It’s a delightful canvas, you love it. But the colors just don’t seem quite right to you. I’m not talking about changing the colors to be something different. Instead I’m thinking about canvases such as The Meredith Collection ornament pictured above where the colors on the canvas don’t necessarily match the colors of the object in real life.
I always thought that you stitched the colors on the canvas until I stitched the Elizabeth Bradley Trout kit. When you buy a kit the thread colors are provided for you. My canvas had bits of blue on it. My threads did not have this color. Happily there was a color key. Looking at it I discovered those blue intersections were actually stitched in a shade of green! I had two colors of pink thread, but one went on the red intersections.
It had never occurred to me before but canvas are road maps to help you stitch!
If the threads needed for a canvas, as is the case here, would be close in color, some designers choose to push the colors apart, making them easier for the stitcher to distinguish. That was the case on my trout and that is the case in this golf ball. If you play golf or have seen golf balls you know they are white with lots of dimples. On this canvas he dimples are easy to see because they are painted light blue.
Could you stitch them in blue? You certainly could. If you wanted a realistic gold ball instead you would stitch them in light grey. If the canvas was painted in this color the dimples would be harder to see, making the canvas harder to stitch. Now you have a choice in your stitching change the color or keepit as painted.
About Janet M Perry
Janet Perry is the Internet's leading authority on needlepoint. She designs, teaches and writes, getting raves from her fans for her innovative techniques, extensive knowledge and generous teaching style. A leading writer of stitch guides, she blogs here and lives on an island in the northeast corner of the SF Bay with her family
I have been needlepointing since 1971, and I have been playing around with color virtually the whole time. During that time, I have learned the following:
1. Dark covers light better than light covers dark. For instance, trying to cover black with white generally doesn’t work.
The black shows through at the edge of stitches, etc. and may even show through the thread.
2. While black over white is generally more successful, you can still get bits of white showing.
3. As a general rule, substituting colors seems most successful when the intensity of the background and the thread are similar. For instance, dark blue over black, medium green over medium blue, pale pink over white, etc.
4. If you really, really, really want to make a radical change to the colors such as white over black, consider going over the area you want to stitch in the new color with fabric paint or other acrylic paint in the new color or an inconspicuous neutral. Be prepared to cover this whole area with stitching as the repainted area will not be as smooth and you may get paint in the holes of the canvas. The later is easily remedied as you stitch, but I think that it must be stitched over
5. This is self-evident, but the looser the stitch, the more the background is likely to show. If you use an open stitch of some kind, the original background will of course show. It’s my observation that basket stitch is the most successful at covering an old color with a new especially if there is much difference between the two.
6. Basically, the same is also true of threads or fibres. The thinner or finer the thread relative to the mesh of the canvas, the more the underlying canvas will show and the less successful color changes will be. Of course, the converse is also true. The thicker or heavier the thread relative to the canvas mesh, the more effectively the thread will cover and the easier changing color will be.
After all, virtually everything we stitch – throw pillows, ornaments, belts, etc – can be purchased ready made in some usable form. We stitch as a means of self expression bringing our unique vision to life by the canvases, stitches and threads we choose and color is an essential component of this.
As you experiment, I hope that stitching brings you as much pleasure and satisfaction as it has brought me over the years. Above all, never forget that, ultimately, you are stitching for pleasure. Needlepoint should be fun! So, happy stitching!