At this time of year, the rural hedgerows and urban edgerows froth with white lacy flowers.
I’m not sure I know the difference between cow parsley and cow parsnip, wild carrot and hogweed, chervil and hemlock, or a host of other white-flowered umbellifers, but they always trigger a singsong voice in my head:
Queen Anne’s lace, Queen Anne’s lace,
You’ll find it growing all over the place
I think the rhyme is from Little Grey Rabbit makes lace by Alison Uttley.
I don’t remember whether I read the book along with the other Little Grey Rabbit stories when I was a little girl, or if we discovered it later on, after my mother became a lace-maker. It would certainly have made more sense when I knew a little more about lace pillows, silk threads and wooden bobbins.
Although I’ve done a fair number of textile handcrafts in my time, I never got beyond the rudiments of lace-making. Of course, that didn’t stop me writing about it.
You sit, bent over the pillow;
click back and forth.
Deftly, you weave silk threads:
over, under, twist and hitch;
under, over, pin and twist.
Beneath your fingers
a brass forest grows
shrouded in gossamer.