To be a bit cliché, this shoemaker is a professional Web Developer and her child is this blog, but it was past time to launch what I have of a new design. All the content is still here, everything else is a work in progress (kind of like most of my sewing projects)!
I did a demo for VTMQG last week comparing different types of batting I’ve used. I volunteered for purely selfish reasons—I needed to clean out and organize my scraps, and also take stock of which ones I like, and which I might not care to buy again in the future.
The demo was very hands on and doesn’t translate well to the web, but here’s what I found.
I created three quilt sandwiches of each batting (large enough to cut down to 9″). I used fabric from the same manufacturer to try to keep things consistent, but used a different design for each for ease of visual comparison. The back is a solid. I quilted one of each set with a rough 1.5″-2″ grid, another with feathers and pebbles, and and the third with both.
I trimmed them all down, then overcast stitched the edges of the gridded and feathered squares to keep them from fraying in the wash.
Then, I washed the two overcasted blocks from each set (basic cotton wash, normal dry) to see how they ended up compared to the unwashed third block.
Batting choices can be very dependent on the project type, and this is certainly not an exhaustive list. I imagine different brands react differently even with the same fiber content. But, knowing how the batting will react to quilting and washing is helpful in making that choice.
Batting Comparison Chart
*according to the manufacturer
Hobbs Tuscany Collection
Soft n’ Crafty Extra Loft
Pellon Eco Cotton
Soft n’ Crafty 80/20
Warm & Natural
The least affected by washing and drying was the 100% poly. However, it was not much fun to quilt, and the loft is higher than I personally like.
The most affected by washing and drying was the 50/50 Bamboo/Cotton. There was an extreme amount of shrinkage. A different wash type might reduce that, but be forewarned. It is gorgeous before washing, though.
I’ve used all of these for various projects, but the two I use most often are 100% Cotton and an 80/20 Cotton/Poly blend. The former is great for all-cotton projects that I want to wash up all crinkly and soft, while the blend is perfect for baby quilts that I back with Minky, as the slight poly content reduces the shrinkage a bit.
Sandwiching quilts inevitably results in scraps of batting. Sometimes, they are large enough for use in another project, but much of the time they end up just a little bit too small. My unofficial resolution for 2014—actually one I’ve been trying to work on for a few months already—is to work from stash before heading to the store. I’d like to do that for the quilt I’m working on now, however my batting scrap drawer was lacking the 58×76″ piece of batting that I need.
Instead of buying more batting on my trip to the store, I picked up a roll of fusible batting tape. Not only is it cheaper, but it could help me use the scraps I have.
The verdict: I ended up with a piece large enough to use, but I don’t think the fusible batting tape was the best fit for the job. It didn’t seem to fuse well, so I ended up sewing a multi-stitch zig-zag over it to hold the pieces more securely. Maybe it was the brand of tape, maybe the batting, or maybe it’s me, but I think I’ll keep looking for a better solution.
I will say that the tape and stitching combined worked much better than an attempt a year or so ago that failed miserably, so at least I’m making progress. We’ll see how it holds up to quilting this weekend.
I’ve been working on sewing down the binding on the Strip-pieced Lone Star/Star of Bethlehem quilt over lunch this week while watching episodes of Eureka on Hulu, and thought I’d take a break from that today to review the batting I used on the quilt: Pellon Nature’s Touch Cotton Batting.
Here’s a grainy cellphone photo of the Lone Star draped over a chair in my living room, showing areas that are relatively densely quilted and not:
I think most quilters develop a preference toward one type of batting, but as I progress in my quilting journey, I’m trying to experience all that’s out there. Okay, that’s PR speak for “so far I’ve chosen the precut closest in size to what I need that was either on sale or which I had a coupon for.” I’ve used cheap-o poly (yuck, although warm and lofty), Bamboo/Organic Cotton (love it), Warm & Natural for some small projects (like it a lot), and most recently Cream Rose by Mountain Mist for the Spring QAL project.
I can’t see myself using it in the future for quilts. While it is very soft and sews as well as W&N, it seems very insubstantial. It is much thinner than the bamboo/W&N—1⁄8″, according to the manufacturer—and the piece I had was not an even thickness; you could actually see through it in a few spots. It isn’t as warm as a slightly-higher, yet still low-loft batting, either, so I would classify it as a warm-weather quilt batting if I were to use it again. The QAL quilt wasn’t about warmth—it’s a picnic quilt to lay on the ground—but I wish I’d used something a bit thicker for more padding power.
I can see using it for some crafts in the future. It drapes well, and its thinness makes sense for wall hangings, table covers and runners, etc. The very thin spots aren’t all that obvious once quilted, and on a small scale with quilting even closer than the prescribed 6″, I don’t see it mattering much.
So, overall, not a waste of the $4 or so it cost me with a 40% off coupon at JoAnn (I bought the 45″ × 60″ crib size, but can’t find the receipt for the exact price), but not high on my list of future batting purchases unless I need to go very economical. Warm & Natural still wins on the “need something cheaper than bamboo” front for me.
Have you used this? What is your opinion of it? Do you have a favorite to suggest for me to try out next?