Batting – What NOT to Use

Doing quilts for the Carolina Hurricane Quilt Project, I went far beyond my original goal with more tops and backings sent to me than I had batting available.  Thanks to some kind friends, I was gifted with several to help fill the gap.  One of them was a raw wool batting that I have not seen before.  It looked like it would be a really high loft, but what the hey, free batting is free batting.  So I unrolled it and loaded the longarm with this lovely donated top and backing.  I have lost the piecer’s name that I had put with the top, so please let me know if you did it.  I loved the large squares that showcased the beautiful blues, it reminded me of the ocean.

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I had difficulty from the start, as the batting didn’t unroll smoothly.  Note that this quilt top is lovely and flat, and in no way contributed to the difficulty in quilting this quilt.

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This is the batting in its package so you will know if you see it to pass it by.  That orange paper inside tells you how to unroll it, using a paper ribbon rolled inside.  That was my first clue that this wouldn’t be the easiest thing to work with, when they have to tell you how to unroll it, but I went forward anyway.

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There was no scrim to hold it together, so it had thick and thin spots.

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It tore easily too.  I had to keep arranging it and overlap it in places to be sure the batting came out even all the way across the quilt.

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I chose a quilting design that was really simple and wide, a low density clam shell.

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The loft of the batting is really high, and filled up the clam shells.  Overall I liked the effect, but not the batting itself.  I really liked the backing fabric that was sent, it was a wild pattern that went very well with the top.

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Getting nearer to the end, the edge was uneven.  The thick and thin spots are apparent.

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The high loft made it difficult to get the bottom edge even.

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Pinned and repinned, then I just had to sew it and move on.

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Finally finished and trimmed, I thought it turned out nicely in the end.  I bound it by machine and sent it on its way to Wilmington.  The puffiness is really apparent at the bottom of the photo below.

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Now that I know, I won’t ever use a no-name ‘natural wool’ batting like this ever again.  The second one I received was donated to the thrift store.  I taped a label over the word ‘batting’ with the note that it was really fiberfill and not suitable for quilting.  Moral of this story – only quality battings for me from now on!!  Hobbs, Quilter’s Dream or Warm and Natural, or it goes to the thrift store for use as pillow stuffing.

And while I’m on the subject of what NOT to do, don’t sew with old thread either.  Use old spools in craft projects.

Do you have a lesson on something NOT to use?

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25 thoughts on “Batting – What NOT to Use

  1. It is a beautiful quilt, and you powered through the quilting and made something special!

    I have never seen this type of batting…hope I never do!

  2. I love wool batting for hand quilting but I’ve never heard of that brand either. The quilt turned out lovely in spite of the batting, I hope the batting wears well through the coming years. Thanks for your willingness to quilt all these donation quilts.

  3. Donna Weeks

    The quilt top is stunning and so is your quilting. Clam Shells really blended with the fabric design. As for the batting, nice that it was gifted, but not so nice that you had issues with it. Many times, I find myself on a learning curve with patterns, fabrics, batting and quilting. We all have our favorites, and we usually stick to them, but, it is always different to try another brand of batting. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  4. Linda B

    Totally hear you! There are times for experimenting and times to find what works best and just stick with them. Not just in quilting, though…sheets on the beds, ingredients to cook with, recipes, varieties of plants to plant, breeds of chickens to keep, blogs to follow (:)). It is a part of that simplification process and makes life less complicated. Leaves more time for fun and creativity!

  5. Karen Marlow-Goad

    I’m glad the quilt turned out despite the batting – that is good and puffy. Back in my earlier years in quilting I grabbed a couple batting’s that were “good deals” and never since they did the same type of thing- tore apart thin and thick spots – it was a battle

  6. Rosemaryflower

    Oh my what horrible batting. I do not know there is even batting out there like that.
    I remember when flufffy batting was available and used, but I never used it.
    I have learned so many many lessons. many of them were are frustrating and sometimes exhausting.
    I like learning from others mistakes

  7. Joy B

    That is a beautiful quilt top and although you had way too much trouble with that batting, the finished product is wonderful. I appreciate the tip, however, and when I get to start quilting again, I’ll be very careful about what batting I choose!

  8. Niki Winchell

    Despite the issues with the batting, the quilt turned out beautifully. The clam shell design is perfect with the high loft and the fabric on the quilt. Great job.

  9. Loris Mills

    Well, great save with that batting and thanks for the tip. I tend to stick with Hobb’s 80/20 though I love many of the Quilter’s Dream products. This is really a lovely quilt! It will surely cheer someone trying to put a home back together after all that flooding, etc. last fall.
    If you are still counting, I sent 3 quilts that I finished to the Catholic Charities in Wilmington this week with the top maker’s permission. I think she sent another one herself as well.

  10. Tami Von Zalez

    BTW that quilt is stunning. You did an absolute fantastic job with less than perfect batting.

    My batting story is I picked up some 100% cotton batting from thrift. I had never heard of the brand name and can’t remember it now. It quilted up nicely but I was sneezing all the way through. The batting was so fibrous and fly away.

  11. You pushed through and did a beautiful job. I just want to say that your blog is so INFORMATIVE. I just love that you share these thoughts with us. THANK YOU

  12. Hello Carole, Sorry that you had to have a terrible experience with the batting on such a beautiful quilt. I love the clam shell design that you chose to use, it really does work amazingly well with this fabric. I know I am one of the weird people in the quilting world that just loves the high loft batting. No, I do not like quilting with it…just love the soft results and the puffiness. LOL. Since I have began following your blog, plus a few others, and truly learning the rights and wrongs on so many issues, my entire process of creating a quilt has improved 100%. Thank you so much, Carole, for every time you share information like you did today and all of your tutorials or many other information bits you share. You are definitely helping me to make better quilts! Have a spectacular day!!

  13. Peter and Carols Email

    What a beautiful way to use beautiful fabrics. That quilter is talented in use of color and and design. I am not usually a blue lover, but that is a lucious quilt. On point made it even more elegant. Carol in Texas

  14. Melanie

    Such a beautiful job you did and always do, Carole. Your instructions and hints are invaluable and so nice of you to share what you experience. My hint to share is that if you store fusible web, keep it enclosed in a zip lock to preserve the fusible quality for a period of time. I usually stick with batting products I know, too. I once observed pure wool batting by the yard in a quilt shop and noticed the “fragile” quality. I passed it by. 🙂 Happy Fourth!

  15. Wow! You thought that was a mess…how about a customer who raises alpacas and made her batt from the fur (hair?) It had to be almost an inch thick (wouldn’t fit under the hopping foot) and was so dense it was like thick felt!! I showed her how it wasn’t equitable, so she took it home to hand quilt. Her next quilt had another alpaca batt, a little thinner, but still high loft, and I quilted it. What a nightmare! Same problems you had, but without the thick and thin. No more! Plus, it was brown and had a smell. Ick!

  16. That was a great save Carole! That would be especially difficult on a long arm, maybe a little easier with a small project that is hand quilted. The over all effect was really marvelous though, the quilt is beautiful.

  17. Nancy Osinga

    I was gifted a few batts that looked just like that, although no packaging. I just couldn’t use it on my long arm. Too thick. I gave it to a lady at quilt guild who teaches classes on making pictures with wool. She dyes it with KoolAde. Who knew. I was glad someone could use it.

  18. Donna

    What a beautiful quilt! Too bad the batting was such a mess!!! You powered through it just like you do with those quilt repairs! Great job Carole!!!

  19. Mom C

    When I tied and hand quilted quilts I used unbonded batting a lot. It works fine when you can lay it out flat, pin it to the frames and roll it when you’ve tied or quilted it. But pulling it through the rollers on a long arm! I’m impressed you stuck it out! And it’s a gorgeous quilt.

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