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I am having small tufts of batting coming through the stitching on the back every so often.  I have changed the needle...used different battings...loosened the sandwich and am at a loss.  Any ideas?

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Well, cotton does beard so that might be the cause.  What fabric are you using for the back?  If the back is a dark color, and the "wrong" side of the back is much lighter in color, it could be that some of the backing threads are rolling over as you sew, making it look like bearding.  Moda fabric is notorious for this.  Jim

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First, are you careful to load your batting right side up?  Like Dawn Cavanaugh says in her video, remember "dimples up, pimples down."  Needle punched battings like the ones you're using should be loaded so that your machine's needle is entering the batting in the same direction that the needle punching was done at the batting factory.  Another consideration is thread.  I had a similar issue with a Minky backed quilt where I used monofilament to SID and had NO problems with batting poking through, but then when I switched to cotton Aurifil thread for decorative quilting I started to get those random batting tufts.  I finally decided that it was the textured surface of the cotton thread that was "grabbing" those batting fibers and pulling them through the needle holes at the back side of the thread.  I don't know why this happens with some quilts and not others, but my experience is that slippery threads like Glide trilobal polyester or monofilament are less prone to this problem.  One more thought -- what size needle are you using?  A smaller needle would leave a smaller hole for batting to poke out.  In fact, sometimes it just looks like the batting is poking out when really you're just seeing the batting through a large needle hole, and as soon as the quilt relaxes off the frame or is washed, those needle holes close up and the problem goes away. 

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