This class was titled “Exploring the World of Batting” and it is a large world to explore! Debbi Trevino started researching batting for a presentation to her local guild, and her interest has continued. She does not represent any batting company. Her research involves sandwiching the batting between a black and a white piece of fabric, quilting it, then washing the sandwich twice. She keeps careful measurements and examines the fabric for bearding, shifting, scrunching and all sorts of other weird and wonderful movements. She then reports on how the batting behaved.
Interesting to me was that Debbi does not have one favorite batting. Her answer, she freely admits, is: “it depends on the project.” She must have passed around 150 samples of batting sandwiches. Truthfully, I was on information overload after batting #15. I would have liked to have had my own samples and made notes over the course of the day.
A few interesting notes … if you’re using battings that contain a mix of fibers … the fiber mix can legally vary depending on the quality of the cotton harvest. Therefore you need to test your battings for shrinkage. Your packages can (and will) vary in quality — it is not your imagination.
Debbi also tries to verify all claims on the labels. She saw labels that claimed to be “certified organic” and yet the suppliers refused to show her the paperwork. She had another concern about bamboo batting, which is touted as very environmentally friendly. Although bamboo clearly grows quickly, she could never get anyone to tell her how the bamboo fibers were broken down — and whether this was done with environmentally friendly enzymes, or with more caustic chemicals.
She’s approached batting companies to clarify their labels — some battings shouldn’t go in the dryer, for example. These battings have been on the market for more than 10 years and the labels are still not changed. (So read the labels carefully!)
I have gotten batting samples at other shows. I would like to make my own batting sandwiches, and become more familiar with my options. I love working with wool for art quilts. Polyester, it seems, is awesome for trapunto. I heard great things about silk (except, of course, the price). At MQX I learned that many show quilts contained two battings (often a cotton and a wool), which was news to me.
You can get Debbi’s ultimate batting chart by following this link. Scroll down a few lines and you’ll see it. It’s updated regularly so it’s a good resource to bookmark and save on your computer.