Unleashing Variegated Threads

As a needleworker and a crafter, I’m certain that you’ve seen or played with variegated threads or yarn. These multi-colored threads make it easy to introduce a lot of color into your needlework project, without having the hassle of constantly changing threads. But have you truly unleashed those threads to really shine?

Nowadays, you will find many companies offering variegated fibers, in almost every type of thread or yarn available. The options are endless, but what sets them each apart? Each vendor colors the threads in different ways – machine dyed, hand dyed, hand painted are just a few ways they bring the color to life. The color breakdown in each pattern or skein can even vary from skein to skein. Some vendors use very regular breakdowns of color (DMC for instance states that their Color Variations threads have approximately 4″ of each color), while other vendors vary color lengths in each pattern or skein.

Take for example the 5 threads I chose to test out on this stitchin’doodle (listed left to right):

Treenway Silks: Montano stranded floss used. There are 8 color changes in this sample, in a multicolored scheme.

Classic Colorworks: Stranded floss used. This thread has a monochromatic color scheme, with 3-4 value changes in this sample.

Caron Waterlilies: Stranded floss used. This thread mostly has a single main color, but includes 2 other colors in for accent. It’s very subtle, introducing pops of other colors into it. There really are only 2 color changes in this sample.

Dinky Dyes: Stranded floss used. This thread reflects a more analagous color scheme, with 5-6 color changes in this sample.

Painters Threads: Metallic #4 thread used. This is a hand-painted thread, and very random in color changing. This sample reflects 15-20 color changes.

So what does this information do to unleash the thread for your projects? Knowing that essentially no two variegated threads are alike, should give you permission to really play. How each vendor chooses color is their own kind of inspiration – we’re just unleashing what they’ve done to create our own masterpiece. The approach you use the thread in your stitching will be your own.

Over the next couple of weeks we’ll be playing with variegated threads, and seeing how you can unleash the variation in the thread, changing up how your needlework project can look… We’ll start with simple cross stitch, looking at different ways to stitch with these threads, giving entirely different looks. Looking at blackwork will follow, and that is something I’m extremely excited to share with you.

So what are some of your favorite variegated threads to stitch with?

Happy stitchin’!
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