Thursday, December 15, 2016

Unfinished Business

I hope all of you who live in cold regions are staying safe, warm, and dry this winter. We have fog this morning, but have missed most of the snow so far. It is very dry here and fire danger is still high. It is quite cold, so I'm happy to stay indoors and try to answer some of your questions.

sunflower needlepoint
Sunflower needlepoint, September 16, 2016 post
This isn't a question about needlework. It's a question about flowers. When you did the article about making the needlepoint sunflower, you said something about it being a composite made up of two different kinds of flowers. I don't get that. Can you explain it to me?”

I can show you what I was talking about. Not all of the family of flowers called Composites have two kinds of flowers in each flower head. Many of the familiar ones, like sunflowers, daisies, asters and marigolds, however, do have this condition. Look at these three photographs, taken from the 2006 Easter Seals calendar (many thanks to that wonderful organization). See the ring of small flowers in each one? Those are the “ray” flowers. Each one is attached at its bottom to one of the showy strap-shaped or tongue-shaped parts that we call “petals”. The little flowers may be male and produce pollen, they may be female and receive pollen, or they may be sterile. Their major function in the flower is for the bright petal-parts to attract pollinators like bees and butterflies.

Composite flower photos from 2006 Easter Seals calendar
Composite flowers, © 2006 Easterseals

Now look at the center of each flower. There are masses of tiny tubular flowers. Those are the “disk” flowers. They produce pollen and nectar and receive pollen from other disk flowers. If you touch them with a fingertip, you will often find that they feel sticky. That stickiness catches and holds pollen carried by bees and butterflies that have visited other flowers of their kind. The disk flowers are the ones that produce the flower seeds, including the sunflower seeds I like salted and toasted.

If you look closely at a dandelion, on the other hand, it has only ray flowers. They are both male and female. The male ray flowers produce pollen. The female ray flowers receive pollen and make the seeds and the little “parachutes” that carry them far and wide. I hope this answers your question. To me, it is one of Nature's little miracles.

Is the red sweatshirt with the flowers and butterflies a jacket? I can't tell from the picture, but it looks like it. If so, how did you make it?
Yes, it is a jacket. I can't take credit for it, however. It was a gift from teachers at the school where I worked before I retired. I never met the maker. I can tell you how I would make one like it.

1. Turn the sweatshirt inside-out and mark the center front from top to bottom. Pull the shirt over an ironing board. Iron on a lightweight backing material to cover several inches on both sides of the center line to reinforce it.

2. Turn the shirt right-side-out and replace it on the ironing board to give yourself a firm, flat surface to work on. Lay out your pre-cut appliques along the center line from the top of the collar to the bottom of the hem or cuff until you have an arrangement that pleases you. Leave a 1/8-inch space between appliques where they interlock so that you can later cut them apart without damaging them. You can then trim this more closely if you like.

3. Glue the appliques in place, one at a time, with a good fabric glue (or stitch them down by hand or machine). Let the glue dry thoroughly, preferably overnight.

daisy applique on red jacket
Detail of a daisy applique on the red jacket
4. Go over the edges of each applique with a good dimensional tube paint. You can use the paint to emphasize such features as flower centers and butterfly eyes and antennas. The close-up photo will show you how this looks when it is done. Let the paint dry thoroughly.

5. Cut very carefully between the appliques to separate the front sides of the jacket. Turn back the two sides and lay a bead of the dimensional paint along all the cut edges on the inside of the shirt. If you use a paint the color of the sweatshirt, it will hardly be noticeable.

6. Let everything dry and enjoy your new jacket.

FOR AN EASIER-TO-DO VERSION:  Make a straight cut down the center of the front and separate the sides. Hem or bind the raw edges. Place the cut-outs wherever you like and glue or sew them to the shirt. Trim them with paint, rick-rack, braid or embroidery.

What can we look for after New Years?

Revisiting old favorites like blackwork, Holbein embroidery, and Assisi embroidery. Designing with words. More eye-catching bargello designs. A companion piece for the reverse applique Siamese fighting fish. Beginning trapunto. More optical illusions. I also plan to begin a new series connecting styles of painting to art needlework, beginning with still life, where we will group simple objects in pleasing patterns to be done in counted cross-stitch, folk embroidery, applique, bargello and more. I'm eager to get back to work.

I hope you are, too.

past projects showing techniques coming in 2017
A sample of past projects showing techniques Annake will return to in 2017

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Sunday, November 20, 2016

Stylish Seasonal Sweatshirts

Decorated jacket from sweatshirt
Here in the high country it is possible to wear sweatshirts for at least part of three of the four seasons. The garments are sturdy, economical, machine washable and colorfast. I buy them whenever I find them on sale. Be aware that they are on sale for a reason. Check carefully for flaws before you buy. Another thing that you should be aware of is that the sizes are not always accurate. I have five now that are all marked “Large” and no two are the same size! Hold them up at arm's length to get a better idea of their real size. Decorated sweatshirts are durable. To illustrate that fact, here is a shirt I decorated and have worn regularly for the past ten years. It has been laundered scores of times.

apple applique sweatshirt

print fabric panelYou can buy ready-printed panels for applique, although these are more often intended for use as pillows, table linens, etc. These are usually sold as a separate unit, rather than by the yard. Many of them need to be trimmed down in size the be used as appliques for sweatshirts. You can make your own panels from calico prints or the kind of illustrated fabric usually classified as “Country” (i. e., rural or pastoral scenes, farm animals, people in old-fashioned costumes, etc.); that's what I did with the apple design above.

sweatshirt with raglan sleeves
Look carefully at the sleeves of your chosen sweatshirt before you choose a panel or make a pattern. Most sweatshirts have set-in sleeves that curve slightly toward the center of the shirt above a straight up-and-down side seam. But other shirts have raglan sleeves. These sleeves slant upward at an angle, joining the shoulder seam much closer to the collar. This narrows the area available for applique. You may find that a circular. diamond-shaped, or free-form design will fit a raglan-sleeved shirt better than a square or rectangular one.

I mark what part of the fabric I need for the applique with tailors' chalk and then add a 3/8 to ½-inch (1 to 1.5 cm.) border all around that will be turned under, leaving a smooth edge. After turning it under, I press the piece, making sure the edge is flat and straight. Then I am ready to pin the applique in place on the sweatshirt (using lots of pins). I baste the piece in place, remove the pins, and sew the applique to the shirt either by hand or by machine. If I like, I then edge the applique with rick-rack, braid, or cotton lace.

Green sweatshirt with large applique
Green sweatshirt with large applique. Note the lack of raglan seams.

Red sweatshirt with round appliques

Even small pieces of patterned fabric can be used effectively. Here is a finished shirt with a seasonal theme. I decorated it with three circular pieces cut from the same fabric and arranged in a triangular pattern. Each circle was then edged with gold trim. Small motifs like this can be arranged horizontally, vertically, diagonally, or in squares, diamonds, circles, etc. Try pinning the pieces in several different arrangements and choose the one you like best.

Embroidered sweatshirts are a little more complicated, especially if you are decorating a dark-colored shirt. If you are working on a light-colored shirt, you can use a commercial iron-on transfer (following the directions on the envelope) or make your own hot-iron transfer (see the post for May 12, 2016). For dark-colored shirts, I usually draw my design on thin tissue paper and pin it to the inside of the shirt front. Then I back-stitch along the pattern lines with white thread, floss, or yarn. This gives me an easy-to-follow outline on the right side of the shirt. I remove the tissue paper and discard it. The white stitches can be removed from the finished embroidery later if you like; I just work over them to hide them.

Steps in sweatshirt embroidery
Steps in sweatshirt embroidery, as described above

Today, however, I have something even better to work with! These are patterns I drew with transfer pencil on non-woven interfacing. They have already been used to transfer the flower designs onto a pair of pillow tops. I then filed the patterns for future reference. Now I can pin them to the insides of shirts and stitch along the lines with white thread, floss, or yarn. I simply leave the interfacing in place to further strengthen the embroidery.

used iron-on transfers
Recycled iron-on transfers of lily and pansy

All of the items I have shown here have been for adults, but the same techniques work well on sweatshirts for children. Animals, cartoons, sports logos, superheroes, and many other topics are appropriate. If there are no children in your life, clothing like this is always in demand at women's shelters and emergency services. You and your friends could take on a project like that and have a lot of fun getting together to make the shirts.

I regret that I have written fewer posts lately. J.D. and I have been as busy as long-tailed cats in a room full of rocking chairs, dealing with craft shows and sales. We have another three weeks or so of that and then I will be able to get back to my regular writing schedule. Until then...

Stitch away!

Finished embroidered sweatshirt with detail

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Monday, October 31, 2016

Swedish Weaving: Part 3

"Right" (top) & "Wrong" (bottom) sides
Swedish weaving, or “huck” weaving, is traditionally done on a closely woven cotton toweling fabric called “huck” (shortened from “huckaback”). If you If you examine the fabric closely, you will find that one side is rough to the touch, while the other side feels smooth. Since the purpose of a towel is to dry something, the rough side is the “right” side of the fabric. Look closely and you will see rows of raised stitches running horizontally across the cloth, perpendicular to the selvage edges ( ). Turning to the smooth, or “wrong”, side of the cloth, you will notice pairs of upright (vertical) threads running parallel to the selvage edges (⌡⌡ ⌡⌡ ⌡⌡). these slightly loose threads are called “floats' or “slubs”. The “floats” alternate position in each row, so that one “float” that is directly above another is in the second row of stitches above it not the first. It is with these “floats” that Swedish weaving is done. This makes it a rare type of embroidery done entirely on the “wrong” side of the cloth!

Horizontal and diagonal stitches
It has been several months since we discussed this topic, and some of you are new readers, so some of this material will be repetitive. We concentrated in the first two sessions (March 11, 2016 and March 31, 2016) primarily on horizontal stitches and diagonal stitches and the patterns which can be made with them. Vertical stitches were shown only as connections. These stitches, however, are decorative on their own. They are also useful in making tall, columnar patterns and four-sided designs. To make an upright (vertical) pattern stitch, run the needle right to left under the first float. Move up to the float directly above and again run the needle under the float from right to left. Continue until your column is the desired height. This produces a “wrapped” appearance to the stitches. A block of upright stitches gives texture to a design. Upright and horizontal stitches combine well. The red patterns will give you ideas for simple patterns you can do with this stitch. In the purple patter, each upward and downward vertical stitch skips a float in the center of the stitch.

The step stitch combines a horizontal stitch and a vertical stitch, and moves diagonally upward and downward across the fabric Multiple rows of this stitch produce interesting designs, particularly when a different color is used for each row. To do this most easily, begin with the bottom row of the design and work each following row directly above it. The rows can also be worked in reverse to make a larger more complex design. Do all the upper rows first. Then turn your fabric upside-down and repeat the pattern, starting once again with the bottom row. A diamond-shaped space is created in the design when it is done this way. If you like, you can put initials or tiny embroidery designs in these spaces.

A simple step-stitch pattern, repeated two different ways
 Another useful basic stitch is the loop stitch or circle stitch. Begin with one or more horizontal stitches. Slip your needle under a pair of floats from right to left. Point your needle in the opposite direction. Move up to the floats directly above the one you just worked. This time pass your needle from left to right. Return to the lower stitch and once again run your needle under the same floats from right to left. Pull the thread gently until it makes a loop or circle. Tension is very important with this stitch. If you leave the thread too loose, your stitches will be irregular and not look like even loops or circles. If you pull the thread too tight, you will distort (pucker) the fabric. Practice until it feels right. Spacing the loops differently in parallel rows makes different patterns. To make reverse loop- stitch rows, turn your fabric upside=down and proceed normally. Loop stitches and horizontal stitches combine attractively, as you can see in this border. Here the loops are alternated, with the top of each loop passing under the same float as the spacing stitch either above or below it. If you want to have even lines of loops, try them two ways: evenly spaced so that the loops intersect, or lines of loops spaced a row of floats apart so they do not intersect. You will be surprised how much difference this makes.

Aqua/turquoise loop-stitch design
There is another loop stitch that you might like, called half-loop stitch. It is used for up-and-down borders, stems, etc. Work from right to left, make a couple of horizontal stitches, and pick up a float. Then, working from left to right, insert the needle under the float directly above the one you just picked up, but complete only the right half of the loop by picking up the float above. Complete the left half of that loop by crossing under the middle float with the needle pointing from left to right. Complete the right side of the bottom loop, working under the first float again. You can make the column of loops as tall as you like by working in this back-and-forth manner. Make at least one horizontal stitch between loop columns. The stitch gets its name because it is made a half loop at a time. To make the pattern below, begin with a couple of straight stitches. Make a loop stitch and a spacer stitch, then make a column of two half-loop stitches. Continue making columns of half-loop stitches in increasing sizes, with spacing stitches between them, for as long as you like. Then repeat the stitches in the reverse order to the end.

Dark blue half-loop stitches
Finally, there is the long stitch. This is a very flexible stitch which can be used in a variety of ways. It is primarily used to create diamond shapes. In the top example, a long diagonal shape is created by skipping more floats horizontally than you skip vertically. One long-stitch row is worked across the design. Then a second long-stitch row is worked as a mirror-image of the first row. Where the rows intersect, both threads pass under the same floats. The second set of diamonds is more open and the diamonds are square. The same number of floats are involved, both vertically and horizontally.

Two kinds of diamond shapes
The weaving is done with a small tapestry needle. Tapestry needles have blunt points that can slip under the floats without breaking the float threads. The smallest needle that will hold the type of thread being used for the embroidery and slide under the floats without breaking them is the one to use. If the “weaving” is done properly, the needle never dips through the huck fabric and no stitches are ever seen on the other side of the cloth. (NOTE: This is not possible when doing the designs on other fabrics like monk's cloth or Aida; you will always see some thread on the reverse side of the cloth.)

Practice your stitches and patterns, please, because we will soon begin a project with them.

Have fun.

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Monday, October 17, 2016

Autumn Questions and Answers, 2016

Butterfly reference samples
Butterfly reference samples from May 21, 2016 post
Why do you use so many photos, drawings and even fabrics for reference?

Because every photographer, artist, and designer sees something different in the subject and consciously or not emphasizes that difference in his or her work. Viewing their differences causes me to look much more closely at the subject than I might have done on my own. I always see things that I never noticed before, even about very familiar subjects. After absorbing as many impressions as I can, I choose the characteristics that I want to emphasize in my own work. On another day, I might look at the same collection and make entirely different choices. That was a good question!

I'm a fairly new reader of your blog. I went to your archive and have been working my way through early posts. I really like the Spanish blackwork, especially the onion domes. (February 27, 2014) I copied the patterns and would like to do some pictures, but I have a couple of problems. I can't draw so I need some kind of outline to work with. I don't want to use children's designs like you suggested from coloring books and I don't care much for flowers. What kind of things do you think would look good in blackwork and where do I find patterns for outlines? (This is condensed from a longer message.)

Gymnasts 'flower' mandala
Gymnasts 'flower' mandala
Welcome to Annake's Garden! What a delight it is to have such a thorough and enthusiastic reader! I hope you find many techniques to enjoy in past, present, and future blog posts. For now, however, let's consider the blackwork. My first thought was of mandalas. These are traditionally circular designs. My gymnastic “flower” (August 31, 2016) is a mandala. They were originally inspired by intricate designs made for Buddhist and Hindu religious ceremonies. You may have seen Tibetan monks on television creating an elaborate mandala sand painting.

During the current era of popularity for adult coloring books, there are whole volumes devoted to mandalas. These can feature anything from cats to Cleopatra, trees to temples, or flags to fancy desserts. As interesting as these are, however, the areas are much too small to show off blackwork patterns. You would want a simple design with fairly large sections something like this framed quilt block (courtesy of J.D.'s sister J.J.). You could then fill in the sections with different blackwork patterns instead of these pieces of printed fabric. 

Mandala-like quilt block

Onion Domes blackwork on monk's cloth
"Onion Domes", blackwork on monk's cloth
Now let's think about topics. You liked the architectural look of the onion domes. You might want to do a picture of a Victorian house like the famous “Painted Ladies” of San Francisco, California; this was the subject of one of my earliest blackwork pictures. If you are more mechanically inclines, you might want to look at some Steampunk patterns. There is even a steampunk mandala adult coloring book. We recently had a parade of antique cars and trucks here in town; I thought at the time that some of them might be good subjects for a blackwork picture. There is always costume to explore, from wearable fashion to theatrical costumes (masks, too). For inspiration, check your library for a book on the work of Gustav Klimt, an artist who made masterful use of areas of intricate design in his paintings.

Antique automobiles coloring book
A good source for designs for any of these topics is Dover Publications. They have books of black and white line drawings. Just remember to copy only the basic outlines, not the tiny details which you plan to put in with embroidery. Calendars are a rich source of pictures of animals, landscapes, still-lifes, etc. I collect inexpensive ones from the dollar stores for my picture files. My friends are generous with their used ones at the end of the year, too. Keep in mind that the more stitches there are in a blackwork (diaper) pattern, the darker the area will appear when it is stitched. Good luck with your blackwork project. Have fun!

I've been practicing bargello patterns on needlepoint canvas and I think I'm pretty good at them. Now I want to make Christmas ornaments with the patterns on them. I have some cute cookie cutters to use for outlines. Can I just do a square of the bargello design, draw the cookie cutter outline on the back and cut it out?

No, no, no, no, NO! Never cut into a finished piece of stitched needlepoint! The cookie cutters are a great idea. Draw the outline on the front of your canvas. Stitch your pattern baseline somewhere near the center of the piece and work both upward and downward from it. Work right up to your drawn outline, using partial stitches where there is not enough room for a whole stitch. I've done a simple bell design to show you what I mean.

Bargello bell shape
Bargello bell shape, ready to turn into an ornament
Place your needlepoint face down on felt or another non-woven fabric and pin it in place. Stitch along the outline by hand or machine, leaving an inch (3 to 4 cm) or so unstitched so you can turn the ornament right-side-out. Cut around the outline, leaving about ¼ inch (1 cm) of canvas between the cut and the outline. Turn the ornament right-side-out. Use a smooth, blunt object like the handle of an aluminum crochet hook to push the outline smooth from the inside. Stuff the ornament if you like. Turn under the raw edges and stitch it closed. Thread yarn into a tapestry or darning needle and make a tied loop at the top of the ornament to act as a hanger.

Keep those questions coming!

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Friday, September 30, 2016

Bands and Borders: Linear Design

Dome and peaks bargelo pattern in reds and blues

Linear design can be useful for many projects. It can be used to decorate clothing, table linens, kitchen and nursery curtains, and pillowcases to name just a few. We have already discussed patterns appropriate for some of these uses in past posts on:

Swedish weaving appropriate for borders
Swedish weaving examples appropriate for borders

Spanish blackwork (February 27, 2014; October 6, 2015)
Holbein embroidery (August 20, 2014)
Needleweaving (October 17, 2014; May 29, 2015)

Today, however, we are going to concentrate on linear patterns in needlepoint and bargello.

Using needlepoint or bargello for linear designs opens up many new possibilities for projects such as watchbands, headbands, hatbands, belts and suspenders, eyeglass and cellphone cases, purses and tote bags, desk sets, picture frames and many other things. Many of these can be made on plastic canvas as well as fabric canvas.

Linear bargello design

On the post for November 30, 2014, we showed a needlepoint hatband with a butterfly design on a lady's straw hat. A word of advice seems appropriate here about such projects as belts and hatbands. Measure the length of canvas you will need for the project exactly. Mark the ends of this measurement on your canvas. Now find the exact center of your design and the exact center of your canvas. Mark the place where these two coincide. You will want the design to match as perfectly as possible where the two ends of the canvas meet, either at the front or the back of the item.

Red hat with needlepoint band
Red hat with needlepoint band
If you are using separate design motifs, as I did with the butterfly hatband, determine how many evenly-spaced motifs will fit on your finished project. Mark where the center of each design will need to be and measure the spaces between them. Each end space at the joining should be one-half of the space between two of the motifs. By taking very careful measurements of the repeated sections of your design and of the spaces between them, you can plan a pleasing, nearly seamless, transition at the canvas joining. Make the joining of the two canvas ends as nearly invisible as you can make it. Incidentally, the butterfly hatband slips smoothly off of the hat, to be replaced by one of a number of other hatbands in various patterns. One hat, but many different styles.

Linear needlepoint examples from Native American motifsSome of the most attractive designs that I have done have been based on Native American artwork. Three of these samples are shown at the left. These are done in traditional Southwestern colors, but you could do them in any colors you choose. I believe I would initially keep the dark, medium, and light colors in the same positions that they occupy in the patterns. You can always experiment more freely once you are thoroughly familiar with the designs.

Flame stitch sample in reds and pinks

One of the nicest things about a linear design is that you can repeat the entire design many times on the same project, This can be done either vertically or horizontally. Look, for example, at this simple symmetrical motif made up of elements of bargello “flame stitch” design.

I can repeat the design both above and below the pattern line in a variety of colors. I'm currently working on a pillow top where a similar design done in 15 different colors is repeated over and over.

Multicolored flame stitch pillow top in progress
Multicolored flame stitch pillow top in progress

Another nice thing about linear designs is that examples are all around us. We should never lack for ideas to adopt for, or adapt to. needlework. Here are two samples taken from notepads meant to attach to your refrigerator with magnets so that you can write grocery lists on them. The top one could be used alone or repeated in parallel horizontal rows. I would use the pattern as it is, but also reverse it so that the triangles in the center would become diamonds. The second would make an attractive trim for a garment as it is. I think I would use it as vertical stripes separated by plain, solid-colored stripes on a pillow or tote bag. You may want to start an envelope or folder of designs cut out of magazines, gift wrap, or print fabric that inspire you to convert them to needlework motifs.

Border designs from commercial notepads
Border designs from commercial notepads

Enjoy your design experiences,

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Friday, September 16, 2016

Sunflower Splendor

The Chinese poet Kao Ch'i (1336 – 1374) wrote of the sunflower:


 “Its radiance bursts forth in summer's bright light,
Its clusters nestling against the dark green shade.
Evenings, it droops like the common hibiscus,
But blazes at noon with the pomegranate flowers.
A subtle scent spreads across our mat,
A fresh splendor shines upon our feast,
When all the other flowers have bid us farewell...”

I've loved the sturdy sunflowers since, as a child, I gathered wild ones with goldenrod and Queen Anne's lace along the country roads around our farm. Turning their bright faces to the sun, they pointed my way to the one-room country school; then, magically, they turned around to brighten my journey home at the end of the day. I still admire them for their familiarity, even though J.D. grows much more exotic ones today. (I will share some of those with you at the end of this post.)

I have used the sunflower as a subject before (August 26, 2013) in an embroidery on checked gingham., using basic cross-stitch, long-armed cross-stitch, star stitch, French knots and plain chain stitch. Here's a picture of the finished and framed project, along with a close-up of the center of the flower.

sunflower embroudery with detail
Having decided to use the sunflower as the subject of the “Autumn” picture in a Four Seasons series of needlepoints (May 16, 2013 and July 18, 2013), I gathered together the photographs J. D. had taken of our sunflowers, photographs from other sources, a live specimen, even a scarf with a printed sunflower motif. I traced several circles, the size of the opening in the frame I planned to use, on plain paper and began to make sketches of the flowers.

collection of sunflower examples

pencil sketch of sunflower

This is the sketch I decided to use. I shaded the petals and suggested the surface stitches that I planned to add to the completed needlepoint.

Marked canvas
I transferred the outlines onto #14 white mono needlepoint canvas, using a black fine-point permanent marker The very fine details were left out so that I could concentrate on the larger color areas when I started stitching. I rubbed the front and back surfaces of the canvas vigorously to remove any excess ink that might otherwise come off on the yarn.

Yarn selection for sunflower needlepoint
Then I selected tapestry and Persian yarns to match the colors of the sunflower as closely as possible.

I prefer to work with natural sunlight whenever possible, so I put the materials away until the next morning. I worked one color area at a time, beginning with the lightest yellow and working toward the darker tones Wherever possible, I used the basketweave stitch; otherwise, I used continental stitch. Once the color areas were completed, I put in the solid-colored background. I consulted my pencil sketch again to determine the finer details. Then I used thinner strands of yarn to outline the individual outer petals with backstitch. Moving on to the center of the flower, I used French knots in two sizes and colors to show the raised area of reproductive flowers. Steam-ironing the completed canvas was the last step before framing the picture

Finished sunflower needlepoint
Finished sunflower needlepoint

Sunflowers belong to a very large variety of flowers called Composites (Compositae). They are actually made of two different kinds of flowers. The large, showy petals are actually individual flowers that serve to attract the insects and birds that pollinate the flowers. The very tiny raised flowers at the center of the blossom are the ones that produce the seeds. If you look closely at other Composites, like coneflowers and black-eyed Susans, you can see the two kinds of flowers clearly. We save the seeds from the best flowers for replanting and add the rest to our winter birdseed.

sunflower collage
Some exotic sunflowers in Annake's Garden

Have a wonderful season, whether it is Autumn or Spring where you are,

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