Project 3: Stage 5 – Coloured stitches


For this stage the course material moved on from art media to using coloured stitches and the idea of the sample was to use two different primary colours to explore how colour changes occur.

I decided to do my sample based on a wheel format which I find works for me as I am able to section off neatly different areas to trial different line exercises and initially below is a general summary with individual photographs of each segment and details following.

I used turquoise and bright yellow threads in tapestry yarn (Anchor 8806 and 8114) and embroidery threads (colour labels missing as from personal collection)  – I hoped to produce the illusion of green albeit a slightly yellow toned hue.  For some samples I just used the tapestry or embroidery threads and some I combined both types.

Following the course material I tried the suggested ideas:

  • I built up solid areas of colour against the second colour – in my sample I used a basket weave style effect which I felt demonstrated this well.
  • I also changed the proportions of colour in some sections by using more yellow or more blue.
  • In another I isolated the yellow against the blue – this I did by using chain stitch for the blue and whipping the yellow over it.
  • I also used long and short stitch (both close together and further apart) to alternate the colours.
  • In other sections I tried to vary the distance between the lines in order to enable the background colour to help the colour changes to occur.

In addition:

  • I tried weaving the colours and just using long straight stitches overlaying the different threads with each other – both of these ideas I felt were successful as I could clearly see an illusion of colour change. The long straight stitches I used the different threads as opposed to just tapestry for the weaving.
  • I also used different combinations of the two types of yarns with simple running stitch or chain stitch which I felt produced some successful results as I could see the yellow seemed to become greener and the blue take on a yellowish tinge.
  • I also tried using French knots in the embroidery threads but spaced apart which for me is my least favourite as I felt it needs the knots to be closer together to effect an illusion for colour change.


Segment 1:  For this I used about 80-90% of turquoise tapestry yarn in rows of chain stitch with the yellow tapestry yarn whipping through.  The background varied slightly in proportion as I did not want to do exactly measured rows and  I do not feel this gave much of an illusion of green colour change although for me it can be seen more towards the centre rows when letting my eye sight go slightly blurry.  I am of the thinking that less background showing would have produced a better colour illusion with the proportions of thread used.


Segment 2:  for this I simply did long straight stitches criss-crossing the whole triangular segment in both the tapestry yarn and the embroidery thread and in relatively equal proportions.  The background was allowed to show through.  I do feel again a more concentrated web of threads would have produced more of a concentrated colour illusion but for me I feel even in these proportions this section was quite successful – again with my eye sight being allowed to go blurry I can see a definite green tinge to the area.


Segment 3; The least successful for me.  I tried two different lots of stitches in this segment – a combination of chain stitch (both continuous and detached) and also back stitch in embroidery threads and then fly stitches going in alternative directions and alternating colours in tapestry threads.  With the inner section I used about 80% turquoise and letting the background show through about 50% and just do not like this at all and can barely see any colour change at all.  The fly stitch was done in equal proportions with the tapestry yarns and maybe about 30-40% of the background showing.  I feel the fly stitch being done in equal proportions gave more of a colour illusion of green but  still not with the clarity I hoped for.


Segment 4:  Again this was effectively 2 sections in one with a spattering of French knots in one corner and long-and-short stitch in both the centre going out towards the edge with the outer section being more sparse.  The proportions were roughly 50/50 throughout with the thread.  The French knots for me gave no illusion but as I type I am doing the stitched exercises in Stage 6 and understand now that to work effectively the knots need to be much closer together.  However the long-and-short stitch was for me very effective – I found the inner section with no background showing (or very little at least) works wonderfully and gives a relatively good illusion of green particularly with blurry eyesight. As the stitch spreads out it becomes less green although I can still see a tinge on both colours despite the background showing through much more. All stitching done in embroidery thread.


Segment 5: This is effectively divided into 3 and using all embroidery threads.  The outer section consisted of equal proportions of turquoise and yellow  with a high proportion of background showing through.  I do not find this effective at all and am not happy about it.  The middle section was rows of chain and running stitch alternating directions with the colours and closer together than before – when I can see a relatively effective colour change but feel this would have been more so with less background and the rows closer together.  The inner section was rows of turquoise running stitch with yellow running stitch criss-crossing horizontally – again I find this quite effective as for me the yellow has a definite green tinge (or illusion of) and the blue takes on a yellowish tinge.


Section 6:  This I tried various widths of rows with running stitch and varying the proportions of the colours (mostly in tapestry yarn). The areas I found most effective were where there are groups of the colours together with either single or multiple rows of the second colour alternating.  I also tried using double thickness of thread to give a thicker appearance to the yellow and added turquoise embroidery thread to the inner section too to give further contrast.


Section 7: my favourite of all the sections.  I had seen yarns used for weaving before and wondered how it would work and whether it would create an illusion of colour.  In the inner section I used single threads with rows getting further apart and weaving the yellow through the turquoise.  On the outer section I again wove the yellow through the turquoise but used double threads throughout and yet the rows very close together.  For me this is probably the most successful of the trials as I feel the colours blur and merge together in both areas but particular the outer section or very close to the centre where the single threaded rows are very close together.  I wanted to try both versions of the weaving to see how much of difference the background colour showing through made and the result is that I do feel the less it did the more the colours blurred with this technique.  However where the rows are further apart the yellow and turquoise were more definitive and I like the effect of how the colours merge as the rows get closer together and become more dense.


Section 8:  I used tapestry yarns in both colours and in equal proportions for both sets of stitches in this segment.  I also decided to use double thread in my needle to give a much thicker appearance.  In the outer section I used very wide herringbone stitches overlaying each other with a small proportion of background showing through – this seemed relatively successful as like the segment above the colours seem to blur together.  The inner section of satin stitches in blocks to create a basket-weave effect covered most of the background so very little showed through and for me this section produced a definite colour effect – that of  lovely ‘blocky’ bright patches of turquoise and yellow rather than a blending together which I really liked even though I could see very little green.

Overall my conclusions are that density of stitching does have a direct effect on colour effects and whether the colours merge but I think the actual stitch also has a direct effect too.  I like running stitches and straight stitches more than chain stitches at the moment but need to experiment further.  I am already very much aware of the effects of long-and-short stitch as this is a favoured one in my personal embroidery but am also really pleasantly surprised with herringbone and how effective that is when two colours are overlaid together.  My firm favourite though is the effect of the weaving but this may be no surprise either considering weaving on looms is known to create wonderful illusions of colours but it is nice to try it in an hand-stitching context and see the textural effects.

Finally thinking about the textures – I am really enjoying using different combinations of threads together (although I have only used two different types here) to produce different textures but am also now starting to understand how different yarns in the same colours can produce illusions of light and very different visual effects with texture and colour too and this on its own is very exciting.


















This entry was posted in ASSIGNMENT 2, ASSIGNMENTS, Coursework, Part 2, Project 3:, Stage 5. Bookmark the permalink.

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