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Thursday, May 29, 2014

Hand Quilting for Beginners: Batting

This is the seventh article in a series of articles by Caron Mosey geared for the beginning hand quilter.  If you have NEVER hand quilted before or just dabbled in it with no instruction and want to know how, this is for you!

What kind of batting or wadding should I use?

There are many different types and brands of batting available to the quilter; the choice of batting depends on the look you are trying to obtain, and how much experience you have with had quilting.

As a brand new hand quilter, you want to have a good experience.  That means you will want a batting that is easy “to needle” (the needle goes in and out of the batting easily and won’t fight you as you create your stitches).  For a beginner, I always suggest a lighter polyester batting such as Mountain Mist Light.  I started with Mountain Mist Quilt Lite as a new quilter, and it is still one of my favorites! 

Another great batting that I have used is Hobbs Tuscany 100% Wool BattingThis batting is in the Feathered Star quilt I have in progress, and it gives me a stitch every bit as nice as working with the batting mentioned above. 

Quilters have great success with Quilters Dream 100 percent cotton.  I am a traditional hand quilter, and many of my quilts are based on traditional patterns.  I love the look of an old quilt… with all the puckers!  Any batting that will shrink will provide that pucker when you wash it.  As a 100 percent cotton, the pucker is guaranteed!

As a new quilter, it’s important to learn about batting choices and how batting is constructed.  I could write a good explanation for you here, but there is already a perfect article and I’d love for you to read it.  Please read this article written by Teri Stillwell and bookmark it for future review.  It’s well worth your time. 

From hand quilter, Tim Latimer: 

“I love Hobb's Tuscany wool batting when I want loft and definition, it is easy to quilt and washes well. When I want a very thin quilt I like Hobb's Tuscany silk batting. It is so easy to quilt, beautiful soft finish and drape, washes beautifully...but the most expensive. For cotton I like Mountain Mist Cream Rose....It is easy to hand quilt, and wash, nice thin cotton batting"

One thing that I caution new quilters about is quilting distance.  Whenever you purchase batting, look on the wrapper.  It almost always tells you how far apart your rows of quilting can be.  Some batting shifts more than others, and requires more quilting to hold it together.  BUT… just because a batting tells you that you can quilt four inches apart doesn’t mean you should do so.  The closer the quilting, the more insurance you have that the batting will not bunch up in the unquilted areas.  There is nothing worse than having a quilt that bunches up into globs in the unquilted areas.  This can happen during regular use, and especially when it is washed.  Hand quilting takes a long time.  We all know that.  And, quilters can run out of patience just like anybody else and try to get by with as little quilting as possible to get the job done.  But really, when you think about it, you’re only cheating yourself.  If you’ve put that much time and money into making the top, don’t you want it to look its best?

Take your time… keep stitching!


Have you read the previous articles for beginners?

1) Fabric  2) Needles  3) Thimbles 4) Thread 5) Hoops 6) Frames


  1. Thank you. I have done quite a bit of stitching, but haven't played with batting options much. My next hand quilting project will be with silk & I was curious about the silk batting for the draping effect. Glad to know it needles well.
    Happy stitches.

  2. Muchas gracias!!!
    Llevo muchos años como quilter, a mano siempre, y en España somos muchas, pero ya empiezan a vernos como bichos raros.
    Imprimí todos tus artículos y los enseño con orgullo
    Saludos Belarmina

  3. Great post. I have made several quilts over the past 30 years and I am still intrgued about how batting/wadding choice can influence overall affect of a completed quilt. Recently, I have been doing a practice swatch to confirm the ease of stitching and loft. Always purchase a quality brand.

  4. just been given a link to your blog and know it is going to be a great help, all the quilting books have a lot on making blocks etc but very little on the actual quilting

  5. Great tutorial. I just finished my first hand quilted project. The information in this tutorial is going to be a great help.

  6. I am a long time hand quilter, and I remember using unbonded cotton batts. I am not thrilled with the current selection of bonded cotton, they seem harder to stitch. I want to try the wool, and I see it can be washed, but can the completed quilt go in the dryer?


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