How to use variegated thread in hand embroidery

 

Variegated thread tips


Recently, I asked you on Instagram what topics you would like to be covered in the new blogposts and one of the replies was about variegated thread. So here are some tips that, hopefully, you will find useful!


What is variegated thread?


Variegated thread is usually dyed in more than one color: sometimes it's a palette of contrasting hues, sometimes they can be very close to each other and have only subtly differences, sometimes they can go from darker to lighter shades and tints.


In the picture below the colors of thread vary from darker burgundy to red, to purple-ish but because they are all close in their “temperature” the transition is quite subtle.


Variegated thread


So let's take a look at the four scenarios where you can use it. If you have more suggestions, be sure to mention them in the comments below!


How to use variegated thread?


1. Continuous pattern


variegated thread tips

variegated thread tips


I suppose that is the most straightforward option.


If you have a continuous monotonous motif then one of the ways to add a bit of interest to it is to work it with variegathed thread. Be careful to not overload it, though! Work it on a plain colored fabric, better a contrasting one, that will help the thread pop up.


I would also recommend to use it with simple, minimalistic motifs. But you could say, that's just my taste, so don't take it as a rule.


2. Color variety in smaller elements


variegated thread tips

variegated thread tips

variegated thread tips


You know how some patterns have an array of smaller elements? Think of a bouquet where the focus is on bigger flowers but there are some tiny ones scattered around to add to the mood.


If you want to make these smaller scale elements look unique, each with their own character, then using variegated thread is the way to do that! It will allow you to work all of the elements in slightly different shades without ending and restarting thread every time.


These three flowers in the pictures above are similar yet unique – each one has a different palette but they still look cohesive together. That's because they are worked with variegated thread :)


3. Lettering


variegated thread tips

variegated thread tips


Another great way to use variegated thread is to work some lettering with it!


Transitions of colors in texts always look way too appealing to look past. If you peep at some lettering Instagram accounts, you will find lots of inspiration to make the text even more beautiful.


Almost everything that can be done on paper, can be done on fabric as well: you can add a shade with a darker color of thread, or you can add highlights, or outline, a touch of golden thread perhaps? You can also combine the “variegated” lettering with texts in plain color, to make the colorful one pop up even more.


So many possibilities!


4. Easy shading imitation


variegated thread tips

variegated thread tips


Some variegated threads just beg to be used in needlepainting!


Especially the ones that go from stronger color to a lighter one (although there are exceptions!). Instead of switching to a new color each time, why don't you try working the long and short stitching in variegated thread?


There are at least 3 shades of blue in this leaf and I didn't switch my thread a single time!


And if you want to add more contrast to the element, and complete your shading, just add some darker colors or highlights, like I did with this leaf.


So, here are the four easy scenarios on how to take advantage of your variegated thread. Let me add just a couple more examples from my own works!


embroidery flower



Some of the petals in this flower are worked in variegated thread, others are worked in thread matching the palette of the variegated one.


embroidery flower needlepainting


The front petals of this flower are also worked in variegated thread! Look how well it imitates shading technique while there is only one kind of thread involved. I combined it with a darker color at the bottom and lighter thread on the top :)


What about you? How do you use variegated thread in your embroidery?

19 comments

  1. Thank you for sharing your knowledge here. I love using variegated threads. I especially like the lettering you illustrated here.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I totally want to do some variegated lettering practice using the ideas I mentioned!

      Delete
  2. I have several veriegated threads in my statsh that have never been used, mainly because I was unsure how they would work within a design. This is a very useful and informative article, so thank you Amina, not only for this but for all your inspirational posts.

    Ann Jarvis

    ReplyDelete
  3. Looks fabulous whats the background fabric ??

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, the fabric for the examples is quilting bomulle!

      Delete
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