Variegated Threads – Round 3

Sooner or later proved, as it often does for me, to be later. At the end of my previous post on variegated threads, I mentioned that I was going to road test the Caron Wildflowers in the Black Forest colorway on a tree trunk. True to my hopes, this thread does make an outstanding tree trunk. As variegated threads go, this one’s a winner, especially in this application. Whether it was chance or good fortune, one of the lighter areas of the thread landed just along the left hand side of the tree, and not so obviously anywhere else that I got a nice looking highlight on that side.tree1.jpg Working from a bare chalk outline, I started at the bottom of the left side of the trunk, worked my way to the end of the branch, and then started back down again, not from the tip of the branch but ‘down’ the branch a little ways. From there I did the other main branches, top to ground, later going back to fill in any gaps in the stitching. The tiny branches off the larger branches were an afterthought, added with the last bit of thread on my needle after the main tree was complete. There was a big chunky mess near the top of the center branch, but I didn’t bother to take it out, knowing it would get some leaves shortly.
After the trunk was complete, I began adding leaves. Using my all time favorite stitch for foliage, the detached chain (aka lazy daisy), I started adding leaves. I made a point of having the leaves cross over some of the branches, just as you would expect to see foliage on a tree obscuring some of the trunk.tree21.jpgThe thread is one strand each of two different colors of DMC floss, though the colors are so similar they look the same. I was looking for a little depth by using two colors, but it is much more subtle than I was trying to achieve. So, if you’re going to blend using two different colors, they need to be a little more different than the shades I chose. Who knows, it could have been two skeins of the same color number. I have a bad habit of selecting the same shades over and over, only discovering the duplication when get it home. I discovered 3 skeins of the same pink the other day, all right next to each other in the box. It is a pretty shade of pink…

Now for the blossoms. Determined to make use of my several skeins of DMC variegated pink (color#48), I cut off an entire length of the thread, from lightest all the way to where it was darkest and beginning to go light again. I split it into two groups of 3 strands. Setting one group aside, I removed one of the three strands from the other two and turned it the other way around. So, it had two very light strands paired up with one very dark strand. What I mean to say is that at one end, two strands were very light and the other very dark. The other end had one very light and two very dark. I tied my knot in the light/light end, and began making colonial knots starting at the left end of the leftmost branch. Remember, I’m left handed. I worked my way to the trunk, about which time I discovered that my knots didn’t look so multicolored anymore. I had reached the point on the thread that there wasn’t a lot of contrast between the strands. tree3.jpgI puttered around the center of the tree for awhile, until the three strands were all the same color. At this point I cut the thread, tied it off and then cut the rest of the ‘all-the-same’ colors off the remaining thread and started up again. There was a section of about 8″ that I didn’t use at all. At that point, I realized that I should be skipping all over the place with my knots, instead of going to the nearest next good place to put a knot. This gives better balance and puts dissimilar knots near each other. Floss is cheap, and it’s ok to waste a few inches in the interest of better looking work, or just in being satisfied with what you’ve done. The last four knots are the ones falling from the tree, and I did them twice before I was happy with them. The first four came at a point in the thread where the colors were too similar, so I cut them out and used the other end of the thread, where there was more contrast.

If you’re going to skip around while doing this sort of work, either make sure not to pull stitches too tightly, or use a hoop. Since most of my work is wool and has lots of body, I seldom use a hoop, but even with the wool, it pays to keep an eye on your tension.

Alas, this tree is not out standing in its field all alone, and a future installment will show the surrounding grass and a few other little things to give the environment more character. DD thinks the tree needs a bluebird, but I’m still on the fence about adding fauna to my flora. Hey, maybe I should make a fence in the background for the birdie to sit on. That sounds like a plan.

Until next time…

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3 Responses to Variegated Threads – Round 3

  1. Candida says:

    How lovely! I did a tree like this one some time ago inspired by a work I saw at:
    http://www.needleart.org/Charts/03-Spring/Surface/SurfaceSpringTree.php
    Great work!

  2. Susan says:

    The whole thing is fabulous. I love your detailed explanation because I like knowing the thinking that is going on behind the design. Thank you! I think a fence should be in all your work. =)

  3. Janet says:

    Candida and Susan, Thank you both for your kind words. I really appreciate your taking the time to comment.

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