It’s been a frustrating few weeks in quiltland for me. I was so excited to start on the quilting for my latest boy’s charity quilt. But as soon as I started quilting, the quilt started to beard.
What is bearding? It’s when the fibers of a quilt’s batting migrate through the fabric and are visible on the top and back of your quilt.
The causes of bearding that I’ve always heard are things that I thought I had avoided.
Polyester batting: The stiffer fibers of polyester are more likely to make their way through the fabric fibers. But I had purchased cotton batting for this quilt, and cotton is thought to rarely cause bearding.
Low-quality fabrics: Fabrics with a looser weave are more susceptible to bearding because the batting can easily make its way to the top of the quilt. That’s part of why I always purchase my fabrics at quilt stores, where high-quality 100% cotton fabric is available.
Too-thick needles: Another possible cause of bearding is a sewing machine needle that is too thick and creates holes that the batting fibers can travel through. This one really got to me because I actually bought quilting needles for this quilt. I usually just use a universal needle to quilt, but I had recently read that a quilting needle is sharper and makes easier work of the quilting.
So what the heck?
I then came upon this article at Quilters Dream. In it, the writer states that the real cause of bearding is static. Static is something I have a lot of.
The writer of the article says that even high-quality cotton batting can beard if there’s enough static. And the dyeing process darker fabrics go through make them more likely to promote static. Plus it’s been a wild winter and the heat has been running non-stop in the house. So basically, the perfect storm for bearding.
Many sources will tell you there’s no way to stop bearding; you just need to let it run its course and eventually it will stop. But this writer contends you just need to stop the static. She suggests spraying the quilt with Static Guard, but I’d hate to do that to a quilt I’m giving away to charity. Her other solution is to place anti-static dryer sheets in a spray bottle with water and spray the quilt, then let it dry.
I’m going to give it a try, and I really hope it will work. I love this quilt and hope that the bearding abates enough that it can find a new home. More shots of the finished quilt in my next post.