Let's Talk Fibers:
Overdyed, hand-dyed and variegated, is there a difference? Yes and no. Yes, it's in the method used in dying thread; and No, it's the description of the thread after the dying process. Let's talk about each process.
Overdyed Threads: Are a one colored thread, that is overdyed with one or more colors. Many overdyed threads begin as the color white, cream or ecru. Overdyed threads can be hand-dyed, painted or mass dyed.
Hand-dyed Threads: Are just that, dyed by hand. Usually produced in small amounts, to better control the degree of color variation. There will be shade and color variations among dye lots, therefore, purchase enough of the same dye lot for a project.
Variegated Threads: Have evenly spaced repeats of shades of one color along the length of the fiber. These threads are usually mass produced.
Hand Painted Threads: Many times hand painted threads will be multi-colored along a continuous thread. Dye lots will vary greatly; purchase enough thread from the same dye lot to complete a project.
Let's break a rule here and say there is no right or wrong way to stitch with overdyed, hand-dyed, painted and variegated threads. There are two methods to stitch a cross stitch; English or Danish (Scandinavian.) English stitching is crossing each stitch as you go; X. Danish stitching is working half stitches across the row; //////, then stitch back to the starting point, crossing each stitch; XXXXXX. English stitching will give the maximum color display of overydyed thread, a clear look at the color gradation. Danish stitching gives a subtle, mottled color display. To give plants, trees & tree trunks, hair, a more realistic look, English stitch the rows vertically. Stitch the first vertical row down the trunk or leaf, completing each stitch as you go down. When the first vertical row is complete, start the second vertical row, stitching up the trunk.
With a scrap piece of fabric, you can stitch a sample, doodle patch with the methods discussed above, using overdyed, hand-dyed or variegated threads. Try the English, Danish methods, stitching horizontally, vertically, or spiral (think candy cane) and see the different effects.
Next time, Let's talk different types of Fibers.
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