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Batting

roll of quilt batting

Batting is what makes a quilt warm and snuggly.  There are many kinds of batting, and it can be confusing to a new quilter trying to decide which kind to buy.

One of the first things you must decide is how you plan on putting your quilt together.  Are you going to tie it, machine quilt it, or perhaps send it out to be finished on a long arm quilting machine?

If you are going to tie your quilt, you can use a thicker batting.  In general, if you are going to machine quilt it yourself, you need to use thinner batting.

I have a Janome sewing machine that was made for a quilting frame.  It can go through the thickest batting, using the walking foot, and it doesn't make a single pucker.  This Janome sewing machine can't even do a zig-zag, but what it does do, it does very well.

If you are planning on having someone else quilt your project, they will provide the batting, or else tell you what they recommend.

Batting also differs in the recommended space between quilting stitches.  A lot of the polyester prepackaged batting recommends quilting every 2-4 inches.  On the other hand, the flannel type batting  ("Warm and Natural") needs less securing, and can be tied or stitched at 6 or more inches apart.

Always read the label.  It will give you the recommended quilting distances.  It will also tell you if it is high loft, medium loft, etc.  Be careful of the terms.  They can be misleading.  Look for the little chart that shows you the exact inches of the height of the batting.

It is also important that your batting be smooth before you use it.  If you buy it in a plastic bag, take it out of the bag for at least 24 hours before you use it. 

Your batting, like your backing, should be about 4-inches wider on each side of your quilt. 

Here are some specifics on the different types of batting:

Polyester Batting - Polyester is inexpensive  and comes in a wide range of sizes.    Just be careful when you buy polyester batting.  Make sure it is good quality batting.  If you buy very inexpensive batting, it may "beard" on you.  That means that some of the batting fibers will come through to the outside of the quilt.  Been there, done that- and it is not pretty!

Cotton Batting -  Cotton is great for machine quilting.  It is very warm, even when thin,  and it washes well.  You do have to quilt the stitches or tie it closer together.  However, when washed it puckers up and gives a nice old-fashion look to your quilt.

Cotton and Polyester Blends-  Combines some of the best qualities of both of the above.  Look for mostly cotton with 25% or less polyester.

Silk Batting- Silk batting is expensive.  It is usually reserved for clothing.

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