Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Harvest Time

In 2010, Paintbrush Studios came out with a line of fabric of fruits and vegetables called Farmer John II. A lovely collection of colors and beautiful illustrations of the things we eat from the earth.

I had seen the free online pattern provided by the company, designed by Quilts by Nature Pattern Company and collected some of my favorite fabrics (not necessarily the ones used in the pattern).

My former living location--Walla Walla Valley--hosted the 2014 Quilt Festival with the theme "A Wrinkle in Time" (Sept 19-21, 2014) ....well, somehow just the word TIME made me think of this quilt 'Harvest Time' that I had saved for a future project. So, I got it out and went to work on it. Note: "A Wrinkle in Time" I later learned is the name of a book. Once I did a little research on that, I came up with another design on my own that I'll write about in a future blog post. Here it is prior to quilting with backlight (used a magnet to put it up on the door to the studio).

I found a few things, that if you want to make it yourself, you might want to know before you get too far into it. Be sure your printed pattern did not 'scale' to a size of block you don't want. It gives directions for 6" and 8" blocks so you can have a different sized result. Double check the first page you print of the paper piecing patterns to be sure it will result in the size you want. I re-printed ALL of mine (turned it over on the back and did it again that way I at least didn't trash my good foundation paper). Unfortunately I had already pieced two of those very intricate blocks to find out they weren't big enough. Ah well, it could have been the 'circular' ones, grateful it wasn't!

1. Make 8 copies of page #'d 5. There are two blocks illustrated on this sheet, but you need 4 for each block, and you need 2 versions of each block. So that requires 8 copies (not the 4 indicated on the pattern). The outside element of the 3 quarter pieces is not drawn correctly on the lower pattern on the page. Use the upper part again for those blocks. Easiest to just re-draw the stitching line on the lower ones to match the upper ones. If you don't do this, these lower two blocks 'watch band' fabric won't match up with the adjacent blocks.

2. Make 8 copies of page #'d 6. (not 6 copies as indicated) You need 4 on top and 4 on the bottom to make that border.

3. Page #'d 4 didn't print to give an unfinished 6 1/2" block. It was slightly larger. Just trim to leave 1/4" seam allowance on the blocks that had a point in the edge of the middle section and then center and trim the rest of the block to make sure you have a 6 1/2" unfinished block.

4. Block # 26 is illustrated in b/w and described different than the colored illustration. The Potatoes should be on top and the Watermelon 'behind' to create the woven effect in the colored illustration. You'll need to cut the opposite Watermelon/Potato fabrics based on what is written. It also seems that the 'hole' of the watch band in the middle of the 3 ought to be Watermelon since it is 'underneath' and not the background fabric as generically applied throughout the rest of the quilt.

5. Given the effect of appliqued holes for the watchband, how about doing reverse applique so that there is a DEPRESSION behind the watchband for the 'hole'? I did this by cutting a larger applique piece and basting it to the back of where I had cut a slit for the hole.  Then needle turned the watch band fabric and appliqued it to the garlic background fabric that had been basted behind it. Some cuts into the band were necessary to get it to turn under at the curves. I chose to do some more squared just because it was easier.

6. The thin grey band clasp means a lot of layers of fabric if you press towards the clasp. If you press away from the clasp, then the clasp will seem recessed and realistically it would be raised. What about adding 2-sided fusible interfacing and cutting the entire piece out? This wouldn't give it much lift, but would minimize the layers and is 'topically' applied. I actually pieced the ends into the seam very carefully and then fused the entire piece on the top. This meant that all of the blocks with a clasp I either only used the middle paper foundation and minded the issue described in #3 above, or just rotary cut the sides and center and then added the clasp as described.

Hints to the piecing: when you get to the center circle you can either cut 1/4s as the color illustration represents or use a whole circle to apply to the paper pieced blocks (4 in total). I found that doing this piecing by hand worked fairly well and I got better at keeping it circular.

I used Warm & Plush for the batting and a backing full of fruit and vegetables.

For the quilting I did an 'onion' type fill in all of the garlic areas with Wonderfil Invisifil (100 wt) off white thread, including in the watch band holes. All watch bands and centers were stitched in the ditch. Each watch face had hands quilted into it and sometimes other quilting motifs/fills to give it some depth. The hands and center were then colored in with a micron Fabric marker. I used a Wonderfil metallic to straight stitch just inside the edge of the clasp fused applique elements.

Maybe you'll see it at the WWVQFestival Sept 19-21, 2014.

I'm excited to hang this in my kitchen, finally!


  1. Great Idea. My Challenge took a different slant too. I didn't make a 2nd one after reading about the Book. Mine will be there this week as well. I had fun using my Viking to place the patterns in the blocks. I like the watches depicting Harvest time!

  2. Hello. My name is Carmen and I am trying to find the pattern for harvest time for my mom. Could you help me locate it or do you have it available for purchase?