My name is Charlotte, sometimes known as Ms Lottie, occasionally as The Slightly Mad Quilt Lady. This is my blog, where you'll find me writing a lot about my quilting and textile arts and a little about my family's life in a small seaside town in New Zealand. Haere mai!
I thought I'd write a bit about using woollen blankets as batting for my quilts. I've had a few comments on it and a couple of questions so I guess there is interest, right?
I love old woollen blankets for so many reasons. Natural fibres have something going for them, very warm, breathable, they break down easily - the worms in your worm farm will love your wool scraps! Then there is the history aspect (I mean who hasn't heard a New Zealand orientated sheep joke, right?). The label on the top blanket is a very well-known historical brand name, lots of people grew up with Kaiapoi blankets on their beds.
And of course; reduce, reuse, recycle. To buy new batting isn't cheap, especially if you make big quilts. I've picked up most of my blankets for between $5 and $12 NZ dollars. And most of them are in great nick. Even ones with a few thin spots and holes can be sliced up and used in bassinet quilts and cot quilts.
This is all that is left of this blanket. It had some holes in it when I bought it, but it's given me a big patch for a friends woollen blanket quilt I repaired, batting for a cot sized quilt, a thin and holey section for the cat's basket ;) and I've still got enough to make a couple of bassinet quilts.
Second hand or preloved blankets have usually been washed so many times that all their shrinking and felting is done, but I recommend to quilt recipients that they gentle machine wash on cold, or hand wash - but I'd recommend that for any quilt anyway.
This is one of the first quilts I made using a woollen blanket for batting. These photos are to give you an idea of the loft of a blanket as batting. (The black is the back). You can see that there is scarcely any bearding, which can be an issue with polyesters and I think it gives a slightly flatter look, but still shows up the quilting just fine. It's a queen size topper and, if I remember correctly, I had to join two blankets together.
For joining, cut off any edge binding to reduce bulk, then layer your blankets so there is an overlap of an inch or two. Large zigzag stitch down each overlapped edge and you're done. This gives a flatter finish, much less noticeable than a traditional seam.
If you have a really nice blanket you can use that as a batting and backing - just don't cover it up with a backing fabric!
So, go ahead and try it. And then when you are finished - enjoy snuggling under your quilt knowing how much good you've done the world, and how much history you are snuggling under.
This is the first ever quilt I made with my boy, now five years old, rolled up asleep in it. It took me years to finish it, it's half hand-pieced as I didn't own a sewing machine when I began and it started me on my woollen blanket journey. I batted it with one because I had nothing else!