Gay Ann Rogers Needlework

Gay Ann Rogers Needlework

Lessons on Threads






New Lessons

Thread Lesson #6

Comments on Overdyed Threads

Driven to Distraction

Overdyed threads are one of the best thread inventions of our time; in the hands of a dyer with an artistic eye, the colors are magical, in the hands of a capable stitcher the effects are beautiful.


That's the upside; the downside is that overdyed threads have often driven me to distraction.


Here's my problem

What do I do with the threads? Used straight off the skein, the colors don't necessarily happen where I would wish to place them, so I spent a lot of time obsessively editing them. This is OK, except over-manipulation of the colors can look too contrived.


Here's my obsession: I have to manipulate the thread so that the colors come up where I want them, but the placement has to look like a happy accident -- a happy accident that the colors came out in such a unplanned and spontaneous fashion.


Sometimes I simply give up, break open a new skein and start anew, just letting it all happen.

I go back and forth and it drives me nuts.


Shopping for Overdyed Threads

There is a profusion of Overdyed Threads on the marketplace today and all are worthy of our attention. That said, here are three of my favorites: Thread Gatherer, Gloriana and Caron Collection.


Caron Collection

Caron's Watercolors (only one of the line's overdyed threads) are often magic and have helped me with any number of geometrics going back a good 25 years. My first one was Santa Fe Square; amazing to think that Santa Fe Square now qualifies as vintage.



Beautiful colors and a beautiful array of threads.

How can you help but fall in love with Monet's Garden, along with many others.

Gloriana's ribbons are superb.


Thread Gatherer

I have used so many Thread Gatherer colors over my career, but my favorite has to be

Silver Queen. It creates the most wonderful shadow to white. CeCe has a wonderful sense of subtle colors; I hate to think of how many skeins of Thread Gatherer silk and ribbons I have gone through in the last years.


My Main Suggestion Has to Do With Shopping:

When you find an overdyed thread you like, always buy more than you think you will use.

If a pattern calls for 1 skein, buy two; if a pattern calls for 2 skeins, buy 3 or 4.

Here's why: you need extra thread if you wish to share my obsession and edit the colors.

(I said mine was an obsession so I buy triple the number of skeins I think I will use).



Formula One

For the most part I am opposed to formulas, but here's a simple one that can work well:

Choose a favorite Watercolors.

Choose a color of #18 mesh canvas to coordinate.

Choose three skeins of Pearl Cotton #5 (or similar thread)

     First Pearl Cotton that picks up the dominant color in the Watercolors,

     Second Pearl Cotton that is lighter or darker than the first Pearl Cotton,

     Third Pearl Cotton that is an accent color.

Choose a ball of Pearl Cotton #8 the same or similar in color to your First Pearl Cotton

Optional: Choose a second ball of Pearl Cotton #8.

Choose Kreinik braids

     First Kreinik braid: to coordinate with first or second Pearl Cotton

     Second Kreinik braid: to coordinate with third Pearl Cotton.


The success of course depends on the range of the colors and the skill of the person choosing them. Because you can't always predict what colors will go together well, it is always smart to buy extra colors based essentially on the formula.


And remember, a part of the skill of using Watercolors includes placing the colors of the overdyed thread well: a pleasing flow of the colors but just off enough so that they don't look too contrived and mechanical.



Formula Two

This one is more challenging.

Choose a Watercolors

Choose two or three more overdyed threads to coordinate or contrast with the Watercolors.

Add three more colors in a variety of threads.

Add three or more Kreinik braids.







My World of Needlework


New Lessons


In 2015 I wrote a series of lessons for the beginner, intermediate and advancing needlework student.


I always intended to add to them but the year had a way of getting away from me, and here I am, a year later.


I'll do the best to add to my lessons as 2016 progresses.


If you have any topic you wish I would write about, please email me and I will see what I can do:


Click here for 2015's Lessons

For Beginning Students


Click here for 2015's Lessons

An Overview of Needlepoint


Click here for 2015's Lessons

For Intermediate Students


Click here for 2015's Lessons

For Advancing Students


Coming Soon in 2016

Lessons in Design

Starting with a Watercolors (note by the pointer line), I built a collection of greens that includes some of my favorite threads: Soie d'Alger, Impressions, 100/3, and Kreinik braids and ribbon in mixes of greens. Good entertainment on a rainy afternoon.


I do this often, drawing first from my stash and then adding with shopping sprees.

Purples, blues and blue greens: I started with overdyed threads and ribbons and added Planet Earths and Pepper Pots.