“The roots of the dandelion produce a magenta hue.”

Every summer, my quilt guild presents a challenge to produce a small quilt with a particular theme.  Past challenges have been: your favorite artist, play or musical; an interpretation of a sport; or something you have been influenced by.  Summer 2012 Challenge is to tell “what summer means to you”.  It is to be 12″ x 12″, have three layers and be a finished piece.  We can adorn with whatever:  ribbons, paint, beads, tyvekk, wire, photo-transfer, tea bag paper,  etc.   

For many years,  I have  taken a self-imposed academic challenge of some sort.  Past years I have learned about the Transcendentalists, Canadian Painters, African Literature and Public Speaking.  I have recently been working on a needlework venture ‘Fancywork with Fig”.  The idea is to use the fig as motif: fig leaf (blackwork), fig wasp (beading), fig parrot (crewel), the colours of figs (hexagons), fig marigold (tba) and use and learn the many types of needleworks out there: embroidery, beadwork, ribbonwork, stumpwork, hardanger to name a few.

I recently became aware of The Figwort Family of wildflowers or scrophulariaeae.  The study of these flowers became the subject for my summer quilt challenge and a Botany class for the academic challenge.

First, I typed up the many names of figwort flowers on the computer and printed onto muslin in different colours.  I cut these into ‘crazy pieces’  sewn together by hand and over embellished with crazy-stitches:  fern, feather,  cretan, chevron, pistil and cross-stitch.  The flowers were painted using watercolour paints onto tea bag paper (recycled tea bags, emptied, washed and ironed), cut out and hand appliqued using selected stitches to best enhance each flower.

Clockwise are: Foxglove, Fig Buttercup, Monkey Flower, Beardtongue, Culver’s Physic, Indian Paintbrush and the Figwort Sawfly.  In the center are: Butterfly Flower, Figwort and Veronica.