Good Morning, Quilters!
Today’s topIc: Understanding quilt batting for better quilts.
I know it doesn’t seem like an exciting topic. However, if you’ve ever been disappointed by the look or feel of your quilt, you’ll realize the importance of the middle quilt layer!
All batting begins as individual fibers of cotton, wool, polyester, bamboo or silk that are processed into a sheet which can then be used for quilting. The fibers are processed either by bonding or needle punching.
The processing method has an effect on the way the batting feels and the maximum spacing between quilting lines. For example, batting with scrim has a wider maximum spacing than batting without scrim. Bonded batting is lighter and loftier than needle punched batting.
Bonding is a method of combining the individual fibers by adding heat or resin or both.
Needle punching is a process where hundreds of barbed needles compact the individual fibers. Scrim, a very tiny layer of polypropylene (similar to interfacing), is sometimes added.
Many manufacturers create a bleached version of their battings for use in white or light quilts.
Most manufacturers combine fibers into blends to take advantage of the properties of the fibers. Popular blends include cotton/polyester and cotton/wool.
Fire Retardant–Quilter’s Dream Angel is specifically engineered to be inherently flame retardant without adding chemicals.
Drapability/Feel-Each batting has its own characteristic “hand”-the way it feels when combined with fabric and quilting. The hand of the batting is determined by the fiber used as well as the manufacturing processes. For example, cotton fibers needle punched with scrim will feel different from cotton fibers needle punched without scrim. Likewise, cotton and bamboo fibers processed in the same way, will likely have different hands.
Bearding-Loose fibers can migrate through the top and backing fabrics. Some fibers, like cotton, are less prone to migration than others (polyester). Consequently, cotton fibers are more likely to be needle punched without scrim and polyester is more likely to be bonded.
Loft-The resilience of the fibers as well as the thickness of the batting. The loft is determined by the layers of the fibers. More fibers yields a higher loft batting, while less fibers produce a thinner batting. Most manufacturers offer a range of lofts.
Washability/Shrinkage-All battings, including wool and silk, are washable. However, some batting fibers shrink more than others. Cotton batting shrinks the most, while polyester batting results in very little shrinkage.
Warmth-Fiber and loft determine the warmth of the batting.. Some fibers, like cotton absorb moisture well and offer warmth in winter yet feel cool in summer. Other fibers, like polyester, lack breathability and are warmer.
Resiliency-Resiliency refers to the battings ability to retain its natural shape without creasing. Cotton battings tend to show more creases than polyester or wool batting. Consequently, cotton is often combined with polyester or wool for more resiliency.
More Batting Topics Coming Soon!
Now that we have the basics covered, we’ll explore the subject in depth over the next few weeks. I KNOW you are as excited as….and will be as attentive as….
A) a second semester senior high school student,
B) parents at the fifth grade Christmas concert
C )most husbands at a quilt store
D) fill in the blank____________________
May there by JOY in Mudville today!
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