Thursday, October 20, 2011

Happy Turkey

The Holidays are approaching and what a fun gift to give.... (even if you give it to yourself)
For the instructions click:
 Happy Turkey

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Quilt Batting Information

96" QUILT BATTING 6.6OZ FOLDEDI found some good information about batting and thought that I would pass this great information onto you all.  It is important to well educated yourself if you want to be successful in creating the best quilt for you and your loved ones. 

Batting 101
Whether you are just getting started with your first quilt, or are an experienced quilter with dozens or even hundreds of quilts under your belt it is important to understand the role that your batting will play in your finished quilt. The type of batting you choose can and will affect the final look of your quilt even over the thread, fabric and the final quilting. It is the second most important element in a quilt—and it isn’t even seen!

I have been in the quilting business for the past 20+ years I have seen a large variety of  quilting batts and I can definitely say that no two quilt batts that seem to be the same.  From the makers to the densities they are all unique.

Poly-Fil Cotton Classic bonded organic cotton quilt batting (90" x 20 yds) RollThere are a many thing to consider when selecting a batt for your quilt top.

First things to consider are:
  • What is the look you are wanting to achieve "puffy," "flat" or in between?
  • What feel do you want- stiff for a wall hanging, or soft for a child?
  • Are you wanting to have something heavy and warm or something much lighter and cooler?
All of these questions are important to address.

Another question to ask is what is my budget and do I want something synthetic organic or something in between?

The most common battings are cotton and cotton/polyester blends. Other materials used as fillers(and tend to be a little higher in price) include sheep or alpaca wools, silk, hemp, bamboo, and bamboo/cotton blends.

Types of batting:

Cotton—Cotton is an all natural and breathable fiber that is most commonly found in quilts. It is soft, washable, and quilts easily unless it’s been needle-punched. It wears well with age and washing. On the down side, as a crop, conventionally grown cotton takes a lot of fertilizers, pesticides, and bleaches before it reaches the quilter.
Polyester quilt batting by the roll

Polyester—using polycarbon fibers as a batting fill allows you to have any number of loft thicknesses and sizes. It is lightweight, warm, non-allergenic, doesn’t shrink, and is completely machine washable. On the other hand it doesn’t breath as well as natural fibers and has a greater tendency to beard. It is also a synthetic petroleum based product and not a renewable source. 

Airtex Quilt Batting by the RollCotton/polyester blends—blending the two materials ads loft to the batt while still maintaining some of the good qualities of the cotton including its breathability and softness. Both polyester and conventionally grown cotton are fairly eco-unfriendly products.

Heirloom 100% Wool Batting
Wool—Wool batting is lightweight, warm, breathable, and naturally flame resistant. It quilts really well because of the natural lanolin in the fibers, and is a good choice for heirloom quilts. However, it needs careful washing and drying to keep from shrinking, can cause allergic reactions, and must be protected from moths and other insects. It also tends to be more expensive than other types of batts.


Bamboo—Bamboo and bamboo blend batting is fairly new on the market and is growing in popularity. Bamboo is a highly sustainable plant that needs no chemical fertilizers or pesticides to grow, it is breathable like cotton, has minimal shrinkage, contains no bleaches, glues, or binders, and is naturally antibacterial. It is bit more expensive than cotton but is proving to be a good choice for heirloom quilts. 

Silk—Silk batting is lightweight and thin yet still warm and breathable with a beautiful drape. It is a good choice for quilted clothing. However it must be washed carefully as it shrinks a good deal and it is also quite expensive.

Another thing you should be aware of is the way a batt is made:
There are two main methods of creating a batt:
Bonded batting: fibers are generally combed into a web and then chemically glued together with a bonding agent or resin. Some polyester battings are actually lightly melted together to form the batt.
Needle-punched batting: fibers are knitted together using a needle punched through the fibers. The needle used in this process is actually thousands of needles that push fibers into a consistent stable batt using scrim. Scrim is a very thin, transparent, non-woven fabric that is needled into batting. It reduces fiber migration and controls stretching to create a very stable batt.

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.
Other things to take into consideration include:
Drape: The stiffness of a batting or finished quilt. Higher quality battings can hold more stitches while still retaining their soft feel. Stiff cheaper battings will result in a harder stiffer quilt.
Bearding: How often batting fibers will push through your finished quilt. Poor quality battings will tend to pull apart after washing or extended use and migrate through the fabric of the quilt. This will result in little fuzzy balls appearing over the surface of your quilt over time. Good quality battings will minimize or eliminate this effect all together.
Loft: The thickness of the batt. Thicker battings will be harder to baste and quilt, while giving a puffy look to the over all quilt. Thinner battings will hold tighter smaller quilting designs, but won’t be as warm. If you have a specific thickness of quilt you are looking for it is a good idea to choose the fiber type that will work best with your loft preferences.
Breathability: How well the quilt will regulate heat and cold. Thicker more dense fibers will tend to keep the heat in and be warmer as a blanket. Natural fibers tend to allow for temperature regulation a little better than synthetics.

The right batting will make or break a quilt, just as the wrong batting could ruin countless hours of time spent on your latest quilt creation.  

Quick Tips:    PIECING BATTINGS:  Battings come in various sizes, but sometimes you need a larger size than is available in a particular brand.  This is when you need to splice two batts together to get the needed size.  The quickest (and easiest) way to do this is to butt (not overlap) two even straight edges together and whip-stitch the seam.  Do not pull tight the stitches as this will create a ridge in the batting.  

Piecing the batting is a good way to use up leftover strips of batting from previous projects.  However, I generally do not piece battings for bed quilts (when possible) and limit the practice to wallhangings as they will not get the wear that a bed quilt would receive over the years.