Sunday, June 27, 2010

Aaaaargh! - Polyester Batting

That’s it, I quit.
Never again will I work with that thick polyester batting. It’s too hard to work with and the results are questionable at best. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have a problem with the thinner polys. But that extra thick stuff is a pain in the caboose. It doesn’t lay flat and when you smooth it, it puckers back up in a second. It sticks to everything and creates lumps and bumps and distortions in the quilt. I won’t even get into how hot it gets because it doesn’t breath.

In addition to the bumpy uneven look, the binding is a pain as well, the quilt is so thick and puffy that it is hard to wrap the binding around to the back and stitch it in place. I’ve tried pressing, but you can’t apply the iron too long without risking melting the batting. I won’t even get into how hot it gets sitting under it while doing the binding.

Again, don’t get me wrong, thick poly has its uses. I use it for Trapunto work. It is fantastic in tied quilts. For pet beds its great because it resists pests, but for long-arm work it is difficult at best.

My preference, of course, is 100% cotton. Almost any brand as long as it is fairly thin and flexible. I’m not a huge fan of the really thick cottons because I like my quilts to drape. I also prefer a batting with scrim or binding of some sort. I hang most of my quilts and have found that some of the battings without scrim begin to sag after hanging for a while. They are lovely if you have tight quilting, but I often quilt loosely, because for some projects, I don’t want the quilting detracting from my piecing.

Stitch density is part of the quilting decision for me. I am partial to looser quilting. Many of my regulars like tight-tight-tight quilting. And that’s fine. Your vision for your quilt is not the same as mine. That makes it hard for me to choose what might suit your tastes.

It drives me nuts when the customer who says, “Oh I don’t care, just do whatever you want.” Not happening folks. I’ll discuss it with you and give you my ideas and reasons for them, but I will not just “do what I want.” That’s undue pressure on the quilter. If I’ve done a large number of quilts for you, I might consider it. Maybe! By then I know your tastes and have a better idea of how your “quilt vision” works. But for a first or second time customer NEVER!

So far, things have gone well, I’ve never had a customer complain about a quilt. They have all seemed satisfied or even ecstatic with the quilt they got back. Even those picking up the rare ones I’ve thought would have looked better with a different pattern or thread choice. I’m counting my lucky stars on this. But I do try really hard to ensure that what the client chooses is going to work well on their quilt.

Are you a long arm quilter? Do you use a long arm quilter? Have you ever hated the quilt you got back? Have you ever had a dissatisfied customer? How did you handle this?

On a totally unrelated side note: Julie: My Calendar Critters block for July.


  1. Cathy, excuse my ignorance, but what is "scrim"? I really have to get back into quilting soon. Have to get movtivated again.

    Love your blog.


  2. Wow, this took a while. Vacation prep then vacation. I apologize for the slow response.

    Scrim is a very thin layer of fabric, fibers, almost a webbing that is put on one side or both sides of batting to hold it together. Usually the batting is needle punched into the scrim so the batting does not fall apart when washed.


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