This post is going to be in tandem with the following video:
So, to recap there are two (or three, but really it’s more two) types of variegated threads: multi-color and monochromatic.
Multi-color is exactly what it sounds like, when you have two colors in one thread. In the case of this tutorial, I’m using “Lily” from the Harry Potter Collection by Mo.
Monochromatic are threads that have more than one shade in their color family. In this case, you’re seeing (specifically, although others are around) Honeysuckle and Loden (which I botched horribly on my video) by Weeks Dye Works and Bubblegum by The Gentle Arts.
BASICS OF STITCHING
In most cases, I tend to stitch the Dutch method, that is \\\\\\\\ followed by ////////. However, with variegated threads you want to (In general) complete each X one a time to take full advantage of the color range.
The above was done working each X individually. Notice how the blue fades into a purple fades into a red very very nicely. This gives you the full spectrum of color.
The above was done working in the Dutch method. Notice how the colors are kinda indistinguishable and it looks a little bit like when you get to the bottom of a snow cone that had two different syrup flavors? Not overly pretty.
TIPS FOR STITCHING
Now we get into the fun part. I’m going to show you pictures of what the completed project as well as a diagram for how I achieved the look.
1) Stitching in straight rows, completing each X at once.
In the case of the Lizzie-Kate “4 Seasons,” the grass is intended to look a bit like rows of field that grow wheat. By working it this way, you get the look of a plowed field. You can use the same effect for vertical growth for things that grow vertically (like trees or buildings).
2) Stitching an outline.
This is similar to tip #1, in that you are going down and back. However, instead of doing straight lines, you follow the outline of the object. For instance, in SamSarah’s “Something Wicked,” I used this method on the tree. It wasn’t horizontal or vertical, so I followed the outline just like the natural grain on the tree. (Please ignore my very obvious stitch mistake). I did a similar thing with the pumpkins to a less obvious effect, thanks largely in part to how subtle the variegation is.
3) Creating a spiral effect.
This is pretty simple. You start like you would by stitching the outline, however instead of going down and back, you keep going. This effect is best for round objects and flowers. In the case of SamSarah, it’s the stars.
4) Creating a fade effect.
Creating a fade effect works in some cases. The only time I’ve used it (so far) was on the flower in Princess and the Pea‘s block. For this what I did was I started at the bottom center and then worked my way up in a kind of zig-zag pattern so that the color was evenly spread out as it faded to from light to dark.
5) Creating a splotchy effect.
I prefer to call this a “Crater” effect. In this instance, I worked two rows at once in groups of 4 squares. What this does is disperses the color better. You still get the groups of color, but it doesn’t come out blocky, but instead splotchy. I used this to great effect on SamSarah’s “Something Wicked” and to lesser effect (due to the subtlety of the variegation) on Cross-Eyed Cricket’s “Master and the Macabre.” This can be very tedious, but the look is *well* worth it, in my opinion.
5) Random stitches
This is the weirdest of the choices and perhaps the most difficult to explain. Basically you work in a section at a time and just stitch at random. Put your next stitch wherever you like. I used this effect on Thumbelina to create the water.
6) Stitching the Dutch way.
This is similar to Tip #1, so no diagram. This works well for grass or tree leaves, as it gives a mottled look. I used it in “The Mysterious Halloween Town” by The Frosted Pumpkin. You still have the rows like in Tip 1, but it’s more blendy.
These are really just a few of the tips to try when working with variegated flosses. There are all kinds of choices out there, and there isn’t a right or wrong to however you choose.