When I first started designing my Flower in a Pot Series, I did it with the intention of testing different kinds of batting. I have always used Hobbs Heirloom Wool and loved it. As you are certainly aware if you read this blog often, I love to quilt feathers. You can never have too many. One of the reasons I love to use Hobbs Wool is that it has a great puff to it and it makes my feathers stand out.
At International Quilt Festival Houston I had the opportunity to talk to some of the wonderful people from Hobbs. They gave me a Tuscany Silk and a Tuscany Cotton Wool batting to try out.
I started by marking the backing fabric with the type of batting. I am so glad I took these pictures. When I was trimming the quilts I completely forgot to note which was which!
The quilt with the green pot is Hobbs Tuscany Silk. It is 90% cotton and 10% Polyester. I found that it stuck well the backing and background fabrics just like cotton does. They're both natural fibers, so this didn't surprise me. I did wonder if my feathers on silk would puff as much.
The quilt with the blue pot has Hobbs Tuscany Cotton Wool batting. It is 80% cotton and 20% wool. I found that it too stuck well the the backing and background fabrics.
The quilt with the orange pot has my favorite Hobbs Heirloom Wool batting. It doesn't stick to the backing and background fabrics like the cotton or silk batting. I think this is because it's really fluffy. This is what makes me love it for feathers.
I quilted all my samples. I used different feathers on each quilt because I love feathers (did I say that already?) and they are easy for me to quilt. I have them in my muscle memory as I've quilted so many of them over the years. So....which batting did I like the best?
The quilt above is the Hobbs Heirloom Wool and it's feathers are nice and puffy. It makes me happy.
This second quilt above is the Hobbs Tuscany Cotton Wool batting. I must admit that I was surprised how nice and full my feathers were. They weren't quite as puffy as the Heirloom wool, but I am still happy with them. The quilt is very flat, but with a little extra loft from the wool. I will definitely use this batting again.
This last quilt above has the Hobbs Tuscany Silk batting. It too surprised me with how much loft it gave my feathers. Maybe it's that 10% polyester?
I ran a few other tests to see what happened as well. The first was to to see which was the stiffest. I think it was the Tuscany Cotton Wool which doesn't surprise me due to the high percentage of cotton. The Tuscany Silk and Heirloom Wool both had a little more drape.
Of all the feathers, the Heirloom Wool definitely had the feathers filled out the fullest. This is not surprising considering it's thicker to begin with.
Those are my thoughts for now. I am curious what would happen with layering some of these different battings together. Many show quilters will use a layer of cotton behind a layer of wool. The cotton is for stability and to make the quilt hang nice and flat. The additional layer of wool on top allows feathers and other open areas to puff out really nicely. I sometimes do this on small quilts, but not on my larger quilts. I do this for two reasons. First, it's a lot more weight to drag through my domestic machine. Second, this additional weight incurs even higher shipping costs. My standard is to use Hobbs Heirloom wool. I need to do more playing before I decide to switch. This is not a hardship as I love to free motion machine quilt!
Time to go pin some more little quilts!