Some designs seem to cluster together but aren’t really sets at all, more of a process where one design suggests another and so on. It all started with a design using thistles. Thistles mean Scotland. Or Eeyore, if you’re a Winnie the Pooh fan, but I thought something Scottish would probably sound better. So I named it Scotland the Brave.
Then some time later I came across a discussion (either online or in an old stitching magazine, I can’t remember) about the difficulty of representing anything five or six-sided in counted thread work, a medium that is intrinsically based on squares, or at least on a fabric that does right angles naturally, and 45-degree angles with some persuasion, but struggles with anything else. Hardanger is, by its very nature, quite square. What a challenge! Could you create, say, a five-petalled flower in Hardanger? Like a Tudor rose, perhaps? After much charting, re-charting, and re-re-charting, I decided you couldn’t, and Tudor saw the light of day in a four/eight-petalled variety.
If I’d had any foresight, I would have made it the same size as Scotland the Brave, realising that I had a series in the making, and the Tudor rose could represent England. A little more foresight yet, and I would have called it Merrie England.
By the time I was jotting down ideas for a clover-based design, the idea of a set had finally suggested itself. Clover, Ireland … Luck of the Irish joined the other two. It had the same basic outline as Tudor, and the same size. I was on to something!
Have I mentioned that I like things that come in fours? And the fourth in this set would, of course, be Wales. Somehow I can’t quite envisage a leek-based design, but daffodils offer definite scope; and if I give it the same basic shape and size as the thistle design, that would even things out nicely. And then I’d have a UK set – a nice tribute to the country which I now call home. Tudor could be renamed, and the daffodil design could be called Land of My Fathers or possibly Eisteddfod (or if I was feeling really silly, Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch).
There are, however, one or two problems with this whole UK idea. For one thing, can Luck of the Irish stand for Northern Ireland rather than the Republic? And more seriously, will Scotland stay in the Union long enough for me to complete the set! Do I want people to think I am making a political statement in Hardanger? Probably safer to call this hypothetical collection the British Isles set. Watch this space to see whether leek and daffodil manage to inspire me any time soon!