Dyed and Gone to Heaven – An Online Magazine and Needlework Resource  

Celebrating color continues with
Lois Caron's Optical Color Blending Class


Have you ever been frustrated by the need to acquire a dozen or more colors of thread for a design only to find that you only need a yard or two of most of the colors? One way to cut down on supplies in such a situation is to substitute one of our hand-dyed variegated colors of Watercolours, Wildflowers, Waterlilies or Impressions for several of the solid colors called for in a pattern.

Another way is to blend colors in your needle. Obviously this requires that you use at least two strands of thread in your needle and the more strands you're using, the more flexibility you'll have.

I hope that the following two exercises will get you started on a whole new avenue of exploration and bring you many hours of pleasure and discovery.

In the first part of the lesson I've used three primary colors to develop 18 possible combinations. For more ambitious stitchers, the second exercise also uses only three colors, but the end result is 28 color possibilities!

Click on the links below for charts to print out for these exercises:




- #13 mono canvas at least 6x6"

- #20 tapestry needle

- Three skeins of Soie Cristale or Waterlilies in the colors of your choice. I have used 0011, 2044 and 4013 to correspond to the primary colors Cyan, Magenta and Yellow discussed in Mary Shipp's feature article this month.

Soie Cristale is a 12-ply 100% silk. If you've never worked with it, your'e in for a treat. It handles like floss, but has a beautiful, subtle sheen. Waterlilies is the same silk, but we hand-dye the variegated colors on natural or white silk.

The entire design is worked in needlepoint and has been planned so that it is easier to work in basketweave than in either continental or half cross stitch. Use six plies of silk in your needle.

Begin in the lower half of the center square and stitch the first triangle with 6 plies of Color A (Yellow). In the triangle sharing the central square, stitch with 5 plies of Color A and one ply of Color B (Magenta). Follow the legend in the chart below until all the triangles have been completed.

This little project works up quickly and you might want to experiment with other color combinations. The colors Iíve used in the second and third versions are listed below. Keep your samples in your stitch notebook or with your notes and stitch samples for a larger piece or make them into small ornaments for your Christmas tree.

Color Legend for Pastel Version using Soie Cristale (shown below): Color A: 3056. Color B: 6014, Color C: 5126.

Color Legend for Waterlilies version (shown below): Color A: 096 Orange Blossom, Color B: 026 Mardis Gras, Color C: 107 Spruce.

If you continue working in the spiral path youíve established, you can make something larger such as a coaster, boxtop insert or eyeglass case. Repeat the color sequence youíve already established, reverse it or try random placement of colors.

COPYRIGHT NOTICE: None of these designs or instructions can be reproduced or distributed in any form (including electronic) without the prior written permission of Lois Caron.

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