Although the Rosenstich/Greek cross pulled stitch turned out to be not quite what I was looking for, I was still fairly certain what I wanted to do with this Daffodil design. Well, when I say "certain" I don’t mean in the sense of knowing exactly what it would look like; more in the sense of having several ideas, one of which (or a combination of them) would definitely be part of the finished design. Hang on to that word "definitely" – it’ll crop up again later.
As you can see, the sketch contains the following ideas:
- The daffodil would be stitched in four shades: "yellow + l. yellow bars", "d. yellow bars" and "v.d. yellow bars"
- The petals could be divided into 4 using cutwork and 4 using surface stitch
- Or the only cutwork/Hardanger could be the centre, with 4 petals in pulled work and 4 in surface stitch
- The surface stitch could be a closed herringbone, or possibly some sort of knotted or woven or plaited stitch
I decided that I liked the option with Hardanger in the centre, and then the petals half pulled and half surface; I also realised quite quickly that the stitch I’d been rummaging for in the recesses of my mind was not herringbone but fishbone stitch. It’s a lovely surface stitch that is great for leaf and petal shapes, but as I started charting the first petal it soon became clear that there is an important difference between charting for yourself, and charting so that other people can actually make sense of it.
If I were charting just for me, I’d indicate the rough outline of the petal with a backstitch line (which would not actually be stitched but only appear on the chart to show the placement of the petal). Then I’d say to myself, "OK, now fill in that shape with fishbone stitch". Done.
But you can’t do that for a chart pack – as the whole design would be worked on a counted fabric, I’d have to indicate exactly where the stitches were to sit; I didn’t feel that the surface-embroidery-on-non-count-material method of asking people to transfer the leaf outline to their fabric using some sort of dressmaking pencil and then filling it in would be much appreciated.
So that was pretty much that for the fishbone stitch. Add to that the fact that my original idea for the pulled part of the design, Rosenstich (called Schwalm in the sketch because it is used in that type of embroidery), turned out to be rather too rough on the rest of the fabric to be much use, and things weren’t boding well for the daffodil. Nevertheless I set out to draw a few Kloster block and satin stitch outlines in various shades of yellow in the hope that they would miraculously turn into something usable. Soon I had quite a pleasing shape, and the day began to look better. Except that it did look rather familiar. And then I realised it was almost the exact shape of Flora, except that I was adding extra petals!
So that was it. End of story. I didn’t want to chart something so similar to an unconnected design, and besides, it wasn’t similar enough in overal shape to the three other UK designs to make a fourth in that set.
I’m sorry if this is beginning to sound as if hardly any ideas ever make it into a chart – it’s not quite that bad. But you do occasionally get dead ends, and things that were "definitely" going to be in there turn out to be impractical. Even so you usually find that some of those discarded ideas come in handy in some future design, or at least add a new skill to the repertoire (even if it isn’t a particularly useful one). And I’m not giving up on that daffodil yet!