Since I moved to the western side of the U.S., I have mainly been using cotton batting in my art and charity quilts. Most has been purchased at the local JoAnn Fabrics, primarily Warm & Natural and Mountain Mist. While satisfactory, I found them a bit heavy to move around while quilting. I remembered using wool batting back in NY but could not remember the brand.
I put out a query on a Yahoo group I belong to and asked what people use. Some art quilters used cotton, others used wool, and a few mentioned a felted batting. I did some research on the felted suggestion but found quite a few comments on the stiffness of the batting. Since I do not use a long arm and need to be able to easily compress my quilts as they pass under the arm of my machine, I was hesitant about how I would like it. In addition, I could not find it packaged in a small amount so auditioning it would have been a sizable investment.
Instead, I decided to revisit wool batting. I had one piece that I had brought out west and made myself a small cotton muslin quilt sandwich to free motion quilt upon. I had come across a Shamrock Design video by Lizzie Leonard a few weeks ago that I really wanted to try. So, I decided to use that on my sandwich.
I found it quite difficult to move the sandwich as I quilted the design. The batting was quite thick – almost an inch – and I did try lessening the pressure of the foot to ease glide. However, the resistance was intense. While the texture created by the high loft was appealing, I couldn’t visualize quilting a larger piece with the same issues.
Instead, I ordered some of Hobb’s Tuscany Collection 100% wool batting which advertised a loft of 1/4 – 3/8″. It was available in a crib size package so, in contrast to the felt batting, I could sample without a large investment. I created a similar size sandwich and used the same shamrock design.
With the lower loft, the sandwich glided through my machine without a problem. I could easily manipulate the fabric and liked the resulting surface texture.
My next step was to try the batting with one of my art quilts. Several weeks ago, I had asked my friend, Julie Brandon, at Red-Dog Enterprises to reprint the image I had used in my art quilt, Aspen. The piece sold so quickly I barely had time to enjoy it – a nice problem! Julie reprinted several of the image on silk habotai for me and I used one of those images with the Hobb’s batting and a cotton backing to play.
The finished piece, Aspen II, is about 11″ x 13″ and went together like a dream. I think I have found my batting of choice. While not an issue since this is an art quilt and won’t be subject to washing, the packaging does say that the batting is washable. I probably will test that out before I use the batting in a lap quilt. I did use a steam iron on this quilt without a problem and fused the batting to the silk with MistyFuse before I quilted it. The batting held up fine through these processes.
I am looking forward to next quilting my larger Morning Walk piece and a third quilt in the Aspen series using the Hobbs’ batting in the next few weeks .
Linking to Nina Marie’s Off the Wall Friday so you can see what other fiber artists have been up to.