Thursday, April 05, 2012

Gardens of fabric and flowers

Vintage Seed Packet Wall Art

cover_stitch_2012_summer_200Two weeks ago there was almost nothing blooming in our garden aside from the camellias, but about the time I got my Vintage Seed Packet Wall Art project back from Stitch, that was all changing. So I dragged the piece out to the front yard so I could show you some stitched-up flowers amongst the real ones that have been pleasant surprises during out first spring in this house.

Vintage Seed Packet Wall Art (marigold detail)

I have to credit my friend Sandra Mollon for putting dimensional flower appliqués in my head and for her inspiring use of silk and other non-cotton fabrics. She leads a monthly appliqué group I attend and is always demonstrating different ways to make flowers for Baltimore Album and other quilts—this ain’t no Baltimore, but it was a fun way to play with some new-to-me techniques. One of the things Sandra always does especially well as a teacher is making new techniques accessible, and I hope the raw-edge approaches I’ve used in this project serve a similar purpose.

Vintage Seed Packet Wall Art (oriental poppies detail)

These oriental poppies are a bit vicarious, since I haven’t had much success growing the real ones in my short gardening career. Generally fabric seems much easier to bend to my will than live plants! (You may notice in the magazine that the petals got a little squashed in the mail; since they’re only sewn down at the centers so they can be fluffed up again with a finger if that happens.)

Vintage Seed Packet Wall Art (celosia detail)

I’ve had more success growing celosias, though this was the scariest part of the project to sew. I’ve mentioned my aversion to velvet, but it was the natural material for representing the feathery flowers, so I faced my fear. As a side note, I was really pleased with how the embroidered “CELOSIA” text turned out.

bluebells and azalea

Back to the real garden…these are bluebells, right? It’s been fascinating to see what the plants at our new place have in store for us, but also little tricky to identify everything. I almost ripped these guys out several times when I couldn’t tell if they were bulbs or weeds; they’re growing like weeds but are kind of pretty, so I’m thinking “wildflower” may be the best term for them. And the bluebell theory is supported by bluebells’ supposed preference for leafy forest floors, which doesn’t sound that far from the state of this flower bed, littered as it is with, uh, nature’s mulch.

Iceland poppy

No go with the oriental poppies, but the Iceland poppies I planted in the winter were some of the first signs of spring color. Gotta love those big, rumply petals.

Iceland poppy

Hopefully spring’s springing wherever you are too! If you’re itching to stitch some flowers, look for my pattern in the Summer 2012 issue of Stitch!