Thursday, June 18, 2015

An Iris Bouquet

group of bicolor irises
Last year we offered you A Big Bouquet of Roses (July 2, 2014). This year's “bouquet” is of irises, my favorite flowers. My mother used to call them “the poor man's orchids”. I have loved them since childhood and often make them the subject of my art and craft work. An example is this pink iris rug, shown below in a picture from our Gallery, from a few seasons ago. The design for the rug was based on a paper collage I did as a sample for fifth-grade students who were studying the work of the artist Georgia O'Keeffe. Following it are some more contemporary examples. We hope you enjoy them all.

iris latchhook rug
Iris latch hooked rug, after Georgia O'Keefe
Our second iris was done as an example of Assisi embroidery (May 21, 2014). The sample languished in our workshop for a while. Eventually the center area was filled in to make a conventional needlepoint picture, mounted and framed. Here are the two examples for comparison.

two versions of assisi iris design

iris needle arts chart
 Downloadable Iris Needle Arts Chart
 I liked the stencil effect in the first example; it became the inspiration for three irises on a latch-hook wall hanging. The pattern is a simple one, which could be used to represent any bi-color iris color combination. I used the number “2” to indicate the darker “falls” or lower petals of the iris flower and the number “1” to indicate the lighter “standards” or upright petals. There are irises, however, in which the standards are darker than the falls. This is just as easy to arrange without changing the pattern. You can even “invent” color combinations that don't exist in nature –- at least not yet. The number “3” represents the “beards” on the petals; these are usually yellow or orange. The number “4” represents a short segment of the iris stem and may be done in any shade of green. The open squares on the graph represent the background color. The pattern can be used for counted cross-stitch or needlepoint as well as for latch-hook. You can probably think of other uses as well. To download the pattern, just click on the picture's caption.

iris latch hook wall hanging
I used a medium green background. When the piece was finished, I didn't think the flowers showed well enough. I carefully removed a row of background knots from around all the petals. I outlined the lower petals of each flower with the color of the upper petals and the upper ones with the color of the lower ones. This made the flowers larger and they were more noticeable. If you plan to do this, it is a good idea to mark your pattern to show the changes before you begin the work. You may remember that, when I showed the snowflake design of the Winter wall hanging (January 28, 2015), I promised that a Spring wall hanging was in the process of development. Here it is, featuring three bright bi-color irises. Incidentally, the Summer piece in this Four Seasons collection is in the design phase now.

stained glass stitchery iris
Our feature on “stained glass” stitchery (March 8, 2015) produced two new projects. The first was a picture, shown in step-by-step photos as it was completed, of a blue iris done in the style of a stained-glass window panel. Here is the finished picture, mounted and framed.

The second project developed from a demonstration for transferring a design to dark fabric by stitching with white yarn or floss through a paper pattern (March 26, 2015). In this way, an iris design was transferred onto the front of a dark plum-colored sweatshirt. The original purpose was to show a simple method of transference with materials already present, rather than with commercial products. Once started, however, the outline just “begged” to be filled with stitches. J.D. calls this my “Cubist” iris. It isn't Cubist, of course, but I admit that it is rather abstract. Here is the decorated sweatshirt.

iris embroidered sweatshirt, with detail
Iris embroidered sweatshirt, with detail closeup

Last of all, here are two conventional needlepoint pictures featuring bi-color irises. By now you have probably decided that bi-colors are my favorites. You're correct! The round picture is from our first season of this blog (February 12, 2013 and May 16, 2013). The other one is currently a work in progress. I painted the picture onto needlepoint canvas before stitching it. A future blog post will be devoted to the subject of painting your own pictures onto canvases. I'm experimenting with a novelty yarn in the background of the picture which adds a “pebbled” texture to it.
Needlepoint irises

Now I will turn this post over to J.D. so that he can show you some of his favorite iris blossoms. I hope they will inspire you to use flowers in art or needlecraft projects of your own.

Remember to stop and smell the flowers,

photo collage of irises no.1

photo collage of irises no.2

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