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Quilters feeling the pinch as the cost of batting soars | CBC News

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When nestling under a quilt on a cold winter night, you’re likely not thinking about the fabric inside.

Quilt batting is the soft layer of fibres that adds body and warmth to your quilt, typically placed in between the quilt top and the backing.

But in the past two years, the cost of batting has gone up by about 30 per cent.

That has left a local volunteer sewing group struggling to keep up their usual output.

The group, which works out of Central Sewing Machine on Argyll Road in south Edmonton, stitches hundreds of items for WIN House – a shelter for women and children fleeing domestic abuse.

The group makes pyjamas, pillowcases, robes, bags, and up to 300 quilts a year, all given to families looking to start over.

Volunteer Colette Martin said the quilts are becoming increasingly costly to make.

“One of our biggest expenses right now is the batting that we use,” Martin said.

“Each quilt uses approximately 2½ meters, and we’re just in the process of buying a new batch and the prices have gone up, very drastically.”

Martin said now they are paying up to $ 4.50 / meter, up from $ 2.45 in 2019.

“We have been watching our pennies,” she said. “We have tried raising funds wherever we could. And even that is an issue because there are no more casinos, there’s no more anything that we could get funding from.

“So it’s tight; it’s a shoestring, a very thin shoestring that we work on.”

Cochrane, Alta.-based Maple Leaf Quilting Company sells quilting kits nationally and wholesale batting.

Owner Andrew Bentley said the price increase comes down to shipping costs.

“We’re seeing increases at the manufacturing level and increases at the transport level,” Bentley said.

“Now they won’t even send it to Canada, they’ll only send it to the border because most of the batting that we import is American made.”

Bentley said costs have jumped around 30 to 40 per cent.

“It’s a hit on the small businesses and when people come in and look at you and say, ‘Your prices are so much higher now. Why do you guys charge so much for these things?’

“Well, I hope people can understand, you know, my paycheck didn’t go up, but the price of everything I’m buying did.”

Martin and her fellow sewers will keep making quilts as long as they can help WIN House, but are hoping for more opportunities for fundraising are made available as restrictions ease in Alberta.

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