Monday, March 09, 2009

Bad Batting, Bad

I had a hard time choosing what kind of quilting pattern to do for Joy. My initial thought was to mimic all the plaid lines and do some kind of straight lines on the quilt. You can see the problems I ran into trying to mark lines. Pokey, Pokey, Pokey.

I quilted a partial line and realized that no, that just wasn't going to work - too many straight lines. Maybe a crosshatch would be better, but since I want to minimize crossing seams that wasn't going to help much. So then I tried my old standby of freehand fans. Quickly realized that wasn't doing anything since most of the fans would disappear amidst all the busy fabric.

In the purple border I decided to do a fun spirally pattern that I learned from Gwen Marston. I've never seen it in one of her books, but she used it on the adorable purple Christmas Tree quilt in Ladies' Circle Patchwork and Quilting sometime in the early '90s. There are spirals growing out of a center vine - I like how it looks. This is 3 strands of embroidery floss and a honking big needle:

Now one thing complicating matters is that I bought a quilting batt that I'd never used before. My LQS had run out of Quilter's Dream Request so I thought, could the Quilter's Dream Select be all that different? It's a 70% cotton blend rather than pure cotton but shouldn't that make it even easier to quilt through? HA!

For hand quilting, the Select is horrific. Never, ever will I do this again. It hurts to pull the needle through and I'm too stubborn to just stab stitch. I was having such a hard time pulling the needle through that I bought balloons to help grab onto the needle. I just cut one in half and stuck the top end on my thumb. Homemade finger cot. 

It's actually very hard to take a photo one-handed esp when using your non-dominant hand. 

Anyway, you can also use a whole balloon as a needle grabber. Putting it on my thumb just saves effort. I'm also wearing one of my beloved Handeze gloves, which work great at reducing wrist fatigue. You can get them at JoAnn's and Michaels over with the embroidery floss.

I'm going to tack the rest of the quilt, haven't decided exactly how yet. 

Pokey and Bibi were both making me nuts this morning while I was trying to quilt. It's hard to be a single catmom.

Switching over to geekiness. Did ya'all watch the 4th episode of Dollhouse? I thought it was a big improvement and the series has gotten much more interesting. Though of course there are those niggling questions. Why would you ever get a Doll to be a midwife? Unless there was some kind of unmentioned skullduggery, it seems rather pointless not to mention overly expensive. So I'd rather that episode a B. Maybe with a minus. Really looking forward to the next couple of episodes.

I really need to stop reading TV By the Numbers. It depresses the hell out of me. Dollhouse may make it through one season but is doubtful for pickup next year, Terminator: Sarah Connor is doing terribly in the ratings and is likely to be cancelled. And why is it that Chuck is even in danger of not getting renewed? That is such a fun show, why would the network cancel it?

So speaking of tv, I am going to give Castle a try tonight. It sounds completely unoriginal, but hey, I do love mysteries and Nathan Fillion (Firefly's Capt Mal Reynolds) is a hoot, so what the heck. Here's a review of the first episode by Televisionary.

26 comments:

Annemiek said...

Deciding what design to quilt in which part of a quilt is one of the most difficult choices in the whole process for me! I really like the Gwen design; i'll remember that one :)
As fingercots I always use latex gloves ( you can buy a box here very cheap) and cut off the fingers to use as a cot. Works for me!

MichelleB said...

I love the swirls. I also admire all of the hand quilting that you do.

I appreciate your TV reviews, too. It gives me more things to rent and watch. I wasn't going to start watching Castle either, but maybe I'll give it a try. I'm not sure what's going on with Fringe. There aren't any scheduled episodes upcoming.

Quiltdivajulie said...

The kitties may be pesty, but they are SO GORGEOUS ~ especially against your bright colors! Those eyes...

I admire your handwork ~ no matter which design you choose (nice to see those spirals developing). Too much keyboarding in my life for any large quantity of hand quilting (tho I love the look and feel).

Best wishes as you work your way through this!

Laurie Ann said...

I will be upset if they cancel the SCC. It is so so good!! And they cancelled Life on Mars. Grr. At least they know enough ahead of time that it is said they will be able to wrap up the story. Unlike Pushing Daisies. They don't give shows much of a chance anymore. And then dreadful stuff like Desperate Housewives gets good ratings. I don't understand. Drivel. Did you ever even try Battlestar Gallactica? I know you said it seemed too serious, but so is SCC and we seem to like all the same stuff. At least it has a good five seasons and ends on it's own terms. Later, alligator. I'll try Dollhouse and let you know. Love Fringe too.

Robin Sutton said...

Funny how the past comes back to us! I was just going thru all of my LCPQ when I came across the small folk quilt with the X-mas tree and that gorgeous border quilting. I have my colors picked out to start that cutie!

Julie said...

I like the swirly pattern in the purple stripe. I have never used embroidery floss for quilting. I might try it some day. Pokey just wants to help. I have been watching Dollhouse. I was wondering the same thing about the midwife too. Also, it kind of bugs me that she is frequently a prostitute for the agency she works for but doesn't know it. I like the twist of the evil Alpha-gone-Rogue. I've lost my place with Sarah Conner - too many people and they all look somewhat alike so I find that I wonder who the characters are all the time. Cameron continues to crack me up with her Terminator Logic.

Kyra said...

I want a cat! What cute photos!

mau said...

love the swirls. And I adore cats and dogs also especially cause I have one of each.

BUMBLE BEANS said...

Your cats are so photogenic! Why are animals so attracted to what we are working on... Let me know how you like castle... Wanna watch that myself...now that Burn notice is off til JUNE.... Seems like ages away...
my word verification is SODOGIE...

Clare said...

Do you still use soap for marking? I'm writing the words on Liquorice Lane and my white fabric marker has gone on strike!

I use rubber needle grabbers - a bit bigger than a 2 Euro coin. As I can't sew with anythng on my fingers, it does the job for me.

Tracey @ozcountryquiltingmum said...

Wow, those names are really looking stunning, i am going to have to lift my game and go outside the square on my staid old tried and trues!!
Love what you are doing on Joy, the balloons are a good idea, better than a lot of the expensive options I would imagine!

And don't start me on TV!! Everything i start watching here has usually already been cancelled in the US and it is hard to get excited when you know you wont get to keep watching it anyway!
Cheers, Tracey

quiltycat said...

Pokey looks perfect on your quilt that looks beautiful! How nice are our fur-sons...
nichi

Maddie Can Fly said...

You've probably answered this before and I've just missed it -- what kind of cat is Pokey to have such beautiful blue eyes? I thought only Siamese had the blue eyes and Pokey doesn't look Siamese.

KathieB said...

Love the swirls on the quilt with so many straight lines, but what a shame the batting makes it such a hard slog. There ought to be a law against that sort of thing.

Looking at the vibrant plaids is making me think about my creole plaids from the Caribbean--another big stash of stuff that ought to get used in SOMETHING.

K2cole said...

This is the next day and I watched Castle - maybe it will get better, the charaters at least showed promise. If they cancel the Sarah Connor show I will cry - I love the movies and the series but...Dollhouse will probably squeak thru because of the creator (he did Buffy and Angel) at least I hope so.

The scroll design looks perfect on the border - I use the finger thing you get at the office supply store - they have little nubbies and are designed to fit on your fingers plus they are a little thicker so they last. I also will put one on my index finger if it is reall tough to pull thru.

I love your quilt designs and the way you put the colors together.

Bebesboutique said...

I do like the swirls you are quilting, a good contrast to all the straight lines in the plaids. Thank you so much for the tip about balloon on the finger for gripping the needle. My pointer finger is just cramping so bad with tugging so much.

I have not watch the Dollhouse show yet maybe have to do that. I have a hard time getting into new shows because if I like it, it will be cancelled. I love Pushing Daisies.

MelissaS said...

Yes I saw Dollhouse. I'm still not sure about it.

Sharon said...

I thought this last Dollhouse was the best one yet. I think it's getting better, overall. But I do agree with you about some of her "roles" - they don't make a lot of sense. I'm more than willing to suspend disbelief, but come on!

I can't believe that all the shows that I like always get cancelled. It's like there's no intelligent TV left - only drivel. It gets discouraging - that's why I don't watch a lot of TV I guess. I really enjoy SCC - love Cameron's straight-face lines! She's got one that's an absolute hoot every week. And Chuck is a cute show - what's up with that? And yet ER has been on for eons, and ABC stuck with Lost for how many lousy seasons? This year is finally good, I must say. So, obviously I have very little in common with the powers-that-be in TV land.

I missed Castle last night, so will watch on-line. I'm not even gonna read that review until I see the show! I have high hopes that it will at least be cute.

Sorry to hear that your batting is such a pain. I don't have any advice for you, other than "pace yourself". You don't want to blow out your hands! I love your spiral quilting - good contrast with all the straight lines! What about quilting up the middle of each piece of plaid? Tedious, but it will show and doesn't have to cross seam lines if you scoot the needle thru the batting to the next piece. Just a thought. . .

Beth said...

I forgot to watch Castle! How could I?? I'm so glad for the Web!

I thought the last episode of Dollhouse was better, but I still can't decide if I am sold. I miss the humor!

Kim said...

How are your fingers holding up?
I love that quilt, I was hoping for an update on it tonight :0).
Love your site, thanks for being such an inspiration to me and my quilting.

Comfort Cove Designs said...

What a gorgeous kitty you have!!! I just love her blue eyes! My Miss Mew loves to do the same thing your kitty does. She just HAS to lie on every quilt. If my quilt is on the floor as I'm working on designs or putting the top together, she just has to get all schoochie on it and move all the pieces on me. But she is content. It is her way of saying she approves of the quilt!

Looks like a beautiful quilt. I like the swirls you are quilting on it.

Quiltingly Yours
Andre

Brit said...

well even though the quilting is horrific, the quilter is doing a fabtabulous job as usual. I love the spirals

belinda said...

Yep...I'm in the exact same boat on the one I'm 'trying' to quilt the concentric circles on...wow, I just pulled out a pkg. of batting from the sewing closet that I had probable had for 20 yrs....man, it is TERRIBLE...I'll be sooo glad when I get finished with it...I never knew different batting could
cause such quilting problems...I have bought some 'wonder under' and then I got some of that 'bambou'....I'll just
try till I find one to 'suit' me! I like the swirl design you have chosen!!

belinda said...

correction to my above comment....I did not mean to say
'wonder under'....I have NEVER quilted on anything that had wonder
under and don't Want to.....I meant to say 'Warm & Natural' which
I know alot of people use.....

Nellie's Needles said...

What works for me to more easily pull the needle through layers of fabric is a finger cut from a latex glove. I wear it on my thumb as you are wearing the balloon. I cannot even hem a fine garment without my "thumb condom" anymore.

KnitOneQuiltTooKristin said...

Sorry about the batting. I did think that was strange that the Quilter's Dream select would have a blend. When I checked it online, they do have a Dream Blend with the Cotton/poly, but they still have the Dream Cotton which is 100% cotton. I knew the ones that I have all say 100% cotton. That said, I prefer Request for handquilting and use the Select for machine quilting. When I do choose to hand quilt with the select it is a bit harder to needle.