Tuesday... time for Tips and Tricks!! Hope this helps some of you!
When it comes to batting for my quilts, I choose cotton batting all of the time. I love the “quilty” look that cotton batting gives to quilts after they are washed. There are several good brands available and you even have choices in color now that Warm & Natural and Quilters’ Dream Cotton have both come out with beautiful white batting. If you choose to use polyester batting, however, make sure that you are using a very low loft batting. Your quilt top tends to “float” on top of a high loft batting, no matter how well basted, and it's too easy to stitch puckers into your quilt.
There are occasions when I want to pre-wash my cotton batting. If I am working on a contemporary quilt where I don’t want that old-fashioned “quilty” look, I'll wash the batting first. I will also pre-wash if all of the fabric for my quilt top and back have been pre-washed. I like everything to be shrinking at the same rate! To pre-wash a cotton batt (I have done this with both Warm & Natural and Quilter’s Dream Cotton with excellent results in my washer), I put the batting in my washer on the SOAK cycle and set the wash action to gentle and the water temperature to warm. You want as little agitation as possible here. After soaking the batt for about 15 minutes, I set the machine to spin. After spinning is complete, put the batt in the dryer with a couple of towels to absorb the moisture. This helps it dry a little more evenly so you don’t have to keep taking it out, rearranging it and putting it back in. Remember to buy extra batting if you intend to pre-wash as the batting shrinks by about 5%.
Before basting your quilt top, it is important to get all the lumps, bumps, wrinkles and folds out of the batting. If I have time, I just lay the batting out overnight, but sometimes I don't have overnight to spare. In that case, I put the batting in a warm dryer (WITHOUT moisture; I don't want to shrink it unintentionally) and run the dryer for about 15 - 20 minutes. This will usually relax the batting and get rid of the wrinkles. Of course, if you have pre-washed your batting, the wrinkles will already be out!
And what about storing batting? I love my method! How do you store your batting?