This week I am going to continue with Stage 3 of our article Designing An Embroidery Project – CHOOSING COLOURS & PREPARATION.
In stage 2 we discussed the design outline and tracing it onto your fabric – the next stage is to choose the thread colours. This is one of the parts I love! I have drawers full of threads as you can see in the picture – I had these designed by a kitchen manufacturer to fit the cupboard in my office, in fact it was my Christmas present to selfJ They are made of Perspex so I can see through them and admire them from afar – so pretty:) On one side is DMC and the other Anchor and they are grouped by colour, i.e. reds, oranges etc in one drawer, so all I need to do is rummage through and find what I am looking for. When I have finished a project I throw the skeins back into the relevant drawer. It works well for my needs.
MATCHING THE COLOURS TO YOUR PICTURE
In the case of the pansy basket the colours were interesting – they ranged from magenta pink, to red, then orange and finally yellow as shown in the picture.
One of the pansies used all these shades so I needed to make sure the shades blended well. To do this I had to choose what I call a “merging” shade. This is a middle shade that includes a tone of each colour so they merge without a big leap. This big leap is often the cause of our shading looking wrong. Here is an example – the one on the left leaps from orange into pink and the one on the right uses a shade that has a tone of orange and a tone of pink to merge the shades.
When choosing colours from a photo or illustration you basically want to match the shades as closely as possible to the original but there are a few guidelines:
1. 1. If in doubt choose a duller rather than a brighter shade
2. 2. Ensure that there is enough contrast in the shades otherwise it will look flat and dull
3. 3. When applying contrast to an object where there is not a big difference between the light and dark shades use bright and dull shades to provide contrast. Here is an example of this in one of the pansies:
PREPARING TO STITCH
At this stage I will choose a variety of shades that I think will fit well, put them in a plastic bag, label them Autumn Pansies so I can refer back to them when doing the instructions and prepare my stitching – here are a few tips:
1. 1. The fabric should be mounted into the hoop so that it is drum tight – if you flick it with your finger it will sound like a drum. If the fabric gives or has any loose spots you are in trouble – your work will look puckered and horrible.
2. 2. It is best to work under a very bright daylight or magnifier so that you can see your stitches clearly.
3. 3. Make sure you are seated comfortably and get up and move around every now and then – look at your work from afar as this will give you a more unprejudiced view.
CHOOSING COLOURS WHILST STITCHING
This is where I am happiest, I often take this opportunity to catch up on TV series or Rre-watch BBC movies such as Emma, Pride & Prejudice etc as they inspire my creativity. I generally do all the administration first thing in the morning and set myself a goal to be seated in my chair just before lunchtime, this gives me a couple of hours of peace before I collect my daughter from school and the homework and afternoon activities start. After supper if I get the chance I try to fit in another hour before bed.
Once I am seated and have my light on I will choose the thread colours from my bag of skeins. I will line these up and try different combinations till I find the one that I think is right. Of course as I am stitching I often alter the shades as I am going along and even unpick a few if they don’t look right.
Next week I will show you the first stitching process. Meantime wherever you are be it winter, spring or summer have a wonderful week and many happy stitching hours. Trish