Ryan Holdridge, Eagle Scout with Mom, Christina

First and foremost… every mother deserves some bragging rights.  Tonight, my son Ryan completed the final step and earned his Eagle Scout rank!  We’ve been on that journey since 2001, including my being a den leader and assistant scoutmaster.  Woo Hoo!!!

This week has been a bit of a push… Not only did I work on my UFO Waterfall quilt, I wanted to have my 5 x 7 Artist Challenge Piece be able to coordinate into the salsa quilt theme. I’m pretty excited about the result so far. I’ve decided to not finish the edges of these salsa blocks, since I will be piecing them together into a full quilt.

The process for making this started with a photograph of a tomato. Actually, I picked out photos for each of the nine items (tomato, onion, cilantro, peppers, tomatillo, lime, chili pepper, corn, and onion.). I then removed backgrounds and resized the photos to fit the 5 x 7 format in Photoshop. I then printed the photos (2 to each page) on COTTON from VV Prints -(add link and type of cotton).

Start of thread painting the tomato

I keep my thread sorted by color, rather than type, with the exception of metallics. Since I decided to start with the tomato, I pulled out a wide range of reds and oranges, changing in value from tangerine and pinks, through the true hues, up to dark maroons and deep rusts. I placed them in a line of values- light to dark, so it would be easy to pick out which colors would be next in shading.

I then hooped my tomato.  When you are doing machine embroidery, it’s important to use stabilizer (I used two layers-one of  Pellon Stitch N Tear  the second OESD Heavy-weight cut-away Embroidery stabilizer) to help ensure you embroidery won’t get misshapen. You also hoop opposite from the way you do with hand embroidery, so the fabric is laying along the bottom of the hoop, rather than across the top edge. This way the fabric is flush up against the sewing table.

“Tomato” stitched on marked background

I then started freemotion thread painting.  I layered colors, particularly where I wanted to blend shading. I generally try to start with areas that would be further away from the viewer and end with the places that would be closest, the help create a more 3-D effect.

After completing the tomato, I turned to the background on which it would be placed. I knew I waned to have the names of each fruit or vegetable printed out on the background, so I decided to try my friend’s process for text (see note on how to do this with Marylee Drake’s ‘Celebration’ quilt.) I picked  a fun Font to go along with the Salsa theme and stitched it onto the background.

Adding decorative stitching

Added freemotion quilting
Coloring edge of embroidery so it can be turned under

Next, I marked my background with a Dritz Fine Line Water Erasable Marking Pen – Blue to help keep my lines well-spaced.  I then added both machine decorative stitching and Freemotion quilting to the background that would accent and complement both the tomato and the Salsa theme.  For the Freemotion quilting, I turned to Leah Day’s Freemotion Quilting Project and found a few designs that would give me the effect I wanted… To look like Mayan patterns. I decided on Square Shell (without filling in the small square), and a cross between Echo Maze and Circuit Board.

Turning edge under using Roxanne Glue Baste-It

Finally, i colored the edges of the white fabric around the embroidery using a Stained by Sharpie Brush Tip Fabric Markers before I hand appliqued the tomato onto the background.  I added two layers of batting between the embroidered tomato and the backing, with the first just slightly smaller than the size of the tomato, and the second a smaller oval, so it would help add a three-dimensional more rounded shape. I used Roxanne Glue Baste-It to help hold the edges under as I appliquéd.

My completed 5 x 7 piece “Tomato”

The only step, other than finishing the edges, which I still need to decide whether to do or not is whether I’ll paint in the lettering.  I’ve decided to hold off for now, as I want to test painting letters this size, before I try it on my finished piece.

This week my blog was featured on FreeMotion by the River!  Thanks, Connie!

You might also be interested in:

Current Works in 
Fitting my Challenge 
with Showing
2013 – The 5 x 7 
Artist Challenge

Check out these great blogs I’ve linked up with!

Freemotion by the River

Nina Marie Sayre Quilt Art

Confessions of a Fabric Addict


Richard and Tanya Quilts

Freshly Pieced- Work In Progress Wednesdays

Made by Me!

Quiltsy Check out the wonderful seed stitch info on their Jan 17, 2013 post.

13 replies
  1. Stella Nemeth
    Stella Nemeth says:

    Congratulations to Ryan.

    The tomato piece is amazing. I loved that you used both machine stitching and free motion on the piece. And I enjoyed seeing how to did the tomato too. It never occurred to me to color the edges of that kind of stiffened applique, but it is a great idea.

    The process is one I think I'd like to use. I do Photoshop, and I've looked at things other people have done with printables, but they never hit that "sweet spot" in my brain the way this process does. Are you going to be doing the other projects too?

  2. Christina Fairley Erickson
    Christina Fairley Erickson says:

    Yes, my plan is that I'm going to do 9 fruits/veges that relate to "Salsa" and then I'll put them all together in a quilt. I haven't really figured out a way to finish the edges of such a stiff applique other than coloring the edges… unless I had a colored background that would match well enough. I think I like it better this way than leaving a raw edge. Thanks!

  3. Christina Fairley Erickson
    Christina Fairley Erickson says:

    Hi, Connie… actually I'm just a little bit unsure of how to do some things still! I don't really know what a no-reply blogger means. Doesn't sound good, though. Let me know what to do differently in the future, if you can. Thanks so much.

  4. JoAnne
    JoAnne says:

    What a great idea. I work with Photoshop and the thread painting possibilities seem limitless! Thanks for the inspiration. I love your tomato! It looks great with the other stitching and the FMQ.

  5. Nina Marie
    Nina Marie says:

    First of all Kudo's out to our great teens!! I swear they don't get enough good press! Thanks for sharing your thread painting process – I am planning on doing some this spring!

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