Here is the second block in the series for the State Flower Quilt project. I really loved stitching this and dreaming about fields of blue.
The folklore and history surrounding the Texas Bluebonnetis an interesting one. Here's the back story. . .
It is said that its name comes from the resemblance of the individual petals to that of a lady's "blue" bonnet. But it has also been known by other less gussied-up names like wolf flower, buffalo clover, and by the Mexicans as el conejo---translated meaning; "the rabbit", perhaps a comparison to the flower spires as rabbit ears or the characteristic white tip resembling a cottontail. But whatever it's called, it's clear that bluebonnets have been beloved since man first set foot upon the vast prairies that were blanketed in blue by them. Indians wove folk tales about them, and early day Spanish priests gathered seeds and cultivated the flowers around their missions. This practice gave rise to the myth that the flowers traveled over with the padres of Spain, but it has since been researched and documented that the predominant species of bluebonnets are found growing naturally in Texas only, and in no other location in the world.
Lupinus texensis, as the name suggests, is a species of lupine. It blooms in early spring and is spotted primarily in fields and along the roadsides throughout central and south Texas. Flowers are densely arranged on a spike and reach their peak of bloom toward the end of March and early April. The bluebonnet is a biennial plant which begins life as a small gravel-like seed that can withstand several years of dormancy if necessary until the right conditions of wind, rain, and weather penetrate its hard coating; seeds need to be covered over with soil in order to germinate. It's sometimes discovered in the wild with surprising color mutations; predominantly pink and maroon, and as an occasional rare white albino. (These mutations have been selectively cultivated to produce different color strains that are now available commercially.)
So, the beloved bluebonnet was adopted as the official state flower by the Texas Legislature in March 7, 1901--but not without a tussle between the ladies of the National Society of Colonial Dames of America and the businessmen and lawmakers of the day who favored the hardy cactus, and the cotton-boll ( a source of prosperity and wealth), as the best representatives of the state. Eventually though, after polite, yet heated "discussions", the gentlemen conceded to the ladies and Lupinus subcamosus was named as the first state flower. However, for the next 70 years a grassroots movement began leaning toward another species (texensis), which was bigger and more robust, which many felt better exemplified the spirit of Texas and its people, pushing lawmakers to rename the flower. Finally in 1971, after much back-and-forth debate, the politicians found a compromise. What they did was re-write the legislation to include both types of species, plus any others that happened to show up in the future. This is why there are now five varieties of bluebonnet that are recognized as symbols of the Lone Star State. Just in case you wondered. And so now you know!
Colors: I'm using six-strand DMC embroidery floss. The block I stitched probably resembles the original 'buffalo clover' variety; it's not as vivid as the second favorite which seems more vibrant. This is a personal choice though, because it seems you can choose between either of them or even pink. For anyone who needs more guidance in choosing colors, here are mine: icy blue #800, medium blue #813, darker blue #824, for the petals. The leaves and stems are done medium green #471. Feel free to use whatever suitable shades you have, or go brighter, darker, or even PINK if you dare. (Study the pictures in the links above if you are a stickler for authenticity.) For letters I'm sticking with #645, which is a few shades lighter than black.
Block Size: For some reason the images are printing out larger than 4 x 4-inches. (This is approximate--they are meant to fit a 6.5" block). So re-size them if necessary. Happy Stitching!