Sometimes it’s not the name of the colours that lead to the name of the design, it’s the colours themselves. Delft and Citrus come into this category – there is nothing particularly citrussy about the latter apart from its green, yellow and orange colour scheme, and it is the blues in Delft that give it its name, rather than the fact that it looks like a pottery design. The Bittersweet designs I wrote about recently got their name in this way as well.
Some of the designs whose names are inspired by their colours may need a bit more explanation, though. Like Veronica. Not a girl’s name, in this case, but a tiny flower, more commonly known as Speedwell – which would have been a good name too and may well be used in future – and (as you may have guessed) blue. African Star (which hasn’t been stitched yet) is shaped like an 8-pointed star, but the African bit in the name comes from the colours it uses: red, gold and green, sometimes called the Pan-African colours. And Vienna is stitched in chocolate and coffee colours on chocolate brown fabric. With Vienna the home of coffee houses and Sachertorte, what else could I possibly have called it?
Spice Islands uses the colours of all those spices I love to use, like cinnamon, nutmeg, mace and cloves (the cut Hardanger bits in the desig are shaped like cloves). Nutmeg and cloves feature largely in Dutch cuisine, but they can be a bit startling to the British palate, so I tend to halve the amounts in any recipe I cook nowadays. Spice Islands is my tribute to Dutch cooking!
Another tribute to my Dutch heritage (if one can apply the grand name of heritage to something sweet eaten on bread) is Sprinkles, which shows how closely linked colour and shape and name can be. On the design’s info page I explain that the thread colours reminded me of the pink, yellow and orange of those sweet fruit sprinkles I used to eat as a child. This in turn influenced the shape of the design, which started out with four giant sprinkles arranged in the centre. As for the significance of the hearts and butterflies, well, uhm, I got a bit carried away while designing and didn’t have the heart to delete them once they were there …
And finally a case where the colour led to the name, which then led to another design. I wanted to do something with the combination of moss green, brown and cream. The design turned out to be geometric rather than pictorial, so I turned to the colours for a name. Something mossy. Hmmm. Moss Rose? But there were no rosy colours in it at all. Then I remembered some pieces of agate I had had as a child, with bands of all sorts of lovely subdued colours, and I also remembered that one type of agate was called Moss Agate. Bingo. But I liked the colours so much I wanted to do another design using them. The word moss and the brown colour made me think of Reindeer Moss. I liked the name but felt there should be something in the design to reflect it; cue four satin stitch reindeer. This is what is so nice about letting colours inspire you – you never know what you’ll design next!