Sunday, November 18, 2007

More Starry Thoughts

I recently received an email from a stitcher who informed me her local stitching guild was going to work on my STARRY NIGHTS design, over a two-month period. And because some of the stitchers were interested in changing the colors in the design, they were first going to have a meeting to discuss color theories and possibilities...and she also asked why did I include the greens in the project, when the variegated skein of "Elderberry Wine" didn't have any green in it.

It got me thinking about why I chose those particular colors for that project. And I realized that other stitchers might appreciate hearing my answer too. Here's what I wrote to that Starry Nights stitcher:

"What brave stitchers you are. I'm sooo glad you are eager to tackle the color changes!I love it when stitchers change the colors of my designs.It's such a fun way to challenge your color sense...and have a wonderful surprise element built-in to your stitching.

And I think your idea of having a color class first, to discuss color options is a GREAT plan! Be sure to bring along a DMC color chart - wonderful for seeing all the color choices - and lots of DMC floss skeins to play with.(The DMC chart also lets you see which colors are available in #5 pearl, and which are only available in floss - another important design criteria that you have to factor in to your color choices). How fun to get everyone playing around with variegated threads and all the color possibilities!!

When I was designing this, I wanted a nighttime color scheme, but I also wanted a variegated thread that had FOUR different colors in it (harder to find than you might think)...and the thread I settled on was Caron Watercolours' "Elderberry Wine."

Here's a photo of the thread, which I just got finished using in another new piece, NORDIC SNOWFLAKES. As you can see in the photo, there isn't any green in the variegated skein. Just blues, purples, fuchsias and turquoise.
You can see in the photo above, how all those VERY COOL colors go together and are so similar that there just needed to be an accent color in STARRY NIGHTS that was slightly different than the rest - something to add an unexpected POP ofcolor. So I snuck in some green (just in the floss/background)...which injects a slightly warmer hue into the overall piece, even tho the greens I chose - 992 and 3814 - are a blue-ish green, and seem to echo the turquoise color, 807. (Green is also a calming, grounding color, so it also calms all those jewel tones down.But at the same time, it's warmer than the blues and purples, so it adds a bit of warmth to the design, as well.)

These are the things you need to think about when changing colors in STARRY NIGHTS: Find the family of (four) matching colors to your variegated skein, then "throw in" an unexpected accent color....maybe a gold? or a bright red? a bright yellow? a bright pink? or a clear, pure color against a set of darker, muted colors? Some different color that will sparkle against the others, and make your eye skip around the complex quilt design....and also provide a fun sense of hide & seek/discovery thruout the overall pattern.

You might also like to know that when I was designing STARRY NIGHTS, I wanted to create a beam of lighter color - like a moonbeam - that goes from the upper right corner, down to the lower left corner. Keep this in mind when you stitch your background...and try to use the lighter background colors in that "beam" of light. It's another (subtle) way of moving the viewer's eye across the pattern. And then those dots of green make your eye skip from spot to spot in the overall piece. (Without that green accent color, I think the whole design would meld and blur together - might look rather muddy, overall - and your eye wouldn't see so many of the different shapes.)


Happy Heart Designs said...

I think this piece is absolutely beautiful and I love your colors. I also agree that you needed a "pop" color to keep it from being too much of the same. Choosing colors for designs and threads is something I do on a regular basis as a needlepoint designer. thank you for sharing your thought process. Tish

Possibilities, Etc. said...

You are so very correct about adding that green - (this from a teacher of color theory) I do love pulling colors for use with Watercolous - and the way the Caron threads all blend due to the same dyes. - like Soie Cristale, etc. working so well with the Watercolours and Waterlilies. I have used those almost exclusively with my needlepoint Art Crazy Quilt designs.

Ira said...

Love you colors. Beautiful work. Very impressive.

Stitch Wizard said...

I just bought Starry Nights and I just love it so much! The way you graphed it to stitched is just magnificent!! I for one love all of the colors chosen for this design and love the green accents. I can hardly wait to get started on it! You are a fantastic designer and stitcher!