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Cross Stitch 101: Using Variegated Floss

Using variegated floss is a weird beginner problem for some people.  I get asked a lot how it works and how to use it.  The simple answer is however you want.

That's not a very helpful answer though.

The way that you stitch will determine how your variegated floss works.  Learning how to use variegated floss with one strand is easiest.  But you can use more to change the way it looks.  Using one strand, not folded over, stitch one full X at a time.  This will make both parts of the stitch the same colour, or very similar colours.  Stitching a full X at a time is the English method.  English is the most common method for using variegated floss.

Going along your row with half stitches, and then coming back to finish them is the Danish method.  This will make the row change as it goes along.  On the side where you started, the stitches will have different colours on the top and bottom of the stitch.  On the side where you start to double back, you'll have a few stitches of the same colour.

Using multiple strands, you can change the way it looks even more.  You can take two strands and use a waste knot to stitch English, and get better coverage across your piece.  (This is what I tend to do for two-colour pieces.)

Or, you can take your floss, and double it over and do a loop start.  Now, whether you stitch English, Danish, or tent (half stitches), you'll have a blend of colours in each stitch. (This is what I tend to do for some sprites.)

If you want to experiment with one strand to get used to it, but find a single strand difficult to see, try to find some Pearl Cotton and use that on perforated plastic or a low-count aida.

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