Up to Batt




"I'm going to have to learn about batting," she said.

"Baseball or quilting," I asked.

"It's too early for baseball," she said.

"Then batting for your quilt?" I asked.

"Three kinds," she said.

"Three kinds of batting?"

"Four ounce, six ounce, and ten ounce," she said.

"Thin and thick and thicker?"

"Yes. House of Fabrics has a sale today."

"And we're going to the sale?"

"Absolutely," she said.

And so we went out to buy some batting.

"What's the difference between batting and bunting?" I asked as we drove along toward the store.

"In baseball or sewing?"

"Sewing," I guess. I usually guess "sewing" as the answer to most questions she asks.

"Bunting's for babies," she said.

"Isn't bunting used for making flags?"

"Yes, that's the cloth used for making flags."

"What about the babies? Do they need flags?"

"Baby bunting is like a baby sleeping bag with a hood."

"And someone wrote a poem about it?"

"I remember a nursery rhyme. Something about bunting a baby, wasn't it?" She gave me that look and began reciting one of the ten million nursery rhymes she knew.

"Bye baby bunting./Daddy's gone a'hunting/Mummy's gone a'milking/Sister's gone a'silking/Brother's gone to buy a skin/To wrap the baby bunting in," she said smugly.

"I should have known you'd know that," I said.

"It has nothing to do with batting," she said.

"They don't use baby flags for batting?" I asked. "Maybe they wrapped babies in the flags when the babies were cold or wet." Why not?

"Drive," she said.

I drove and we arrived at the House of Fabrics and we went to the corner of the store where the batting was on sale. There were several bins with rolls of batting in each one. "Do you know why batting is called batting?" I asked.

"You know why?"

"I'm a Sewing Spouse," I said. "I'm supposed to know that."

"All right," she said, humoring me. "Why is batting called batting?"

"Well, it might even have been called beating," I said. "I'm not sure about that part."

"I'm waiting," she said as she reached into one of the bins. The roll of batting was taller than she was and three times wider.

"People used to beat raw cotton to clean it. Bunt may have meant to beat the cotton or sift it."

"Are you sure?" She struggled with the large roll of batting. I reached for it and took it out of the bin.

"I'm not sure of anything except this is a lot of batting. How much do you need?"

"Fifteen inches of each weight," she said. "But I'm going to get a yard of each."

"Just in case?" I asked. That was her reasoning for buying more of anything that she needed. If she needed one quilting pin, she would buy 250. Just in case.

"You think I should get two yards," she answered.

"I think one yard will do you for this week," I said. She knew where the store was, the store hours, and where everything was.

I grabbed the roll of batting. Now all I had to do was carry it twenty yards to the cutting table. It was not heavy. It was bulky. I bumped my way across the twenty yards. I only hit two shelves, one display of quilting notions, and a row of bolts of fabric. Behind me the floor became littered. My darling wife was right behind me picking up and replacing each item and restoring the swaying shelves back to normalcy.

"One yard," I said to the amused clerk who stood behind the cutting table.

"You could have bought it in the smaller package," she said helpfully.

"Is the smaller package on sale?" I asked.


"One yard," I said. I was broke enough for this day already.

When she cut the yard, I hefted the roll of batting and carefully wended my way back to the bins. This time Darling Wife guided me carefully through the maze of shelves and racks of fabric. I only knocked down one small display of rotary cutters. Then I put the roll of batting away and reached for the second roll.

Ten minutes later, having only knocked one woman dizzy as I turned a corner with the roll of 10 ounce batting, we had the batting rolled into plastic bags and we were on our way home.

"Do you know what you are going to do with this batting?" I asked.

"I'm going to use it when I take the machine quilting class next month."

"Next month? And you have everything you need now?" I asked. If not now, when?

"I think so," she said, and she pulled out the two-page list of materials she needed for the class. She read it for a moment. "Uh-oh," she said.

"Uh-oh as in you forgot something," I asked, "or uh-oh you need some baby bunting?"

"I got the wrong batting," she said.

"Go on."

"I need three different brands of batting, so we can compare brands. Not three different weights." She was not apologetic, not concerned in the least. She would add the batting to her stash of "Somedays." Somedays were hidden all over our house. If she didn't use them today, well, then, maybe someday.

"You want to go back now?" I asked as I drove into our driveway."

"Do you mind?"

"No, of course not. After all, next month will be here in thirty days."

Copyright A.B. Silver 1998

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