Tuesday, January 8, 2008

BATTING SCRAPS AND CHARM PACKS

There isn't a one of us quilters that doesn't have bags (lots of bags, usually) of left-over batting scraps from our quilting projects. What to do? What to do? Oh, What to do with all of these scraps that aren't the right size for any of our projects. Too small for lap quilts; wrong fiber content for baby quilts; not the right shape for a pillow sham; too puffy for a place mat or wall hanging. What to do? What to do?

I've had an idea kicking around in my head for quite some time thinking it through just how best to do this project. And the best part about this project is that is combines the use of two problem areas in my stash room - charm packs and left-over batting scraps. So, today was the day to as they say, "get 'er done!"

First, I cut up several left-over batting scraps into 5 1/2" squares. There's lots more batting scraps left yet, but I did fill the box.

Second, I pulled out the charm packs that I was least likely to use in the near future for any pressing project. The collection I used today was a charm pack from the 2008 Thimbleberries Club Lodge and Lakeside project for this year. I decided not to do this year's project since I still have last year's project, and the year before that, and ... well, you get the picture. The UFO list is for another day. If you don't have any charm packs waiting to be used up, this is a good stash-busting project. You need squares cut at 5 1/2".

Third, I sorted my squares into sets of six. One square will be used for the inside lining. You could substitute a plain muslin square for this patch if you're wanting to conserve fabric. Another square will be used for the backing. The remaining four squares are folded in half and woven together creating a four patch.

Fourth, I layered the squares/batting into a stack ... inside lining on the bottom - wrong side up; batting square; backing square; woven four patch unit. I pinned the stack together and then I was ready to sew.

Fifth, I sewed around the stack 1/2" from the edge.

Sixth, I trimmed any excess batting from between the seam allowances.

Seventh, I trimmed the corners on the diagonal to eliminate bulk.

Eighth, I reached inside the center of the 4-Patch and turned everything right side out so the raw edges of the seams were inside. I used my bamboo stiletto to gently poke out the corners trying to get them a square as possible.

Ninth, I top stitched around my new project ... a coaster ... 1/4" from the edge.

Not bad for a day's work! Well, I did complete more than four today and, I took time to get the process down in picture form in my photo album Free Pattern Charm Square Coasters with abbreviated directions in the captions. You'll have to watch for a posting announcing the free pattern available as a PDF on my website when we get it up.

I've seen this technique used in different ways. It makes a charming decorative ornament - skip the inner lining and batting - add a ribbon tie. A friend of mind follows a similar process to create the coasters in terms of layering, but hers are in the shape of a circle. It is part of her welcoming package to all new-comers joining in her private retreat.

I have some other ideas about how to use left over batting scraps, but I'd like to hear what some of you readers are doing with your batting scraps. Drop a line in the comments and share your ideas about great ways to use up those pieces of batting we just can't seem to just toss in the garbage.


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