I posted the above picture on Instagram. It's my Summer Solstice pattern with a skein of DMC stranded cotton, shade 90. As you can see, it perfectly matches the shades I have chosen for the pattern and I think it will make a great alternative if you want to give your version a completely different look.
I received a comment from Elizabeth Braun of the Sew In Love blog who correctly pointed out that variegated threads can give "a random, unpredictable" result and may not always work out the way you want. This is a very good point and I thought I'd better do some experimenting to see what happens.
Here is a length of the thread. Usually when I work with stranded cotton, I use a length that reaches from my finger tips to about an inch below my elbow but with variegated threads, I like to use a length that has all of the different tones in it. This is because you always lose a little of it when you cast off and snip the thread. This means the tones may not change as smoothly as you want them to.
Next, you have to think about how you're going to work your stitches. I usually work in rows making the first diagonal in one direction and then coming back making the second diagonal. You may prefer to complete each cross as you go. I wanted to see what difference each of these techniques would make to the appearance of the variegated thread.
I began with my usual method.
My first length got me this far...
When I threaded my second length, I threaded the opposite way to the first so I could carry on with the tone I had finished the first length with. Here is the finished circle...
It looks better in 'real life' but you can see it gives a very pleasing result.
The second circle (on the right) has been worked one cross at a time. There isn't a huge amount of difference in how the individual tones look but this technique uses more thread and so there is a bit more variation in the overall result.
I also stitched a circle working one cross at a time in a clockwise spiral, starting at the bottom.
I think they have all given interesting results but I prefer the first one because I like the subtle blending of the different shades.
The circles I used for practising are smaller than those in my design and so you may get different results when working on a bigger scale. However, I definitely think it's worth thinking about and having a play with. As with most of my patterns, Summer Solstice (and it's sister pattern Winter Solstice) has the potential to be adapted to different colours and there's no 'wrong' way of stitching it.
Have you ever used variegated threads? What projects have you used them for? What did you think of the results? Let me know in the comments below or by getting in touch on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook.
To buy the Summer Solstice pattern and browse my other designs see my website hawthorntreedesigns.com
You can read Elizabeth's blog Sew In Love by clicking here.