Having several values of your different threads is important for needlepoint. Pick colors that have similar values and your needlepoint can become very boring.
The usual recommendation for checking your threads is to line them up and make a black-and-white copy. This washes out all the color info and just leaves you with the values. Then it’s easy to see if your design has too many colors of one value.
But what do you do if you aren’t near a copier? Then you have to go looking for products that you can take with you. Generally you’ll find these more in tools for quilters instead of for stitchers. That’s because it’s very hard to pile bolts of fabric on copiers and get useful results.
You might be wondering what quilters use. They use pieces of red plastic often called “value finders.” You can also find them by other names.
These work because the red filters also filters out the color info. But, of course, they don’t work on red. For that you need a green filter which often comes in the same package.
They work well and are made by many companies, but you have to place them against your eyes and look through them. This could be hard if you have many threads or lots of fabric to juggle.
Recently I learned of a product called “Sew Red Glasses.” They come in both sunglass and clip-on styles. With them on you should be able to evaluate colors hands-free. I bought both kinds and tested them against a typical red filter, the Color Evaluator II from Cottage Mills.
All threads were looked at under the same conditions with each thread being viewed through each product.
I looked at eight threads under both. The threads ranged from ones with almost no value difference to ones with great variation. One of the threads was shades of reds and pinks. The threads were first viewed through the Color Evaluator then through the glasses.
The style of the glasses is the Ray-Ban Wayfairer style but the frames are bright red. You are unlikely to mistake these for your regular glasses, even if you don’t see the lenses. The construction is all plastic; and lightweight.
The darkness of the lenses was equal to that of the Color Evaluator.
The results, in terms of judging value were the same with both.
I did think the glasses were superior because they blocked out all value information in my field of vision (the lenses are large). With the strip I had to mentally disregard the true color surroundings and concentrate on the results inside the strip. That takes some practice.
The clip-ons are more sturdy than the glasses. While I found them a bit awkward to get on my glasses, I liked that they could flip up, so I could leave them on, but still be able to use my glasses to see normally. Because the clip interferes with your lenses you will not want to do this long-term.
Because they only come in one size, the bridge of the clip-ons may be wider than the bridge on your glasses. This was true for me. I could have areas without filters on one side or the Other, but I could not have the entire area of my lenses filtered. To me that looks like design flaw.
But because these areas were near the nose, they didn’t interfere with my evaluation unless I turned my head sharply to one side. As with the glasses, the filtered light covered my field of vision.
The lenses were lighter than the Color Evaluator. Because of this I found that the results were different. With the clip-ons I found slightly more variety than with the glasses. This could be because more of the color information is getting through.
A Final Test
As a final test I put the glasses on over my glasses. It looks kind of dorky, but I wanted to see how it worked. Although they slipped down my nose a bit, they were still effective for evaluating color.
Put on over my glasses they left a normal color area at the top of my field of vision. This did not affect my ability to evaluate threads.
I preferred the Sew Red glasses to the clip-ons, although both did a good job of washing color information out. Because they cover your field of vision, they worked better and made it easier to check values than the value checker sheets and bars I had previously used.
Sew Red Glasses can be bought at quilt shops, Amazon, and through the company’s website, https://www.sewredglasses.com.