I just finished stitching the second of the late Judy Harper’s delightful mitered Bargello ornaments. Judy is planning on having them available soon.
You saw the first one at the top of this post.
Judy’s version is pictured on the left, mine is on the right.
I call it my Brazilian parrot Bargello because the vivid green reminds me of parrot feathers.
I like the combination of the two because we need to learn to be more adventurous in our use of color. It’s hard, I know, but making small things like ornaments is a perfect way to go. They don’t take long to stitch, they don’t have to go with anything, and, you only need to see them a few weeks each year.
So how do you pick a color scheme when you have a charted geometric piroject. Begin by looking at the threads called for in the project. You should, as much as possible, substitute using the same threads.
Then pick a color theme. In my case it was a skein of Tentakulum (from YLI) Painter’s Palette silk in Chagall. It is a vivid green with bits of rose, blue and violet. Those colors would be my accents. I used those colors to pick the threads for the rest of the design.
I had some blue-violet Flair so I used that. The white Flair in the center is the same as the original project. I originally picked a lighter pink, but I decided as I stitched, that I wanted something richer and more varied. So the rose at the center is a Weeks Perle. I didn’t stitch the middle and outer rounds of white initially. But I changed the outer line of Tent Stitch to a very pale pink. It looks almost white, but it is a bit softer. The outside green border is Lorikeet from Gloriana in a green which also reminds me pf parrot feathers.
Having picked these threads (all from my stash) and stitched with them, I was struck by how nice the greens looked against the white canvas. That was something I didn’t expect, I had been too lazy to go pick another ribbon thread.
At that point I decided to go with white for the open rings so that the greens would be accented as they were with the open canvas. Since the original has beads, and I didn’t have any, I used floss and T Stitch for the middle round. The outer round was more problematical. The original uses Flair and I had used most of my white Flair. I rooted through my stash and found this charming white/opal color of YLI’s Ribbon Floss Shimmer Blend. Because of the bit of metallic in it, it has some of the same texture as Flair, so it worked. But if it didn’t, I had planned to rip it out to try something else.
There are two things which hold us back from trying out different colors. One is that we don’t feel we can make good choices. This is easily solved by taking your color cues from overdyed threads. They are dramatic and beautiful and inspiring.
The second is that we feel we must pick everything out before we begin to stitch. DON’T. Pick what you feel sure of, then add or change as you go along. If I had picked all the colors at the beginning, this piece would have had a neon pink center, which would have been too much of a contrast with the green, a dark green border, which wouldn’t have reinforced the green of the overdye, and who knows what for the white Flair.
By letting the stitching show me what was needed, after the initial selection and by being willing to change my mind and adapt, I got a lovely result.
Don’t be afraid, try color!