Updated April 23, 2021.
My first experiment with using multiple colors of hand-dyed floss to create a Whistler-style background went so well (read about it here), that I was heady with success.
Unhappily my second attempt hasn’t gone as well and I’ve learned some things that are important when doing a mixed floss backgrounds. It took me four different tries to get things right on the vintage Traditions initial.
Here’s what I learned:
- When using overdyed threads for your focal point, this kind of background is more challenging to use. Solid colors, even many of them, are a better choice for the focal point because they don’t compete with the backgrounds.
- The color of the background needs to be much darker or lighter than the focal point. If this difference is missing or minimal, it may be difficult to distinguish the focal point from the background even with other signals of difference (stitches or thread texture).
- Don’t use metallics in these backgrounds. The strong texture difference between metallics and floss means that the background gets a strong tweeded look with the metallic overwhelming the subtle floss differences. I could see several overdyed metallics used this way for a focal point on a large-mesh canvas but that isn’t what I wanted.
- Colors that match your focal point can be in the background, but only one thread of the mix should have them and they should be an accent color.
- To emphasize the focal point further, consider outlining in a matching thread with Whipped Backstitch.
- Because you will have several stitching lengths using the same sequence of colors because you have six lengths of each combination, use Continental to stitch the backgrounds and skip around the area. This will give you a more even distribution of colors.