Simply Irresistible by Cynthia Jackson
27th March 2020
Prior to 1695, the deliciously scented and vibrantly coloured flowering pea plant, or sweet pea as you may know it, only existed on the edge of country laneways and hedgerows in Sicily.
Fortunately for gardeners the world over, Father Francisco Cupani stopped by the side of a lane one summer’s day, captivated by the shape and smell of this delicate plant.
Academic and botanist, Father Cupani simply had to share his discovery with his green fingered correspondents across Europe.
One of his colleagues in England was an enthusiastic gardener by the name of Dr Robert Uvedale. This gentleman shared the seeds received from the good Father with many of his gardening friends, and by the mid 1700s, the Sweet Pea was being sold commercially.
The craze for this flower, looking so much like a child’s bonnet and smelling like the sweetest of perfumes, built slowly. However, by the twentieth century there were high stakes competitions being run in Britain, searching for the best bunch of sweet peas one could grow.
By that point the plant appeared in myriad colours, from whites to pinks to delicate purples. One can only imagine the heady scent which must have filled the judging area during that inaugural competition.
However, the riot of colour which would have resulted when the judges received the 2500 plus entries could not have come close to the delicate beauty that Cynthia Jackson has achieved with her stunning silk and goldwork project from Inspirations issue #105.
Demonstrating in magnificent glory how this plant is more than just it’s flower, the aptly named ‘Simply Irresistible’ is an elegant study of a plant still wildly popular among gardeners the world over.
Cynthia, who is making her debut appearance in Inspirations magazine (welcome to the family Cynthia!) has utilised her expert knowledge about a unique silk and goldwork technique to design a striking and accurate botanical study. The magnificent juxtaposition of shimmering gold and metal threads with soft silk emphasises each curve, bump and detail of this flowering pea plant.
In keeping with all good botanical studies, Cynthia displays the plant in all of its stages, from the early, smooth pod on the right, through to the open pod, bursting with swirling golden peas on the left.
Similarly, she has coloured the flowers in a way that would have made many of those early gardeners green with envy.
Her violet-coloured blooms display hints of stripes and flecking, elements which took many a devoted gardener years to achieve. You, however, can achieve it with your well-placed stitches, picked out in sparkling gold and guaranteed never to fade.
The wonderful effect of this project is achieved through careful placement of the stitches, particularly the silk. It is stitch direction which gives the mature leaves such body, and stitch direction which provides the indicator as to what stage the pod is at.
Being mindful of where you are laying your stitches will also help when it comes to later couching the gold thread, the element which, we’re sure you’ll agree, sets this project apart.
Interestingly, it seems that in recent years, as sweet peas have grown in predominantly urban areas, their rich scent has faded. Victims of air pollution and reduced numbers of pollinators, we can only imagine what the sweet smell must have been like when Father Cupani was strolling the lanes.
Fortunately, Cynthia’s flowering pea plant is designed to dazzle other senses, ensuring that you can record this historical plant for generations to come.
Make Your Own Simply Irresistible
Step 1 – Purchase Project Instructions
Simply Irresistible by Cynthia Jackson raises the humble pea plant to glorious heights, with a stunning combination of silk embroidery and goldwork.
Inspirations Issue 105
Simply Irresistible – i105 Digital
Step 2 – Purchase Ready-To-Stitch Kit
The Inspirations Ready-To-Stitch kit for Simply Irresistible includes everything you need to re-create this superb study: Fabrics (unprinted) wool felt, silk and metal embroidery threads and needles.
Please Note: To cater for flexibility of purchase, instructions are not included with our kits. For step-by-step directions on how to create this project, please refer to the magazine/digital pattern.