Monday, November 16, 2009

Batting a thousand

I have spent the last few days catching up with life; cleaning the house, going to the bank, getting groceries, doing laundry...and trying to figure out how to tackle the quilting.

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!

stay tuned...


  1. Oh the horrors of creativity and choices! You seem to have settled on a good solution. Wishing you lots of luck on this next phase.

  2. I know it's too late now, but have you thought about splitting a wool batt into 2 layers and just using half a layer in a quilt?
    I've had extremely successful results doing that with cotton batts.

  3. Good thing you had a practice run! I see picking the thread colors wasn't any hardship *smile*

  4. I'm excited to see the quilting phase of this quilt. I really love the quilt and have been watching it take shape. It is so lovely!
    Laura T

  5. How exciting that you have published a book through Blurb. I purchased a copy tonight and can't wait for it to arrive. You remain a constant inspiration. Linda Friedman

  6. I'm with the rest of them - anxiously anticipating the quilting. What machine do you use?

    You go GIRL!

  7. Thanks Linda!

    Jojo I will probably be using my Janome 6600. Nina has taken over my Bernina 1630 and my pfaff 1475 is in a carrier since it is the most portable of the 3.

  8. hi, pleased to meet you

    Your blog looks fantastic

    Come and pay a visit some time

  9. love the newest quilt Judy! I'm looking forward to seeing how you quilt it.

  10. Good luck! It's always at this point, when the rubber meets the road and the needle meets the quilttop, that I start to get really scared that I'm standing on the edge of destroying or elevating the piece!

    Can't wait to see your stitching progress.

  11. Thanks Judy.
    Bestest of Luckest - it's what I say to my poker beaches:)

  12. i'm slightly confused about whether you ended up re-fusing the top to the wool felt or to a different wool batting material?

    either way, just the concept of fusing the large painted top sounds scary enough to me, much less unfusing and re-fusing it. but as this series of posts has shown, you're a confident risk-taker in pursuit of your artistic vision, and i so admire/envy that.

    your quilting will be equally fabulous -- good luck & can't wait to see the progress!

  13. Hi Luanne, yes I know it sounds crazy, I fused the top to wool felt, then unfused it from the felt and then fused it to wool batting, crossing my fingers all the while.


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