In this post, I am sharing 3 tips for stitching with DMC variations and variegated thread.
You can listen to this post that was on The Cross Stitch Podcast below or keep scrolling to read the blog post.
But first, let’s talk about the difference between the 2.
The Difference Between DMC Variations and Variegated Thread
These types of threads are skeins that have more than 1 colour running throughout it and as you are stitching you will see these different colours appearing.
Variegated thread is actually just 1 colour in the skein but in many different shades.
For example, one of the colours is a blue that goes from dark blue, getting lighter and lighter as we go down the length of the skein then it starts getting darker and darker again and so on.
When looking for this thread the numbers are usually just double or triple figures; for example, that blue is 93 and then there is a 111.
Variations thread is more than 1 colour in the skein that tend to complement each other but they can be a mix of all different colours.
For example, 4015 is a colour I used to use in one of my Plant Lady kits (you can get the pattern here) and it is grey that goes quite white and then changes to a green and back to grey again.
Another clour is 4160 and this has white and different shades of pink and a bit of yellow in there too.
Variations thread has those different shades like variegated, but also an extra colour in the skein too.
There are a lot more variations thread than variegated too; almost double the amount.
When looking for this thread there are usually 4 numbers starting with a 4. So 4077, 4015, 4160 etc.
And variegateds thread here* (click on colour codes and scroll down to 48; the start of the variegated threads).
3 Tips for Stitching With DMC Variations and Variegated Thread
1. Don’t use the loop method to start
The “loop method” is when you take one strand of thread and fold it in half to start your stitching.
If you start this way the effect just isn’t the same as starting by catching your thread at the back or doing a waste knot.
Of course, if you really want to start this way you can, you will still get all of the colours but really the point in them is to subtly change colour. If you fold it in half you will have 2 different colours next to each other and if you wanted the effect of doing that you could just use ordinary threads and use 2 different colour strands on your needle.
But to get the full effect of the subtle colour changes happening all together you really need to start wither catching your thread or using a waste knot.
2. Be mindful of where you start and finish
When you are pulling your strands apart you will notice the colour changes from one end to the other. When you are stitching I want you to be mindful of which end you are starting with.
For example, one of the colours is 53 and this is a grey that goes from dark to light and back to dark. When you cut up your thread your strands will have a bit of each of that colour and usually, one end is darker than the other.
So you start stitching and the darker end is first and then your stitches gradually get lighter until you run out and it’s time to thread your needle again.
This time I want you to switch the end you start with so it matches where you just left off. So start stitching with the lighter end of grey and your stitches will gradually get darker again.
This way you haven’t ended with light and then jumped straight back into dark, but instead, you end with light and start with light and the colour change is subtle.
So if you’re using 2 strands then you will be able to do this 3 times before it’s time to cut another piece. Now the next piece won’t be such a subtle difference, but just try and carry it on as best you can matching those ends and starts up.
You don’t have to be too perfectionist about this; one of the perks of this thread is how unique each person’s will look. Just be mindful of carrying on the same shades, without stressing over whether they are matched up exactly.
3. Do full stitches
When you are stitching, do a full stitch after a full stitch etc rather than a row of half stitches and then coming back on yourself.
Doing those rows of half stitches can ruin the effect of those subtle colour changes. Your bottom row of stitches may be a different colour to the row you come back over this. This can be a nice effect, and you can play around with this is this is how you prefer to stitch but if you want the subtle colour changes then I recommend stitching variations and variegated threads in full stitches.
There aren’t many tips here, but the 3 I have shared will make your stitches look so much better when you’re stitching with these threads and really show those subtle changes off.
I haven’t used these threads much in my designs but they are all over my new Galaxy Stitch-A-Long pattern so if you’re looking for a way to try stitching with these then you can read more about it here. Get a physical DMC colour chart. This comes in so handy when you’re stitching your own pattern and want to see what the colours truly look like, rather than looking on a screen. This won’t matter too much if you have a kit with them in as your threads will already be chosen for you but if you’re picking your own then it really is helpful. I mean it’s helpful for picking any DMC colour but these variations and variegated in particular.