Friday, June 25, 2010

Let's Talk Green

After totally confusing Blog's readers with my flight of fancy yesterday into design topics, my feet are back on the ground today.  I want to talk about a topic we've all faced, choosing colors for a design.  When I first started work on Cha, I pulled threads from my collection that seemed to match the colors for each section, then put back the ones I knew wouldn't work.  The photo above shows the greens I was left with after I put the green metallics and heavier weight threads away since the greens are on the leaves in the design and I wanted light coverage there to de-emphasize the leaves.

As you can see in the photo of the entire design, there are lots of shades of green in the leaves, ranging from the acid green to two shades of medium green and a dark green.  The leaves also all have a brown vein in the middle but I'm not going to discuss that here.  That's four greens to choose, right?  Now look at this photograph of the first large leaf I've stitched.  Can you tell how many colors I used here?

The answer is two--I used the Needle Necessities acid green overdye on the yellow-green areas and the darker medium green Splendor that is immediately to the right of the skein of NN.

The acid green card of Splendor would have worked but I liked how the mix of colors in the Needle Necessities overdye looked with the leaf, so I went with shades of green instead of just one green.

I plan to use just three shades of green on this piece instead of matching the five shades of how it is painted.  With light coverage stitches, the background mixes with the thread to influence what the eye sees.  This may not work well, so I'm not putting the excess green threads away just yet, but I think if I just use the lighter of the two dark greens (also to the right of the skein of NN), I will have enough color to stitch all the leaves.

The next challenge is to decide how to handle the brown vein.  Do I continue my stitches on top of the brown vein?  Do I then put thread on top of that or just stitch the veins later?  How does it look to change colors in the middle of the stitch sequence?  Will the stitches flow better if each stitch is done completely in one color instead of breaking it up to match the paint underneath as I did above?

I'll think about all these things today in the sunlight.  We lost power twice again last night so although I did get some stitching done, I didn't have enough good lighting to look at what I did and see how it looks.  For now I think that any stitch that is interrupted by a vein looks ok but I don't like splitting a stitch between two colors.  I may be pulling that out after I look at the canvas from a distance.  What bothers you from a foot away as you stitch may not matter from 3-5 feet away, which is generally the distance from which finished pieces are viewed.

See what I mean?

So how did I pick those three colors out of all the possibilities?  What I do is just lay a strand of each across the leaf and see how well they harmonize with the colors painted on.  Strangely enough, when you are picking colors for a light coverage area, the thread that is an exact match to the paint doesn't ever look quite as good to me as one that is slightly lighter or darker.  Somehow the interaction between paint and thread that isn't quite a perfect match adds to the design.

Tomorrow I'll start talking about the fruit clustered below the parrot.  I've finished those areas and will describe what I did and why while I stitch more leaves and background.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at Archived Yahoo 360 postings at