Our small fiber arts group meet today at Georgia Bonesteel's home. She's pictured on the left, doing a bed turning of dozens of both antique quilts and her own originals, which she's preparing for sale in a few weeks. If you are interested, visit her website Our members are all established fiber artists, several of us travel teach. You may recognize Linda Cantrell to Georgia's right, and Judy Simmons in the far right corner.
Georgia arranged for our group to have a private tour through the Warm & Company manufacturing factory which is nearby. They are best known for their Warm & Natural Batting, Steam-a-Seam, and other battings with varying fiber content. Their newest product is a flame retardant batting for children's quilts that will be available soon at Jo-Anne's. We were delighted to know that this US manufacturing company uses cotton that is grown in the US, mostly from Georgia. YEAH!! Although I took dozens of photos, these couple of views should give you an idea of the process. The facilities were spotless. As we watched some of the batting being hand cut and individually packaged, we found it difficult to keep our hands from reaching out and grabbing some.
This is a carding machine. Cotton from huges bails is spread onto a cement floor and this machine runs back and forth over it, cleaning and breaking it into tiny fibers.
After carding, the cotton goes through more machinery and into a 'fluffer". (The purpose is to separate an puff the fiber with blowing air.) It's incredibly soft and thin.
Those 7 layers now pass through the needle punch machine. The quality of the photo is not great as it was taken looking through a plastic viewing window....but you get the idea. It comes out looking like the batting we are all so familiar with. It's then feed onto huge tubes and stored until it's cut again to size and put onto smaller rolls, bolts, or shrink wrap packages.
Wouldn't you love to have access to just one of these boxes? I was so surprised to learn they employee only about 27 people....heck, they must work day and night to keep us quilters so well supplied!