Using only one strand of thread

by Vicky
(San Francisco ca)

I use Aida 14 to stitch. I only like to use 1 thread. On patterns where you blend 2 colors - how do you know which one not to use. Thank you for reading my question..Vicky

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Jul 26, 2021
A designer's viewpoint
by: Carol

Thank you for your excellent question, Vicky.

Ultimately that would have to be your decision, but perhaps a designer's point of view may help?

You submitted your question to the Needlepoint forum, but mention using 14 count Aida, so I am not sure what type of needlework you are doing, Vicky?

There are a number of reasons why I would choose to add a section to a design where two different colored threads were used in the needle at the same time. The following are not in any particular order.

Animal fur

- If I wanted to give an area of a design a mottled, tweedy effect I would mix the colors to achieve this.

When would I do this? Perhaps if I was including a sheep or other animal in the design. A cream strand and a grey strand together for example may make a sheep look more wooly. Of course, it would depend on the stitch if you are working on a needlepoint design.

French knots in two different colors would work wonderfully for this.

If I only wanted to use one strand then it would depend on whether I wanted a cream/white sheep or a grey Herdwick breed.


- I may also use a two-colored area in a design if I want to transition from a darker color to a paler tint of the same hue.

For example, if my picture had a sky in the background. Skies tend to be darker near the horizon so I would start with the darker color, then have an area where I mix this with something a little lighter.

Then perhaps even mix that with an even lighter shade in the next section before moving to a single color for the top part of the sky. This would give a more softly shaded appearance instead of distinct changes in value.

If working with just one color, when stitching the above sky I would just use a slightly lighter tint each time, so the color choice here would not be difficult. I would just end up with a more graphic result.


- Another instance where I might design a piece where two colors were mixed, would be if I wanted to dress someone in a jacket or some such that wasn't just a flat color.

For example, I enjoy birdwatching and as such will sometimes wear a camouflage jacket to hide from the birds. In a design, I would perhaps pick brown and green threads to depict this.

Either would work alone, but whatever is behind or around the person in the picture may help make the decision if using a single color. One may make the subject stand out more than the other. It depends on how you, the stitcher, want the finished effect to look.

Use a hand-dyed thread

- Another solution, as the stitcher, would be to substitute the threads that the designer has chosen for a hand-dyed thread that includes both colors.

If you work the first half of the stitches across the row, then come back and cross them (known as the continental method) then you would get a random mixing of colors by using only one strand. Again it would depend on whether you were working cross-stitch or another stitch.

I hope this at least gives you some food for thought, Vicky.

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