Sunday, 15 June 2014

How To... Stitch With Variegated Threads

Have you ever used the colour variation threads?  Colour Variation or variegated threads are multicoloured threads that are dyed to gradually change colour along the length.  I find them a great way to add a little demension and flair to my stitching, although I often find it difficult to identify an appropriate pattern to use them in!  One of the joys of designing my own patterns I guess :-)
DMC Colour Variations
For a long time I was put off using variegated threads - how do you use a thread that changes colour as you stitch?  How on earth was I meant to make that work?  Then I stitched "Wizard in a Magical Land" by Cross-Stitch Collection which used variegated threads in both the moon and the boarder, and a whole new world opened up to me.  It took me a bit to get used to this strange floss, but I learned some tricks along the way and thought I should share them with you.
The moon and boarder from
"Wizard in a Magical Land"

 1. Identify the colour pattern along the thread - variegated threads have a repeated pattern, fading from one colour to the next - sometimes it's hard to identify (depends on how the threads was dyed).  Try to cut your length of thread at the end of one of the repeated patterns.  This way, when you cut the next length the pattern should be the same and you can continue stitching without a massive jump in colour.

2. Don't double your thread over - as in don't use the loop-start method.  You need to keep the two threads together so that the pattern will show up.  Use the starting method where you secure the end as you stitch.

3. Stitch each cross individually.  Normally when cross stitching, you stitch the bottom half for a whole row and then come back and do the top half.  When using variegated threads, it is better to stitch each cross individually so that the colour pattern shows through.

4. When you have to start a new length of thread, try to match the colour as much as possible, keeping in mind the ends from starting and finishing off the length

5. Identify if there are any folds, double backs etc in your stitching.  For example, when stitching the Breast Cancer Ribbon, the ribbon is meant to look like it folds back over itself.  Keep this in mind when stitching and try to follow the direction of the ribbon - stitch around the ribbon as if you were laying it out on the table, rather than just stitching whole rows.

6. Just have a go!  Don't be put off - have a go and see what you can come up with.  You never know what you might discover.

Looking for a project to try out your new skill?  The Breast Cancer Ribbon and Cinderella's New Shoes patterns are designed using variegated threads.  
The Breast Cancer Ribbon jewellery
I'd love to see what you're stitching - why not post a photo on my facebook page?

Happy Stitching!

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