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  1. #1

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    Lightbulb SPANDEX: The Perfect Fit for Underquilts

    It saddens me that in 2018 i'm still seeing people regularly post about poorly fitting underquilts, cold spots, and "dialing it in" (Examples: 1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9). This should not be happening. Having been a victim of these issues myself, i'm on a mission to make this kind of nonsense go away forever. We're going to fix this. Here. Now. And we're going to do it with...

    SPANDEX!

    IMG_7327b.jpg

    Over the last several months, i've been doing a lot of research and prototyping of underquilts using stretch fabrics. I put together the results and wrote a big article for you. It details how to choose fabrics, how to build an underquilt with stretch fabrics, and the benefits of doing so. It contains example directions on how to make a DIY Costco down throw spandex quilt. I also present a number of theoretical avenues for further research and tinkering.

    Read the exhaustive how-to article at:
    http://leiavoia.net/spandex


    Let's quickly outline the key points:
    • Adding stretch fabric to the ends of a quilt body makes it hug the hammock.
    • Total elimination of cold spots.
    • Eliminates the need for a draft collar, "triangle thingies", secondary suspensions, cinch cords, and other crutches.
    • Basic Wooki-style gathered-end design is easy to build, but more advanced designs available, depending on your needs.
    • "Stretch Mesh" fabric is $6-12 per yard. (You only need one yard.)
    • Tons of fabric options, colors, prints, and yes... CAMO!
    • No advanced sewing skills required.
    • Quilt hangs up with a drawstring through the gathered end using a simple slipknot.
    • You can also hang it with a shoelace-style tie (as pictured). This completely seals it and reduces a quilt's tendency to rotate.
    • Biggest downside is a weight penalty of ~2oz over a conventional side-channel shockcord suspension. This can be reduced or eliminated with advanced designs, but will never compete with the clew suspension for overall weight.
    • Works with both long and short quilts.
    • Works with Wooki-style biased lay designs.
    • You can retrofit existing quilts with spandex. (Consider this if you have a badly behaved quilt and want to ramp it up to it's full potential).
    • You can convert costco blankets, snugpak blankets, comforters, and sleeping bags with spandex using the same technique.


    Of course, this is not a new idea. The old Speer SnugFit used stretch fabrics years ago. But for reasons that are beyond me, neither the commercial market nor hammock hobbyists have continued with this concept. I'm guessing this is because of either cost or lack of knowledge. But i have good news: stretch fabrics are cheap and easy to sew! I don't know why more people are not already doing this.

    Last year, i posted an article on how to make a clew suspension for underquilts. I still recommend that suspension type for backpackers. However, i believe its fiddly nature and bizarre looks have put off a lot of people from even trying it. Hopefully spandex underquilts will be more approachable for DIY folks. And maybe, dare i say, commercial vendors? That would be nice.

    I hope folks benefit from this info. If anyone would like to share their own personal results with spandex underquilts, i would very much like to see what you come up with. If this thread produces any additional innovations, i will update the original article. (I cannot update this post in the future). I'm not going to post the entire article's content here, but i leave you with this delightfully annoying teaser-trailer instead.

    Happy hammocking!



    Pictures of my first prototype Costco quilt:
    IMG_7327b.jpg IMG_7259.jpg IMG_7303.jpg IMG_7334.jpg IMG_7356.jpg IMG_7297.jpg IMG_7289.jpg IMG_7265.jpg

    infographic.jpg
    Last edited by leiavoia; 03-25-2018 at 01:20.

  2. #2
    HandyRandy's Avatar
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    This looks like an epic post! Too late for me to check it out now, but I wanna throw in one question before I head out. How does this accomplish venting if the temps go up? I have wondered this about the Wooki and similar quilts before too.

  3. #3

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    Quote Originally Posted by HandyRandy View Post
    How does this accomplish venting if the temps go up? I have wondered this about the Wooki and similar quilts before too.
    Just loosen the attachment cord.

    That said, i have never in my life needed to vent an underquilt. That includes taking my 20* quilt out in the Summer.

  4. #4
    HandyRandy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by leiavoia View Post
    Just loosen the attachment cord.

    That said, i have never in my life needed to vent an underquilt. That includes taking my 20* quilt out in the Summer.
    I havenít had a chance to use an UQ in the summer yet. I have seen people post about venting, so I had to ask. But if thatís true, then this idea makes a lot of sense. It sounds like the sewn closed footbox equivalent of UQís in a way.

  5. #5
    hutzelbein's Avatar
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    I don't want to be a party pooper, but similar to the clew suspension this approach will only work really well if the underquilt is either wide enough (I'd say 57" at least, but 60" is better), or if the spandex is attached so that the underquilt / insulated part ends up suspended diagonally over the needed width. Also, you don't need the carrier fabric to be elastic. The Wooki has shown that it is completely sufficient to have only a short elastic element - in this case a short rubber band on the foot end. This saves quite a bit of weight.

    Just for the record, I have experimented with the clew suspension, but I could never get it to work half as well as the Wooki-design. If I would build an underquilt from scratch, I would definitely copy the Wooki.

  6. #6
    jellyfish's Avatar
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    Iím looking forward to trying this design.
    I sew things on youtube.
    I donít sew on commission, so please donít ask. Thanks.

  7. #7
    Member TreeRing's Avatar
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    Thanks for this! I just finished Kamsnapping grosgrain on my first CDT using your design, or I would try it today. It's going to be awhile before I'm going to want to rip any seams...

    p.s. seems like the detailed link might be dead.

    Sent from my SCH-R970 using Tapatalk

  8. #8
    Otter1's Avatar
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    I like it, and thank you for sharing! Very nice, detailed, writeup that surely took a long time to prepare.

    THANK YOU!

  9. #9
    Otter1's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hutzelbein View Post
    I don't want to be a party pooper, but similar to the clew suspension this approach will only work really well if the underquilt is either wide enough (I'd say 57" at least, but 60" is better), or if the spandex is attached so that the underquilt / insulated part ends up suspended diagonally over the needed width.

    Just for the record, I have experimented with the clew suspension, but I could never get it to work half as well as the Wooki-design.
    Questions:

    1) Why is diagonal required?

    2) Why is the width so critical?

    4) What went wrong in your experiments?

    Thank you

  10. #10
    heyduff's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by HandyRandy View Post
    This looks like an epic post! Too late for me to check it out now, but I wanna throw in one question before I head out. How does this accomplish venting if the temps go up? I have wondered this about the Wooki and similar quilts before too.
    For venting? I thought of that...if the fabric is stretchy, it could be push to one side or or the other out is the way and brought back when wanted while still in the hammock. That was my thought...


    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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