The Dandelion Gala
I am celebrating the lovely and so often rejected Dandelion in a way that will not lead anyone to spray their lawns with caustic substances, stab at it with sharp tools or yank on it with gloved fingers. A beautiful Gala for the sadly abhorred blossom. I worked on this over the 5 days we spent in a cabin in March for our birthdays and anniversary. I began with the nearly dozen layer golden flower and tatted the different leaves and flowers together as much as possible. The larger than life Dandelion is shuttle tatted with a variety of glass beading worked into the layers. The shimmer and sparkle is wonderful.
The flower alone took several hours to complete. Beads must be strung on the cordonnet in advance and pulled into the tatting as I work. So it is knot, loop, knot, bead, knot….and so on. The knots, loops, and beads of each layer are counted in advance and graphed on paper. A time consuming process but enjoyable and so worth the time.
The leaf design was made especially for this piece. I used the holly design that I have made before for other fiber art works as seen on this barrette. http://www.etsy.com/listing/68380804
I made the stem twist tighter, the beginning narrower and end wide and added lockstitches at the edges to make the stitiches turn in. I was trying to give the leaves the rounded but jagged look of true dandelion leaves. I used references from the internet to redesign the leaf pattern. Several attempts were made before I was happy with the effect.
I used two weights of leaf green cordonnet to make the leaves and changed the core thread to give more dimension. I wanted the larger leaf to stand out more and used a dark gold thread at the core which leaves little flecks of color through the leaf adding brightness and congruency. The two smaller leaves have an evergreen core thread making them recede a little and deepen in color slightly. Finally, when I worked the outside chain, it was reversed so the edges curl up. I like that effect. It feels fresh and natural to me.
This is a photo of my work station beside my chair in the cabin. It was so nice to have all of my stuff out for days and not have to worry about curious kitties dragging things off! You can see my thread balls, beads, tons of shuttles, needles, hooks, embroidery scissors and a few comfort things like chapstick and Udder Cream hand lotion which keeps my worn hands soft but does not stain threads and fabric. The blue cup is for snipped thread ends. I get very bothered by loose ends…imagine that!
After the main flower and leaves are tatted together I began to make ” Teeny Tats”, tiny one ring flowers that I named when I began making notecards. http://www.etsy.com/listing/71546370
I could have stopped with just the Dandelion and its leaves but I wanted purple to set off the gold and the Teeny Tats are an adorable way to add color without detracting from the design. I had to decide how many and where to position the Teenies. So, laying the motif flat I move the little flowers around. I placed the richer colors and heavier weight threads closer to the Dandelion and faded them out to the very finest and lightest Teenies at the edges. I took a photo of where they are to be placed so I can remove them while I work but still have a reference saving me time. In the end I did not use all of them and the remainder go into a small round box to be used on other projects. Each Teenie was hand sewn into the work using its own ends. A glass bead was sewn into each center for sparkle. For pricing, I add 3 minutes for each Teenie plus the amount of time it took to sew them into the design.
I was tickled pink with the way this work evolved. Originally I was making a Spring Gala but the Dandelion is so large and such a focal point that I thought it was appropriate that the Gala be just for this Dandelion. It’s own formal affair. I brought the motif home and added Sterling links and white organdy ribbon with a fantastic shimmer. A two inch chain extender is at the clasp so it can fit any size neck. the “V” shape of the design makes this statement necklace a natural fit.