt. With clear storage the colors and fabric can be seen through the container and easier to find.

    There are many different types of plastic storage containers available. Regular storage containers with removable lids, those with hinged lids, and drawer systems. Some of the drawer systems even have castors to aid in moving them around your room.

    Go to your local discount superstore or hardware and look at all the storage containers that are available for purchase. Obviously quilters are not the only people who need storage containers because they are available in all sizes and shapes in most stores.

    For fabric storage I use clear sweater boxes with snap on lids. These are a good size for the fabric stash. Several yards of fabric can be contained in each box. Use sticky labels and label the boxes according to color or fabric type.

    For project storage I use a clear plastic "snap case". It has a hinged lid and is smaller and flatter than a sweater box. There is still enough room to store all the parts and pieces of a quilt top or other similar project.

    In the kitchen section of the discount store there are "disposable" plastic containers. These are relatively inexpensive and are about the size of a sheet of paper and approximately three inches deep. These containers are clear and have a tight fitting lid with an indentation so they will stack well. Containers of this size will accommodate a smaller project such as a wall quilt or baby quilt.

    Drawer systems also come in several sizes. There are three drawer systems with castors. Each drawer is approximately the size of a sweater box. Three large projects could be contained in one of these drawer systems. Also the large drawers are just the right size to contain 6 x 9" patterns that come in plastic bags.

    The smaller drawer systems are also three drawers. They are the size of a sheet of paper and about two inches deep. These drawers are great for thread storage, notions, and other small items needed in the quilting studio.

    Another similar drawer system available is really for scrap book use. The drawers are about two inches deep but are approximately 13" square to accommodate scrap book papers. These drawers are excellent for quilters because they are just the right size to contain quilt blocks up to 12 1/2".

    Then there are single drawers. They are constructed of similar plastic as the three drawer systems but there is only one drawer. Each drawer is designed to stack with another of the same size and style. Two sizes are available, the smaller is the size of a large shoe box and the larger size is as large as a sweater box.

    The drawer systems can be stacked almost anywhere. Some suggestions are under the quilt frame, under an open sewing table, in the knee hole of a desk, under the bed or sofa, or even on shelving.

    When you are ready to go shopping for plastic storage for your quilt studio first you need to assess your needs. Decide what you need to put in your storage containers. Decide what type of storage you will need and where you will put them. Measure the space you have for storage containers and jot these on a slip of paper. Take a small tape measure to the store and measure carefully. You will know just how many containers to buy and which containers will go where.

    If you have many suitable clear plastic storage containers you will find it easier to contain fabric selections and projects. It will keep you from using up that special fabric that you purchased for a certain project. When you are ready to start you will have the fabric you need.
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