Saturday, February 20, 2010

Stars: Two Borders and Faking Overdyed Thread

Trapped by snow as I am (Day 15), I am getting a lot done toward my Stars goal of stitching the top three borders, the big corners, the little sashing corners, the first star quilt block and some of the sashing around that block.  Once all that is finished, I plan to put Stars away for a bit and work on a painted canvas before I do the second two stars blocks on the top row and finish up the sashing that surrounds them.

I forgot to mention that I've basted a line down the center of the piece.  I am not going to do the third outside border until after I make a trip to the local shops to see if I can find the right shade of violet in Vineyards Silks.  I think it will cover that area better than my Impressions does.  That third outer border has a central fan shape that has to go in the exact middle, hence the basted line.

In the photo above you see the underlying sashing pattern, one with violet metallic overstitching and one without, the wide black fern stitch inner border, and some of the tiny middle border, done in long armed cross stitch using the overdyed silk that the colors are based on.

In my case, this is not the overdye I choose colors from.

Actually my colors of violet, black, terra cotta and metallic copper were inspired by the card of Overture #V31 (a three plied heavy cotton from Rainbow Gallery similar to Caron's Watercolours) you see in the photo above.  It is tan, terra cotta and violet.

My dear friend Linda used this thread (minus the ecru parts) to create a wonderful color scheme when she stitched this lovely version of Carole Lake's "Berryville" from the ANG website.  I wish you could see this in person.  Scans and photos don't do it justice.  I wanted to use the same colors for Stars and before she died, Linda helped me choose the threads I would need, particularly the blacks. Stars will be my memorial to her and her incredible color sense.

However, I need a silk overdye for Stars and hunted all over for one without any luck.  Black, violet, terra cotta and copper are not available as an overdyed color set. (Any thread company that makes one, could you name it after Linda?)  There are various ways to cope with this.

Someone in the Scarlet Thread stitching group that is stitching Stars plans to dye their own threads.  I went this route, too, and asked Vikki Clayton of Hand Dyed Fibers to see if she could mix copper in with terra cotta and violet.  The two skeins of silk in the bottom row on the right are what Vikki came up with.  She did a periwinkle blue painted with copper and a terra cotta painted with copper.  If you are willing to wait until she can get to your order, Vikki is very open to trying new color combinations.  Here's her website.

My periwinkle/copper from Hand Dyed Fibers is too blue but the terra cotta/copper is something I'll incorporate into Stars somewhere, even if I don't use it as the overdyed silk.  The colors aren't quite what I want for an overdye.

I did eventually get lucky at Scarlet Thread when I realized they carried a full line of Silk N Colors.  I found Autumn Twilight #062 at the shop.  It is a nice mix of terra cotta and violet with muddy brown.  In the first photo of my progress, you see it used for the thin middle border.  But what if I hadn't found Autumn Twilight?

Then I would have faked my overdye.  See the two skeins of violet and terra cotta floss in the top row above?  Those are two skeins of overdyed Needle Necessities floss.  I would have used lengths of those mixed with a darker and lighter violet and terra cotta plus some of my Hand Dyed Fibers terra cotta/metallic copper and faked an overdye.  This is really easy to do.  First, choose the colors you want for your overdye from a floss type thread.  Then pick several shades of each color so you can work from dark first color, medium first color, light first color to light second color, medium second color, dark second color, and back to dark first color, etc.  This mimics the shading of many overdyes.  Cut 9 inch, 12 inch and 18 inch lengths of each color you want in the faked overdye, then pick the lengths at random as you run through your color sequence.  That gives you a short bit of light first color, followed by a lot of the middle shade of the first color and then another short bit of the dark first color.  Does that make sense?  Your color graduations will be more abrupt than if you were using an expensive overdyed thread, but this is a good way to fake an overdyed thread using things like DMC cotton floss.  You can really run wild by color blending, using a few plies of the light shade mixed with the medium shade, etc. to give yourself more gradual transitions of color.  It's a good way to create the overdyed thread of your dreams if you can't find what you want.

I probably will mix in occasional bits of my Vikki Clayton terra cotta/metallic loss with the Silk N Colors floss to add copper metallic to the show and I'll probably add some violet to the mix also as the Silk N Colors thread has a lot more terra cotta than violet.

Folks are still voting whether I should add violet metallic to the bottom layer of the sashing stitch.  I'm leaning toward not doing that right now, but haven't made up my mind.  I discovered that the large black fern stitch border stitches are visible in person although you probably can't see them in the photo.  So all the fancy stitching isn't lost when using black threads.  We'll see.  I'm still thinking it over.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow
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