Author Topic: Wool, Cotton, or Silk Batting for a King Sized Quilt?  (Read 6542 times)

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Offline fzxdoc

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Wool, Cotton, or Silk Batting for a King Sized Quilt?
« on: November 07, 2010, 11:38:11 PM »
I am making a king sized quilt and am pretty far away from buying batting, since I am only halfway through piecing the top portion and will have the drops to piece next. Even so, a friend was extolling the virtues of wool batting (Quilters Dream was mentioned), and it set me to wondering which would be better, cotton or wool, for a quilt that will be used mostly as a bedspread.

Thanks,
Kathryn

ETA: There were some comments about silk batting, so I just changed the topic tite so I can hear more about it as an option as well.
« Last Edit: November 10, 2010, 01:53:14 PM by fzxdoc »

Offline Linda Dean

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Re: Wool batting vs Warm and Natural Cotton Batting
« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2010, 03:54:11 AM »
I've never used the wool batting but it feels good.

The batting I like is called Warm and Natural (I think).  It is a thin batting.

What color is the quilt?  I would love to see pictures.

Offline Martha Domke

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Re: Wool batting vs Warm and Natural Cotton Batting
« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2010, 06:24:47 AM »
Kathryn, you are ambitious to take on making a king size quilt!  When we were in Frankenmuth, MI, we went into the Woolen Mill.  Of course, they make wool batting.  The lady said that wool is wonderful to hand-quilt, and makes a very warm quilt.  It is more expensive than poly or cotton, but if you want to be warm, that's the way to go. 

Cotton is very good for quilts that you want to have looking like antique, or period-style quilts.  It is easy to hand-quilt from what I see others writing.  I think Laurie in Maine uses mostly cotton batting.

The Warm Company makes Warm and Natural, Warm and White, and I think (might be wrong) Warm and Black.    It is supposed to be easy to quilt, too.  Hopefully others will give you first-hand information about this.


Offline Laurie H

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Re: Wool batting vs Warm and Natural Cotton Batting
« Reply #3 on: November 08, 2010, 12:50:52 PM »
Yup, Martha, I do like cotton batting as a rule, but I use Hobbs.  I usually use the 80% cotton batting and since I use so much, I buy it on a roll now.  It seems a bit expensive at the outset, but when I break down the cost to say, how many queen size quilts I can use it for, or how many baby quilts I can get out of it, the price is very, very reasonable.  If I used that roll for only queen size quilts, it would cost approx. $11 per quilt.  Pretty cost effective! 

Anyway, I've also used wool for one quilt, but I have to admit, I haven't finished hand quilting it.  It's a queen sized Double Wedding Ring.  Martha, I'm sure you remember that one!  ;)  So, I have to say, when it's on my lap, it's very warm, but not heavy.  It quilts so easily my hand doesn't get tired and it's just wonderful.  I really need to get busy and finish it.  I'm well over 1/2 finished with it.  It's been years and it's time to take it out since cold weather is coming and I want to put it on our bed.

That said, since I haven't finished it and had it on our bed, I honestly don't know how it will be.  I do have a quilt on the bed that I made years ago and I used cotton batting in that.  I use the quilt all year round and yes, I do live in Maine.  The only time it's too hot is in hot, humid weather and now that DH has the wood/water stove in the garage going to heat the radiators and that heat rises and heads straight for the bedroom.  Even a sheet is too hot sometimes.  Basically, I love cotton batting completely.  It drapes so well, it's fairly lightweight, it's warm, but not too hot (IMHO) and it's not too expensive to use.  I do wash my quilts in the washer and I usually hang them to dry, but I will put them in the dryer with no heat to finish them.

I've heard that with a lot of wool batting, one has to be more careful, but there are some new wool battings that are more durable and can take rougher handling like cotton?  I don't know what brand or anything, only that I think I read that somewhere.  I know that the quilt I'm working on will be washed on the delicate cycle and fluffed in the dryer with no heat.  No pets are allowed in the bedroom, so it won't get very dirty. 

I guess the way I look at it is, if I want something I'm not going to worry so much about and I can take care of easily, I'm going to use cotton.  I used the wool on the DWR quilt because I wanted something special.  Others will disagree with me and use wool all the time.  That's wonderful for them, but it's not me. I'll stick with cotton, even though I've really loved the wool so far.
Laurie H

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Offline Ann

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Re: Wool batting vs Warm and Natural Cotton Batting
« Reply #4 on: November 08, 2010, 03:35:18 PM »
I will put in my 2 bits worth. Look at silk batting. I made a quilt with silk batting and I really loved it. One lady told me it keeps her cool in the summer and warm in the winter. With our hot summers, I don't use a quilt on our bed.

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Offline fzxdoc

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Re: Wool batting vs Warm and Natural Cotton Batting
« Reply #5 on: November 09, 2010, 08:22:03 PM »
Thank you so much for your thoughtful replies, Ann, Laurie, Martha and Linda. I'll have to investigate silk batting.

The quilt design is more on the contemporary side, so I really don't want the old-fashioned puckery look for this one. Should I stay away from cotton for that reason?

I do like the idea that cotton batting would be worry-free, as I would like to launder this king sized quilt as needed.

Wow, Laurie, you certainly are a busy quilter, using up rolls of batting. Eleven dollars for batting for a queen sized quilt sounds like a great bargain, though.

Linda, I'm only about halfway through sewing the pieces together for the top part of the quilt, the part that sits on the flat part of the bed. I still have to piece and sew the drops for the sides and foot of the bed. I'm not using a dustruffle on that bed. So it will be a while before I get to the quilting stage.

The colors are shades of turquoise, blue, green and a bit of yellow, very restful colors and pleasing to my eye.

I would love to be courageous enough to hand quilt my "masterpiece" when all of the piecing is done, but I'm more than a little intimidated of the time involved compared to machine quilting. There's something about stuffing a king sized quilt through a sewing machine with a 9 inch harp that seems counterintuitive. But I know lots of folks have done it before me, and done it beautifully.

As I said, I'm still merrily piecing away, but my mind still travels forward to the day when batting and hand vs. machine quilting decisions will have to be made.

Thanks again, everyone, for your suggestions and tips.

Kathryn


Offline Linda Dean

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Re: Wool batting vs Warm and Natural Cotton Batting
« Reply #6 on: November 09, 2010, 09:48:05 PM »
Kathryn, you might look at the silk batting.  It feels wonderful.

I started hand quilting my first quilt and it took so much time I changed to machine quilting.

I have sent my bed size quilts to a long arm quilter and I have been very happy with the results.

Can't wait to see pictures.  I know it will be beautiful.

I want to make a couple of quilts next year after we move.  Moving gives me a chance to redecorate.

Offline Elona

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Re: Wool batting vs Warm and Natural Cotton Batting
« Reply #7 on: November 09, 2010, 10:30:44 PM »
I have long wondered how silk batting works, compared to the synthetics or even cotton.  Nice to hear that some folks here have tried it and like it.  Eileen Fisher puts out some mighty pricey (and pretty) silk quilts with silk batting, but I have never put my paws on one of them.

Offline Laurie H

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Re: Wool batting vs Warm and Natural Cotton Batting
« Reply #8 on: November 10, 2010, 01:09:06 PM »
Okay, so I'm really, really cheap make that thrifty, and even if I had the chance, I probably wouldn't use silk because of the cost.  Even using the wool was a stretch for me, but because this is a special quilt for DH and I, I decided to go for it.  I'm not trying to push cotton because I think it's so much better, because if I've never used silk, I obviously can't give a good comparison.  I just like cotton personally and it's very cost efficient.

That said, just because cotton is used, it doesn't mean that a quilt will have a puckery look.  Do you pre-wash your fabrics?  Do you plan to put the quilt in the dryer or wash on anything other than cold?  I have tons of quilts and some have never puckered.  I've never dried them with heat and always washed them in cold.  I don't pre-wash my fabrics, but if you did and you dried them, they've already shrunk all they're going to.  Some people even pre-wash their batting so it will shrink.  If you do that (I've never done it) again, no puckers. 

There is also nothing that says a quilt has to be washed.  You can simply vacuum it to get the dust off and if it gets dirty here and there, spot cleaning works good.  If you do think it needs a cleaning, a dunk in the tub with something mild will work, a cool rinse and maybe a spin in the rinse cycle if you don't feel you're getting enough water out, then hang it to dry.  I vacuum my wall hangings, I don't wash them and they continue to look good.

Hope this helps a little.  If you decide to go with silk, let me know how it goes.  I probably still won't use it, but it will be interesting to hear how it works.

Laurie H

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Offline cjtinkle

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Re: Wool batting vs Warm and Natural Cotton Batting
« Reply #9 on: November 10, 2010, 01:41:13 PM »
How heavy do you intend the quilting to be?  If fairly dense, don't use Warm and Natural, it gets stiff with too much quilting.  I also wouldn't recommend 100% cotton batting if you wish to preserve that smooth look.

Wool is ideal for what you've described.  It drapes beautifully, breathes better even than cotton and is warmer in the winter and cooler in the summer.  Both Quilters Dream Wood and Hobb's Wool are machine washable and can go in the dryer (cool temps).  Quilters Dream tends to crease if left folded, but if it is going to be displayed, it's a beautiful batting.

An 80/20 blend such as Hobbs Heirloom would also work well, and be more affordable than wool.  Both it and the wool have nice definition and enhance the quilting.  Cotton batting, well the quilting tends to get lost, it really depends on look you are after.
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Offline fzxdoc

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Re: Wool batting vs Warm and Natural Cotton Batting
« Reply #10 on: November 10, 2010, 01:50:59 PM »
I am learning a lot about battings. Thank you so much, cjtinkle and Laurie, Linda and Elona for the additional information. I am too new to quilting to know much of anything, so your thoughtful comments make a huge difference in my thought process.

This quilt is to be a showpiece of what I have learned so far, and it will get used every day as a bedspread. We don't have pets or grandchildren (yet) and don't eat or drink in bed, so it should stay pretty clean. Even so, sooner or later I imagine it will need a bath.

I didn't preshrink my fabrics and am greatly relieved to hear that you don't either, Laurie. The LQS owner said that for quality quilting fabrics the step was unnecessary, except perhaps for reds. So if anything is going to shrink or pucker, it will do so on the first washing/dunking, I would think. I hope nothing shrinks. Or runs. :o

If I was the prolific quilter you are, Laurie, I would be buying my batting on a roll as well. It's great that you have found that the 80/20 cotton works best for your type of quilting. How I wish I had that much experience to know what suits me best! But this may be the only big functional quilt of my lifetime, so I want to choose what is best for the type of use it will be getting.

I'm going to edit the topic title to include silk batting in hopes to hear even more comments about that option as well. I really appreciate the great opinions I'm hearing!

Kathryn
« Last Edit: November 10, 2010, 01:55:18 PM by fzxdoc »

Offline Laurie H

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Re: Wool, Cotton, or Silk Batting for a King Sized Quilt?
« Reply #11 on: November 10, 2010, 03:14:01 PM »
Kathryn, there are 2 reasons I decided to buy the batting on a roll.  It's very cost efficient and I really like using Hobbs 80/20 for both hand and machine quilts.  Okay, that's two reasons and I guess I have a 3rd.  I used to get Hobbs at the local Jo-anns, meaning I only drove an hour to get it.  If I had a coupon, I got it on sale.  Then they stopped carrying it.  I then waited for one of my favorite catalogs to have a sale, I'd plan my quilting around that and buy some queen size, pre-packaged battings and have them on hand.  Sort of cost efficient, but not very efficient for the way I make quilts.   

Okay, now that I think of it, I have another reason, I don't like pre-packaged batting because no matter how long I let it relax out of the package, it always has some wrinkles and there are always some weird lumps I can't get rid of and it messes up the look of my quilt somewhere.  It just bugs me.  With a roll, there aren't any weird bumps or creases or wrinkles or anything.

I'll amend my first line, there are 4 reasons I decided to buy the batting on a roll.......
Laurie H

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Offline Terri B

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Re: Wool, Cotton, or Silk Batting for a King Sized Quilt?
« Reply #12 on: November 11, 2010, 06:49:34 AM »
I have used both Hobbs 80/20 cotton/poly and Hobbs wool.  The wool was wonderful to work with.  However, my son informed me that the wool really wasn't all that warm.  We also discovered with each washing the wool seemed to kind of disappear.  This quilt was not densely quilted but it certainly had enough quilting in it to keep batting from migrating.  I think the wool fibers are finer than cotton and they just left the quilt with each washing.  I have an inkling that you may have a similar problem with silk fibers.  I stick with Hobbs 80/20 for any quilt that is going to be consistently used.  It holds up well after numerous washings and doesn't shrink any more than wool when washed.  I find that the cotton quilting thread is the culprit behind that puckery look.  Even if you prewash your fabrics and batting how on earth does one preshrink cotton thread?  Consider using rayon or poly instead. 

Having quilted 3 queensized quilts on my Bernina I have to say anything bigger than a wallhanging now goes to my longarm quilter.  It's just to hard on my body.

Offline Laurie H

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Re: Wool, Cotton, or Silk Batting for a King Sized Quilt?
« Reply #13 on: November 11, 2010, 01:02:14 PM »
Terri, I never thought of the cotton thread as being the problem.  I suppose that could be it.  I'll probably stick to cotton myself since I like the puckery look, but you're right, for a more contemporary look, poly might be better.  Just never thought of that.  Makes me think....

I've also heard that about the wool batting.  I know I won't need to wash my DWR quilt often.  I do love handquilting, it though.  I had planned to go easy with it anyway, but no pets are allowed in our room and even if they were, the pug is getting too old to even attempt to jump and the newfie is scared to go up the stairs...dumb dog!

I agree with the wrestling with the quilts.  I've made all sizes and I do my own quilting.  I tend to ache for a while after quilting.  That's why I do a lot of handquilting along with my machine quilting.  My quits don't get the extensive quilting that yours do, though.  I just couldn't do it on my machine.  Your longarm quilter always does such a fantastic job.
Laurie H

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Offline cjtinkle

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Re: Wool, Cotton, or Silk Batting for a King Sized Quilt?
« Reply #14 on: November 11, 2010, 01:07:13 PM »
I have several quilts in my living room made with Quilters Dream Wool that get washed several times per year, I've not noticed any degradation of the batting.
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Offline Terri B

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Re: Wool, Cotton, or Silk Batting for a King Sized Quilt?
« Reply #15 on: November 11, 2010, 08:42:32 PM »
CJ, I've only used Hobbs, and it was still a relatively new product at the time.  It's likely improvements have been made to it since I made my son's quilt back in 2000.

Offline B in MI

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Re: Wool, Cotton, or Silk Batting for a King Sized Quilt?
« Reply #16 on: November 12, 2010, 11:20:28 AM »
Kathryn,  

Thanks for posting this thread.  I used to have a few sheep, once I had the wool made into a king size bat and a twin bat.  I have never made a quilt, but will sometime.  Thanks to this thread I now have an idea of how to wash the finished product when needed.


Offline akincannonsewsart

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Re: Wool, Cotton, or Silk Batting for a King Sized Quilt?
« Reply #17 on: November 22, 2010, 02:46:19 PM »
I'm making a king-sized quilt, also; it's a flying geese strip design. Because I want it to be washable and not too hard on the washing machine, I'm using cotton flannel. All of the fabric is already washed, including the flannel, because I like to make scrap quilts. We have kids (& probably grandkids coming in the next decade), and cats, so it will definitely be going through the washer-dryer cycle. This is the first time I've used flannel rather that batting; since everything is prewashed, I'm going on the assumption that if it shrinks at all, it will all shrink at about the same rate, which won't be much.

Offline fzxdoc

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Re: Wool, Cotton, or Silk Batting for a King Sized Quilt?
« Reply #18 on: November 22, 2010, 03:38:12 PM »
Welcome to Stitchers Guild akincannonsewsart. Your quilt sounds like a big endeavor (ask me how I know  ;)) but I'm sure you'll be pleased with the final product.

Do you plan on quilting it yourself on your sewing machine, or will you have someone else do the quilting step?

I'm no expert, but if the flannel has been washed and dried a couple of times and has shown no further shrinkage, I'd say you're pretty good to go with it for batting. I'm sure those more experienced than I will be chiming in with their thoughts.

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Have fun looking through the site, akincannonsewsart. Come back and post often! :)

Kathryn

Offline Laurie H

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Re: Wool, Cotton, or Silk Batting for a King Sized Quilt?
« Reply #19 on: November 22, 2010, 07:17:19 PM »
That's going to be one heavy quilt!  :o  Just be prepared.  I hope you wanted something warm, because I'm sure it will be.  I kind of like the weight of something like that on me during the winter and that's what you like, I don't think you'll be disappointed at all. 

How do you plan to quilt it? 
Laurie H

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Offline akincannonsewsart

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Re: Wool, Cotton, or Silk Batting for a King Sized Quilt?
« Reply #20 on: November 24, 2010, 02:42:29 PM »
I quilt by hand, not on a frame, although I do own one that my mother passed to me. I'm going to quilt it in sections (2 columns at a time), and join as I go (my first time for using that technique, too). I sit at the dining table in the evening with a good strong lamp and quilt a bit at a time.

Thanks for the welcome!

akincannon

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Offline akincannonsewsart

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Re: Wool, Cotton, or Silk Batting for a King Sized Quilt?
« Reply #21 on: November 25, 2010, 04:14:16 AM »
The flannel is to be used in place of the batting, not the top/bottom.

 

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