Friday, November 27, 2009

Mola Tribute Quilt Closeups

Hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving - we sure did! Good food and family are always a winning combination.

Thought I'd upload some closeup shots of Mola Tribute. I am totally in awe of the elaborate stitching and fine workmanship of the Kuna Indian women who created these beautiful Mola panels.

I am especially impressed with the stitching on this one with all those little points that are turned and stitched by hand. Really intricate.

The Kuna women often use a mixture of traditional motifs and modern themes when creating the Mola panel designs.

The different colors seen through the cutouts in the black are actually small pieces of fabric sandwiched between the fabric layers and then exposed through cutouts made in the top layer.

For more Mola Tribute pictures, see the posts back to Nov. 6 on this blog or the Mola Tribute page at my Custom Memorial Quilts blog.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Mola Tribute – the BIG Reveal

Here it is! A beautiful quilt in a mediocre photo. Unfortunately the lighting outside wasn't cooperating with us the best and we got some heavy shadowing. But the huge crow that kept alighting in the limb above the line makes me nervous enough that I don't intend to take the quilt out again. I've had way too many experiences of re-washing the sheets after some sweet bird left blackberry poo splotches on them. Not fun and not something I intend to allow to happen to a customer's quilt! At least it wasn't raining or snowing so I guess I should be thankful for the sun.

And here's the promised shot of the label. Can you read it? The color you see on the Kuna Indian woman's arms and legs is beading. How artistically talented are these people anyway? The other photo was taken in Panama of Catherine, long time collector of Mola panels and now owner of this beautiful quilt.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Mola Tribute Quilt is DONE!

The name of the quilt is Mola Tribute. It is finished as of this evening. Tomorrow will picture day, weather permitting. I always like to hang the quilts on the line in natural light to get the best shots. It turned out REALLY good. The label tells a little about the Kuna Indians and how the molas came about. I'll post a picture of it, as well.

Until tomorrow . . .

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Quilting Complete! - 4 Days Later . . .

The quilting is complete! I used an invisible tacking method that is so invisible, I can't even see it. Can you?

And no, the white is not it. That's just the basting stitches outlining the mola panels. I did the invisible tacking every inch or so around the perimeter and inside each mola panel.

This backing is perfect as it has a 1/4" grid with the black lines that hide the black thread used to tack the backing to the top. How great is that?

To give you another chance, I took a close up. I know the stitches are there but I can't even find them in real life unless I run my fingernail across the little black stripes. And then it's still iffy. I sure would hate to have to remove any of these stitches.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Mola Quilt – Top Complete!

The mola quilt top is done! Actually it has been for a couple of days but I’m just now getting around to posting the pictures. I’m VERY pleased with the way it has turned out.

I’m disappointed in my pictures, however - they just don’t do justice to the color and vibrancy of this quilt. But I am not a photographer so have to get by as best I can. I know just enough about photo editing to get myself in trouble and make the pictures look really bad so I’m trying to refrain from trying to adjust them. Reminds me of when I thought I should save money by cutting my second grade son’s hair and had to call the barber at 7am and beg him to open early for me as I couldn’t send the poor child to school after what I’d done to his head. So now you know that I don’t cut hair well, either!

Anyway, here are some close-up shots of the upper right and lower left sections. And yes, the upper right was taken from the other side so is directionally opposite of the other pictures.

Now I’m attaching the backing using an invisible tacking method that is working out so well that I can’t even see where the stitches are right after I put them in! It’s made me realize the importance of good lighting and that I may need to up the strength of my glasses.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Mola Quilt - Progress and Perfectionism

The challenge when piecing the mola quilt was to get all the panels to fit together in an aesthetically pleasing manner despite the variation in panel size and shape. To ensure that none of the design was lost during the sewing process, each panel required custom trimming to the 1/8 inch. Therefore, none of the panels were of a standard size that would easily fit together as a whole.

To build this quilt, I concentrated first on the center panels that were of the most importance to the customer and worked out from there, adjusting as necessary as I went along. As there was no trimming area on the long, skinny rectangular panel, I used it as the starting point and pieced around it.

Initially I chose to err on the side of caution and allowed myself plenty of room for adjustment by opting for sashing that I knew was wider than necessary. I certainly didn’t want to get to other portions of the quilt and find out that I’d have to cut into part of a panel’s design to make it fit into place! After the upper right was pieced, however, it became clear that the first section needed to be tightened up. So I set about un-sewing and moved things up by about an inch.

No, I’m not kidding. I really did un-sew just to tighten things up that tiny bit. But compare the before and after and you’ll see that it was the right thing to do!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Microwave S'mores - Instant Gratification!

I admit it – I’m a chocoholic. In order to feed my addiction, I am ever on the alert for ways to increase my dietary intake of chocolate. I’m also not much of a cook – in my book, the less complex the dish, the better. So pairing my chocoholism with my innate desire to spend as little time in the kitchen as possible makes me a big fan of microwave S’mores.

Wanting to spread the joy, here's all you need to do to enjoy microwave S'mores at home. Just put a graham cracker on a plate, add some chocolate chips, balance a couple of marshmallows on top and nuke it for about 30 seconds. Immediately press a second graham cracker over the puffy marshmallows and enjoy! Great for a little sweet treat any time the mood strikes.

Warning! Preliminary studies suggest that microwave S’mores may be habit forming.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Serendipitous Moment

A very cool thing happened the other day. I’ve been on a quest to declutter and fulfill my 100 Things Challenge. I had three quilt books to let go and decided to give them to one of the owners of our delightful local quilt shop, Textile Traditions. I’ve known Sue a couple of decades and figured she’d either have a use for the books herself or would pass them long to the rightful next owner. Well, guess what? One of the books was the third in a series and Sue already has books 1, 2 and 4! How cool is that?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Creating a Quilt - Making Money at Home Doing What I Love

Got a custom quilt order this week from a local lady who began collecting mola blouse panels while in the Peace Corps in Panama a few decades ago. This project includes several firsts and I’m really looking forward to it. Normally I create custom memorial quilts from clothing that I carefully deconstruct and then sew into blocks that are joined to form the quilt top. The mola blouse panels are already blocks, being rectangular and of similar size. Another first is that, in addition to this being a memory quilt rather than a memorial quilt, I actually got to meet with the client to discuss the project and plan the layout. What a treat!

Mola blouse panels are intricately appliqued and embroidered by Kuna women. They are connected to a yoke and form the body of the blouse. The panels adorn both the front and back of the blouse and are usually similar or on the same theme. According to my research, many of the panels are from blouses actually worn by the Kuna women who deconstruct the garment and sell the panels when they tire of the blouse. These panels entrusted to me memory quilt creation are simply unbelievable in person! I applique and embroider and I can tell you, the detail and quality of the stitching is incredible.

I took a few pictures and am sharing them. Please keep in mind – I’m a quilter and a writer, not a photographer! But these pictures should give an idea of the detailed stitching in these beatiful panels.

For more info on the Kuna people and mola panels, check out the University of Missouri Museum of Anthropology site.

Here are before and in-progress pictures. The first is just the layout, photographed from the side, and the whole top row is missing - there are three more panels outside the picture on the left. The challenge was in getting the panels to fit together with an even outer edge while filling in the center.
This second photo is the same layout but with the sashing in progress. The panels will be thinly sashed giving the impression that they are swimming in a sea of black. I can't wait to see it when it's all done!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Another Cool Way to Save Some Cash

Dropped a box of books off yesterday at Budman's Book Mine, our local new and used bookstore. Credit received for these 10 destined-for-donation books (couldn’t sell any of them online - no bites when checking them on BookScouter – or trade any away through TitleTrader) came to almost $25.

One of the paperbacks I was letting go included the first two books in a three book series and I wanted to read the third. The credit received from the Book Mine is used toward books purchased there. The discount for used books is 60% so I got the third paperback in the series for $1.45 including tax. WOW! When I swap books on TitleTrader, the postage costs more than that. So lesson learned. Looks like the local option may be the best in many cases.

The Book Mine also allows credit to be used toward new books but at a lesser percentage discount so I will be keeping that in mind as they can order anything that isn’t in stock. How this will help me in my 100 Things Challenge I not sure but if I’m buying books anyway, at least I will save some money. Right? So remember to check your local used book dealer when letting go of good condition used books that are not finding a home elsewhere. You may be as pleasantly surprised as I was!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Favorite Day Come and Gone

Well, it’s happened again. That annual extra hour I so appreciate. I love setting the clocks back and getting an hour added to my day. I don’t much like it getting dark so early, however. I guess it’s a trade off. Anyway, I never waste my extra hour on sleeping. I use it instead as an opportunity to re-develop the habit of getting up earlier. I prefer the quiet of the morning before the rest of the household is awake and painlessly adding an hour to that special time – well, what could be better?