My Primitive Garden Quilt

img_1584Way back in probably sometime around 2007, mom and I were at Festival and in the Primitive Gathering booth had just the body of this quilt on display. The borders weren’t finished yet but we liked what we saw! Liked it enough that we both bought the pattern and decided then and there that we’d each create our own quilt and compare blocks when we could as Mom lives in Missouri, I’m in Texas.

I’m going to present the pics in this blog post as follows: 1st will be a picture of the pattern as purchased and then my interpretation in the completed and quilted block. Are you ready?

This a pic of the pattern cover:

And here’s a pic of my finished quilt. I had a hard time finding various background fabrics of the right scale and color. To help solve this problem, I concentrated mainly on the fabric scale when making my choices. To help them all “play well together” I mixed up a light tan dye vat and over-dyed them all together. All the background fabrics except the Sap Bucket went into the dye for several minutes. It worked like a charm!


But first, where did I get my woolens? This entire project is felted hand over-dyed wool applique on cotton. 95% of the felted and dyed wool came from second hand store garments that I took apart, felted in the washing machine and dryer and then individually hand dyed as I needed specific colors. When searching in second-hand stores I would concentrate on clothing where the wool had a nice weave and texture.  It was such a satisfying journey start to finish! Yes I made a mess in my kitchen but thankfully everything cleaned up nicely. The felting and over-dying of the wool was one of my favorite parts of this amazing project!

Let’s begin with the Shovel Block:

Right away I have taken some liberties with the block composition by adding additional leaves, a butterfly and a hummingbird and also revised the blackbirds to robins.

The Rake block:

The blackbirds were revised to American Gold Finches and I added a Squirrel and acorns to the bottom right side. I should mention right here that mom made my squirrel, thanks mom!

The Watering Can block:

I added quite a lot of hand stitching to this block, especially to all the small purple flowers, leaves and a tiny ladybug.

The Birds on a Wire block:

For my adaptation I revised the fence posts to be smaller, added additional flowers and leaves, gave the blackbirds a bit more character by cutting their wings separately, added a tiny field mouse at the base of the left fence post as well as embroidering 2 bumblebees.

The Birdhouse Block:

I tried to give the birdhouse more detail to create dimension, added additional flowers and buds, leaves and changed the blackbird to a Carolina Wren.

The Garden Tools block:

This block had 2 frogs a ladybug and a blue butterfly added and I did not make the secateurs part of my block design.

The Geranium block:

I revised the placement of the flower stems, added additional flowers and leaves and found the perfect spot for a little garden snail.

The Garden Hoe block:

I had trouble with this block because while I knew why the flowers were upside-down but my brain didn’t like them that way. I dressed up most of the flower edges, added a little grasshopper on the left of the hoe handle as well as a spider and web on the right.

The Sap Bucket block:

This was one of the first blocks I tackled. If I was to do it over again I might change up the bird to a more realistic one. I added 2 bumblebees and a little dragonfly. Otherwise, it follows the pattern rather closely.

The Seed Packet block:

This block also follows the pattern quite closely. I added detail to the flowers, the yellow butterfly and the little grasshopper.

The Sunflower basket, top border:

I made many many changes/additions to the top border: added the Queen Anne’s Lace white flowers above the sunflowers, increased the number of the purple and the red flowers as well as adding 7 House Wrens.

The Wheelbarrow border:

I added a second set of leg supports to the wheelbarrow, the vining strawberry blossoms intertwined through the letters and the little turtle.


The Hollyhock border:

I made lots of changes/additions to this border. I added the tipped and overflowing flower pot, tweaked the bird feeder design, revised the design of the hollyhocks, changed the birds to Cardinals, added the tree branch with the male Baltimore Oriole feeding the young in the hanging nest, added the grouping of gourds at the bottom and the larger turtle at the lower left corner.

The Watering Hose right border:

I also made lots of revisions to the right border, replacing the watering hose with a stylized American flag and ivy vine, added another hummingbird, butterfly and a tree branch with House Wrens. I kept the birdbath but changed the birds to Blue Jays and added a flowering plant at the bottom right of the birdbath base. If you look closely, you’ll find a chameleon hidden on the leaves.

I’ve got a lot more to tell you about this project but I’m going to save it for my next blog post, look for it in a few days. I have to report for Federal Jury Duty Monday morning, I’m taking my computer and hopefully during wait times I can get the next blog post ready to upload. And yes, I longarm quilting this on my Innova. It was one of the first “serious” projects I quilted and yes, I was nervous!

I was fortunate enough to have this quilt win several awards: Best of Show at the Quilt Guild of Houston’s 2015 show, accepted into competition in 2016 in the International Quilt Festival, Houston, Quilts of Beauty, and in 2017 it won First Place, Best of Division, Judges Choice and Best of Show at the Houston Livestock and Rodeo.

This project was a complete joy! One of those where you wonder how you’ll know when you’re finished. Until next time, hope you have enjoyed the journey thus far through My Primitive Garden quilt! In the next blog post I’ll show you a picture of mom’s quilt next to my quilt! We both finished our amazing project!

Blessings and Happy Quilting,

Rhonda 2018

13 thoughts on “My Primitive Garden Quilt

  1. This definitely,beyond a doubt, deserved to win best of show! The original pattern was beautiful but all your changes have just made it a total work of art. I especially love all the different birds!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I really like all of the Primitive Gatherings patterns/ideas but your adaptation/color choices were/are a far better balance for me, also. And, the first thing my eyes went to were the inverted/drying flowers on the hoe. It took a moment to figure out the idea but it was an unsettling section (still is). Maybe cuz the flowers look too much alive, rather than drying? Anyhow, I look forward to seeing your Mom’s interpretation. Happy Sunday and the best on your stint on jury duty.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I love all of your beautiful quilts and works of art. Your talents are over the top and this quilt remains one of my favorites. I’m impressed with the original pattern but blown away with your adaptations. The addition of all the little critters is so sweet and the rich colors of your over dyed wool gives each block life. I’m looking forward to seeing your Mom’s quilt.

    Liked by 1 person

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