Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Week 4 - Tomatillo!

Today is the end of the 4th week of our 5 x 7 Artist Challenge and I completed my 2nd piece in my Salsa series: Tomatillo.  This was a little difficult to represent, as not everyone is familiar with these little green beauties.  They have a husk or outer skin that peels back to reveal a small green tomato-like fruit.  They're delicious fried up or made into their own salsa or green enchilada sauce.

I wanted to represent it both with the husk and showing the fruit inside, so I got a great photo of it with both. I started by hooping my photo which I'd printed on cotton sheets, and "painting" in the lightest areas of the picture.

I slowly worked with freehand embroidering the tomatillos, adding shading and overlapping thread colors to build up and merge the colors.  I didn't always have exactly the right color of thread, so by putting down a bit darker color and then adding lighter thread on top, the colors give more of the impression of a medium tone of the color I was trying to replicate.

One of the challenges of this piece is there doesn't originally seem like there is that much variation in color.  However, using slightly more shading than in the original photo can help with creating more of a sense of depth in the object.

The other thing which I handled differently in this embroidery is that I didn't applique or tack the leaves/husk of the open fruit down, so they become three-dimensional.  Once again, I added an additional 2 layers of batting in the body of each of the fruits, but the husk leaves stand out, as though you just peeled them open.

Here is the finished piece:
You may recognize a couple of the freemotion quilting elements from Leah Day's FreeMotion Quilting Project.  They are Square Spiral and Radio Static.

You might also be interested in:

5 x 7 Week 3- The
 Start of Salsa!
52 Week - 5 x7 
Challenge to Readers
Scope Creep

Want to see more great projects?  Check out these blogs:
My last week's project
(Tomato) was featured
Cool Airbrushing technique on Nina Marie Sayre's Art Quilting Blog

FreeMotion By the River

Quilt Story

Confessions of a Fabric Addict


Richard and Tanya Quilts

Freshly Pieced

Sew Much Ado!

Quilter's Reader's Garden


  1. wow! this piece is fantastic! I love that you didn't tack down the husk. I just browsed through your past posts, and saw the tomato also. thanks for sharing so much info on how you made these great pieces :)

  2. I know what tomatillos are and this is a beautiful peace of art!

  3. This is just wonderful! Very good job at the blending!

  4. What beautiful work and the 3 dimensional is perfect! Thanks for sharing.
    Freemotion by the River Linky Party Tuesday

  5. You got that just right! It is a beautiful piece. Off to see your other one. Thanks for linking to Applique Thursday! I always like eye candy.

  6. This is so brilliant! 'nuff said. :)

  7. sighhh - this makes me want to thread painting some lilies (which is my next project) - these are awesome and looks like so much fun!

  8. That is a gorgeous piece! I never gave a tomatillo two thoughts before! You've made them classically beautiful!

  9. I'm totally in awe of your skill - whoop whoop!!