Silk Road Needle Arts
St. Petersburg, Florida
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Shading and Blending Colors--
The transitions in colors, especially with painted needlepoint canvases, can be daunting so some people. Here are some tips to help you make these transitions work for you.
Shading with one-ply thread. Quite often you find yourself working with a thread and need to create a transition; perhaps there are not enough shades of the thread to create a gentle transition. You can do a "hatching" or "tweeding" transition in order to make the transition work for you. You will skip some stitches (say every other one) and come back and fill with the second color which will be adjacent to it. In essence, you create a "speckled" zone between the two colors and you eye from a distance will create yet another color for the transition zone. The speckling will be much less noticeable if there is little difference between the original colors you are using; if they are quite different in value, then there will be a noticeable "tweeding," which may be effect you want.
Shading with multiple plies. This method is more traditional, but you will need to have a thread that you are using multiple plies of. In this case, you work your transition areas by combining neighboring threads to create new shades. An example using Appleton Crewel yarn, 4 plies on the canvas:
1st shade: 4 plies of color A
2nd shade: 3 plies of Color A, 1 ply of Color B
3rd shade: 2 plies of Color A, 2 plies of Color B
4th shade: 1 ply of Color A, 3 plies of Color B
5th shade: 4 plies Color B
In essence you have taken 2 colors and created 5 shades of it! Just think of the possibilities of some of the Appleton colors where there are 8 colors in a range. If there is little difference in the original colors you are blending, then the transitions will be quite smooth.
Note: either method will work if you are trying to mix dyelots and will make the transition less noticeable.