Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Selecting a background color, or how not to lose an arm and a leg

DMC cotton floss is the backbone of my thread stash: I've used it in combination with Kreinik metallic threads for the backgrounds of all my ornaments to date in the Nutcracker series. But sometimes, as with the Waltz of the Flowers ornament, color choice of floss can be tricky. I wanted this ornament to look very feminine and in pastel colors of pink and green.

The choices of floss for skin tones are somewhat limited, which made my selection of a background color even more important. Had I used a pink background, I ran the risk of either watching the dancers' arms and legs disappear or switching to a flesh tone that made them look jaundiced. So I opted for a pale green--DMC floss #504--for my background and a healthy pink DMC floss #948 for the skin tone.

Now that half of the background has been stitched, I can see that the pink I used to paint the filigree pattern won't work--I'm looking for a twinkle but I don't want the finished ornament to look like a bonbon. Yet another instance where I'm glad I don't paint a master for a design until after I've stitched the model--I can work out any kinks as I go along!

I raided my stash for the "stem" section of the dancers' costumes and found Silk & Ivory "Willow," which blended well with the background. The loft of the S & I provided the high profile I was looking for, but I'm not quite satisfied with the overall effect. Being a 50/50 silk/wool blend, the S & I provided the sheen I was looking for, but it's looking a bit too "woolly" to me. I think a trip to my LNS is in order to see if there's a more appropriate thread for the costumes!


Possibilities, Etc. said...

Things do change when we start stitching. I like the background color a lot, but agree the pink lattice won't work so well. I'm sure Barry will have just the thing for the costume! These little dancers are just beautiful.

Cool City Stitcher said...

This is just one of the reasons I love stitching your designs.. you work out all the details, so I don't have to! Your canvases are beautifully stitch-painted and your blog provides a step-by-step stitch guide.. perfection is guaranteed!

The Chilly Hollow Needlepoint Adventure said...


Look at the silks that have metallics woven in. Silk Lame Braid (it comes in size 13 and 18 canvas diameters), Plant Earth's Opal, Vineyard Silks' Shimmer, all have a metallic bit in with the silk. Opal is the most subtle, but any of them will work. I think that's the way I would go but then you have to see things in person to know which one is "right." Have fun shopping!

Needle Nicely said...

These girls look delightful and light on their feet. Your background and flesh tone look perfect--I wonder about fuchsia Kreinik metallic for the background "twirls"? Also, the new silk 'n ivory green metallic may be too strong for your flower tops (bottoms?)? Can't wait to see what you decide on.

threadmedley said...

I love watching as you make decisions on the different parts of your designs. We learn so much. To me, the Willow is too much like the background to stand out, so I agree that you need to go shopping. Something closer to your painted green color might be better. Can't wait to see what you decide on.

Rachel said...

Greens are always tricky, as the colours around them can very strongly influence how they appear.