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Does scrim always make a batting unsuitable for hand quilting?

Does scrim always make a batting unsuitable for hand quilting?

Old 11-23-2022, 02:45 AM
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Default Does scrim always make a batting unsuitable for hand quilting?

I'm trying some different battings, and I'm hitting the problem that when I ask a shop what a batting is like for hand quilting, they apologetically say, "I'm sorry, I only quilt by machine." (I buy everything online, there's no option of going to a shop, not that you could exactly stand there and stitch up a sample.) Then when you look online, there isn't any discussion about the less well-known battings and hand quilting, and there are blanket statements about "never hand quilt a batting with a scrim".

Is this always true? Surely the scrim will vary? For the Pellon Legacy bamboo/cotton batting, for instance, which is well liked by some hand quilters including Suzy Quilts, they claim that they use a special finer scrim that's easier to hand quilt. That said, I'm not planning to quilt with bamboo. After reading up on it here, I realised it's not as ecologically sound as it claims, not to mention the stories of bearding.

Another problem is that some hand quilters have resigned themselves to fighting with the batting and by now think it's normal to need pliers to get the needle through, so they'll cheerfully recommend, say, Warm & Natural, which is notorious for being one of the hardest to hand quilt. I'm disabled, I'm not going to wreck my hands on this. I'm also doing big stitch quilting, for what it's worth.

The one I'm looking at is the 70/30 Eco Blend by Sew Simple, which is recycled cotton/poly. Someone sent me a set of small samples, and it felt very promising, probably the nicest of that bunch. It's meant to be decently thick and warm. I've got half a metre on the way, and I'll try making a couple of kitty mats using leftover binding strips, so I can try out some different fabrics as well.

My experience with battings so far is:

Hobbs Polydown - lovely to hand quilt, I've used it in many quilts, but I wanted a more sustainable alternative.

Quilters Dream Puff - ditto

Vlieseline R80 recycled poly - a great alternative to Polydown, lovely to hand quilt and it's the same weight, while also being more consistent in thickness. I've used this in one quilt so far, and I'm keen to make more for when I want a pure poly batting. Although they only supply it in 61" width.

Quilters Dream cotton, request and select loft - good cotton battings, though harder to get hold of in the UK these days.

Bosal Katahdin cotton - I've switched to this for my cotton battings. It seems just like QD, needlepunched and minimal shrinkage and everything, but it's organic, and easier to get hold of. I've used the Summer weight so far, which should be the same as QD Request.

I could see a place for a good cotton/poly blend in my range, especially if it's warmer. I'm not interested in wool.
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Old 11-23-2022, 03:45 AM
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I am mostly a hand quilter. I have hand quilted Warm & Natural batting many times with very few issues. The only time I had to use pliers was when I doubled the batting for a particular project.

I just finished two quilts. One with Quilter's Dream Select and one with Quilter's Dream Request. I found them to be very similar in the actual quilting but one did beard more than the other and, unfortunately, I do not remember which one did that. I do think the QD batts had a much nicer drape to it than the W&N.

Those are the only battings I've used. I'm not a prolific quilter and had bought a roll of the W&N years ago and only recently ran out of that. The two latest quilts were baby quilts and I wanted 100% cotton - no poly - for those and since they were small just popped over to my LQS to purchase those.

Generally speaking I prefer 100% natural battings (among other things - clothing, etc. - if available). If I were going to do a true 'heirloom' quilt, I would probably go with wool or silk. Otherwise I would just stick to cotton and I would not be overly concerned about any scrim.

Good luck in your continued search.
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Old 11-23-2022, 03:51 AM
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I had bearding with one of the QD battings, now you mention it! I had a chat to them, and they reckoned it was because I was using black backing and had the quilt over a heated blanket. The dyes used in dark fabrics make them more prone to bearding, and then there was all the static electricity from having it on top of an acrylic blanket, moving about separately so there was friction. I put a cheap cotton bedspread in between them, and the bearding stopped. I've avoided using really dark backing fabrics since then. It was the QD cotton select, but I don't think the batting was the main problem there. It didn't beard on the top, after all, and I used the backing fabric as sashing there.
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Old 11-23-2022, 09:08 AM
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As someone new to hand quilting, I appreciate your information. Have you tried any of the Pellon battings?
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Old 11-23-2022, 10:02 AM
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Originally Posted by QuiltingVagabond View Post
As someone new to hand quilting, I appreciate your information. Have you tried any of the Pellon battings?
Not past the level of thoughtfully squishing a 4" sample of the Pellon Legacy bamboo/cotton a shop sent me.
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Old 11-23-2022, 10:36 AM
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Winline 80/20 needles very comfortably. And it has far less seed bits than Warm and Natural. Plus it's less expensive. But I don't know if you can find it in the UK.
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Old 11-23-2022, 01:08 PM
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It seems not, and I'd never heard of it. Does it use a scrim, do you know?

I'd rather stick to more ethical options if they're available, so I'll see how this recycled one works out. The half metre has arrived, but I'm at my partner's till Friday night, and the piecing stuff is all at my flat (I piece at mine and quilt at his), so I can't test it out yet. It's weird! There are little strands of what I think are recycled cotton fibres all over the place, which hopefully won't cause trouble. I can tell which side the scrim is on. It's definitely thicker than the summer weight Bosal Katahdin cotton batting in the quilt I've got around here to compare with. Seems pretty soft.

I'm also wondering about double batting with the recycled poly and the thinner cotton. I've done double batting a couple of times with two layers of poly for wheelchair quilts, but I used different utility stitches on those as they were so lofty at first. It doesn't seem the greatest idea for hand quilting, even for big stitch quilting.

I think I can put in a photo I uploaded on Facebook, but I'm still getting the hang of this forum again, so I'll put that in a separate comment to be safe.

Last edited by ToBoldlyQuilt; 11-23-2022 at 01:11 PM.
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Old 11-23-2022, 01:09 PM
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OK, this is the sample! What do you think of how it looks? I can see little dark dots, I'm guessing they're seeds. Are they a problem? And you can see the little fibres all over the place.
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Old 11-23-2022, 04:25 PM
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I hand quilt and I use Warm and Natural batting. It has a scrim. I've never had a problem.
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Old 11-23-2022, 07:46 PM
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The best way to know is to put your needle into it and see how it feels. It doesn't look like it has too many seeds. Should be alright. Let us know...
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