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