On sunflowers and stitches

Jude wrote a post with a new cloth she has tentatively titled the last sunflower. It sent me off on a search in Windthread, trying and succeeding in finding The Sun Flower I recalled from years ago … one that had been planted late and struggled to bloom … until it didn’t.

Don planted sunflowers this year. They bloomed months ago so he set the seeds out on the fence, but they haven’t yet been eaten by the birds …

Some of garden is struggling … the black eyed Susans are long gone and the coneflowers are barely hanging in …

The tomatoes succumbed last month to the unrelenting triple-digit heat, but Don has planted anew in hopes they might produce when fall finally arrives in Texas around November …

He’s a great gardener, long documented here. His most recent triumph is the dwarf pomegranate planted last fall and not supposed to bear fruit for two or three years …

Likewise the beauty berry is thriving …

So yeah … lucky me to have him and an irrigated herb garden to boot …

Meanwhile, I finished the second boho shirt with mixed results. It’s a learning process, so I’m pleased with the pintucks and how I managed to finish the shoulder seams this time. But I miscalculated the neckline, so it’s back to the drawing board for a third try …

I’ve already mended the first boho shirt, but wasn’t really surprised it needed it so soon. The pattern called for cutting very close to a stitched edge and the seam blew out after a couple of launderings. No matter, I think I like it better this way …

Last, but not least, I’ve been reading a fascinating book about Georgia O’Keeffe entitled Living Modern by Wanda Corn. There are pictures of clothing stitched by O’Keeffe …

put into the context of the world in which she lived …

and the paintings she was creating …

So I’ll leave you with this page depicting one of her New Mexico homes along with a telling quote …

“The painting is like a thread that runs through all the reasons for all the other things that make one’s life.”

Replace the word “painting” with whatever it is that you most love to do and I believe it reads true.

32 thoughts on “On sunflowers and stitches

  1. Love the blouses!!
    Love Georgia ( I gotta read that book!)
    My garden pretty much has given up too…to hot, too Humid, waaaay too rainy 😜

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  2. The pleating and plackets came out beautifully. Such a rich post, full of cyberfriend connections and connections to artists of yore. The pairing of seams and floral painting: super.

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  3. Love the style of your boho shirts and the color of your latest one, is so lovely on you…

    Could you maybe gather some of the coneflowers and dye cloth with them? I’ve never used coneflowers so I am curious if it would give any color or markings.

    Don’s pomegranate makes me sigh with longing. Your herbs look luscious especially against that wonderful paint splattered patio floor; it’s just joyful to see and makes me feel like dancing barefoot on it!

    Doing what we love but also, stretching ourselves to learn and try new endeavors to me is the secret of rich and fulfilling life. Both you and Don have such a life.

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    1. I’ve read that the dwarf pomegranates don’t taste good, but I’m hoping they dye well … and it would be interesting to dye with the coneflowers, which have very stiff seed heads, almost as fierce as teasels

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  4. Your new tops look great, and a terrific repair. The first time I’ve seen a pomegranate growing- beautiful! Many thanks for the book recommendation, such a brilliant quote.

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    1. I do love mending …

      The dwarf fruit is smaller than a golf ball, but supposedly lasts on the branch for quite a while (unless I get impatient and can’t wait to cut into it to see what it’s like) …

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  5. I was so disappointed that last year on my first and probably only visit to Santa Fe the Georgia O’Keeffe was closed due to Covid. I really need to read more about her .. had no idea she sewed clothing. Love your tops .. what’s wrong with the neck line?!! It looks great!

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    1. We also missed seeing the O’Keeffe Museum last fall … fortunately we had visited it before, along with doing the Ghost Ranch bus tour (highly recommended if you ever go back). I was inspired to interpret one of her paintings in cloth upon our return … more here if you’re interested: https://imgoingtotexas.home.blog/tag/stitch-project-georgias-window/

      As for the shirt, the neckline is wider than the picture shows … I had to try several times before getting a decent shot so as not to reveal my foundation garments 😉

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  6. The pomegranate is so sweet! I do wonder how it will dye or if it really does not taste good. Your garden is just lovely. Your clothing is also lovely in its colors, mending, folds and lines. I too thought the neck looked fine 🙂 I’ve considered the quote a lot, both the part you pulled out and the whole of it on the printed page. To me the small portion reads very differently than the whole, but I’ve never had that kind of passion where I “must” get to my making. Something to ponder.

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    1. I’ll definitely taste one, but keep my expectations low so I won’t be too disappointed.

      The neck really is fine as long as I’m not wearing a bra, so it’s perfect for around the house. I’m just a perfectionist at heart.

      I do love the whole quote in the book as it really resonated with me … how we spend so much time doing what we “should do” rather than spending it on what we most “want to do” … that’s how I’ve always felt about reading, which I’d much rather do than housework!

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  7. I also like your shirts. My trick for too wide necklines is to sew a small tab inside the shoulder with a small snap or Velcro just inside the neckline to keep the shirt over the straps. Your pintucks look good, better than those I made forever ago for a maternity dress. [I was hoping for some fascinating etymology for pintuck, but it’s pretty literal. Tuck and pin at a pin’s width.)

    I tried an irrigation set up like your herb garden for my hanging pots and was very disappointed. Even with the faucet turned on full, the first pot barely got wet and the other two didn’t seem to get any water at all. I had big hopes, since a large portion of my front garden is in pots.

    First time I’ve ever seen a growing pomegranate and I never heard of beauty berries. Are they for eating or dying, or both?

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    1. Beauty berry is a native shrub much loved by birds, less so by humans according to this reference …

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Callicarpa_americana

      That said, it would be fun to see what they might yield as a dye, but I’d hate to give up the berries as they are beauty-full (sorry, couldn’t resist), both to look at and for the birds they attract

      And thanks … as I move away from the close scrutiny that comes with making, the shirt is starting to look better to my hyper-critical eye 😉

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  8. This post is so full of interesting points, I’m having trouble distilling my thoughts. Pomegranates….wow.
    I, too, have never seen one “on the vine” so to speak. How beautiful!
    Your shirt….it looks great on you. I especially like the pin tucks and the soft coral color. Necklines are tricky, in my opinion. It is easy to be too generous.
    Georgia O’Keefe….the whole quote hits the nail on the head. I didn’t know that she sewed, and deeply admire her pin tucks too. What is it about old Vogue patterns? I did a lot of sewing in my youth and spent time poring over pattern books. There is something about the illustrations that galvanize the sense of possibility inherent in sewing more than any photograph ever does.

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    1. I missed the boat on sewing clothes when I was younger, so I guess that’s why I’m dabbling in it now … to see what I missed … and I love sewing seams, so there’s that

      Georgia O’Keeffe’s sewing has been on my radar for a while, which is why I really wanted to try pintucking … now that I’ve seen pictures, I want to try making true pintucks, which is to say, really tiny on sheer fabric …

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  9. this whole, WHOLE post and then all the responses….I love…is so FINE and i am another one who didn’t know that G o’K sewed….how Beauty Full, that and how she sewed her vision of the world into her clothing…
    Thank You…so much for all this post and thank you to your good man for his hand to the Garden and the Sunflowers on the wall

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    1. Back in the day there was an O’Keeffe exhibit at the small art museum on the William and Mary campus … there I learned that GOK had lived for a time in Williamsburg … when I began my second career as a school librarian, I sought out GOK biographies for my libraries and that’s where I first learned that she sewed her own clothes … but it was only now that I finally found images of her clothing to study and now I’m thinking I may forward that information to Sarah Woodyard to see if she might be willing to collaborate on creating a workshop about how to hand sew one or more of the early patterns

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  10. No idea how I missed this post – but it is bountiful. I can attest to the mini pomegranates surprising us with fruit so early; but also not being much good at being fruit for eating. I never did try to dye with them. The two tops looks great and I often find I need running repairs after a few washes, especially of the handsewn bits! Your water problem is a bit scary – we are overloaded here and I wonder what the poor earth is going through. And what a marvellous way Georgie O’Keefe had of describing our days. Hurrying…

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    1. love that I am online as your comment popped up … and yes I wasn’t all that surprised when that seam gave way, so I’ll anticipate it next time (although I do enjoy mending, so it’s really not a problem)

      I may transcribe the GOK quote as a way to further appreciate it … maybe next Thursday (wink)

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  11. A few years back there was a display somewhere of the clothing that Georgia O’Keefe made. I wanted to go see it so much… Necklines take practice. Keep going, you are doing great!

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  12. LA – wow – what a full and overflowing post. We seem to be having similar results with gardens only ours was wrecked earlier by ongoing rain – we have now bought a small greenhouse. D – has persisted and the results are looking grand. Amazing job on the tops – love that little yellow repair-embellishment. Grow and create well. B

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    1. In spite of careful tending, one of the new tomatoes gave up … ever persistent, Don is putting in yet another tomorrow …

      It seems we are droughted until we are flooded … weather is nothing if not extreme these days

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  13. The pomegranate is beautiful! My Callicarpa didn’t like it here sadly. Such an amazing colour. I went to see the Georgia O’Keefe exhibition when it came to the Tate in 2016. So worth the trip up to London to see her work for real.

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    1. Seeing Georgia’s artwork in person, as with any art, makes all the difference … the guards at the O’Keeffe Museum in Santa Fe were incredibly patient as I removed my glasses, clasped my hands behind my back, and leaned in to see her brushstrokes as close as I dared … in hindsight, I should have thanked them afterward for their forbearance

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  14. those boho blouses are superb! you have such determination (I am in awe of it all)
    fancy Georgia O’Keeffe sewing her own clothing….all the things one does not know about a person……love the quote you posted here, i have copied and printed it for my studio

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    1. I should do the same … her quote fits me like a glove … and next up, I really do want to try true pin tucks (which is to say, extremely narrow and lots of them)

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