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Scrappy Quilting and Batting

picture of quilt batting on a roll

The batting is a very important element of your quilt.  It will determine if your quilt is soft and fluffy, or thin and more stiff.

You have many choices when it comes to batting.  If you want a fluffy quilt, you want to get a very thick cotton/polyester batting.  This is usually for quilts made of squares or other simple piecing. 

picture of my Janome1600P sewing machineThese types of quilts are usually tied because of the difficulty of machine quilting them.  However, there are some sewing machines that do a good job of quilting thick batting.  My Janome 1600P will sew through the thickest of batting without making a pucker on the back or front. 

This is more of a professional sewing machine.  It will only do straight stitching or free motion.  It makes the most beautiful stitch because the hole in the plate is very small.  This is a wonderful machine if you like to do machine quilting, or at least, get it done quickly.  It is very fast.

If you buy batting rolled up in plastic wrap, be sure and unwrap it and let it sit at least 24 hours.  If it still has folds, but it in the dryer for a few minutes.  It should flatten out good enough to use it.

Most serious quilters do not make puffy quilts.  They like thinner batting that is easier to quilt, both at home and for professional longarm quilters.  They "Warm and Natural", which is more like a thick piece of flannel, or a thin cotton/polyester blend.  I like a softer quilt and the softness and warmth of the thickest batting I can find.

As far as the composition of the batting the polyester in batting gives it strength, and the cotton gives it warmth.  Most batting is sold with a mixture of both fibers, with a little more cotton than polyester.

You can put a blanket between your quilt top and backing.  However, be careful of inexpensive batting, especially if it is not bonded.  You may find that it "beards" on you.  The fibers of the batting will come up to the top of your quilt, between the threads of your quilt fabric.  This is also a problem with using inexpensive fabric with a low thread count.

Always read the label on your batting.  It will tell you how close you need to make your stitches if you are machine quilting, or how close to make your ties.  Most quilts need to be secured around every 4 inches.  One of the advantages of Warm and Natural binding is that it is more like 6 inches.

You can tie a quilt with anything that you can get through the layers, from embroidery floss to thread.  I made one quilt that my husband tied for me using a pair of pliers to pull through the heavy thread/yarn. 

Keep all of your leftover pieces of batting.  You can use them in small projects, and as stuffing for craft projects.

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