Holy Mole Quilt Challenge

I’ve been very quiet in blog world this past week as I’ve been busy making a quilt for a Holy Mole Quilt Challenge sponsored by Pat Pauly, a fellow RAFA member.  The challenge was to use a mola as a design source or inspiration for the work, although the mola may not be used in the work itself. 

Priscilla Kibbee – another RAFA member – travels the world and brings home lots of wonderful textiles for the rest of us to purchase.  She’s been buying molas for years and lots of us have been purchasing them for years.  They make their way into jackets and quilts, but a lot have been on our shelves waiting for the right project. This was the right project for me to use my first mola, and believe me, I have lots more on the shelves waiting their turn to be brought to light.

Here is a picture of the mola I chose to use as my inspiration piece:

humingbird blog
Resisting the attempt to make a realistic piece, I decided to try my hand at an abstract piece, focusing on the colors in the mola.  A pleasant afternoon was spent sorting through my fabric until I found exactly what I wanted. 

The center is a 9 patch and I wanted to create gentle curves reminiscent of a hummingbird swooping in to get some nectar from my perennials.    Out came the graph paper.  There are times I really need to draw something, cut it out and play with the pieces instead of using a computer graphic program.  This was one of those times.

I drew a 6″ square and placed a dot 2″ down on one side and 3″ down on the opposite side.  Then I took my flexible curved architect tool and joined the two dots.  That created a gentle curve that could  easily be pieced on the sewing machine.

Okay, that was one line.  I wanted this square to be a 4 patch, so I turned the square and placed a dot 2″ down on one side again, and 3″ down on the opposite side.  I shaped the flexible curve differently and connected the two dots.  Now I was in business.  A 4 patch block was born.

By repeating the dots the same way, that meant the seams would connect and curves would flow across the entire row.  I also mixed things up a bit by flipping some of the squares so the curves would flow gently vertically, as well as horizontally. 

Here is a picture of the paper pattern layout I made for the center:

Mola paper pattern blog
Those arrows are marks for the fabric grain.  It helps keep the squares from getting all wonky. 

Onto the piecing.  I selected 2 dark values and 2 medium values of blacks and greys hoping to add more movement to the squares.  After piecing the first row, I thought one of the medium values was reading too dark.  What to do? What to do?  Of course, you look at the other side of the fabric and voila, you have a different value.  So I pieced the second row with that one color used on the wrong side.  Here is a picture of the 2 rows:

Mola center rows
I was still torn as to which version to use.  I was way too close to the fabric for me to make a good decision.  Out came my reducing lens.  Once those 2 rows were viewed through the reducing lens there was no doubt which row to use.  There was much more movement with the fabric turned to the wrong side.   The first row had to be resewn, but it was so worth it.  Here is a picture with the center completed and the borders attached:

Mola borders added blog

All that was accomplished in 2 days.   This post is getting rather long, so I’ll finish it up tomorrow.



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