17 February 2011

Almost warm enough

Well, the bad news is that Hamish's job is taking him to New York for six months. The good news is he'll have a new apartment to fill up with quilts. I'm using some block-printed cottons he brought back from India last year, as well as a couple solids. The two sides of the quilt are currently fighting for dominance. One side will have a sort of improvised starburst pattern, with concentric rings of curving rays.
The central pinwheel is 18" across and the surrounding circles will be 15" wide. Each succeeding ring will have more of the off-white solid (kona snow), until the edges are almost all white. The light was terrible today but I wanted to get some photos up while I was still in the middle of it.
The other side is already complete, with a central 36" log cabin medallion (the strips are 4 1/2" wide), tan sashing and  a gray-blue background. The two sides are very different in style and technique, though both feature pieced circles. I  agree with Hamish that the quilting will be very important to creating interest on the more traditional side.

Hamish has requested a super warm quilt ("so warm that you'll think it's too hot"), so I've been trying to come up with my batting strategy. I've found positive testimonials about a two-layer batting using Hobbs 80/20 cotton/poly blend and Quilters Dream Wool battings. But even that may not be enough and I'm considering using a layer of Hobbs Thermore batting along with one or both of the others.

I've had surprisingly bad advice on the topic of warmth from several local shops, with one person assuring me that cotton is the warmest batting, and another insisting that close quilting is the key to warmth (for the record, I don't subscribe to either opinion). But mostly I feel like the question isn't interesting to most quilters. Please let me know if you've had any luck quilting a warmer blanket.

9 comments:

  1. Wool batting! It's a bear to maintain but a dream to hand quilt. Light weight but extremely warm.

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  2. the 'bear to maintain' part is the toughie, as the blanket will be used constantly and laundered not always by me. The Hobbs guy told me wool is a little warmer than cotton, but for a real difference I would have to go synthetic.

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  3. Wool is definitely warmer than synthetic, at least in the quilts I made so far. Ever since I started to use wool batting for blanket quilts, I definitely like it best. But for a cold German winter even a wool batting is not enough to keep you warm enough. The warmest (normal) blanket I ever tried was filled with yak hair!
    A quilting friend of mine told me, that she washes all of her quilts by machine, even the wool filled ones. I'll try that one day, too.

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  4. First of all, the quilt is absolutely beautiful...I can't wait to see the finished product. Second, I agree with the other commenters...wool is definitely best. It is loftier and airier, which give it a down comforter-like appearance...so it has both the look and feel of greater warmth!

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  5. hi dan, it's lindsay.. long time reader, first time commenter. :) the quilt is KILLER. i love it. now, i know nothing about quilting, but from a spinner/knitter's perspective, wool is definitely warmer than cotton, but silk is the warmest of all. i'm knitting a pair of wool/silk gloves right now and they are super toasty. is there any way to work silk into the mix?

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  6. From my personal experience wool batting is warmer than cotton. It's loftier so it captures more body warmth. (BTW I blogged about shrinkage on a Fairfield wool batting that I played with because I wanted to make sure I could machine wash and dry my quilt.) I hear that high loft poly batting is even warmer for the same reason but has problems with bearding (where bits of the batting starts coming through the quilting holes) I made one experimental quilt for my daughter for college using high loft poly batting and so far with machine quilting, she hasn't seen bearding happen. She thinks that the quilt feels more like a comforter than a quilt. And she says it's very warm. If you want to really go wild with warmth, you could try Insul-brite which has a needlepunched mylar layer that supposedly reflects heat back even more than just loftiness. I've only used this for hot pads and mitts personally.

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  7. First of all, this is just gorgeous. I can't wait to see the finished quilt. Second, I've had the same problem with bad advice on warmth & batting. I think I've talked about this before on my blog, but I'm not sure that cotton is the bee's knees when it comes to batting. I feel like I've tried a good spectrum of cotton battings (low end to high end) and still haven't found one I'm nuts about. I used Quilters Dream Deluxe in my last quilt (which I think is their second highest loft cotton batting) but still found it not quite warm enough. My AMH Folksy Flannels quilt uses Quilters Dream Wool Batting. It's my first time using it so once I finish that up and give it a test run, I'll have a full report. I've heard from friends who've used that it's not that hard to maintain.

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  8. Weeks Ringle recommended a quilters dream batting for warmth - I'm not sure which one now, though.

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  9. wow that quilt will be gorgeous as all what you make!

    I've been used only cotton and bambu batting, and I dont think they can be the most warm option for you.

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