the rutabaga pattern is here and meditative stitch for percolating ideas

It’s a relatively quick project – depending on how long you linger in the details. I’ve taught it at a workshop and fabulous turnips and rutabagas were created in under 4 hours.

stitched rutabaga applique

Personally – I like to linger in the details of these – especially the appliqué. It’s repetitive, easy, relaxing work that requires just enough attention to make it the perfect activity for percolating ideas.  Or netflix.

I make it my job to have ideas – lot’s of ideas –  and I love the sensation of letting an idea percolate, letting my subconscious have a crack at it.  I drift into pleasant, soft focus daydreamy work and behind the scenes problems get solved, perspective shifts and connections are made. A brisk walk works too but then I don’t get a lovely rutabaga out of the deal.

I also like the appliqué portion of the program because it goes against my grain a little  (a lot). I’m sometimes afraid of raw edges in a way that inhibits me creatively – I can get too obsessed with being neat and buttoning things up and lose the essence of the thing.    I’ve been experimenting with pretty traditional  appliqué (I’ll show you soon) and would like to get a little free-er in my designs.

stitched rutabaga

Besides the meditative benefits there are so many reasons to make a rutabaga (or turnip) – they are, I think, the most beautiful of the root vegetables.  No one is ever expecting a stitched turnip so they make wonderful gifts.  And these rutabagas have a secret ingredient that makes them balance in a dynamic, root vegetable-lish way.

stitched rutabaga sewing pattern

I add a little weighted fill – 1mm glass bead fill is my favorite. You can also use sand or crushed walnut shells.  I put 2-4 spoonfuls in the toe of an old pair of tights to keep it in one spot and insert it into the bottom. The result is a rutabaga that perches at a jaunty angle instead of just lying on its side.

turni[p sewing pattern

I hope you make rutabagas (or turnips)!  And if you do I’d love to see – you can email photos to me at info at ann wood handmade dot com or share on instagram using #annwoodpattern.

rutabaga sewing pattern


  1. I so love your turnips/rutabagas Ann! They look so much like the real thing, you’ve done such a wonderful job of designing them! I remember when I first saw one of them I wished you had a pattern for them. I was drawn to the ‘meditative’ stitching as you call it and lately have felt driven to start some slow stitching in the hope it will ‘take me away’ from the loud and fast world we live in. Tried to start on it but for some reason just couldn’t get it going. But now with your pattern I feel it will be a great start for me. Thank you! ☺

  2. Love them. I’m ordering the pattern now. Thanks again for sharing. I have some very fine grain sand I’ll try for weighting. Got to go and search for fabric now.

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