Monday, November 16, 2009
Batting a thousand
Usually I like my quilting to create a certain amount of depth and texture as well as interesting thread work. With this quilt I want to create a flatter, more like a painting or tapestry quilt. So I have been in a quandary about what to use for batting.
Personally, I prefer wool batting over other types because it is light weight, does not retain creases if the quilt has been folded, has a nice loft when the quilting is further apart and gets flat and thin when the quilting is heavy which creates really nice quilting texture.
Cotton batting is flat, but it is heavy, bulky when pushing the quilt under the sewing machine and holds creases and folds forever.
I have used wool blend felt for small mixed media pieces and really like the way it quilts and how it holds its shape. So I thought about using 100% wool felt which I happened to find at Joannes for $17.99 a yard. This seemed like a great option, it’s a little squishy and thicker than wool blend felt. I quilted a small sample and really liked it, so I fused my quilt top to the wool with Mistyfuse, which does not stiffen the fabric like some of the other fusible webs.
When finished, I really liked the flat sturdiness of the fused top, but when I picked up the quilt top it felt heavy and pretty stiff, this was worrisome. I put the whole thing on my sewing machine and brought the needle to the center of the quilt to slide it around following some of the shapes as though I were quilting it. Then I knew I had a problem, it was hard to manipulate the top smoothly, because of its bulk, I could just imagine how hard it would be to keep my stitching lines fluid and smooth. I was already envisioning the knots in my neck and shoulders forming while wrestling the top under the needle.
I put the top back on my pressing board and with Nina’s help ran the hot iron over the surface in sections to warm the fusible web and peeled the painted top off the felt.
I remember from previous experiments that if I put Mistyfuse on the top and back fabric and fused it to wool batting, the batting would loose some of its loft. Now I have refused the top to wool batting and fused the backing fabric as well to the batting. It is still a little puffy, but I know it will be much easier to maneuver under the arm of the machine. Next is the scary part, starting!