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Thread: Batting - to wash, or not

  1. #1
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    Batting - to wash, or not

    I bought some Hobbs Premium 80/20, soaked it and did a gentle spin in the washer to remove some of the extra water. Yuck!!! There are spots that have pulled apart almost completely, and the amount of pilling is worrying - I don't want the quilt lumpy before I've even started.

    So I went and bought Quilter's Dream 100% cotton, the lower loft, and read on their instructions NOT to pre-wash. They claim only 1% shrinkage, but they also say hand-drying is best. The quilt I'm making is for my kids' school auction, and the squares have been silk-screened with the kids' artwork. I don't want the quilt to shrink too much once it's done, because I'd like the artwork to remain (relatively) flat. But this is a twin-sized quilt, and is going to be used by kids. There's a really, really good chance that whomever wins the quilt is going to throw it in the dryer. If not at first, probably after air-drying once or twice

    Would you recommend I pre-wash the Quilter's Dream anyway? I'm worried I'll ruin it, like I did the Hobb's, but maybe it's a much better product? Any help is immensly appreciated. Between the silk-screening process, and the piecing, I've worked to hard on this to put the wrong thing inside!

    Thanks, Shauna Name:  001.JPG
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  2. #2
    Senior Member alisonquilts's Avatar
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    What a cute quilt! And totally irreplaceable, so I think your caution is merited.

    I have only used 100% cotton batting a couple of times, and I always washed (soaked, gentle spin) it in very hot water. Since I didn't measure it before washing, I'll never know how much/if it shrank.

    Only once did I use a natural batting (100% wool) and not wash it, and it was a disaster - the batting shrank so much that the quilt was actually distorted, and I ended up unpicking the whole thing and doing it again. It was just a crib-size, but still! I am now very paranoid about shrinkage...

  3. #3
    Power Poster nativetexan's Avatar
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    1% isn't much shrinkage. do a lot of quilting all over the quilt and that will help prevent any bunching up of the fabric.
    i've read some quilters mist their batting and toss into the dryer. wait for more responses until you decide.

  4. #4
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    I could live with 1% shrinkage in the batting.

    I've washed Warm n Natural batting before using it and it turned out very nice. I don't remember if it shrank or not.

  5. #5
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    I live in NYC and do not have a washing machine - just a laundry room and we can't control the machines like you can a home machine - so I never wash my batting and have been told by my LQS to never wash batting. I just made a quilt with wool batting and am now afraid to wash it after alisonquilts comments. I do wash my quilts after I make them so the new owner will not be suprised after they wash it.

  6. #6
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    Why don't you use Quilter's Dream poly? It doesn't shrink and is every bit as nice as their cotton batting. And please don't think of it as "washing" batting! It doesn't need detergent and absolutely should never be agitated!! Think of it as pre-shrinking! Just soak and spin!

  7. #7
    Senior Member Hinterland's Avatar
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    I made one quilt with the Quilters Dream, the lightest weight available. I didn't read the part about not putting the quilt in the dryer! The quilt has been washed and dried several times, and it does crinkle a bit, but it's just fine. 1% shrinkage is not much really.

    It's a great quilt you have going, by the way!

    Janet

  8. #8
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    I have never washed/pre-shrunk my batting.

  9. #9
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    I've only made two quilts before, and used a poly-fill on both, so I'm new to cotton. I was surprised at the results with the Hobb's, because so many of the things I've read (from other quilters) say soak and spin. I was going to go with poly again, but thought the quilt might be more appealing as an auction item if it was mostly (or all, now) cotton. 1% shrinkage doesn't seem like much, but I was worried the manufacturer only means 1% if you air-dry.
    I think maybe I'll put in in a tub of very hot water, but skip the spin cycle and just press out as much water as I can. It's windy enough today in NY Petey, should I just lay it out on the Great Lawn?

    Thanks everyone. I'll post results after soaking!

  10. #10
    Super Member Annie68's Avatar
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    No need to prewash or soak batting, I don't understand why you are doing that. I've never in my almost 40 years of quiltmaking prewashed a batt. I do always wash and machine dry a quilt after it is completed and all is fine. I've used all cotton batts and the Hobbs 80/20.

  11. #11
    Junior Member flhomeschoolmom's Avatar
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    I don't think you need to "wash" the batting. I've made a few quilts and never prewashed my batting. I can't remember now which batting (poly or cotton) I used. But, I have to agree with what another lady said, the more quilting that you put into it (even if it's just in the ditch) then the fewer problems there will be if people put it into the washer and dryer.

    And as for your other batting that you did prewash and it messed up, turn it into polyfill for a cushion or cut it down and make it into doll quilts or pot holders. No need to waste the batting just because it's unsuitable for a bed quilt.

  12. #12
    Super Member 117becca's Avatar
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    i have always used warm & natural, and when I wash it, I do get a wrinkly look, but I like that look. I don't use a poly batting, don't like the way they feel.

    I am currently working on my first quilt w/ the Dream Cotton Request because it says it's light-weight. I saw that it said only 1% shrinkage, and I will be real curious to see how this looks after I wash & dry it when I'm finished.
    my name is becca and i'm a quilt-a-holic :-)

  13. #13
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    I have almost always used Quilter's Dream and have never prewashed. I have also used their Poly and it is really nice - not like the other polyesters and wash and dry in the dryer my quilts.

  14. #14
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    i made my first quilt in 1976-
    i make anywhere from 20-70 quilts in a year
    i have never ever pre-washed a batting
    i have never ever had any adverse effects from not prewashing a batting
    the amount of quilting, the fabrics, the way it is laundered all play a part in the outcome of a quilt-
    i LOVE the batts from the dream company-
    my favorite *personal* quilt is a white whole cloth that lives on my bed- with Dream Wool batting- it gets washed and dried 3-4 times a year- it comes out FABULOUS!!! it is soft- fluffy- oh so cozy when it comes out of the dryer! even wool batts i have never considered pre-washing my batting-
    seems like an awful lot of work- for less than happy results.
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  15. #15
    Senior Member Handcraftsbyjen's Avatar
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    I've never prewashed any battings.

  16. #16
    Super Member Lori S's Avatar
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    I don't pre wash , but I do preshrink batting for some projects. Tablerunners in particular because I want to make sure it lays Flat, and then I use warm and natural . It get soaked , spun , and into the dryer.
    Do consider some of the nice poly battings, they have advantages, no shrinkage, and the quilt dryes much faster than a cotton batting. Quilters dream poly is a nice choice.

  17. #17
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    I just don't understand why anyone would want to wash batting! if you don't want chemicals Dream Cotton sells one without.

  18. #18
    Power Poster Prism99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Petey View Post
    I live in NYC and do not have a washing machine - just a laundry room and we can't control the machines like you can a home machine - so I never wash my batting and have been told by my LQS to never wash batting. I just made a quilt with wool batting and am now afraid to wash it after alisonquilts comments. I do wash my quilts after I make them so the new owner will not be suprised after they wash it.
    If it was Hobbs wool batting or Quilter's Dream wool batting, you are safe to wash it. If you want to be super-careful, air dry it; however, if you have a reasonable amount of quilting on it (not lines 12 inches apart!), I wouldn't be afraid to toss it in the dryer too.

    If it's another brand of wool, you really have to make sure that it is well quilted all over (I'd say a max of 3 inches apart) so you don't get any lumps when you wash.

  19. #19
    Junior Member bmanley's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scissor Queen View Post
    Why don't you use Quilter's Dream poly? It doesn't shrink and is every bit as nice as their cotton batting. And please don't think of it as "washing" batting! It doesn't need detergent and absolutely should never be agitated!! Think of it as pre-shrinking! Just soak and spin!
    Gosh, I'm glad you cleared that up because I have never pre-soaked, spinned batting. Never knew I should. I do wash my quilts after quilting. I like the puckered look. Does everyone pre-soak? Always learning something new on here.

  20. #20
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmanley View Post
    Gosh, I'm glad you cleared that up because I have never pre-soaked, spinned batting. Never knew I should. I do wash my quilts after quilting. I like the puckered look. Does everyone pre-soak? Always learning something new on here.
    It depends on what look and qualities I want what batting I use and how I treat it. Most of the time anymore I just use a spray bottle and spray the batting pretty heavy with water and toss in the dryer.

  21. #21
    Super Member nannyrick's Avatar
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    What a beautiful quilt!!! Great job. I,m no expert on this subject, so I will let all the experts answer your question.
    Good luck.
    so many quilts to make, so little time.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by Annie68 View Post
    No need to prewash or soak batting, I don't understand why you are doing that. I've never in my almost 40 years of quiltmaking prewashed a batt. I do always wash and machine dry a quilt after it is completed and all is fine. I've used all cotton batts and the Hobbs 80/20.
    I guess I'm doing it because I thought I had to, if I wanted to keep the kids' artwork as flat as possible. After doing this, though, my next quilt will be one for my own use. I won't mind a puckered look on that one!

    Update on the Quilter's Dream batting. I did soak it, didn't spin it (after what happened with the Hobb's), and I can understand why they recommend NOT pre-treatment. It actually grew in length, and consequently became shorter across the width. After much reshaping, it was fine, and I was really impressed with how well the edges held up to my tugging. I ended up putting it in the dryer, but let it be known that I use the term "dryer" lightly. Living in NYC, there's no vent to the outside, so this one works by condensing and draining the water. Much more gentle (and ineffective) than a regular dryer. It measured 72 1/2" X 94" before, and 71" X 97" after.

    Live and learn, right? Or as my dad says, "The only person who never makes a mistake, is the one that never does anything."

  23. #23
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    I wash all of my battings, and have never had an issue with any of them! perhaps take to the laundry mat and use the bigger washer that has NO wringer in it!

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