I’m getting ready to start stitching a charming piece from Needle Delights called “Down the Garden Path.” I just love it and the way it uses so many different shades of Watercolurs. So I decided to use it as a chance to try some new colors of this and other overdyed threads, that were new to me.
When I bought them I thought I could just switch one thread for another, but it isn’t quite so easy. The original threads have a range of values from light to dark, mine are mostly light. And they have a selection of multi-color threads and ones with shades of one color, I only have one or two single color threads.
This happens to many stitchers, so I thought I would share with you how I have planned my threads out before I begin to stitch. First I wrote down the blocks where each thread is used. Then I made a list of single color and multi-color blocks. I assigned one of my threads to each single color block and wrote those down in my directions. Of the 30 blocks, 18 are single color.
I pulled out my all pink shade and was left with nine threads. I arranged them in an order I liked and assigned one to each block and recorded my choices in the instructions. Once I did this I double checked against the picture to be sure I didn’t have the same thread next to itself.
I looked at my threads and they divided into two groups, those which have pink and those which do not. Because my last overdye is shades of pink, it should coordinate with all the other pinks threads. I checked this by laying out the threads and putting the pink over them. I can do another big chunk of blocks by combining the pinks and one of these overdyes. So I did this, once again checking to be sure that the second color is nicely distributed. The pink is sometimes the main color and sometimes the accent.
As I worked through these blocks, a couple of them I changed to a single color, thinking they would work better this way. At the end of this I was left with six blocks to do. One used three colors and most of the others were next to two color blocks. Now it was time to raid my stash for some accent colors. In my cut skeins of Watercolours, I didn’t find anything, so I turned to my other hand-dyed threads.
I found a hand-dyed but dark periwinkle and a reddish-violet Watercolours. Because the periwinkle was so dark I used it with two of the other overdyes for the blocks that needed a strong contrast. That took care of three of the six.
The fuchsia combined very nicely with one of the two overdyes to do two more blocks which left me with only the three color block. In this block the third color is a frame, so I went back to my stash and found a dark blue with enough contrast to the green for the border and the other two threads for the block to be a contrast.
Do I know if this all will work out? No, but I feel more confident that I will have a balanced piece when I am finished. I think of my choices as “serving suggestions only.” I will change them if I find it’s needed, but I have a plan using my thread choices.
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
What a wonderful tutorial on colorway changes. When I did SIERRA by Needle Delights I just jumped in and did a substitution for each thread…..of course I had to do some changes along the way. I would like a copy of your blog entry to keep in my files for reference. Is this possible?
I learn sooo much from you.
Of course. BTW, I loved your Sierra.