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  1. #1
    kc7fys's Avatar
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    Over-Overstuffing down?

    I recently made an underquilt--my first. It's nearly 6 feet long, and a bit narrow--only about 35". Now I'm dealing with suspension issues and enjoying tweaking this and that.
    I stuffed it with salvaged down from a garage sale sleeping bag. I'm quite pleased with my first effort--but have questions about down, loft, stuffing, etc.
    My baffled "tubes" are about 6" wide each, and I stuffed them from the end. I'm worried that I over-stuffed them, though. What are the guidelines for stuffing with down for maximizing its loft and insulative qualities? It has a slightly "tight" feel--like an inflated thermarest. Seems like that'd be my down compressing under it's own stuffed-ness.
    Just wondering what the guidelines are for down. FAQ material, I know.
    Jonathan in St. Paul
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  2. #2
    Senior Member Lonely Raven's Avatar
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    Any idea what fill power of down came out of that old sleeping bag?

    You'd probably do better with washing the down with down detergent (to get it's loft back) and using less down. Make TWO quilts!!

  3. #3
    kc7fys's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lonely Raven View Post
    Any idea what fill power of down came out of that old sleeping bag?

    You'd probably do better with washing the down with down detergent (to get it's loft back) and using less down. Make TWO quilts!!
    That's an interesting idea. I have no idea about the down. It was my first encounter with--and a messy one at that--down. It's fluffy and good--but I don't know. Down detergent is a great idea.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Lonely Raven's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by kc7fys View Post
    That's an interesting idea. I have no idea about the down. It was my first encounter with--and a messy one at that--down. It's fluffy and good--but I don't know. Down detergent is a great idea.
    I only say to try the down detergent for two reasons:

    #1 - You have no idea of the history of that sleeping bag. If you found it at a garage sale, it probably wasn't used much...but you never know it could have 100 nights on it! And I doubt they took good care of it...it's probably been rolled up and stuffed in a closet for a while...

    #2 - You'll get a better idea of the loft if the down is at its best...like just after a good washing and drying. If you don't know it's fill power, this would be a good place to start.

    I'm no quilt expert, far from it since I've not made my first yet, but I've been reading everything I can on it...and your description sounds like you're way overstuffed. And while I'm sure it will keep you warm, I'm betting it will work better and last longer without the over-overstuff.

    Remember, it's not the down that keeps you warm, it's the pockets of air between the down that keeps you warm. And your description and photo make it look like there aren't any pockets of of air in there to do that insulating!

    I know it's a huge pain, but back up, and try half the amount you have now and work up?

    Or just send it to me and I'll take one for the team (and make two quilts out of it!)

  5. #5
    Ramblinrev's Avatar
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    When you wash down you MUST have it enclosed in something. If you have way over stuffed it you won't get it completely clean. But you will need to put it into a down proof bag sized so that the down can slosh and move around. Washing it is a good idea. But it might have been easier if you washed it before you harvested it from the sleeping bag. Just something to keep in mind for next time.
    I may be slow... But I sure am gimpy.

    "Bless you child, when you set out to thread a needle don't hold the thread still and fetch the needle up to it; hold the needle still and poke the thread at it; that's the way a woman most always does, but a man always does t'other way."
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  6. #6
    Senior Member Lonely Raven's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ramblinrev View Post
    When you wash down you MUST have it enclosed in something. If you have way over stuffed it you won't get it completely clean. But you will need to put it into a down proof bag sized so that the down can slosh and move around. Washing it is a good idea. But it might have been easier if you washed it before you harvested it from the sleeping bag. Just something to keep in mind for next time.
    Rev, is a pillow case down proof enough? I'm sure it depends on the material, but I'm wondering if a typical cotton pillow case sewn shut would make a good down cleaning tool.

    Just a thought.

    Otherwise I'd make a big calendared nylon pillow and basically do the same thing.

  7. #7
    kc7fys's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lonely Raven View Post
    Rev, is a pillow case down proof enough? I'm sure it depends on the material, but I'm wondering if a typical cotton pillow case sewn shut would make a good down cleaning tool.

    Just a thought.

    Otherwise I'd make a big calendared nylon pillow and basically do the same thing.
    My UQ, by the way, is 1.1 sylnylon coated on the back (I know, not ideal), and the front is some kind of non-calendared nylon I found at Value Thrift for a buck. Yes, next time I buy a sleeping bag, I'll wash it first. I will also do the dirty work in my tent! Using the tent with a vacuum cleaner parked just outside the door REALLY improved my experience. Still messy, but not horrible.

  8. #8
    Senior Member Lonely Raven's Avatar
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    You have more photos? I'd like to see how you tapered the UQ.

    I have two tarps to make before the months end, then I'm going to start making my quilts. You're looks quite fine, and I bet it was a steal of a deal considering where you got all your parts!

  9. #9
    kc7fys's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lonely Raven View Post
    You have more photos? I'd like to see how you tapered the UQ.

    I have two tarps to make before the months end, then I'm going to start making my quilts. You're looks quite fine, and I bet it was a steal of a deal considering where you got all your parts!
    Actually, yes. I took one dart out of the middle, 18" deep and 4" at the base. Not enough, really. I knew I'd have a learning experience. My baffles were far too wide, too. I was itching to get started, and get the hang of sewing silnylon. I accomplished my goals for the most part. Photos here> http://www.flickr.com/photos/jonatha...7625217133936/
    I didn't take many of this project, compared to other stuff. A lot of it was being slightly embarrassed to be a newb. But hey, we all start out somewhere.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by kc7fys View Post
    A lot of it was being slightly embarrassed to be a newb. But hey, we all start out somewhere.
    Two schools of thought about that. One is to wait until you get better and then show it off. The other is the one I will usually follow. If you are trying to learn, then show off your mistakes because any body who comments negatively about them is not worth listening to. The folks worth listening to are the ones who will give true constructive criticism. In other words... If you are going to make a mistake... make it big and noticeable because that way it can be addressed and you will get it better the next time.
    I may be slow... But I sure am gimpy.

    "Bless you child, when you set out to thread a needle don't hold the thread still and fetch the needle up to it; hold the needle still and poke the thread at it; that's the way a woman most always does, but a man always does t'other way."
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