Just one – er – two or four mistakes.

The embroidery has nothing to do with the quote, it’s an expansion of an Anne Brandon Jones design. Embroidering these circular motifs reminds me of drawing mandalas, in the way that one idea leads to another.

Rereading the quote and what I just wrote – maybe there is a connection after all?


Thinking about colour.

The last of Brandon Jones’ books is called Colour Pattern for Embroidery, I think because all the plates are in colour. She gives very little guidance on the use of colour: she acknowledges that the reader might like some, but says that ‘there is very little in the way of practical help and guidance on the subject that can be passed on’. She is a bit dismissive of colour theory: her approach seems to be ‘look at the illustrations, but if you don’t like the colours I’ve used, rely on your own judgment and choose your own’.

All the C&G courses I have taken started with colour theory, so I’ve spent quite a lot of time playing around with colour. I have definite personal preferences – usually black, white and something bright – but with the sampler I’ve tried to be a bit more adventurous. Normally I avoid schemes using complementary colours, finding them a bit overpowering, but given the season I’ve been using red and green, using Joen Wolfrom’s ‘Three in One Color Tool’ to select the shades – well, as far as I can in the poor light of this time of year. See the latest wonky circle above.

The usual recommendation is to use relatively little of one-off the two complementary colours , just as highlights, but in Embroidery and Fabric Collage, (no, I did not pay that much for it), Eirian Short is much more specific. Her suggestion is to use purple and yellow in the ratio 3:1, blue and orange in the ratio 2:1, and red and green 1:1. Which immediately makes me want to experiment with different ratios.

Another recommendation I’ve come across for complementary colours is that the colour you use less of should be a pale shade – e.g. green and pink. In World of Embroidery, Jan Messent expands on this idea, suggesting that if you reverse the expected intensities of the colours – for example, a saturated yellow with a pale lilac – the result is discordant. Which once again, makes me want to try it out: sometimes, discordant is what you want.

Contrary? Me?