It is difficult to miss the profusion of sunflower images (the national flower of 🇺🇦 Ukraine) that fiber artists are posting on their social media feeds. As our hearts and minds are with this brave nation, it is one small way to express our solidarity with those who fight for their democracy. My first sunflower is a fused, raw-edged applique enhanced with fabric ink and paint…if you would like to stitch your own, read on!
As is the case with nearly all of my work, it began with a photo I’d taken of a sunflower a few summers ago:
Looking at the flower, I could see that some petals were in the foreground and others receded into shadow…the simplest approach in Procreate would be to trace the underlayer:
…then the top layer:
Which, combined, would look like this:
Then, I traced the center on top of the petals…
and decided to totally free-style the stem/leaves …
OK, time for a confession: did I cut each of shapes on my Cricut? No, being impatient, I took out my Karen Kay Buckley favorite scissors and free-cut petals from 2 colors of yellow Lava Solids ;)…then free-cut the center (fold a square into quarters, cut into a circle, then cut a wiggly border around it.). The stem and leaves were free-cut with my Olfa rotary cutter. Here is a link to my favorite-in-the-world Lava Solid batiks from Anthology Batik Fabrics for Windham: https://anthologyfabrics.com/precuts/fat-quarters/
The joy of having fabrics organized by color is that you can swiftly choose fabrics for a project…sometimes these wire drawers come with, umm, helpers…
Most of my fat quarters have already been Mistyfused (the best fusible!!! https://www.mistyfuse.com/) so the select/cut/fuse process went very quickly. (I work backwards and fuse the background sandwich, then arrange my pieces to be fused.)
You’ll notice that I used the same shade of yellow fabric for both layers of petals…I then used a dark yellow Tsukineko pen to ink in the under petals (and some pencil, too)…then differentiated by the shade of 28wt Aurifil I used to stitch them (darker, of course, for the lower layer). I used a dark brown alcohol ink pen to dot the center (if you leave the tip on the fabric, it blots nicely) then draw many intersecting arcs. It is impossible to reproduce nature’s perfect geometry, but I went for the effect of pollen grains and that not-quite-spiral pattern you see if you look closely. (Pieces like this are terrific for playing with different weights of Aurifil: black/brown 28wt was perfect for the center, then a 40wt for the stem/leaves…and 50wt for the background quilting.)
Of course, I had a helper at this stage too…one of my friends reacted to this photo by saying that she thought Loki was doing the quilting 😆 …
The edge was finished with a zig-zag stitch, then yellow piping to give it a finished look.
This is the first of many sunflowers in my studio…this weekend I did a fast ink-and-thread sketch in blue ink/Aurifil on yellow Lava Solid background!
Each stitch a prayer for Ukraine 💙💛🇺🇦.
Postscript…my pattern makes fabulous mugs on Zazzle!