I have often pondered this. Why do you suddenly know what colour and yarn to knit a garment from, and at other times are completely stumped? Why when I think about decorative surface embroidery on a checked stole (my maud) does paisley come to mind?
Paisley is a motif that originates in India and Persia and seems to be completely at odds with a checked fabric which I associate with Scotland. Now, I know that tartans and certain checked fabric patterns have very specific origins and that not everything checked is a tartan and so on, I'm just talking about associations here. And it is called a maud. But of course, Paisley is a city in Scotland which gave its name to the design motif that originated on shawls from Kashmir. More associations and connections.
And why should I think of decorative surface embroidery at all? Well, my maud was originally prompted by my Oilily wrap and Oilily is a brand known for its, well, slightly gaudy aesthetic. Floral embroidery on stripes, riotous prints, bright colours. My wrap is in a reasonably subdued red and blue colourway with quite a bit of pattern and was woven in ... India.
So, if I ever get around to it (because I am calling the maud finished for now) I think that I would like to do some paisley embroidery, just in a couple of corners. I had a search around the internet for some basic outline paisley images. Then I did some tidying up about the house and came across my pyjama pants - lo and behold, paisley. And just the simple shapes and layout that I think could work, in a burgundy wool thread and a burnished gold perhaps, maybe a bit of black as well.