Musings on color

I’m working on a new design, and ran into a roadblock. You see, the colors I thought¬†I wanted to use, I didn’t want to use once I started stitching. Sigh.

Of course, when I discovered this I didn’t have access to my tools that I usually use when selecting colors, or my local shop. I was traveling and had only the chart, the canvas and the threads I thought I wanted to use with me.

So, after some Googling, I made a trip to the local big box store to see if they would have the threads I wanted to use. I’m always reluctant to bring my thread bag with me into a store, since I don’t always have receipts for the threads I’ve already bought and don’t want to be accused of shop lifting! But, I did take in the overdyed thread I was using to hopefully use that as a reference.

Computers are a wonderful thing, but trying to guess at colors from looking at a computer screen is not the best course of action. I refer to actual thread color cards for most of my color selections. (By the way, did you know that you can get a new DMC color card with actual threads, which includes the newly released colors! A wonderful resource for every stitcher!) I made a list of the colors that I guessed might work, and headed off to the store.

Some of the threads on my list I rejected right off. I bought probably an additional dozen skeins of floss, when I only needed 3, but I needed to test the colors with the other threads in the project and didn’t want to have to go back to the store. The leftover floss will go in my stash for another time.

And I had an “ah ha!” moment when I had all the threads and was deciding which ones to use. The thread doesn’t have to match – it has to go.¬†Do you understand that?

The original threads I had selected matched with my overdyed pretty well, but they didn’t go. They didn’t play nicely together. And that’s why I had to scrap what I had selected, and make other choices.

So now, off to play with my threads and make sure they “go”. I’ll post pictures of my progress a little later. I’ll take you through this project step by step, starting tomorrow.

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Cuff bracelets continued

Pink_CuffI had so much fun working on these cuff bracelets. DMC suggests that #5 pearl cotton is perfect for these, and they’re right. For this one I used a #5 pearl in the Coloris line, and I loved the colors and how easy it was to stitch.

The last post I mentioned the difficulty I had with graphing these out, and I had a little trouble with this one too. What – it’s all cross stitch! What’s so difficult about that! Well, remember that I count threads, not holes, and there are no threads on the cuff bracelets. So when I laid this one out before I stitched, I discovered that my count was off, and what I had laid out was not going to work. So I had to make changes as I stitched. And I’m terrible at math. It involved some trial and error to make sure the opening would be big enough for the cabochon. And I stitched the whole thing and then found out that my openings were not evenly spaced. Sigh. So I had to do some ripping to get the openings evenly spaced, then restitched. Aren’t you glad I went through the trial and error so you don’t have to!

The cabochons are lovely, from Fire Mountain. I can spend hours looking through the Fire Mountain site, so I have to be very careful not to get distracted. They have lots of cabochons this size and shape in tons of colors, so you can get cabochons the color you want to match a specific outfit. DMC Coloris comes in several colors so I bet you wouldn’t have any trouble coordinating the cabochons and threads, and there are always solid color #5 pearl cottons as well.

After I did the stitching I glued the cabochons to the cuff using Alene’s Tacky Glue, the clear one not the white one. The holes in the cuff bracelets are plenty big for stitching, but not so big that the glue oozed through to the other side. The cabochons just fit the opening so it was pretty easy to get them centered

I think this one may be my favorite!

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More about the cuff bracelets


I had so much fun working on these little cuffs. I think this one may be my favorite!

But first a word about graphing and stitching. As a counted canvas designer, I count threads; on the graphs, that’s the lines on the graph. But since there aren’t any lines or threads on these cuffs, it took me a little time to switch gears to count holes. And that made for a little problem with graphing, since I use needlepoint lines on my graphs.

This design is mostly straight stitches like back stitches, and I hate trying to count from a graph where the stitching line is on a line. So, I had to stitch first, then graph, which is not my usual stitching/designing method. After some trial and error I figured it out.

I used Kreinik #4 braid for the gold lines, and used that same thread to stitch the glass pearls and gold glass seed beads in place. I stitched them as I came to them instead of stitching all the lines first, then the beads. But if it makes more sense when you are stitching to stitch the lines first then the beads, that will work too.

I also love the look of this cuff when finished. To me it looks the most like a cuff bracelet you could buy, and I love the chunky nature of the pearls on the cuff.

Of course, any beads would work, and any thread, I just liked the elegance of the black, gold and pearls.

Tomorrow I’ll discuss the others – it may take more than a couple of posts to get it all in!

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DMC Cuff Bracelets

Have you seen the DMC cuff bracelets in the shops? These are marvelous! Here’s a link to see what they look like:

The cuffs are faux leather, with 2 snaps so they’re somewhat adjustable. The cuffs come in four colors – black, navy, fuchsia and white. I got one of each color because I couldn’t decide how I wanted to stitch these. DMC recommends #5 pearl cotton for these cuffs and it was the perfect size.

BraceletCompositAs I was playing with these it occurred to me that beads, cabochons and pearls were perfect embellishments; after all, cuff bracelets are jewelry!

I did find it a little difficult to graph out the designs. I’m used to graphing with needlepoint lines, where the graph shows the end points of stitches in holes. I started out trying to graph these as cross stitch, using blocks. But that didn’t really work either. So I went back to the needlepoint lines and have managed to present these in a stitchable (I think) format.

I began the process as I usually do, graphing out what I was planning to stitch, then stitching. When I came to the actual stitching process, what I had graphed didn’t work, so I had to design on the fly as I was stitching. That’s not the most comfortable process for me, so there was a little trial and error that involved ripping. But in the end I’m pleased with the stitchability of these little cuffs and the end result.

I think these are perfect for gifting, especially for teen agers. Teens love jewelry, and who wouldn’t love something custom made that doesn’t look like what anyone else is wearing. And just a hint, I’ve seen boys wearing cuffs too, so don’t think they’re only for girls. The key is to stitch a design that the boys want to wear.

Each of these design took me less than 3 hours to stitch, so a single evening’s work. That includes the trial and error part! And when the stitching is finished, the project is finished – no need for framing or finding a way to turn it into something wearable.

I’ll discuss each design in the next few days, some tips and some of the little errors I made while stitching. In the meantime, start thinking about who needs a cuff!

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New Halloween designs – the end!

Today I’m going to focus on the last two designs in the leaflet, No Tricks and All Treats.


Is that a spooky looking jack o’ lantern? I didn’t want him to look too spooky! My Jack goes with the second part, All Treats:


Several years ago I saw a t-shirt that said “no tricks, all treats” and that sums up my Halloween philosophy. I don’t really go in for the scary stuff like witches, ghosts and skeletons, but I do like the treats! So this little design features candy corn, wrapped candy and suckers (no chocolates, didn’t want to infringe on trademarks!).

How can you dress up these two little designs? Well, how about overstitching the candy with a shiny thread like Kreinik #4 032 or blending filament 032? That would add a little shine to the candy to make it look like candy wrapped in cellophane. You could even do a little padding on the candy if you wanted, to make it more rounded. Here’s how – lay threads in straight lines within the shape of the candy before stitching. This will give you a little bit of padding. You could even lay some felt or a tiny bit of fiberfill under the long threads before cross stitching, but you’ll need to have a pretty loose tension as you cross stitch so you don’t lose the padding effect, so the cross stitches lay on top of the padding and don’t sink into it. Or, put some fiberfill under the candy before you finish it, making a “bump” under the candy. You’ll need to be careful that the bumps don’t shift when you’re finishing it, but I think it would probably be effective.

Have fun with these little designs. You still have plenty of time to stitch and finish to add to your Halloween decor!

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