Balancing Act:
Making Marigolds

Celeste Chalasani © 2009

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The theme for Sharon Boggon’s August 2008 “Take it Further Challenge” was balance. Balance has a lot of meanings to me. The word "balance" can be used to describe how we manage our work and family responsibilities. It can be used to describe how a waiter or waitress carries a tray of cups and plates from the kitchen to the table. It can also be used to describe how circus performers walk gracefully across a tightrope.

The crux of Sharon’s challenge was how to interpret our concept of "balance" using any medium of choice, which for me is Stumpwork. When Sharon first posted the challenge, I knew immediately that I wanted to capture the essence of the praying mantis that lived in our marigolds during the summer. It was a cream colored praying mantis hidden among orange and yellow flowers and difficult to spot. However, every time I watered, it left the shelter and safety of the marigolds and balanced itself gracefully among the leaves.

Supply List:

  • An 8” square piece of cream colored fabric
  • An 8” square piece of muslin used to back your fabric
  • Threads & Ribbons:
    • 13 mm wide ribbon - Pick orange or yellow variegated ribbon. I used Gloriana #007 Valencia for the original model and Gloriana #129 Baby Corn for the model used in the instructions - cut to 24" long
    • Thread to match the main color of your ribbon - one strand about 18” long
    • Anchor stranded cotton #266
    • Anchor stranded cotton #269
  • A small piece of light green felt
  • Sharp or Embroidery needles, size 10 or 12

Order of Work:

  1. Transfer the stitching design to the right side of your cream colored fabric. Sandwich your fabric and a piece of muslin together and tighten into a hoop.
  2. The main stem is stitched with two strands of Anchor #266 in Whipped Chain Stitch. Begin at the bottom of the stem and Chain Stitch towards the base of the flower. When you get to the flower base, come up and whip your chain stitch back to the end of the stem.
  3. The secondary stems are stitched with two strands of Anchor #266 in Outline Stitch.
  4. For the receptacle (base of flower), cut a piece of green felt to size. Using one strand Anchor #266, tack the felt in place using Buttonhole Stitch around all the edges. Cover the felt with Satin Stitch using one strand of Anchor #266.
  5. The leaves of the marigold are stitched with one strand of Anchor #269 using Double Cast-on Stitch.
  6. Finally, attach your marigold blossom at the top of the receptacle.


How to Make a Marigold Blossom:

Step 1: Start with 24" of ribbon. Fold down the end to make a triangle.
Step 2: Roll the end two or three times and secure in place with two or three stitches of your matching thread. This is the flower center.
Step 3: Stitch 4" of Running Stitches along the bottom of your ribbon.
Step 4: Pull your thread to gather the ribbon.
Step 5: Roll the gathered part of your ribbon around the flower center.
Step 6: Make small stitches to secure the ribbon in place to the flower center. Bring your needle back out where your running stitches ended.

Repeat Steps 3 through 6. Continue working 4" sections of your flower: stitch a Running Stitch, gather the ribbon, roll the gathered ribbon around the center of the flower and make small stitches to hold in place.

When you reach the end of your ribbon, stitch across the ribbon diagonally. Trim the ribbon next to your stitches. Gather the ribbon, roll the gathered ribbon around the flower and stitch into place as before.
To secure, make several stitches through the center of your flower. Do not cut your thread - use this thread to attach your blossom to your fabric.


Sharon Boggon's Stitch Dictionary

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