One of the most common questions I get from stitchers is about planning a color scheme. For many people, this is difficult, I think often because we have so much from which to choose.
But, to a large extent, that makes it easier because it’s pretty hard to go wrong.
The two ornaments above show you just how easy it is to do and how the colors you choose can give you different looks. The ornament is from Judy Harper’s Freebies, Etc. blog.
You begin by picking a color of overdyed threads. I started with an overdyed floss from Threadworx. It’s softly colored and includes pink, pale blue-violet, apricot, and a pale olive green, Any of these could be used as the basis for your color scheme. In addition, you could also use pale blues because it is a color which harmonizes with all of them. In What Not to Wear terms, it doesn’t match, it goes with.
The ornament on the left emphasizes the blues. I picked two light blue threads. I wanted to emphasize the center, so I picked a dark green metallic and a slightly darker blue for the Leviathans. Judy offers several options for the center. I liked the checked one and I used Opal Watercolours (which is a pretty white) as the white in both ornaments.
Because the blues go with and don’t match, the emphasis in this design is on the Overdyed Floss. Your eye sees the green metallic first, then sees the two circles of overdye. This is because they are the only elements in the design which are repeated and the blue serves to set them off.
The ornament on the right uses pink and white as the accent colors. The center blocks are made with blue and a darker pink. The blue is like the darker green, it harmonizes with the other colors but is different from them. Because there is not a metallic here, there is less emphasis on the center, even though I used the same arrangement, background thread, and stitches.
I use pink Petite Frosty Rays for the next round of stitches. I really liked the look of this thread with the overdye. Next I stitched the two overdyed rings. Then I found I had, so to speak, painted myself in a corner.
For a design to look good, you need both harmony and contrast. I had harmony because I had pink in both the overdye and the Petite Frosty Rays, but without the metallic, I didn’t have much contrast to balance it. Without contrast, designs can look rather dull and flat.
Every pink I tried, by setting it on top of my stitching, only served to make the design look boring.
This, I think, is a situation we often find ourselves in, sometimes even after we have bought all the threads. So what to do?
Find a thread which adds some contrast. I decided to use the same white I had used in the center. It added contrast.
If you look at the two pieces together, you see something interesting. But in the blue ornament, the emphasis is on the center first, then the two rings of overdye. In the pink ornament, the emphasis is entirely on the center medallion, up to the white ring. The white, because it is repeated, acts as a background. and makes the outer ring of overdyed function as a border.
Neither is “better” than the other. One is not correct, and one incorrect. Both are equally good solutions to the question of making a color scheme based on an overdye.
~Colors don’t need to match, they can “go with” or harmonize.
~For a design to look good there needs to be harmonization and contrast. Without contrast a design looks dull.
~Contrast can come from color (complementary colors), value (darker or lighter), or texture (metallics among matte threads). Contrast can also have more than one of these.
~The colors and threads you choose put emphasis on different areas of the design. This is not a problem in geometrics, but can be in other types of designs.
With so many wonderful free designs out there, try this yourself. You’ll have so much fun!