This delightful ornament from Eye Candy is in the current (Jan/Feb 2016) issues of Needlepoint Now. It’s a great design, but what if these just aren’t your colors? Are you just going to pass it by?
Often we do just because we don’t know how to change colors in needlepoint.
While changing colors in realistic pieces is harder, changing colors in geometrics is easier than you might think.
The project calls for:
- metallic braid (Crystal Braid)
- metallic ribbon (Soft Sheen Fyre Werks)
- metallic/non-metallic blend (Silk Lamé)
- second metallic braid (Treasure Braid)
- non-metallic solid or semi-solid thread (shaded Very Velvet)
- various embellishments
The first step is, if you can, to identify the role of each thread and embellishment. Here the Very Velvet is the background, the Treasure Braid fills in the shape on the edges, and the other threads are used to make the filled shapes. Once you know these things you can see where you could substitute and entirely different thread
(for the Treasure Braid), or which threads have to go together (the fill colors).
Embellishments can be either an integral part of the design or extra touches added on top of the design. If they are integral, consider them as another thread. If they are added touches, as is the case here, you can make the choice about including them or not. Because the choice of colors in embellishments is often limited, I tend to pick my colors without considering them and then add them back in if I find things that work.
Once you have done this find the focus thread. This is the thread around which the design is created. Sometimes, as is the case here, there isn’t one. At other times, if there is an overdye or a thread used for a center, that will be the focus thread. All the other threads in the design need to coordinate with this thread, although they may not go with each other if this thread is absent.
If there is no focus thread, find the inspiration for the colors used. It might be an overdye that is then not used for the actual stitching. It might be the colors in a scarf or a printed fabric. It could be a color scheme found on the Internet. While not essential, knowing where the scheme came from gives you a place to look for other colors.
Assign threads that match your new scheme to the project. If possible select threads that are the same or similar in structure to the original threads. For example, Treasure Braid is used for the fill in this piece. I could use a different color of the same thread or I could use another round metallic, such as Sparkle Braid or Kreinik.
As a final step before you stitch, line up your threads to match the original project. Do they look good together? Then you can start stitching. Does something not look right? Then pick another color or thread.
A Case Study
I used this scarf, above, as the basis for my stitched ornament. Its colors are a bit out of my comfort zone so it presents a good challenge.
My focus thread is going to be a lovely yellow-orange from Dinky Dyes, above, called Tropic Sunshine. It closely matches this color in the scarf. My plan is to use it for the background.
Next I picked the color for the outside fill. I chose Sparkle Braid, above, in peach for this. It is less metallic than Treasure Braid but I like the subtle way it plays with the yellow-orange. They are close in value but the peach is less intense so it will make the brighter ornament pop out.
For the lozenges I first looked at two gold Crystal Braids. I settled on the paler shade because being lighter it looked better with my other threads. My second fill color was the metallic ribbon. I picked Soft Sheen Fyre Werks in a lime green. I liked that it picked up the olive in the scarf and brought a cooler color into the mix. Both threads are pictured above.
Looking at these threads together I felt as if they looked a bit flat. That’s because they are all similar in value, medium-light. What’s needed is something with a big contrast in value. In the scarf brown plays this role. So I looked for a brown thread. My initial choice, shown here, is an old Rainbow Gallery thread, Gold Rush 14, above (picture much blacker than actual thread). I’m happy enough with it, but I will try some other brown threads to see if something looks better.
Now I’m ready to stzrt stitching the ornament with an entirely different color scheme.