Remember Vinnie Barbarino’s “I’m sooooo confused” (from the tv series Welcome Back Kotter). That’s how most of us feel when we’re choosing batting. Soooo confused! With so many different companies, fibers and lofts of batting what is a quilter to do?!
Bang Head Here feels like an appropriate beginning. My very simple solution: when you want to try a new-to-you batting and get a feel for how it quilts, drapes, and feels purchase a crib size and quilt it up.
Batting Swap: get together with a group of quilters each quilter purchase a different fiber and loft crib size batting to cut up and share. Something like this is a great way to try batting.
Is there a comprehensive site that tells us all about quilt batting? Nah, not that I know of. There are so many different types of batting in a variety of fiber that yiyiyi that would be a lot of amazing research. PS if you find a website like that please share it here.
As I thought about batting this morning I thought of something kinda fun: if it comes from a plant (cotton, bamboo, soy) it’s flat and has a memory; if it comes from an animal (worms, sheep, alpaca) it’s fluffy and doesn’t have a memory. With polyester all bets are off it can be flat or fluffy because the companies can do anything with the fiber.
Knowing where it comes from begins to give us a clue about the batting will look like in our quilts and then helps us decide what to use. With every batting its important to read how far apart it can be stitched. With some batts it can be fairly far apart and some just can’t. I know, I know I learn better from experience than I do from reading but reading the packaging will help you avoid some of the troubles I’ve had!
This is 49 Pieces of Chocolat. Chocolat is the Moda line of charm squares I purchased some time ago. I decided I’d use wool batting for the very first time EVER. I learned to love wool batting with this quilt since it’s so easy on the shoulders, it’s light weight, it’s warm and soft.
I did read the packaging: I could quilt up to 5″ apart. Hey that means I can leave up to 5″ of space open, meaning I don’t need to heavily quilt it! Great. Hey the border is 4″ wide. . . I soon learned that this does not mean that an entire border can be left un-quilted.
When wool gets wet and is dried in a fairly warm or hot dryer it felts.
Yes, dear quilter. Wool felts. The fibers get all cozy with one another and snuggle up in a most unbecoming way in quilts.
I learned what it means that wool felts with this quilt.
I also learned how to fix it, with lots of fabric softener and t-pins, lots of t-pins.
And I learned how to not have this happen in the first place. Quilt no more than 5″ apart.
The interesting this that I’ve never quilted in that dotted border because I show it to my students so they can see what not to do and that I did the thing not to do and that it can and does turn out alright.
So moral of the story read my blog more frequently to learn what not to do.
PS I’ll do a little bit on what batting I choose for competition quilts and why.