I’ve been working with a new (to me) type of batting, Quilter’s Dream Poly Batting. For my current project, I needed something that has virtually no shrinkage, and very low loft. Quilter’s Dream is nearly the only thing on the menu in the way of poly batting at the Heidelberg Arts & Crafts shop, so I had ITMan pick some up for me while he was out one day. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that the stuff comes in at least three different weights (or lofts, I suppose), and he brought me the Deluxe loft, and it was so thick I don’t think my scissors could have cut through it without damage! To be honest, I can’t imagine using it for any large quilt project, because it would be horribly heavy!
Back to the store that went, to trade for the Select loft, which is considerably thinner. I decided to try it on a smaller project, to see how it went, but it still felt thick and stiff to me, and I thought that a 60″ square quilt would still weigh a ton even with this lighter weight batting, so I ordered a Request loft version from Virginia Quilter (as an aside, VQ is about average on shipping costs and times, nothing stellar, not super cheap or super quick). The Request loft was so thin I was worried that it was going to feel like the quilt had no batting, but I decided to give it a try anyway.
The machine quilting was going pretty well actually. I’m used to puffy battings like Hobbs Polydown or Tuscany Wool, so this low loft thing is quite a bit of a departure. The Dream Poly feels wonderfully stable, and the quilt top and backing aren’t slipping around as much against the batting as they tend to to with the Polydown or the Tuscany Wool that I usually use. The Dream Poly grips the fabric well, just like a cotton batting would.
Now comes the major issue: The quilting was going well, until I used a lint roller (the tape on a roll kind) to remove some of the cat hair and fuzz from a section of the quilt before I started quilting it. Cat hair on quilts during construction is just a fact of life around here, though I do try to sweep it off with a lint roller as I go so as not to quilt too much of it into the quilt which makes it harder to remove later. Unfortunately, a major portion of the “fuzz” that’s visible on the black parts of the quilt top is not cat hair, but batting fibers that have bearded already, and the quilt has been basted together less than a week, and only handled on the machine bed for quilting.
I’m in a little bit of shock actually. I’ve never had a batting beard this badly, BUT, to be fair, I haven’t made a quilt like this one before. When I’ve done quilts with a large amount black fabrics or a black background, I’ve used black batting, and it was Hobbs 80/20 anyway, so that’s not much of a comparison. When I quilted Butterfly Houses, I used a black backing, and I was concerned about bearding on the back because I knew that using black batting wasn’t going to work because of all the light fabrics on the front of the quilt. I compromised by adding an extra layer of white fabric between the white Polydown batting and the black backing to hopefully cut down on any bearding potential, and it seems to have worked (though that quilt has never been washed…)
This current quilt project has solid black fabrics and nearly solid white fabrics on the front, with a light grey backing fabric. I didn’t figure it would be a good idea to use black batting, since it would probably show a bit under the white fabrics on the front, but I’m not sure what the best answer would have been at this point. Maybe the black fabric was too loosely woven or something, but it’s not like it looks that way upon close inspection or anything, and for all I know it’s the same on all the other fabrics in the quilt, it just doesn’t show as much because they’re not black. I’m too far along in the quilting to rip it all out and start over with a different type of batting, and I don’t know what I would use anyway. I think I’m stuck with this now, but I hope it doesn’t get really bad after it’s been washed, since the quilt does have to be washed at least once to get the markings out. Meh.
So, after the cat has run out the door already and it’s too late to close it, anybody have any suggestions for a low loft poly batting that doesn’t shrink and doesn’t beard, or am I asking for the moon?? What have your experiences been with Quilter’s Dream Poly?