Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Beyond Bacon: Fun with Fruit and Vegetable Fabric

Ah, youth! Thinking back to my early days of quilting, when I was a wee wain of thirty-mumble, I was so carefree about what I put into my mouth, and into the throat of my sewing machine (there being a strong correlation).

How I loved sweet and/or high-carb treats and their many representative textiles - bagels, pizza, ice cream cones, cows - although unhealthy, the fabric versions at least contained plenty of fiber, so I shamelessly collected, and too-often ate, them all.
I also made quite a few food pyramids (above and below are here and here), and wallhanging/potholders, too (here.)
Ice cream, gummi bears, pizza, and finally, on the lower right, vintage cartoon character Andy Capp is eating french fries in the inexplicable fabric with the blue background,. 

Junk food seemed far easier to find in the fabric stores than healthier fare. So I have been very happy in recent years, when fabric companies began putting out luscious, mouthwatering, larger-than-life, realistic depictions of  perfect fruits and vegetables. 

Especially Fabri-Quilt, a fabric manufacturer whose produce fabric come in collections with title variations of Farmer John's (Farmer John's Garden, Farmer John's Market, etc. Observe them via the 'category' search window here.)

I contacted the company, and they offered me a bushel of free fruit-and-veggie fabric, if I would design something from it. Having never designed for a fabric company before, having never been offered so much (new) free fabric before, you could say that I...bit.

 Here's what I came up with:
It's kind of like an asterisk, or exclamation points.
It's got nearly as much and better-looking produce than my local farmer's market. Going around the wedge circle, starting at 12 o'clock, we have:
  • artichokes (with purple highlights!), 
  • carrots,
  • corn, 
  • cherries,
  • peas, 
  • eggplant, 
  • pears, 
  • radishes, 
  • peaches (omg they look delicious), 
  • cauliflower & broccoli, 
  • avocado (there's also realistic tortilla chip fabric out there, in case you're making a guacomole dip quilt, but we won't go there right now),
  • oranges, 
  • potatoes, 
  • asparagus (also unaccountably, gorgeously purple and green), 
  • blueberries, 
  • and pomegranates. 
  • They also sent me a blackberry fabric that I judged too dark to use in this quilt (though I did put it in the first potholder below). 
The center of the quilt above looks like an apple, but it's not; much more exotically, it's a whole pomegranate from one of the fabrics.

I used the fused scraps to make matching potholders. They're also simple, with raw edge applique. Blueberries float in the center.
The next one has zigzag stitches around all the appliques.
'Have a Salad' is written in the upper left corner with free-motion quilting.

Along with farmers and fruitarians, fruit and veggie projects are perfect gifts for people who are striving to eat healthily, people who actually do eat healthily, gardeners, people trying to quit smoking, teachers, Mayor Bloomberg, the First Lady, etc.

DH surprised me by hanging these potholders on the door to the pantry (which holds the chips), as a suggestion to back away and move towards the refrigerator, instead, for a nice piece of fruit.

The non-maraschino cherry on top is that, whatever the configuration, you can personalize your healthy  project with a message that fits and entertains but doesn't lecture or overly annoy your giftee - I  used 'Eat Farm Fresh,' on my quilt,

But after it was done, of course, better ideas started flowing:
  • Give Peas (and Carrots) a Chance
  • Kale: The New Chocolate (alas, I haven't found a kale print yet.)
  • You Are What you Sew, (= Part 1)
  • Sew Have a Salad (= Part 2)
  • Bacon Isn't Enough
More caption suggestions welcomed!

If you'd like guidance for the potholders, a free pattern is on the Fabri-Quilt site, and on my pattern page. And a complete illustrated 13-page pattern for the quilt as well as the potholders is also on my pattern page. It's suitable for confident beginners and beyond.

Fabri-Quilt is also hosting a scrumptious fat-quarter bundle giveaway for people who leave comments on their blog. The contest closes next Saturday, Nov. 9, 2013.

And I'd love to hear about what you've made from fruit and veggie fabrics! 


  1. Kale is not the new chocolate. I have issues with kale.

    1. What are your issues with kale? I have issues with kale too. I hate it (usually). I wish I had those issues with chocolate. Do tell.

    2. You don't have to massage your chocolate.

  2. You don't have to massage your chocolate.

  3. I am an artist and I should say you have done some interesting work there.

    You should try poster colors, you might like them.


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