Updated July 7, 2023.
The most challenging (and also the most fun) part of creating a Scrap Bag Needlepoint project is deciding what colors to use. Throughout this article, you’ll see examples of some of my projects that used specific color themes.
If everything in your project is random, you’ll get chaos. In every project, there has to be one or more things that create unity. It might be a color or two. It might be a background color, or it might be an outlining color, but it has to be there.
Pick a color
The easiest method for creating a project is to use threads of all one color. In the case of Winter Stars, pictured here and available here, I picked blue. I got out blue threads, blue scraps, and light-bluish gray threads. I added a little bit of white. But not every thread was absolutely blue; I had a few that were blue-green. Having these not quite the same threads keeps the project from looking boring.
Each patch had one light and one dark color. I never used the same combination in the same way. The result has unity because it’s all blue and variety because of the many colors, threads, and textures.
I love the result.
Pick a Color Theme
This is a bit less focused but can create some wonderful pieces. Think of a theme for your thread selection. Here I picked colors that looked tropical to me. They were bright, the brightest colors I had in the scraps.
This can be a real challenge because you may find yourself thinking about colors in ways not familiar to you. That’s good. With Scrap Bag Needlepoint projects you can experiment with something small.
Since doing the tropical project, I’ve done some other ones looking at “happy” colors. And I’m just finishing one that used the brightest colors in my scrap bag.
Use what you have
The important thing is to use what you have and let that inspire you. If, as you sorted your threads, you found lots of pastels, why not pick that as your theme? The blue project came from that; I felt as if there were too many blues in the pile.
Right now, I’m noticing lots of earthy, dark colors in my scraps. Next will be thinking of a way to use them in a project.
You’ve picked a theme; you’ve selected threads, and you’re good to go.
Not so fast.
You need to be sure everything will work. Pile together the threads. Squint at them. If nothing sticks out, start stitching. If something does, remove it and save it for a different project. Three or more of something works. One just looks like a mistake.
I had this happen with my most recent scrap project. I wanted brights. I didn’t pick the scraps in advance, I just pulled from my bag. I was partway through when I realized all the green was chartreuse and it REALLY stuck out. Happily, I was only about 1/4 through and so I modified by not picking green for a while. But it could always have been “the chartreuse ornament” if I hadn’t corrected myself.
Try this at Home
- Pick your two favorite colors.
- Pull out all your threads in these colors.
- Put them in one pile
- Squint at them and remove the colors that don’t fit.
- Add a neutral color for a background.
- Check your canvas stash. Do you have a canvas that will work for this?
- If so, mount it and bag it with these threads. YOu have a new project to begin.
- If not, take a piece of blank canvas, draw on a 4×6 rectangle & divide it randomly.
- Start your project in stitches you like in these threads from your stash.
- Permit yourself to change thread choices as you work.