color patterns using variegated floss

variagated thread pattern

The method of cross stitch (English vs. Danish) and the direction in which variegated thread is stitched can have quite an impact on the way a finished piece looks. I’ve created a sample patch using 3 different threads to show the resulting patterns when variegated thread is used Vertically, Horizontally, in a Spiral and Diagonally. Those 4 columns were stitched using the English method of crossing each stitch as you go. The last column was created using the Danish method of laying all the bottom half-crosses in a row first, then coming back through that row with the top half-cross.

It is a widely accepted “rule” that you must cross each stitch as you go when using variegated threads. As shown in the last column, that’s not always the case… it just depends on the look you are going for. Stitching Danish can produce a softer appearance where you get the color differences but not quite so defined. I tend to stitch English, and I’ve gotten so used to using the variegated threads that I find myself crossing each X as I go even when using solid DMC!


Teresa has passed on this award to me, which was very kind. Two fellow bloggers that I pass this to: Mary Katherine and Tanya.


14 thoughts on “color patterns using variegated floss

  1. Thanks for breaking the rule and showing people what it looks like. I often stitch haphazardly with the overdyeds because I don’t want stripes in my pieces, but I like the variation. Or if I’m stitching something that is vertical like a tree, I’ll stitch in columns instead of rows. Yay for breaking the “rules.” Let’s hope people are converted. :)

  2. Thank you so much!! This is exactly what I needed. You have answered all my questions. I am now looking forward to stitchng with my new thread.

  3. Thanks for sharing this. It’s interesting to see, and the clear markings make it a nice reference, too. I tend to “break the rules” when using overdyed flosses if I think it will improve the shading of the final piece. I’ve even stitched in a checkerboard fashion and randomly scattered stitches throughout a section to help achieve the shading that I think looks best. Takes time, but I often like the final look better.

  4. Very interesting … I haven’t used varigated floss really at all yet, but I hadn’t realized that I stitch in the Danish fashion … bottom stitch across a row and then back so that the back of my piece has lots of vertical lines. I was never taught to cross each stitch as you go … shows how we are each different :)

  5. What an interesting comparison, I really enjoyed seeing all the different way the colors worked out. I’ve stitched most of them at one time or another depending on how sharp or soft I want the color changes to be.

  6. Awesome — how interesting to change stitching directions, etc., and get different ‘look’ to the over dye.

    When I want to avoid the stiped look, I blend a dmc solid with overdye.

    Thx for sharing

  7. WOW, how interesting to see what you have actually done with the varigated and hand-dyed threads. You are so organized, and all those beautiful threads hanging in your closet. Impressive to say the least! Thanks for sharing and stitching the little squares to show us the differences, a great reference for shading. You are a thoughtful lady!

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