Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Batting Week - How do I choose?

If you're anything like me, you look at the wall of batting at your local quilt shop or show and can end up feeling completely overwhelmed.  While batting is hidden inside our quilts, it does have a major impact on how a quilt turns out.

I've done a comparison of Hobbs battings before which you can read all about here.  I've learned even more since I wrote this, so here we go!

Let's explore the different types of batting:

Cotton - cotton batting is flat, flat, flat.  It's fabulous when layering because the fibers of it "stick" to the quilt back and top and make it easy to pin.  A recent discovery I've made is that when you're doing a lot of fusible applique a cotton batting is fabulous.  It sticks and keeps the applique flat.  It doesn't puff out so the fusible isn't distorted which is wonderful.  After choosing this type of batting for a small project I realized the value it has in fusible applique quilts and will definitely choose it again for this purpose!  Another advantage of cotton is that it doesn't have to be quilted as densely as other choices.

 I like to quilt feathers and I must admit that I like them to puff, which is why I usually don't choose cotton.  But there are some blends available that do have some puff and a lot of cotton.  Many show quilters will put two layers of batting in their quilts (first cotton, then wool on top).  The cotton helps the quilt keep it's shape and hang nicely.  The wool allows for the puff.  I do this on small pieces, but have chosen not to on large pieces because it makes the quilt heavy and a bit challenging to drag through my domestic machine even though it has a 10 inch harp space.

Okay, so what about cotton blends?

Cotton/Poly - My favorite Cotton/Poly Blend is Hobbs 80/20.  It is "sticky" like cotton batting, but has a little poly in it making it a tad warmer and giving it a little more puff.  It is my batting of choice in my quilts for my children as it is durable and easily washable.  You can read more about it here on Hobb's website.

My Flower in a Pot #6 was done with one layer of Hobbs 80/20.

Cotton/Wool - This batting was new to me a year ago.  It's amazing!  I love Hobbs Tuscany Cotton/Wool blend which you can read about here.  It's 80% cotton and 20% wool.  It has the stability and "stickiness" of cotton batting and a little puff of wool batting.  I love it and can't wait to put it in my next show quilt that has fusible applique.  I guess I'd better get started on that one...

My Flower in a Pot #2 was done with one layer of Hobbs Tuscany Cotton/Wool.

What else have I tried?

Wool - Hobb's Tuscany Wool is my usual batting of choice for show quilts.  I absolutely adore the puff it gives my feathers and motifs.  I have used it in garments (mostly vests) and find it equally lovely (though I can only wear these garments in January as they are super warm!)  It drapes a little more than cotton.  I find it absolutely fabulous.  I have used two layers for even more puff.

My Flower in a Pot #7 has one layer of Hobb's Tuscany wool.

Polyester - I must admit that I am not a polyester girl.  Yes, I have used it.  However, every time I do I have regretted it.  I am sure that people use it quite successfully, but I find it has drawbacks.  The biggest one being bearding.  Bearding is when the fibers of the batting poke through the top of the quilt and you can see little balls of it forming.  Think about what sometimes happens to sweaters called pilling.  Same idea.  Because of bearding, I do not use polyester batting unless it's an 80/20 cotton to poly blend.

Below is a picture of a quilt I had quilted about 10 years ago.  Yes, this quilt has been on my bed and perhaps that's why it has bearded more than a quilt that has been on a wall.  It has poly batting of some kind which was chosen by the quilter.  No, I'm not mad that she chose it, but it's a bummer that the quilt is now all covered with white balls of poly batting.  It's especially noticeable because the quilt has a purple background.  This quilt is why I never choose poly.

Silk - silk batting is something I started using a year ago as well.  I've found Hobbs Tuscany Silk to be a fabulous alternate to cotton batting.  The batting is 90% silk and 10% polyester.  I find that since the silk is a natural fiber it has the "stickiness" of cotton and lays flat like cotton as well.  I enjoy using it in my quilts.  If I want my design to really puff up, I would not chose silk as it doesn't have the puff of wool that I like.

My Flower in a  Pot #1 has one layer of Hobb's Tuscany silk.

And there are more choices too, but these are the ones I have personal experience with.  One of the things I love about going to a large quilt show is buying small sample squares from Hobbs batting to try out what's new on the market.

Come back on Saturday to talk about what two layers of batting is like!

I hope that helps you choose and I hope you get to quilt today!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks Suzy for the information. Very interesting as I am new to putting a quilt together. I have made lots of squares, but always become terrified when it comes to actually making the quilt. If it is not over 18 x 18 I can do it... grin