When it comes to selecting the right colors for an embroidery project, I admit that it’s not always easy. But when it comes to selecting colors for a goldwork project, my field of vision narrows considerably. With goldwork, I personally like deep and rich colors. So when I sat down to contemplate what colors to use on the stylized pomegranate that I’m working in silk and metal threads, I already knew that I wanted either a very rich purple scheme or a very rich red scheme.
Both deep reds and deep purples look very good with gold threads – they’re both rich colors that go beautifully with rich threads. Once I had the project set up, then, I took out my box of Soie d’Alger and rummaged through for all the purples and reds in the box. I also picked out greens – but more on that in a bit.
It was quite a heap of threads. Some of this is left over from the silk-on-silk satin-stitched stole I made quite a few years ago, and some of it comes from building stash from smaller projects, and so forth. Soie d’Alger has long been an absolute favorite thread of mine, so I admit, I collect it! I love using it for ecclesiastical projects, for needlepainting, for any goldwork / silk combinations… the list can go on!
I didn’t actually have as much purple as I thought – the darker blues up above don’t really count…
I’m a little more flush on reds. I’m a sucker for reds, and in my heart o’ hearts, I knew deep down, I’d be going for reds.
I’m still debating the green issue. I may just go with gold on the circular swash. On the other hand, the gold looks great next to a vibrant silk, so…. we shall see.
I wanted six shades of red, from very dark to a very light, and this was the only color grouping that worked out to six acceptable shades. The other groups of reds had three or four shades, and some of them were missing intermediate colors. So this was the color group I stuck with: Soie d’Alger numbers 946, 945, 943, 942, 936, 932.
This was the only set of green that had a selection of at least five shades: 2136, 2135, 2133, 2132, 2131. And the greens and the reds go well enough together, so right now, these are the colors I’m using. The green could change to gold instead. I’ll have to try a little bit of it out to see if I like it.
Now, if you are thinking about trying this project out, you are certainly not stuck with the same color scheme that I’m using! If you decide to go with needlepainting (long and short stitch shading) on parts of the stylized pomegranate, whatever colors you decide to use, remember that you’ll need a minimum of four shades of your color. I like to work with five or six on this type of project, because it gives me the ability to build a bit more depth in the shading, but you can get away with four. You don’t have to use silk. If you’re practicing, you might want to use cotton instead of making the investment in silk.
The metal threads are a bit more difficult. I’m going to have to work with them first to make sure of the correct sizes before I publish any kind of list of metal threads. I wouldn’t want to change sizes in the middle of the project, and then find out that anyone purchased metal threads based on my initial assumptions. I do know I’m using a #5 smooth passing thread on the body of the pomegranate. Other than that, we’ll have to see!
Next time we visit the project, I’ll show you some stitching!
For all the posts in this series, please visit the following links, which are arranged in the order of the project’s development:
Stylized Pomegranate Pattern used for this project
Setting up the Project on a Frame
Preparing the Ground Fabric with Felt Padding
Selecting Colors of Silk for the Project
The Stitching Begins – SIlk Shading
Continuing the silk shading – the left side
Finishing the silk shading
The Goldwork Begins: Smooth Passing Thread
Check Thread for Outlining
Chip Work Filling with Check Purl
Outlining with Stretched Pearl Purl
Filling the Bowl with Passing Thread
Finishing the Tips with Passing Thread
Finishing the Fruit
Beginning the Stem
Continuing with the Green on the Stem
Almost finished! Chip work on the Stem
The Finished Goldwork Pomegranate