Alpaca- A member of the camelidae (camels and llamas) family this fur bearing animal who is native to the mountainous regions of South America are now being raised commercially in the US and Australia. Its silky fleece is as soft as cashmere and comes in 22 natural colors. Alpaca fleece contains no lanolin and requires much less scouring than wool.
Bast Fiber - Strong, soft, woody fibers, which are obtained from the inner bark in the stems of such plants as flax, jute, hemp, and ramie.
Batting (or Wadding) - A soft assembly of loose non woven fibers, usually carded , sold in sheets used for warm interlinings, padding, quilts and comforter stuffing.
Bearding- Refers to the migration of batting fibers through the quilt front or back.
Binder- An adhesive applied with a solvent or a plastic melted to bond fibers together in a web, used in chemical and thermal bonding.
Blends-A combination of fibers blended together, can be a blend of natural and manmade fibers or two or more natural fibers.
Bleaching-A process used to remove the natural pigment from a fiber. The chemicals used also help disintegrate cotton seed and boll husk waste that is left behind after the fiber has been processed through ginning, carding and/or scouring. The process uses chemicals such as sodium hydroxide or hydrogen peroxide.
Bonding/Bonded- The binding together of fibers in a single layer of material called a web. A process that uses sprayed on binders and/or resins and adhesives or uses heat (thermal bonding) or needle punching, to treat/bond batting fibers to prevent bearding (migrating), and allows the batting to remain in one smooth sheet this helps prevents tearing and stretching as it is unrolled and spread between the top and back of a quilt.
Bonding Methods-Chemical (adhesive, resin, latex), needle punch, spun laced/hydro entangling, and thermal bond.
Breathability - The movement of moisture from one side of the
fiber to the other, caused by capillary or wicking action.
Bunching/Shifting- When batting fibers bunch up and or shift inside the quilted lines of stitching, will appear as clumps of fibers in the corners of a quilted area.
Card-A machine used to remove impurities, separate and align fibers (Flat Card- The type of card used for cotton fibers. It is so called for the flat wire brushes called flats that are assembled on an endless chain that partially surrounds the main cylinder. The fiber is worked between the flats and a cylinder, and then transferred to a doffer roll, and finally peeled off as a web.)
Carding/ Carded-The brushing of fibers between two cards to remove dirt and debris still remaining in the fiber. The process untangles them and arranges the fibers into a very thin layer. This process can also be called garneting.
Cellulose- A carbohydrate which is the chief component of the cell walls of plants,
it is found in wood and in cotton, linen, jute, hemp, and all of the bast, leaf, and stem fibers.
Color-Batting generally comes in natural-off white (un-bleached), white (bleached) and black. There is a new “green/eco-friendly” batting that is made from recycled plastic bottles and it is green in color as well. Be aware that this green may shadow through and affect the color of your quilt. Some of the soy batts and soy blends may be several shades darker than a natural/un-bleached cotton. Check for shadowing of that color through your light colored tops before purchasing.
Combing - The combing process is an additional step beyond carding. In this
process the fibers are arranged in a highly parallel form, and additional short fibers
are removed, producing excellent strength, fineness, and uniformity.
Continuous Filament - A long continuous, unbroken strand of fiber extruded
from a spinneret in the form of a monofilament. Most manufactured fibers such as
nylon, polyester, rayon, and acetate are made in continuous filament form.
Cotton - A unicellular, natural fiber that grows in the seed pod of the cotton plant
Fibers are typically 1/2 inch to 2 inches long. The longest staple fibers, longer than
1 1/2 inch, including the Pima and Egyptian varieties, produce the highest quality
Denier- A system of measuring the weight of a continuous filament fiber. In the
U S, this measurement is used to number all manufactured fibers and silk. The lower the number, the finer the fiber; the higher the number, the heavier the fiber.
Drape- The hang or stiffness a finished quilt or quilted clothing will have which is directly affected by the loft of the batting and the density of the quilting.
Fiber Content- is the type of natural or man-made material that makes up the batting. The fiber content gives you a key to how comfortable the quilt will be in different climates and what kind of care it requires.
Finish-The method used to treat the fibers in a batting. This can be needle punched, bonded (thermally or with resin) or can have a layers of scrim added.
Flax - The plant from which cellulosic linen fiber is obtained, it is one of the oldest textile fibers. These fibers are stronger and more lustrous than cotton and are very cool and absorbent.
Fleece - The wool shorn from any sheep, or from any animal in the wool category.
Garnetting-Is a process whereby individual cotton fibers of various lengths are laid into a thin web by combing. The garnett machine creates these webs and then lays one web on top of another forming a very specific size and weight cotton batt.
Glazing Finish-Typically the batting is passed through a mechanical process that applies resin to the surface of the web. The surface is “sealed” or “glazed”. This helps minimize the potential for bearding, bunching and shifting and results in good stability. Not to be confused with Stearn and Foster’s (Mountain Mist) Glazene® finish which is a water soluble starch based product that is applied to the surface of their cotton batting and washes away the first time it is laundered.
High Loft - A term given to a fiber structure that contains more air than fiber. It is
a lofty, low-density material.
Loft- The weight, thickness and resilience of batting.
Lyocell Fiber - A manufactured fiber composed of wood pulp cellulose.
Lyocell has a similar hand and drape as rayon, but is stronger, more durable, and
in many cases machine washable. It has a subtle luster. Lyocell possesses low shrinkage characteristics, as well as good absorbency. It is marketed in the U.S. as tencel
Migration/ Bearding- The movement of batting fibers which go from where they are sandwiched in the center through the quilt top or back to the outside surface of the finished quilt.
Mercerization - A process of treating a cotton yarn or fabric, in which the fabric
or yarn is immersed in a caustic soda solution (alkali) and later neutralized in acid. The
process causes a permanent swelling of the fiber, resulting in an increased luster
on the surface of the fabric, an increased affinity for dyes, as well as increased strength.
Microfibers/Microdeniers - The name given to ultra-fine manufactured fibers
and the name given to the technology of developing these fibers. Fibers made
using microfiber technology, produce fibers which weigh less than 1.0 denier. They have a superior hand, a gentle drape, and incredible softness. Comparatively, microfibers are two times finer than silk, three times finer than cotton, eight times finer than wool, and one hundred times finer than a human hair. Currently, there are several types of microfibers being produced. These include acrylic, nylon and polyester microfibers.
Needle Loom- A machine for bonding a nonwoven web by mechanically orienting
fibers through a web. The process is called needling, or needle punching. Barbed needles set into a board punch the fiber into the batt and withdraw, leaving the fibers entangled. The needles are spaced in a nonaligned arrangement. By varying the strokes per minute, the degree of penetration of the needles and the weight of the batting, a wide range of densities can be made. For additional strength, the fiber web can be needled to a bonded fabric. Bonding agents may also be used.
Needle punched- The process of punching hundreds of tiny barbed needles through the fibers which causes the fibers to interlock similar to needle felting. Needle punched wool or poly tends to migrate. But will not bunch or shift like plain carded products. Needle punched battings can also be thermal or resin bonded.
Needling-The act of passing a threaded needle through the top, batting, and back of a quilt during the quilting process.
Neps- Tiny wads or knots of entangled fibers which can make it difficult to needle.
Nonwoven Fabric - An assembly of fibers held together by mechanical interlocking in a random web or mat, by fusing the fibers or by bonding with a cementing medium such as starch, casein or glue, or synthetic resins. Initially, the fibers may be oriented in one direction or may be deposited in a random manner. This web or sheet of fibers is bonded together by one of the methods described above or needle punching.
‘Open’ Wool batting- Open wool refers to the cleaned, combed and carded wool that has not been bonded or needle punched and tends to beard (migrate) excessively.
Olefin (polyolefin/polypropylene) - A manufactured fiber characterized
by its light weight, high strength, and abrasion resistance. Olefin is also good at
transporting moisture, creating a wicking action. Most scrim is made of polypropylene.
Piecing/Splicing Batting- Refers to stitching two smaller pieces of the same batting together to make one larger piece to fit the size of a quilt. To achieve the best result this is best done by hand with a herringbone stitch and a curved seam.
PLA Polylactic Acid-A plastic substitute made from fermented corn.
Plain Batting-Plain or garnetted batting is fibers that have been processed through a garnett or carding equipment and layered with no other processes. It is not bonded together in any manner. It is very easy to quilt (needle), but has the potential for migration, bunching and shifting between the quilted lines. Requires quilting no more than ½” apart to prevent bunching.
Polyester - A manufactured fiber introduced in the early 1950s, it is second only to cotton in worldwide use. Polyester has high strength, excellent resiliency, and is resistant to shrinking and stretching. Polyester drys quickly and is used alone and in blends. Can
Powder Bonded- A carded web of batting is treated with a thermoplastic powder that has a melting point less than that of the fiber in the web. The powder is heated to its melting point through-air and infrared heating to affect bonding.
Pre-Soak- A treatment to pre-shrink a batting. This is usually done by filling a washing machine w/ hot water, submerging the unrolled batting and allowing it to soak (no agitation) and then spinning the water away. That is followed by rolling it in a towel, laying it flat, and allowing it to air dry or to tumble in the dryer. Follow manufactures’ instructions on the package, this is done to prevent any shrinkage of the finished quilt during subsequent washing and dryings. It will result in less of the puckered/antique look provided the fabrics in the top and back of the quilt were also pre washed.
Pulp- The end product of cooking wood chips, cotton, or some source of cellulose with water and appropriate chemicals. Used in the manufacture of cellulosic fibers.
Quilting - A fabric construction in which a layer of batting is placed
between two layers of fabric, and then held in place by stitching through all three layers in a
regular, consistent, all-over pattern.
Relax the batting-Refers to removing the batting from the packaging spreading it out so the distortion from being tightly packed can “relax”. Some quilters tumble their battings in a dryer on a no heat setting.
Resiliency- refers to the batting’s ability to retain its loft; to spring back to its original shape after being twisted, crushed, wrinkled, distorted, creased or folded.
Resin- A general term for solid or semi-solid natural organic substances, usually of vegetable origin which are soluble in alcohol or ether but not in water; or any of a large number of manufactured products made by polymerization or other chemical processes and having the properties of natural resins. These resins are applied to the fibers to give durability, crush resistance, stability, and hand. This resin coating can be sprayed to one or both sides of carded/garneted fibers. It is then dried and/or cured to form a bonded batting, generally referred to as bonding or bonded. This is used on a wide variety of fibers including polyester, cotton, wool, etc. This bonded batting resists bearding better than any other type of batting. There are many different types of fiber and resin combinations to give the desired “look” and “hand”. Combining processes, fibers and resins makes the resin bonded process the most versatile.
Shrinkage-Widthwise and lengthwise contraction of the fibers when exposed to wetting and drying or exposure to elevated temperatures. Generally this will be referred to in percentages on the labels of batting packages.
Scrim- A very thin, sheer layer of polypropylene that is needlepunched to one or both sides of a batting that helps to hold the fibers together and make it more stable. Generally makes it more difficult to hand needle.
Scouring-The use of high temperatures and caustic agents to remove seed wastes, oils. lanolin and debris to prepare fibers for bleaching or dying.
Shadowing-When the color of a batting is visible through the fabrics in the top, this may make whites/light colored fabrics appear darker or dingy. If you have white fabric in your top use a white (bleached) batting.
Siliconized- Treating fibers with silicon to make them softer, slicker and easier to needle.
Silk Fiber-A fine strong continuous filament produced by the larva of a silkworm when constructing its cocoons. Silk is noted for its strength, resiliency, and elasticity. The major sources of silk are Japan and China.
Size- Batting is available pre-packaged, cut in craft, crib or standardized bed sizes or on rolls in several different widths, by the yard.
Spinneret - A metal nozzle-type device with very fine holes used in the spinning
process of manufactured non woven fibers. The spinning solution is forced or extruded through the small holes to form continuous filament fibers. The holes in the spinneret can vary in diameter to produce fibers of various denier.
Splitting a batting-This refers to the peeling apart the layers of a batting into two equal sized batting pieces. The problem with doing this is if the batting is bonded or resin treated once it is “split” only one side is treated and the other size can now beard and migrate. This was a common practice before we had the large selection of lofts available today to achieve the loft the quilter preferred.
Standard pre-packaged sizes: Include- Craft 34X45, Crib 45 X 60, Throw 60 x 60, Twin 72 x 90, Full 81 x 96, Queen 90 x 108, Super Queen 121 x 93, and King 120 x120.
Stitch width/Quilting Distance- The recommended maximum amount of space in inches between quilted lines batting manufacturer recommend you do not exceed when quilting.
Tencel- A natural, manmade fiber. It is the trade name for the generic fiber Lyocell. Tencel is made from cellulose wood pulp, which is harvested from farmed eucalyptus trees grown on land unsuitable for food crops or grazing. This fiber represents milestones in the development of environmentally sustainable textiles. Used in blends it imparts new softness and drape. You will start to see tencel in sheets, exercise wear (as it wicks moisture away), and winter wear insulation, as well as batting. It is used extensively in conveyor belts, specialty papers, medical dressings and diaper wipes.
Thermal Bonding-Typically the batting fiber has a binder mixed/blended in it that melts at a lower temperature than polyester fiber. The blended web then is passed through an oven where the low temp melt binder will flow and bond to the surrounding polyester fibers. Problems with this type of bonding are the surface fibers are not secured and allow for migration. They cannot be dry cleaned and break down with regular washing faster than resin bonded products.
Wicking - The ability of a fiber or a fabric to disperse moisture and allow it to
pass through to the surface of the fabric, so that evaporation can take place.
Wool - Usually associated with fiber or fabric made from the fleece of sheep or
lamb. However, the term "wool" can also apply to all animal hair fibers, including
the hair of the Cashmere or Angora goat or the specialty hair fibers of the camel,
alpaca, llama, or vicuna.