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Using Space - Dyed Threads
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Using Space - dyed Threads

Wonderful effects can be achieved if space-dyed or variegated threads are used carefully and sparingly. A simple design, for example, an alphabet or name, can be transformed by substituting this type of thread for a single colour. When using variegated thread, where the colour gradually changes from a very pale to a dark shade of the same colour, it is important to select the lengths so that the gradual change of colour is followed throughout your stitching, that is, do not place dark thread next to light.

Beautifully subtle effects can be achieved if the colours merge gradually. On the other hand, some space-dyed threads are dyed with sudden and dramatic changes of colour at very short intervals, giving a totally different look.

For both types of thread, it is important to complete each cross stitch individually, and not work a line of half crosses and then complete by working back along the line.

Space-dyed threads are now readily available from many manufacturers and may be made from silk, rayon and cotton. These threads are not randomly dyed but have patterns of colour, making it possible to decide where you want a particular shade.

Using Space-Dyed Threads

There are many beautiful space-dyed threads available to cross stichers today. Below you'll find somes tips and techniques on using these threads.

Tip 1: Look at the skein and cut the thread so that you can see where the colours start and finish. Use a length of thread only whilst the colours are suiting the cross stitch project. Do not use the whole thread if it is not appropriate.

Tip 2: When combining stranded cottons with space-dyed threads, compare the colours carefully along the length of the thread to check that the shades tone successfully.

Tip 3: When threading the needle, check to see that the colour you intend to use is near the away waste knot.

Tip 4: Always complete each cross stitch. Do not form in two journeys or the colour sequence will be interrupted.

Tip 5: Manufacturers take great care to ensure that their threads are colourfast but some space-dyed threads can be suspect. Read the label on these cross stitch threads and take sensible precautions if you are likely to wash the project. If in any doubt, lay the stitching right side down on a clean, flat surface and, using a damp white tissue, press the threads firmly, particularly red shades. If there is even a trace of colour on the tissue, do not wash the cross stitch fabric.


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