8: Colour Stitchery Samples

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8: COLOUR STITCHERY SAMPLES
I haven’t stuck this work into my sketchbook yet, and I’ve cropped off the edge of some pictures, but I wanted to get it up and posted.


 Using more than one colour in the needle: I used stranded embroidery threads, because you can combine different numbers of threads in different colours, and get the most wonderful gradations of colour to give gradual changes. I’ve used this technique on canvas in the past, but for patterns rather than portraying colour changes in something like a wall.
For this sample I worked in cushion stitches, producing geometric patterns.
I started on the top, with all white stitches, then worked with one thread of white, and five of black. I changed the balance of the colour as Is stitched down, using two threads of white and four of black, and so on, through to all black.
Then I tried a similar experiment, using black, white and green, before introducing yellow as a fourth colour.
Out of curiosity, I also tried blue and yellow, with a strand each of black and white, to see if gave an impression of being green, as paint does when you blend blue and yellow, but it didn’t!

Using variegated threads: I experimented with two different threads: grey, shading through to black, and grey shading through to white. I’ve used these in the past, and find the colour changes in commercial brands can sometimes be a bit tartling, creating stripy effects. Threads dyed by specialist companies are better (they’re much gentler) but I didn’t have any.
I used tent stitch, worked diagonally and horizontally, and also tried blending three threads with the light colour at the top with three threads with the dark colour at the top. This gives a completely different effect –-a kind of tweedy look I suppose, which I quite liked. It seems to overcome the stripy problem, but has less variation of colour tones.

Overstitching with a different colour: Please ignore the first two rows! I hadn’t tried this before, and decided to use long-legged cross stitch, but I got into a horrible muddle, and changed to cross stitch. When I’ve done overstitching previously I’ve been aiming for texture with things like French knots, or used contrasting threads, but the idea of blending colours this way was new to me, and I’m not sure I was all that successful with it.  I wasn’t sure whether to work complete stitches over the underlying ones, or whether to stitch over and under some stitches to emulate a criss-cross look, or just go over the top in random fashion, so I tried them all!

General Thoughts: This was an interesting exercise, because it made me think about the way we perceive colour, and how you can blend threads to make a transition from one colour to another. To be honest, until now it’s not something I would have thought of doing on a regular basis – I would have been more likely to search out lots of shades of a particular colour. But ‘blending’ is fascinating, and gives a much more individual interpretation to embroidery. It’s yet another thing to practice!
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About chrisharding53

I'm a former journalist and sub-editor who loves needlework, reading and writing, and is still searching for the Meaning of Life, the Universe and Everything. Until I find the answer I'm volunteering at an Oxfam Book Shop and learning about Creative Sketchbooks!

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