Monday, April 13, 2020

Tuscan Pom

You just might wonder what possessed me to create an improvisational pomegranate. Hard to say, really, but there are a few clues. After participating in Nicholas/@quiltsfromtheattic's improv triangle sewalong, I went on to explore more in Nicholas' Inspiring Improv, specifically improv rings and even kintsugi. All the while, I had my eye on the Warholian Cabbage.

Truth was, though, I really didn't want to make a cabbage. But scrolling through some photos from our trip to Europe last year, I suddenly knew exactly what I would like to make.

For one, this photo evokes very fond memories, the very least of which was seeing my first pomegranate tree ever, in Tuscany no less. Plus, the pom has a mostly roundish shape akin to the cabbage, so hopefully some of the technique would translate easily. And for some reason, its reddish purple color really called to me. That was enough.

So I started pulling some stash fabrics, plus ordered a few to round things out. Here's what I ended up with, top to bottom:

Basically, Nicholas used the slab technique in building his cabbage, though I saw them mostly as stripes, so that's the direction I went. I made three large striped slabs, then started cutting into them as I 'built' my pomegranate on the design wall.

Though first, I cut random strips of the white print to serve as the pom's 'mesocarp,' the spongy wall where the seeds attach. So obviously, my stripes don't really replicate 'seeds', but that's what I felt like making, that's what called to me in Nicholas' cabbage, and I love the result. Improv is improv after all, right?

It took quite a bit of puzzling to bring the pom segments to represent a whole. Making two halves, so to speak, definitely made it easier. That was Nicholas' suggestion, and a good one to remember going forward.

Once the pomegranate was a relative circle, the rings technique came into play to create the rind. That became a little tricky considering the calyx - that upside-down crown shape at the bottom of my pom. Let's just say a couple of serious y-seams were involved. As well as a seam-ripper a time or three, but all ended well.

Quilting was very fun, partly due to the use of numerous threads (thanks Yvonne for the nudge!). They included:
  • Aurifil 50wt #2021[Natural White] for the mesocarp, and #1103[Burgundy], #2250[Red], #2535[Magenta], and #4030[Plum] for the stripey 'seeds'
  • Aurifil 28wt #1240[Very Dark Eggplant] for the background

The designs were improv angles for the stripes, changing direction and thread color in every section. I really like how changing the thread colors so often helped bring out that reddish purple pomegranate color I was first drawn to. Then for the rest, I used echoing lines in more coordinating colors. 

For the background, I used the thicker 28wt thread, and at first I wasn't sure about that, but in the end, I think it all frames the pom quite nicely. It definitely made for some nice texture with that Kaleidoscope.

By that time, I was running seriously low on my fabrics. I didn't really want to do a regular binding with the Kaleidoscope anyway, just due to thickness, so I followed Cotton & Bourbon's single-fold faced binding technique, and that worked perfectly. The finished piece is 36" x 38."

Well this was definitely one of those projects that was purely for me. It came at a time when I needed to play, and the fabrics in themselves gave me alot of joy. The finish is quirky (unique, distinctive, unconventional??), I know, but it really made me happy to make it. And it let me escape, just the tiniest bit, to a time that was much more carefree. I think that's justification enough, don't you?

Linking up with Meadow Mist Designs' Favorite Finish Monthly Linky!


  1. I'm so glad you were able to find a way to use multiple thread colors; it always feels like a fun way to play for me. I love this cross section view and how the spikey bit also looks a bit like a crown. The white mesocarp slices really make the overall construction for me, though. Really masterfully done!

  2. Exciting piecing! Great use of all those stripe units.
    Say yes to the pomegranate, yours looks delightful.

  3. this is brilliant! I love your inspiration and the execution is spot on. well done!

  4. I absolutely love this Debbie! I have a real thing about the shape of pomegranates and you have captured this exactly! Very inspirational.

  5. Your photo is the first time I've ever seen a pomegranate tree! The colors alone are spectacular. Play, indulge yourself...because we all need that!

  6. Love this one Debbie. The colors are so rich and vibrant.

  7. This is absolutely gorgeous Debbie! And I really like that you'll be reminded of that trip every time you look at the quilt.

  8. I love this color palette and you always amaze me!

  9. This color palette and design are so awesome, and the quilting is perfect to highlight the different angles. Thanks for linking up to the Favorite Finishes Monthly Party!