Hearts stitch journal, 17 May 2018

A beautiful roseate dawn this morning, but by the time we walked around the garden, it was cold and overcast. The cold, high winds that came yesterday have stripped the softer leaves from the trees and the garden is curiously scentless. Normally at this time of year, I’m alerted to the presence of our ceanothus by its wonderful honeyed anisic smell, but this morning, it was its blue flowers against the grey sky that I noticed. Ceanothus is so intensely blue because every part of the flower is blue, including the stalks and stamens. Ours is a variegated evergreen variety, supposed to be five feet high but now 15 feet and heading ever upwards. It is hugely attractive to butterflies and a few years ago, every flower head carried a painted lady butterfly due to an immense hatching in Morocco. Today’s threads are pink cotton perlé no 5 and six-strand embroidery threads, sewn in ones and twos, in two shades of green and three shades of blue (one variegated). The stitches are Hungarian braided chain stitch for the heart, stem stitch for the stems, thorn stitch and satin stitch for the leaf, pistil stitch for the buds and straight stitch with cross stitch for the blossoms.

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