Stitch size with cotton batting

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Cristie Posted: Thu, Apr 18 2013 12:54 PM

I am a long-time quilter who alternates between hand and machine quilting.  Over the past 10 years, I have mainly used polyester batting.  But recently, I bought cotton batting and and have enjoyed how 'smooth' it is without any bearding.  However, the one thing that I have noticed is that my hand quilting stitches are not nearly the size of those when I use polyester batting.  I look at my polyester-batt quilts and think how beautiful the stitches are.  Will I need to accept that my stitches will be larger now, or do I just need to keep working on it? 

Has anyone else noticed this as well?

Cristie - in rainy Indiana

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Kris replied on Thu, Apr 18 2013 8:47 PM

That's interesting Cristie.

I've never used anything but cotton but I'm guessing it's because the cotton is denser than the poly. I suppose smaller needles or more practice may help.

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Flo replied on Fri, Apr 19 2013 11:05 AM

Are you using a standard running stitch?  If so try putting your needle at 90 degrees, laying it back until you feel needle underneath.  then pushing needle back up and repeating until you have several stitches stacked on needle.  This is the method I learned from a hand quilting book I recently purchased and it made all the difference in my stitch size.

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I have done very little quilting with cotton.  I mostly use wool.  I do know that your stitches are affected by different fabrics so it stands to reason they could be affected by different battings and different brands of batting.  Since you are happy with your stitches using poly batting, I doubt the problem is your quilting technique.  I would purchase the smallest size of different brands and do some samples to see if any give you better stitches.  I have read from other hand quilters that Hobbs Tuscany cotton quilts like running a needle through butter.

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Cristie replied on Thu, Apr 25 2013 3:46 PM

Thank you for your suggestions.  I will have to try these ideas and see if they help.  It may just be that I need to practice more.  Thanks again.

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