Why Wool Batting Makes the Warmest Quilts

Why wool batting makes the warmest quilts! Learn how to quilt with this beautifully fluffy and sustainable fiber. suzyquilts.com #quilting #quilttutorial

Let me tell you why wool batting makes the warmest quilts. Once upon a time, we were talking about why bamboo batting makes the best summer quilts… but a neighbor just told me I should rake my leaves, so summer feels like a fond, distant memory.

My winter hat has made an appearance, and I have wool batting on my mind. Enough about raking those leaves! I have more important things to do!

One of the great things about being a quilter is that you get to surround yourself in warm cozy things all winter, and the colder weather doesn’t seem so bad. One of the warmest and comfiest of those things is a good stack of 100% wool batting.

Why wool batting makes the warmest quilts! Learn how to quilt with this beautifully fluffy and sustainable fiber. suzyquilts.com #quilting #quilttutorial

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Why wool batting makes the warmest quilts! Learn how to quilt with this beautifully fluffy and sustainable fiber. suzyquilts.com #babyquilt #quilttutorial

Wool Batting: A Warm Sustainable Fiber

Quick review: batting is that thick sheet of material you put in your quilt sandwich to add insulation and loft to your quilt. Wool batting is a warm, breathable, super-soft type of batting that I happen to love, especially this time of year.

Since wool is made from the coats of sheep, which subsequently will grow forever, it’s actually a really sustainable fiber, and naturally renewable! Way to go wool. You’re the best. Fun fact, in Australia a sheep was found roaming about and after being sheared, was 89-pounds lighter! Since just ONE pound of wool can make 10 miles of yarn, that means 890 miles (or 1,430 kilometers) of yarn came from our fuzzy friend!

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Wool batting is made by bonding wool fibers together, usually by heating it up and interlocking those fibers. When the wool is cooled, you have a strong layer of fibers that won’t shrink, bunch, or shift. PERRRfect for quilting. (Some batting uses resin to create bonds instead, but the effect is pretty much the same.)

Why wool batting makes the warmest quilts! Learn how to quilt with this beautifully fluffy and sustainable fiber. suzyquilts.com #babyquilt #quilttutorial

Wool Batting Keeps It 100%

Once in a while, another batting fiber, like cotton, will invite wool to join up to add some insulation. But normally, when you’re looking at wool batting, it’s going to be 100% wool. Why? Wool is happily single because it has so many great traits, all on its own.

So Wool Batting… What Makes You So Special?

On top of the warmth and sustainability points, wool batting is great for both hand and machine quilting. It’s always good to check your packaging, but for most manufacturers, you can quilt between 4" and 8", which gives you some flexibility when picking out your quilting motif.

Wool is also known for its great stitch definition, so if you’re a pro stitcher and want to show em’ off, team up with some wool.

Wool batting has a medium loft (between ¼" and ½") and it’s incredibly strong. The fibers resist creases and folds (yay!) and tend to spring right back instead. Keep in mind, though, that nobody’s perfect. You may want to watch out for wool if you have a lot of animal allergies (it really does come from sheep!) and since it’s completely natural, it’s also not perfectly white, which shouldn't be a problem inside your quilt, but now you know why. 

Does batting have a right and wrong side? The answer is yes! Check out this photo guide to help you find the right batting for your next quilt.

Tips and Tricks for Quilting with Wool Batting

Wool is pretty agreeable overall, but there are two tips I can give you to make sure that the two of  you get along swimmingly:

  1. If you open up a new package of wool batting and find that it has managed to hold a crease, try steaming it or tumble drying on low heat to get those folds out.
  2. Lengthen your stitch length. Typically when piecing a quilt my stitch length is 2.5. When I quilt, I bump that up to 3. However, when I quilt with wool I like to bring it up to 3.5 or 4. Wool is very puffy and I think the longer stitch length looks nicer. Shorter stitches can tend to look really tight.
Why wool batting makes the warmest quilts! Learn how to quilt with this beautifully fluffy and sustainable fiber. suzyquilts.com #quilting #quilttutorial

Above is the Bohemian Garden quilt pattern and can be purchased here! Instructions on this binding technique are included in the pattern.

Why wool batting makes the warmest quilts! Learn how to quilt with this beautifully fluffy and sustainable fiber. suzyquilts.com #quilting #quilttutorial

The Best Wool Batting to Buy

Now that I’ve spent this whole post hyping it up, let me tell you about my very favorite wool batting! Quilters Dream Wool Batting is my top pick because it’s so soft and quilts SO well! If you have never tried it, you really should to at least once!

What I love most about the Quilters Dream brand is the consistency. After sewing with package after package of this batting, I have never unfolded a piece and found a thin spot, hole or blemish. It's always beautiful quality.

Why wool batting makes the warmest quilts! Learn how to quilt with this beautifully fluffy and sustainable fiber. suzyquilts.com #quilting #quilttutorial

If you're like me, wool batting may become your new standard just in time for this winter's first snow! So send me more wool and lots and lots of piping hot tea! And if you've got them, a few good movie recommendations, too 😉 It's time to hunker down and get cozy.

Do you love quilting with wool? Let us know your thoughts and tips in the comments!


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15 thoughts on “Why Wool Batting Makes the Warmest Quilts

  1. Emmalina says:

    This has been the year of wool batting for me, having never tried it, I took my first foray. 4 wool batting quilts later, I’m still enjoying it. I’ve used Hobbs Heirloom and Tuscany wool batting so far, but I now want to try out the Quilters Dream wool batting to compare. I don’t think wool batting is for every quilt, but I’m slowly exploring so that I can learn to match my quilt tops up with their perfect companion.

  2. Tina says:

    I live in California – wool batting = too hot for me!! But one of my favorite movies is About a Boy. It’s definitely a feel good flick but makes you think along the way and it’s easy to empathize with the characters. My favorite California movie is Bowfinger. It is so good. May be best to watch in summertime or maybe some wool batting will make you feel so warm you’ll think you’re on an LA beach. I just finished your Stars Hollow baby quilt for a friend and it looks beautiful! Great pattern.

    • Suzy Quilts says:

      I throw all of my quilts in the washing machine using cold water. I then use the air fluff setting or low heat setting to dry the quilts until they are damp. At that point I pull them out and let them air dry the rest of the way.

  3. Sally says:

    I pieced a pretty difficult quilt and used wool batting. It was fun to quilt and I was pretty darn proud. Put it in the washer on cold. Waited excitedly and then pulled out a BEARDED mess. Quilt is now in trunk of car. So bummed.

  4. Brigit says:

    Hi Suzy! I love wool batting but sometimes miss the stickiness of cotton batting when I am smoothing out my quilt top for basting. I find that the wool batting doesn’t stick as much to the backing and top so I’ve had some sad puckering in my backing. Do you have any special tricks you use for making your quilt sandwich with wool batting? (I’m strictly a pin basting girl.)

    • Suzy Quilts says:

      Hmmmm…you may already be doing all of this, but just to double check:
      1. Your backing fabric is pulled taut and secured to the floor with masking tape.
      2. Steam or tumble dry the wool batting to get out all wrinkles.
      3. Start on one end and roll out the batting while smoothing it out to cover the backing.
      4. Start on one end and roll out your quilt top, smoothing it while you roll.
      5. Pin from the center of the quilt out.
      6. Pin really close together (maybe your pins weren’t close enough?)
      7. Lift the pressure on your walking foot. Sometimes even walking feet can drag over fabric and pull it in weird ways. This is even more possible because wool is so puffy.

      • Alicia Richardson says:

        What about those of us who are extremely allergic to wool? What’s the warmest option then? I have felt so left out in the quilting world lately because everything has been all about wool and I can’t go anywhere near the stuff. Often times I end up disappointed because when a new project/kit comes out and it’s in wool, I always ask if there is an alternative. Most of the time, the answer is no.

        • Suzy Quilts says:

          My BFF has a wool allergy, so I’m very aware what a bummer it can be. There are some other great options, though. If you want to stick with a natural fiber, Quilters Dream Deluxe or Supreme Cotton are both incredibly warm and thick. It doesn’t have the same puffiness as wool, however. It’s quite dense. If you’re open to a synthetic batting, Quilters Dream Puff is a great option. It’s very similar to the Dream Wool, but a little bit puffier.

  5. Emily says:

    After years of using 100% cotton wadding, I now only use wool. It is amazing for hand quilting!
    The quilts end up being light as a feather and are very usable in summer as well as winter.
    I won’t go back to anything else now.

  6. Christine Enyart-Elfers says:

    Have you tried white fleece to take the place of wool batting?
    I’ve used it in several simple quilts for children.
    Easy to work with & doesn’t shift.

  7. cara says:

    I’m with you–QD’s wool is lovely. I’m always amazed by how much water a quilt holds after washing. I do a 2nd spin cycle (it’s a front loader so no rough agitation) before drying and they’re still pretty heavy with water. And yes, SHEEP are amazing. Check out the Herdwick breed (Beatrix Potter’s favorite) online–the pics & history will get you on a plane to England’s Lake district (I just went last month). For movies, check out the Italian movie called The Great Beauty–great soundtrack too: https://www.imdb.com/title/tt2358891/ Thanks for being an inspiration of art, joy, & sharing.

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