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Bad Color Days: How to Fix

Sometimes it's hard to come up with a new color scheme.  Sometimes it's easy.  One recommended method is to start with a known color scheme and work from there.  Quilters will find a fabric with a bold, colorful print.  The rest of the fabrics will include shades from the first fabric.  Embroiderers will start with a colorful overdyed thread and use it to select more colors.

I did one such project a few years ago.  We started with an overdyed thread and then chose 4 or 5 colors from that overdye.  The project involved an oak/acorn theme and I wanted green and brown to be included in the colors.  I chose this beautiful overdye:



Besides brown and green, there was red, orange and yellow.  With great excitement I started stitching.  I stitched some more and something happened - the colors where changing and not in a good way.  They began to look like a bad 70's color scheme with rust, harvest gold and avocado.  My excitement turned to disappointment.  I knew I could not look at those colors for the months that the project would take.  Still, it was hard to abandon them.  But, abandon them I did.  The stitches where quickly ripped out and I was back at the needlework store shopping for new colors.  The skein of 70's floss was tossed in a drawer.

Years passed, but I didn't forget that abandoned floss.  Finally, I decided to do something with it.  I had a small frame with a 2 1/4 inch opening so I decided to start with the abandoned floss.  Instead of working with it, I worked against it.  There was no blue at all in it.  So, I chose a bright cheery blue, a pink and a peach to see if they could transform the 70's floss.  I started stitching randomly in the 2 inch square to see what I could come up with.




No more 70's!  If you look the gold, rust and avocado are still there but muted.  They no longer dominate, but complement.  It was an exiting transformation and I had to try it again with different colors.




Next I found some small kits that had been neglected in a drawer, tossed out the pattern and added an unlikely overdyed thread.  What fun!  I was coming up with fun color schemes in unexpected and unplanned ways.   I played with more of these than I care to admit but, the seed of an idea had been planted.  I would use this exercise as a basis for future designs.






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