If it even happens once, it’s too often — you’re running out of thread and you can’t find a dyelot to match.
What do you do? Cut everything out and start over? Pretend not to notice?
I’ve done both of these things and, to be quite honest, they are not the best solutions. The keys to making dyelot changes work is either to make them unnoticeable or to make them look planned.
Here are some of my favorite ideas for mixing dyelots.
I’ve had this problem many times and found it easiest to do one of several things.
If you suspect this will happen and it is the background, make it look planned by creating a striped background, alternating the two dyelots. It’s a very subtle effect that looks chic like a damask fabric. The picture above shows a project halfway through this process with the first color’s stripes done.
Using a textured stitch, especially if it alternates directions, adds to the effect.
If it turns out that the dyelots do match, you still have a cool texture and, if you alternate direction, and a ‘feel’ of different colors.
Mix Areas of the Colors
If the areas in this color are divided into discrete areas (such as the sky between fence posts), scatter one dyelot throughout the area and then fill in with the second dyelot. Your eye won’t see the same dyelot repeated in any kind of a pattern, so your brain will blend the two lots together.
Why These Idsas Work
These ideas work because our brains want to see pattern and will take any excuse to find one. By deliberately creating stripes you take this tendency and make it work in your favor by repeating the stripes so the color change doesn’t stand out as it would if you just changed dyelots.
It works in the second case because by scattering the areas around, your eye cannot create a pattern.
But sometimes you cannot do either of these and you must blend. If you are using a stranded thread blend the old color into the new by replacing one strand at a time along the length of the area. Gradually replace one strand until you are only stitching with the new dyelot. The stripes with dark pink on the bottom use this method of shading.
If it is a single-strand thread, you will need to scatter stitches of the old dyelot over a wide area thinning them out as you get further away. Never have more than 3 stitches of the minority color in a row (it forms a pattern & draws attention to itself.) The stripeswith dark pink on top use this method of shading.
The principle behind theses two techniques is that being presented with multiple colors changing constantly and close together, your eye mixes them, a process called ”optical blending.”
If you want to learn more about shading, I have some other resources for you. To learn needleblending, try my Iris Trivet class from Art Needlepoint. If you want to learn single-strand shading, try the Ombre class. Several different shading techniques (some new and exciting) are covered in the Vessels class.
Upcoming this summer is the Shading Needlepoint volume in the new Predictable Results series. It covers several kinds of shading, most of which can also be used when mixing dyelots.