In the throes of pansies

I'm lost in crochet world again. My niece will be married in six months, carrying, I hope, a crocheted-lace ribbon tied around her bouquet, possibly in this pattern, but in all-white thread:

Now my sister says she's making about a dozen chocolate-brown silk purses as guest-gifts, and would like to affix several crocheted flowers of some kind to each of them, in deep colors. I'm thinking pansies. The stylized pansies in the ribbon pattern above didn't seem right to me, so I've been trying to fashion my own pattern. These are my first experiments, done with a double strand of embroidery thread, which amounts to about a size 70. I ended up with flowers about an inch across.

Update: Another effort, closer to 2 inches across. I'm liking this pattern. I've just got to fiddle with the shape of the large pair of petals in back, and work on making the tiny, tiny stiches more regular. It's hard to see the row of stitches you're working into, even with my (seldom-used) glasses on under a bright light, but a contrasting color keeps you honest. As you can tell from the photo, the size-13 crochet hook is so small you can barely see the hook at the tip. The colors, by the way, are much more brilliant in real life than I can make them appear with my phone camera.

There's nothing like trying to crochet a flower to make you think hard about how it's structured. In the case of pansies: a radial pattern, three small petals on top, often variegated in color, and two behind, usually in a contrasting but solid color. The middle of the three-petal group is larger and usually double-lobed. Here are a number of beautiful pansies I found searching on the net:

And then I stumbled on something that made me want to drop crocheting and go learn how to work in metal. Did you ever see anything so gorgeous? Look how the pansy stems twist around the base. Follow the link to see what those crazy jewelers put inside this jade Faberge egg with pansies. For some kinds of exuberant excess, you really need an imperial family to plunder the entire country, so they can amass enough wealth to employ over-the-top jewelers.


Grim said...

Those look convincing. I imagine it's quite difficult to build a flower out of knots. Not that I would know; I've never been able to manage any of the arts where you have to construct an image of something. I can't draw, paint, sculpt, or any of the rest of it: but my wife can do all of it, and it amazes me. She'll sit down with almost any material, and turn it in to whatever she wanted it to be.

E Hines said...

I imagine it's quite difficult to build a flower out of knots.

For us poor, dumb humans, perhaps, except for a few talenteds, like T99 and your wife. But Mother Nature does it in her sleep--have you ever looked at any of the protein or sugar molecules that are the structure of such delicacies?

But this ignoramus (me, not Grim) does have a question: ...carrying, I hope, a crocheted-lace ribbon tied around her bouquet, possibly in this pattern, but in all-white thread....

Why must it be all-white? Why not the splash of color that is the essence of pansies?

Eric Hines

Texan99 said...

My niece may yet decide she wants color in the ribbon, but the rest of her clothing will be all-white, so for now I'm planning on white. Remember that the bouquet itself probably will be a splash of color, so the white ribbon is in contrast with that. On the other hand, if she chose to carry white flowers or used a large white handkerchief of some kind to wrap around the flower stems, a brightly colored ribbon might be just the thing. Or we might put a colored flat ribbon behind my lacey thing for contrast.

And you're right about how well a series of knots lends itself to mimicking a natural shape like a flower or a shell. That's how DNA builds things, often, in accreting rows.

douglas said...

Patterns, all the world is patterns, it's just that many are more than we can take in with just a glance. Crochet being all about pattern and structure would be a good medium for constructing a natural object like a flower.

I wonder if reading something like Gyorgyi Doczi's The Power of Limits: Proportional Harmonies in Nature, Art, and Architecture would help you in this effort to reconstruct nature. Might be worth a look, and it's a great book either way.

Your talking about your working through some preliminary studies makes me think of something a friend told me recently that really showed an understanding of how we make things- he said he once had a client who had money and also made things, so he told him that when he made parts for his project, if he could make one a little better than the first attempt by a bit of tweaking and reworking, to toss the first one and do a second. Clearly, this man understood the way we learn in a heuristic way as we make things, and how in the first pass we gain a more full understanding of the project, and so the second effort is improved at the least by being wrought by hands already familiar with what they are doing, and likely more than that.

Enough going off track, so I'll close by saying that the flowers are quite nicely done!