Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Quilt Week: Basics: Batting

Thank goodness for people who know more than me! LOL Kidding! EVERYONE knows more than me about this type of stuff. I'm a Jane-of-all-trades but not an expert on anything. I found this really awesome site that explains EVERYTHING you need to know about quilting. So you don't have to rummage through the site, I've transferred the info useful to us this week on here. BUT, please do go take a peek if you want to. It's a really neat site!

Batting is the gushy stuff that goes between your fabrics to make the quilt nice and warm and cozy!

Bonded batting vs. Needle-punched Batting

Commercially available battings are held together in one of two ways:
  • Bonded batting has the fibers bonded together by a glue-like bonding agent.
  • Needle-punched batting has the fibers mechanically felted together by punching them with lots and lots of needles. They are firmer and denser than bonded battings. Their density can also make them harder to hand quilt.
If you’re hand quilting, you may want to avoid needle-punched battings. If you want to avoid chemicals in your quilt, avoid bonded battings.

Cotton Quilt Batting

The most popular choice among serious quilters, cotton batting is soft, washable, and can accept very detailed quilting stitches. It is the batting of choice for quilts that will be entered in shows and competitions. Cost level: More expensive than polyester, less expensive than wool, bamboo, alpaca, or silk. Recommended quilting distance: varies by brand, up to 8”.


  • Breathable, cool, and comfortable to sleep under. Absorbs some moisture, but not as much as wool or alpaca.
  • Drapes well, keeps its shape after initial shrinkage.
  • Softens with age, washing, and use.
  • Good for machine quilting-its clinging quality helps keep the fabrics from shifting while you quilt, and minimizes the chance that you’ll quilt puckers into in the finished quilt.
  • Shrinks and wrinkles the first time you wash it, which makes cotton ideal if you want your quilt to have an antique, puckered look. Use a different batting if you prefer a sleek, modern look.


  • Needle-punched cotton batting isn’t desirable for hand quilting-it can be hard to push the needle through the dense mat of cotton fibers.
  • Conventionally grown cotton carries a heavy load of petroleum-based fertilizers, pesticides, and in some cases, bleaches. Choose organic cotton or bamboo batting if you want reduced environmental impact.

Cotton/Polyester Quilt Batting

Somewhat loftier than 100% cotton batting and more breathable than 100% polyester. Shrinks less than cotton batting. Cost Level: Similar to all-cotton batting. Recommended quilting distance: 2” – 4”


  • Combines the stability and easy handling of polyester with the breathability of cotton.


  • Petroleum-based polyester and conventional cotton are both environmentally unfriendly products.

Polyster Quilt Batting

The loftiest batting – it packs well and makes a lightweight, puffy, cozy quilt. Comes in a variety of weights and lofts. Cost level: Usually the least expensive batting option. Recommended quilting distance: Varies by brand.


  • Machine washable and dryable. Springs back to shape no matter how many times it’s washed.
  • Lighter than cotton batting.
  • Non-allergenic.


  • Doesn’t breathe like natural fibers do.
  • Polyester’s natural loftiness can make it hard to handle while machine quilting. If you have trouble with this, use a thinner batting or try tying the quilt instead.
  • Has a greater tendency to "beard" (work its way out through the weave of the fabric) than battings made from natural fibers.
  • A petroleum-based product, not renewable like organic cotton, wool, hemp, or bamboo.

Wool Quilt Batting

Light, warm, lofty, and resilient, wool regulates body temperature better than any other fiber, keeping you from getting too hot OR too cold while sleeping. Cost level: More expensive than cotton, polyester, or bamboo, less expensive than alpaca or silk. Recommended quilting distance: up to 4”.


  • Quilts like butter—a hand-quilter’s dream, and good for machine quilting too.
  • Recovers better from being compressed than any other fiber.
  • Keeps you warm even when wet. Wool can absorb a third of its own weight in moisture without feeling damp.
  • Naturally flame-resistant. This makes it an excellent choice for quilts for infants and children.


  • Can cause allergic reactions in some people.
  • Must be protected from moths.
  • Needs very careful washing and drying—will felt and shrink if agitated when you wash it. Never put a quilt with wool batting in the dryer—the heat and tumbling motion will ruin it.
Alpaca Quilt Batting
Extremely light and warm, alpaca is a very high-quality and expensive kind of wool that makes a quilt exceptionally warm for its weight. Available online from Pacafill battings in alpaca/cotton or alpaca/wool blends that are needle-punched and contain no binders or resins. Cost level: Expensive. Recommended quilting distance: up to 8”.


  • Extremely warm and lightweight. Alpaca fibers are smoother and less oily than sheep’s wool.
  • Hypoallergenic.Because it’s less oily than wool, alpaca seems not to cause the same allergic reactions.
  • Like wool, alpaca stays warm when wet, but alpaca doesn’t get the unpleasant “wet sheep” smell that goes with wet wool.


  • Needs very careful washing and drying—will felt and shrink if agitated when you wash it. Never put a quilt with alpaca batting in the dryer—the heat and tumbling motion will ruin it.
  • Must be protected from moths.

Silk Quilt Batting

Lightweight, thin, and supple, silk batting is favored by many quilters for making quilted garments. It’s available from Hobbs under the name Tuscany in a 90% silk/10% polyester resin-bonded blend. Mountain Mist’s Cotton Blossom batting is 95% cotton, 5% silk. Cost level: expensive. Recommended quilting distance: 3½”.


  • As warm as down, yet lighter weight.
  • Supple and more drapable than any other batting.


  • Shrinks more than other battings: about 5% on first washing.
  • Needs very careful handling when washed.

Bamboo Quilt Batting

Bamboo is an extremely fast-growing plant that needs no pesticides or fertilizers to grow, so is much more environmentally friendly than conventional cotton. The bamboo batting currently available from Fairfield is 50% organic cotton/50% bamboo. The company recommends it for machine quilting. Cost level: Expensive. Recommended quilting distance: up to 8”.


  • Producing bamboo batting uses many fewer toxic chemicals than conventional cotton or polyester.
  • Needlepunched, so it contains no glues or binders.
  • Breathable and cool, like cotton.
  • Naturally antibacterial.
  • Machine washable (estimated shrinkage 2-3%.)


  • Not as widely available as some other battings.
Branch Out and Be Creative!!

Welcome to Quilt Week! Week 1: The Basics

Hello fellow crafters! My friends and I were chatting today because I have a really big itch to make a quilt! So, we have declared the 2nd week of every month Quilt Week! This way, you only work on the quilt for this week and by the time a new month comes around it feels like a fresh project and you don't get burned out. But, by all means, if you're not crafty ADD like we are, feel free to finish your quilt and there will be fun NEW stuff every month to try!

So, today, I wanted to post about sizes:

Lap quilts. Like wall quilts, lap quilts can be whatever size you choose to make them. A drag-around quilt for a small child could be as small as one yard square, or 36” x 36”. (You can make a super-quick whole-cloth quilt by cutting a 36” square of cute children’s fabric, adding backing and quilting it.) A 40” x 60” lap quilt will comfortably cover an adult for a nap on the sofa. You may want to make your lap quilt longer or wider to accommodate a particular set of blocks.

Table topper quilts. These quilts are made to add a decorative touch to a table, and their dimensions depend on the size and shape of your table. Some popular table topper sizes:
  • Square card table: 36” x 36”: Table topper size 36” X 36”. Turn the quilt on the diagonal when you put it on the table.
  • Dining table 42” x 54” (seats six): Table topper size 13” x 48”
  • Dining table 42 x 72” (seats eight): Table topper size 13” x 72”
Size Considerations for Bed Quilts Making a bed quilt the proper size involves a number of factors:
  1. How big is the mattress? If possible, measure it exactly. When measuring isn’t possible, use the mattress size chart below.
  2. Will the quilt be a “topper” that fits entirely on top of the bed, or will it hang down over the edge? If so, how thick is the mattress? Standard mattresses are 8-12" thick, but new extra-thick mattresses with pillow tops can be up to 20” thick. Is there a box spring to cover also? Will the quilt just cover the depth of the mattress, or will it sweep the floor like a bedspread? Be sure to add enough extra width to make the overhang as deep as you want.
  3. Do you need to allow space to cover pillows? If so, how deep are the pillows? If you can’t measure exactly, add 18” to the quilt’s length for pillow coverage. If it’s possible, make up the bed with a bedspread over the pillows, then use a tape measure to measure from the tuck of the spread underneath the pillows, up and over to the back of the pillows. Add this measurement to the quilt’s length.
  4. Does your design feature a central medallion or pattern? You may need to adjust your measurements to keep the central pattern from hanging over the edge of the bed or getting hidden by pillows.
  5. How densely will you quilt this top? Quilting shrinks a quilt top. The more heavily you quilt the top, the more it will shrink. Allow up to 5% extra room in both width and length for shrinkage. Adding a slightly deeper outer border is a great way to do this.


  • Crib 28” x 52”
  • Cot 30” x 75”
  • Twin 39” x 75”
  • Long Twin (common at colleges) 39” x 80”
  • Double 54” x 74.5”
  • Queen 60” X 80”
  • King 76” x 80”
  • California King 72” x 84”


Commercial Comforter size (minimal overhang)

  • Crib 36” x 54”. 45” x 60” is large enough for a “toddler” bed.
  • Twin 65” x 88”
  • Double 80” x 88”
  • Queen 86” x 93”
  • King 104” x 93”

Bedspread Size (longer overhang)

  • Twin 81” x 107”
  • Double 96” x 107”
  • Queen 102” x 112”
  • King 120” x 112”
I hope this helps! I'll post some more later! For now, I gotta go do dishes since the little one is asleep!

Branch Out and Be Creative!

Monday, November 14, 2011

How to be a Better Wife: A Series: Intimacy after the honeymoon phase

 My wonderful husband and I have been married for just over a year and I think I can finally say that the 'honeymoon phase' has ended. I can't say that I'm sad about it either. I'm kind of excited about the next step in our relationship.

I have been praying a lot lately for and about my husband and after a few days, God pointed me to Proverbs 31:10-31 "The Virtuous Wife".

Yesterday, I was doing some research and my husband looked over said "Whatcha doin?"
I said "Learning how to be a better wife." And he laughed at me! It almost made feel silly for thinking this. He then said "I don't think you need that..." Which made me feel better.

I don't think I'm a bad wife. In fact, I think I'm a pretty decent wife (despite the fact I can't cook worth beans) but that doesn't mean I can't be a better one, right?

So, as of today I am on a mission to be an overall better wife. Over the next few weeks, I'll interject our crafty biz with my How to be a Better Wife series.

So, today, I want to begin with the tough topic first: intimacy. Since our 'honeymoon phase' has ended, my first goal is to not lose our spark. I know that happens a lot with couples who are together for a while: life just gets in the way. Well, even if you have to write it on your planner, make time to have some alone time with your significant other.

Even the Bible says "The wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. And likewise the husband does not have athority over his own body, but the wife does. Do not deprive one another except with consent for a time, that you may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again so that Satan does not tempt you because of your lack of self-control."
                  -1 Corinthians 7:4-5

Of course, for my time to increase intimacy, Aunt Flo also decided to show up. So, now I get to get creative. I am going to try things like giving my husband a nice back rub after he gets home tonight. I'm going to try to kiss him more often. And not just a peck like when he goes to work, but I mean a nice, long, both arms around the neck, up against the wall kind of kiss. Then, maybe, just maybe, a pinch on the butt on the way out, just for good measure.

Something small like this everyday can keep the spark alive and it only takes a few seconds.

In a week or so we will retouch the intimacy issue. Until then, enjoy touches and smooches!

Branch Out and Be Creative!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

UCreate with Me!!

U-Create Crafts has a monthly craft-along and this months is so cute I wanted to extend the party!! Here are some of the examples she posted! After you are done you can either submit them to me and I'll pass them along or email them straight to UCreatecrafts@gmail.com and make sure you title it Create With Me so she knows!! Have fun!

Branch out and Be Creative!!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Waiting for Christmas has never been harder!

So, I wanted the iPhone 4 pretty bad. My mom got one and the only thing I miss about having one is the video camera. (I still have the iPhone 3)

Then the iPhone 4S came out. I want one of those with a passion of a thousand burning suns!! Check out this hysterical website about what Siri has said!!
Actual Screen Shot from someone
Branch Out and Be Creative!!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Upcycle those coke cans!!

So, I found this wonderful blog a while back and I just love everything she posts! 

Once you've done that...check out THIS link for a really great tutorial on how to make these!

So I know some of you guys that follow my blog are not from Texas. When I say coke cans I mean soda cans in general. It doesn't have to be coke (although hers are Diet Coke) 

Here in the south, coke means soda. So when when someone asks you if you want a coke and you say sure they are likely to say "what kind?" Just be ready!

Branch Out and Be Creative!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

NaNoWriMo: Day 3

Another 1,824 words down.

4759 total words.

I did hit my daily goal but not my total words goal. Tomorrow should be a fairly slow day around my house in the evening so maybe I'll be able to hit the goal. Also, they're having a write in at the local bookstore in the morning that I'm thinking about trying to go to so I should be able to get caught up!

Tomorrows goal: 6,664 words total!

Branch Out and Be Creative!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

NaNoWriMo: Day 2

Another 1268 words down.

2,935 total words.

I know I didn't hit my full 1,667 words today but Madeleine is having some pretty bad allergy symptoms so I figured I'd better go to sleep. Plus, I'm tired. I will have to work extra hard tomorrow!

Tomorrows goal: 4,998 words total!

Branch Out and Be Creative!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

NaNoWriMo: Day 1

1,667 words complete! It's midnight, everyone in the house is asleep, but I fulfilled my first days goals. Tomorrow: 3,332 words!

If you haven't done so, check out National Novel Writing Month and sign up! It's not too late to start the book you've been dreaming of writing!

Branch Out and Be Creative!!