Saturday, October 18, 2008

Silk Ribbon Narcissus for December

Getting the information together about the narcissus - the birthday flower for December - has been interesting! It is pulling together things I had never really thought about before. My mother used to always force bulbs in a shallow dish she had especially for this, and it was a ritual with us to go to the garden center every year in November to buy them. They were placed on top of some aquarium gravel in a very shallow dish with water, and the timing was intended to make them sprout and bloom by about the last week in December. I never questioned the "why" of it, and she probably inherited this tradition from her mother as well. It seems that the narcissus/daffodil, as it blooms very very early in the spring - sometimes while there is still snow on the ground - has been a symbol of new life and rebirth for many cultures.


The Druids adopted it as their national flower, and regarded it as a symbol of purity.The narcissus also symbolizes self-love, from the Greek myth of the youth who fell in love with his own reflection, and was reborn as a flower after his death - so the symbolism here is the triumph of divine love and sacrifice over death, selfishness and sin. Interesting! As for why we force the bulbs to bloom at holiday time, the Chinese believed that by forcing the narcissus to bloom at the New Year, they were assured of good luck for the coming year. I had never really thought about the different shapes and colors of this flower, as Mother's bulbs always produced the very sweet smelling ones with yellow "trumpets." My grandmother, however, had what we called "paper whites" in her garden, which had tiny little white centers with no yellow at all. I looked at hundreds of images before starting with the silk ribbon, but didn't take into consideration that creating a narcissus in SR on needlepoint stitching was not easy - so this is what we have! I used the 7mm white, which had to be stitched over for each petal to make them fluffy - and then the 4mm yellow for the centers, which couldn't be made any smaller. Oh well. The effect is what counts. They are a bit messy, I think - but will pass for narcissus. I may put one or two more, but will put it away for a few days and decide when I'm not tired of looking at it.

4 comments:

Miss 376 said...

They have come out really well, I like the ones with yellow centres

Threeundertwo said...

I think they're lovely, not messy! I like the yellow centers.

Bettina said...

So beautiful and wonderful your work!!!LOvely blog!!!!

Granny Fran said...

I love what I'm seeing on your blog, now that I am back in the loop, somewhat, after having 2 mini strokes in July. Your crazy hearts are fantastic, I especially like what you are doing with the silk ribbon flowers on the December heart. It's great that you are doing the basic needlepoint tutorial. I really enjoy reading your column in each new "Needlepoint Now".