WIP Wednesday: Skeletal

I was very disappointed that my FAL Q1 list finishes were so few. So at the start of this quarter, I just jumped in. I found that the evenings, after work and dinner, are a great time for relaxing with some hand work and our favorite Netflix series. I've been happily stitching away, finding this perfect niche to get some sewing done on these super busy days.

Here's what I've been working on!
When I first started this project, I intended to make a mola panel for the center of my e.p.p. stars. I still might use the e.p.p. stars and it's definitely still going to be a mola applique, but I'm not sure about the quilt, considering making a medallion. I also had to take out all of the previous basting stitches and start over, proves I had no idea what I was doing before!

So far so good! I've got the arms, legs, and wings to finish appliqueing before I cut into it. I'm really excited for the next steps! So far, there are 4-5 layers of fabric in most places.

I am a wee bit concerned about the tiny tiny hands, that will be a challenge!

Cheers to progress!
Linking up with Lee at Freshly Pieced!

What awesomeness are you working on?


2014 FAL Q2 List

Last quarter I ambitiously put 20 items on my list, anxious to finish things up!
And sadly I only finished 4 items on my list.
But I realized a lot of important things in the first three months of this year.
I really need to set and follow a regular schedule. I think that's my biggest challenge. Since I work for myself and am able to set most my own hours, it's getting crazy unorganized and too busy!
Most the time I feel overwhelmed with ideas and projects.
Like right this moment while I five minutes to write this post before I must go run errands.

I'm obviously feeling slightly less ambitious, but instead of giving up, I'm trying to stay focused on those projects which I've made progress on.

Roll Overs from last quarter:

1. Studio Sign - some progress- still needs a little bit more quilting and the binding

2. 'Made You Look' sign - no progress - needs background quilting and binding

3. Red/Black HST quilt top - some progress- borders added, needs more plus quilting

4. Night Garden - some progress- needs more quilting and binding

5. Flying Fish Mola - some progress - half way through top layer, much more to go

6. Tart HST squares - no progress- need to put it together!
7. Plaid Geese- no progress- need to put this one together too!!!
8. Angel Skeleton Mola- some progress!- (see 1st photo), almost finished with top appliques

New Projects:

9. My new bag - I started this, haphazardly, only vaguely having an idea about what it should look like. No need to sit around and not finish it! I need a new tote bag for school work!

Okay, I'm linking up and off to run errands!!
I should have left 30 mins ago!


WIP Wednesday: I need 8 hands!

My day dreaming has been inspired by an array of god and goddess imagery lately, statues and bright color swirled images of six armed beauties and fearless beast riders. Which is probably why the idea of having multiple arms has never sounded so appealing as right now!

I have an enormous list of To-Do's as Spring Break has ended and my head cold has dissipated, so of course the temperatures soar into a threatening heatwave! I'll be tackling a weekend long yard sale and massive removal of all clutter in storage and elsewhere. Spring cleaning is for real this year!

In my down time between major cleaning sprees, I've been tending to my newest plants, stitching by hand and compiling my 2014 FAL Quarter 2 list.
Enjoy these visuals and I'll be back tomorrow with a list to share.

Linking up with Freshly Pieced


Tutorial: Mola Style Reverse Applique

Hello Everyone!
It's my turn to share a tutorial during the awesome tutorial week of the 2014 Q1 Finish Along!

Mola Style Reverse Applique Technique
What is a 'Mola' you ask?

A "Mola" panel (usually in pairs, front and back) makes up part of the traditional dress of the Kuna women of San Blas Panama and means 'shirt' or 'clothing' in their native language. They are hand made using a reverse applique method, which I'll explain in detail below.

It also happens to be the name of this amazing fish, a 'Mola Mola' or 'Sunfish' which has nothing to do with this tutorial other than to help you visually differentiate between the two.

Ocean sunfish (Mola mola) photo courtesy of Daniel Botelho. / National Geographic (click to read)

And these are my fabulous pillows made from traditional Mola panels (normally the front and back of a blouse) that my mother found while thrifting, which sparked my idea to write up a tutorial!

The Kuna women are extremely skilled and have developed a beautiful method of layering several pieces of richly colored fabrics and cutting away a design to stitch down often without the aid of templates or drawings. They use very thin needles, turning under the edges slowly and make almost invisible tiny stitches tacking down the outlines and revealing new colors below. Check it out!

Now, don't be intimidated! It is really easy! I promise!
I've drawn up a simple little project that is loaded with possibilities for making it your own, so I hope you'll join me and make a uniquely you "mola" style reverse applique!

Materials Needed
* (3) 9 in squares in different solid colors / cotton fabric
* 3 circles to trace in varying sizes (I used 8in/6in/4in)
* thin sewing needles, I use straw needles size 10
* thread to coordinate to your fabric color choices
* fabric marking pencil/chalk
* basting thread (I use inexpensive white thread)


Step 1
Decide in which order to layer your fabric squares, (traditional molas were usually made with black or red at the top layer) I'm using black as the top, with the green as the base and blue in between.
Once you've determined which square will be the top, trace your circles, one inside the other leaving a generous 1/2 inch between each drawn line.


Step 2
Using your white thread, baste all three layers together with a running stitch, at least 1/4 in. from either side of each drawn line. Knot these basting stitches on top easier removal later.

(first row of basting stitching)

(all lines basted on either side)

Step 3
Once all the drawn lines have been basted, use sharp pointed scissors and gently poke into the top layer of fabric only, cutting along your drawn line. I started with the innermost circle first and chose to not pre-cut all my drawn lines at this stage to help preserve the stability of the top layer.


Step 4
To be able to turn under a rounded edge smoothly, you'll need to make notches about every 1/4 inch. But be careful not to cut all the way to the basting stitches! This will ensure your turned edge remains smooth.


Step 5
Gently turn under the edge at a starting point using your fingers. 

Knot one end of a coordinating thread and nest it in the fold crease you've made.

Using white thread here for easier view, normally would use black thread

Step 6
Enter the needle into the next layer in line with where you've come out from, go through all layers and up through the folded under edge. I use the thumb of my left hand (non-sewing hand) to hold the edge folded under. Make your stitches 1/8 in. - 1/4 in. apart to avoid points in your circle edge.

Now continue around the circle slowly and when you get close to the end of your thread, pull your thread to the back, slip the needle under a few threads and knot.

When you've finished with the inner circle edge, start again on the opposite side, repeating the steps of notching the circle, folding under the edge and burying your knotted thread end in the crease.

And when you've finished stitching down all the edges of the cut lines, it'll look like this!

Essentially you'll be repeating those steps I gave you for the next layer, cutting down the center of the revealed layer using caution to not cut through more than a single layer at a time, notch, fold under and stitch down.


This is a very simple pattern I've used as an example which can be infinitely altered, varying the circle widths, inner rings, edge patterns etc.
You can really use this technique with any design!
You might remember one of my 2014 Finish Along list projects that I've been working on recently is also a reverse applique, Flying Fish.

This tutorial is my technique and by no means the only way of doing reverse applique. There are many amazing quilt artists who use reverse appliques in their quilts with absolutely beautiful results. Please look over my 'Mola Inspiration' board on Pinterest to ignite your creativity!

Follow Manda Millar's board Mola Applique Inspirations on Pinterest.

Thank you Katy from The Littlest Thistle
for the opportunity to share!!
Remember to link up your Quarter 1 Finishes!
*************************** 4-4-14 UPDATE  ********************************
Wow, your comments over @ The Littlest Thistle on my Mola tutorial are simply heartwarming! You guys are great!
I'm back to add an AMAZING! blog post about Mola making that was just shared with me by Jo Avery of myBearpaw. She used to make Mola's and has a fantastic story quilt to share!! Please go check it out here! And thanks again Jo for sharing such amazing work!


Happy Birthday Mammal Chupie!!

Today is my lovely littlest dogs 7th birthday! 

Happy Birthday to Mammal Chupie!

As you may have noticed, I've named my business after this amazing dog. 
At 3.4 lbs she's a powerful handful of magical energy and sheer intelligence! 
It's been a blast to be owned by her! 
We're off on a birthday trip to the pet store, her favorite!
Cheers to 7 more years!


WIP Wednesday : Sidetracked with Fabric Drool

It's going to be a tightly crammed weekend. I have a lot to finish up for my Q1 FAL list plus I am super honored to be featuring a tutorial for the Q1 Finish Along on the 1st of April! I'm going to keep the subject of said tutorial a secret for now just to lure you with temptation to come back.

 Tutorial work in progress:

I intended to make myself a new tote bag. Haven't made a bag for myself in a looooong time. And I picked out this Jay McCarroll (Center City/Downtown NY) fabric that I've been wanting and thought it'd be good for my new bag.
I also fell in love with a new quilt block, which I think was called 'Mountain Majesty'? Anyhoo, I've been seeing it pop up in other modern quilts, so I went for it.
I haven't decided how I'm going to layout the blocks, but while I was playing around, I made these and kinda felt like making them into a quilt. I should probably just buy more of the Jay McCarroll fabric so I don't have to choose between bag or quilt haha!

 I've made many different arrangements, yet I still haven't decided on which direction to take it. A true WIP!

Then Rachael @ Stitched In Color had to have another fabric mosaic contest (check it out, it's fun!)
and I spent my computer time making this! Not to mention her mosaic contests are sponsored by awesome fabric companies. This time it's Lark Cottons, which I adore! Go sift through their shop, amazing fabrics!
You can vote for my collection interpreting her theme of 'Ethereal' in pastels along with all the other entries on her blog.

Happy Fabric drooling!

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