An Alphabet of Fruits

This is the idea I settled on in response to the theme of fruit for the AreYouBookEnough challenge for May. And this is the final result.

I took some poetic licence with the colour of the fruit beginning with an E. If you are struggling to name the fruits, the answer will be given at the bottom of this post.

Treat yourself and have at look at the wonderful book creations on the Instagram hastag #areyoubookenough_fruit. Every month this year I have written about the #areyoubookenough challenge and my participation in it. It is hard to believe that I have now made five fabric books and feel now that I am measuring out the year with handmade books. (I would not be able to keep count of the number of coffee spoons — with apologies to J. Alfred Prufrock.)

This book of fruits is made in the same accordion (or concertina) book format as the four previous books. It is the simplest of the book formats. Perhaps I will challenge myself to progress to making signatures and binding these into a book in the future. For now, I am sticking to what has worked before and am concentrating on the content and the stitching that goes into the making of the book.

An Alphabet of Fruits is hand stitched in the kantha-style and, like a quilt, has three layers. The cotton batting gives the book a lovely soft, almost squashy, feel. The batting is sandwiched between the red ramie cotton (which backs the book) and the hemp cloth used for the front. (I recently indulged in a large piece of this hemp cloth and I can’t find the words to say how pleasurable it is to work with it.) The thread is hand dyed no. 12 perle cotton from House of Embroidery.

Close up views of each of the six pages inside the book. They each measure 15 x 12.5 cm (5 x 6″)

I tried different ways to fill the small berries (above) with stitch and, after several unpickings, I coloured them in with ordinary pencil crayon as this was the colour that best matched the thread.

The title for the book ended up on the back cover as I did not want to stitch over the imprint of the apple which showed up the underside of the stitching and which is the front cover of the book when it is folded closed.

Here follows a brief description of the process for making the book. The drawings of the fruits were traced onto the white hemp fabric; the three layers were then laid on top of one another and pinned, with the seam allowance of red ramie fabric turned under the batting and stitched down; the dividing lines for each of the pages were then backstitched; and then the fruits were stitched in kantha-style patterns. Finally, the background was shadow quilted in white and the title was hand-stitched to the back cover.

Apple. Banana. Cherries. Dates. Elderberries. Fig. (Wish I could have typed it upside down!)

Finishing line

When I finished my Modern Mystery quilt, the offcuts were still “warm” and I could not resist stitching together a set of triangles that were offcuts from making one of the blocks in the mystery quilt. The pieced result sat on my pinboard for a while, then I decided to make it into a cushion, with overstitching — just for fun. It seemed to need a partner, so I made another cushion cover.

20 thoughts on “An Alphabet of Fruits

  1. I’ve enjoyed seeing your little book creations, and this one is no exception. The kantha stitching of the fruits is just beautiful! Those two pillows are lovely as well in those bright, happy colors!

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  2. I think the book has an old fashioned feeling to it that I really like. I think of the books I learned to read from and I’m also reminded of Roman mosaics. I like the colors too. As for the pillows I especially love that little triangle that’s floating. What good work you have done here, I think. Your stitching is beautiful.

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    1. What lovely associations, Claudia. I did have a children’s alphabet book in mind and am flattered that the book also evoked ancient mosaic patterns for you. Thanks for your comprehensive comments and for noticing the floating triangle

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  3. Love your book of fruits! It is mouth-wateringly lively and juicy (well, sparks my creative juice!). Will you ever cease to amaze me with your creativity? Much love and missing you.

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  4. The little booklet has great charm – it is remarkable how the stitching reveals the facets and/or roundness of the fruits. The accuracy in the layout and stitching the quilted cushions is impressive. Btw, I love the wicker chair.

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  5. Your stitched fruit alphabet is lovely, Mariss — the pictures are so charming and delicate, and I imagine a little human enjoying the images and softness of the book itself. And bravo on the cushions. They really make a great and unique pair! 🙂

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