What a time I picked to begin this blog, LOL. Life got really busy over the last few weeks, and I sadly didn’t have much time to devote to it. As some of you know, I had to say goodbye to dear Nova Scotia earlier this month. I moved back to a charming, quiet village in Ontario. It was a pretty major move since I lived for six years in Halifax- the longest I’d ever lived in the same city! So it’s been quite the change on many levels, but the charms of the countryside are quickly working their effects on me. I’m back, with all sorts of exciting plans and fresh inspiration!!
Springtime – and especially May and June – tends to inspire me the most. After months of bare trees, cold weather, and empty gardens, it’s so nice to see nature awakening again. It makes me want to embroider ALL THE FLOWERS. But of course there’s too little time and too much to stitch.
And since I’ve been so busy lately, today’s post is only a small project, whipped up in a couple of hours. Buuuut, I’m very happy with it, especially since I didn’t use a pattern and just free-handed everything. Which was kind of a big deal for me because normally I can’t survive without solid guidelines. It was really fun though, and I’m proud of it!
The inspiration for this impromptu little embroidery came, of course, from the yellow seas of dandelions seen everywhere this time of year (at least in my corner of the world).
Although dandelions are often considered as “weed” and/ or “unwanted”, I honestly don’t know how you could not love them. They’re so bright and happy, like pieces of sunshine! They enliven fields and joyfully border gardens and hedgerows.
I love them 😊 So I had to stitch them!
How I Stitched My Dandelions
I used some wool-like yellow floss for the flowers (I bought a bag of those spools a few years ago at a thrift shop, and there were no labels or anything so I’m not 100% sure what it is, but it feels wooly. Could be crewel wool.) and DMC cotton floss #470 for the stems and leaves and #3011 for the middle of the leaves.
I stitched the flowers entirely with straight stitches. I made the first few very short and meet in the same hole in the middle to create the center of the flower, and then worked my way around. The flower to the very right has a center that’s slightly higher to give it a different angle.
The stems are done in backstitch. I added a few more straight stitches in green to create the bracts (the little “leaves” that the flower head seems to rest on). The jagged leaves are worked in long & short stitch. I made them perhaps a bit small, but I think they look fine!
Dandelions have been everywhere I look lately since they grow all around our house, and it’s been really fun to immortalize them in embroidery. If anyone has another method for stitching them, do share it in the comments! I was tempted to make the flowers with narrow silk or satin ribbon to give them a better 3D effect. Thoughts? When you look closely at a dandelion flower, the outer petals have little “teeth” at their tips. I knew this would be hard to replicate if I stitched small flowers, but if I made a bigger one I could give the petals more definition. I’ll just have to keep my dandelion-inspiration going and try stitching them a different way next time!
A Bit of Folklore & Other Interesting Facts
I was curious as to their meaning, so I dug out my pocket language of flowers dictionary and discovered that it stands for rustic oracle. According to folklore, the dandelion helps to tell the time, the weather, and even predicts love (much like a daisy).
“…its flowers always open about 5 am and shut at 8 pm, serving the shepherd for a clock.” – Folkard
Additionally, Chamberlain’s The Child and Childhood in Folk Thought tells us that children would blow the seed tufts to tell time. The number of blows it takes until only the stalk remains corresponds to the hour of the day. Since the flower is fully open when it’s sunny and closes in upon itself when rain approaches, it also serves as a barometer. Pretty cool, no?
There are also a few different ways the dandelion can predict love, according to this same book. You can send a love message by plucking a dandelion head gone all feathery. Think of a sweet thought for each of the feathers, turn towards the place where your loved one dwells, and blow! The seedball will faithfully convey your message 😉 If you wish to know if they are thinking of you, blow again. If there is a single feather left on the head, it means they are also thinking of you.
Benefits of Dandelions
In addition to all this fascinating folklore, the dandelion also has many medicinal uses. The flower, the leaves, and the roots are all edible!* A super easy way to use the flowers when they’re fresh and is to add them to lemonade. Lately I’ve tried combining them with cold minty tea and honey, and it’s incredibly refreshing! You can also dry them in the sun to save later for brewing tea. I originally used this recipe for my lemonade.
The roots can also be used for tea. I haven’t tried this yet, but I’ve had store-bought roasted dandelion root tea before, and it’s amazing. Rich and earthy, with no caffeine, and it’s good for digestion. 😊 As for the leaves, they can be a bit bitter, but work well tossed in a salad mixed with lettuce. My mom even used them in lieu of spinach in a lasagna the other day. Mixed with the cottage cheese, it was delicious! They definitely lost some of their bitterness after they were baked.
So basically, dandelions are lovely, interesting, and beneficial! If their sunny yellow colour isn’t enough to make you appreciate them, you can always try telling the time with their seeds, or see if you’d fancy a cup of tea. 😊
I hope you feel inspired by these happy bits of sunshine, and I look forward to hearing your thoughts in the comments.
Until next time, and happy dandelion-picking!
*As with most edible things, some people might be allergic to dandelions or parts of dandelions. Just be cautious if you’ve never tried them before. Likewise, although the Internet boasts several benefits of consuming dandelions, certain people may experience different side effects due to medical conditions. Just be careful before consuming and do a little research to make sure it won’t be bad for you if you’re unsure. 😊
I consulted the Language of Flowers illustrated by Kate Greenaway and first published by Routledge (London) in 1884 to find the meaning of the dandelion. The copy I have – linked here – is an unabridged reproduction by Dover Publications (New York) in 1992. I got more information on its appearance in folklore by consulting The Child and Childhood in Folk Thought by Alexander Francis Chamberlain, available on Google books. This was originally published in 1896 by Macmillan & Co (New York and London).
I found the eBook version through this article from Coffee House Writers, which was very interesting.