Original blog post was written by @emzolv on August 9, 2016 and was reposted to this blog with permission.
I am super pleased to finally announce and publish today this hopefully interesting article about the DMC Coloris range. Here, we’re going to not only be looking at the primary project I’ve completed using one of the DMC Coloris threads, but also what the range looks like in actual stitches and a comparison with the other current multicoloured thread available – DMC Color Variations! I’ve also included in here my techniques I’ve used for all physical examples provided, as well as some suggestions for patterns. Hopefully this article will inspire you to get creative using some of the more flexible and unique threads available in DMC’s product range.
First things first; it is imperative that I mention here that I was kindly sent the DMC Coloris threads when I contacted DMC regarding possible opportunities with the Twitch broadcasting and the blog. With this in mind, I’ve not been paid or told what to write; my words and opinions are mine alone. I also purchased (if I did not have them already) all other threads used in this article – such as all DMC Color Varitions and all materials such as the aida fabric, scissors, needles, etc.
Secondly; if you’ve been following my blog, or following me on Twitch or any social media, you’ll be very aware that I love DMC as a brand and they are probably my primary go-to thread supplier for my own projects. With this in mind, I’ve tried to write this article with as little bias and as much objectivity as possible.
Right, let’s dive straight into it!
Primary Project: Use DMC Coloris For A Unique Project
I felt it necessary when I received the threads from DMC to do something unusual, perhaps something unique. The awareness surrounding the Coloris release was quite high, with free patterns being made available on the DMC website and on the UK online retailer site Sew&So. These patterns primarily consisted of small bundles of shapes, such as small hearts, flowers, petals; all very similar to what you would see on a traditional stitched sampler.
The Coloris threads change steadily from one shade to another – and with patterns utilising small stitched areas, this gives off this wonderful blended effect. Take for example, this delightful free pattern of flowers in a vase, available from the DMC Creative website here.
As you can see, the use of the Coloris thread 4509 here, in small bundles of stitches, creates a wonderful autumnal effect. Those bursts of pinks and yellow provide what feels like the bright petals of a flower, whereas the grey shade of the Coloris helps to provide some depth. (NB: the vase is not with Coloris thread, but does show how the combination of standard stranded cotton with Coloris can create dramatic images).
Here is another, more sampler styled pattern, also available from DMC Creative here:
This time, using Coloris 4502 throughout the pattern, we get an incredibly pretty effect which changes frequently. This light and airy selection of shades has pink (once again, almost signifying flower petals) and a beautiful green which more so represents the vines and the leaves. All in all, a lovely design.
We’ve also had the experience of our past – using Color Variations – that with small stitching areas, we can get some fantastic effects, where the varying shades really help to bring something unique to a pattern.
So this led me to think; aside from standard comparison photographs of where, I stitch one line each of Coloris shades, what could I do that would really be a risk, which would show Coloris in a different light.
I needed to get big. I needed to use the thread in a way that was unlikely, to show what could be possible – to show what would happen for those unsure of the results. I wanted to try to use Coloris in a pattern where I could possibly go through all four/five shades in one skein in a few rows.
I decided to take on a pattern I had been wanting to create for a while – something which I had brainstormed with my boyfriend as a gift for a friend. Something unique, one of a kind, that even if the pattern was used by someone else, it would not be the same as the first version I had created for this person as a gift. It seemed perfect. It was time to stitch the Twitch logo.
For those of you who aren’t aware of the Twitch broadcasting site, where have you been? Joking, of course! Twitch is a wonderful website where anyone who can, can broadcast or ‘stream’ their video game playthroughs. It also became a place where creative individuals could actually broadcast the creation of their art, their WIP, their products. I have been partial to broadcasting cross stitching – primarily my Yoshi Island cross stitch design, and the Twitch Team Square which was Nintendo themed. This website has been integral to my life over the past two years now; it has seen me meet many amazing friends, have countless memorable experiences and ultimately, has seen me develop confidence in my stitching craft. As this is a gift, for someone who is also very related to Twitch, it seemed almost too good an opportunity to miss up.
NB: Kari is in the progress of making some amazing Coloris / Variation patterns available on her Etsy. Make sure you stop by and take a look for some amazing patterns to purchase if you’re after some unique inspiration!
I believe the key to working with any multicoloured thread is really the preparation. That doesn’t necessarily mean what tools and supplies you are going to use (although part of the process), but the actual technique you are going to use when working with the threads you’ve chosen. It is key that you are aware of how stitching one way will create one style, whereas stitching another technique will create a different effect.
I decided (with the help of a social media vote on everyone’s favourite DMC Coloris thread) was on the beautiful 4507 Bougainvillier which alternates between a beautiful blue, pink and two shades of green. This happens to be one of the brightest variations available, and would ultimately look stunning with a floral sampler pattern (I’m very tempted to try the above free pattern I’ve added with this, I feel it’ll come out so strong).
For reference, the pattern was created on 18 count pure white aida from Zweigart (as was all comparison samples).
For the Twitch logo and knowingly deciding on a pattern that had many large areas of stitches, I had a choice between two different techniques.
- I could either stitch each individual stitch as a whole cross stitch, as I progressed through the design. This means that each whole cross stitch would be the brightest and more ‘pure’ version of the colours in the thread
- With this, I could either bunch together colours (and work my way in a bizarre, non-uniform way around the fabric).
- Or I could still continue to stitch whole cross stitches in a long row and then this would likely provide more small thin bursts of colour.
- I could stitch half stitches in a row then return and complete the stitches. This is more thread efficient, but the colours will blend on top of each other and will make more of a subdued effect (also unknown yet as to how these would blend).
I felt, given that I wanted to come out with something bright (bright is indeed my nature, just look at my previous projects) I felt that by going with the first option (and then the grouping idea just underneath that rather than rows), I could create something bright and colourful. Well, at the point I decided this, I had no idea what it was going to look like – the internet had not quite given me any further information on what stitching large areas with Coloris or Color Variations would look like.
The project took approximately 4-5 hours to complete.
The End Result
It gives me great pleasure to show you – the Twitch logo, in full DMC Coloris!
So just to recap, this was stitched in whole stitches as it progressed, deliberately batching the colours currently being sewn with together in a non-uniform way across the fabric.
With this selection of techniques, I’ve created some… brilliantly bright and vibrant camouflaged style of the design (likely the green has aided this analogy quite well!).
Usually there is a concern with ‘unique’ threads over their texture, their toughness, their ease of use, whether they fray and much more. However, with the Coloris threads, none of these seemed to be apparent once with use. This is likely due to the threads being the same cotton you would use from the standard ‘stranded cotton’ range. Coloris was soft and versatile to use, with no fray, and only standard knotting which was entirely due to my error of using really long strands one day. I found there was no toughness passing through the aida, nor any inflexibility like with some metallic threads. All in all; if you work with the normal cotton threads, you will have already experienced the texture and sensation of working with Coloris.
The variation of colour shades in 4507 is beautiful, albeit very drastic. I did find for the purpose of my pattern that there was perhaps an opportunity for a fifth colour that would have helped break up some of the large areas of one colour but this is more of a ‘nice to see’ than a ‘must have’. Being one of the brightest variations in the Coloris range, you couldn’t possibly get any brighter than this and the design we’ve done, with the exception of some of the brighter pink or red focused Coloris threads, but these do have more muted greens, greys and darker shades that tone the whole effect down slightly.
From here, I’d like to possibly try again with using the same technique where we stitch in whole stitches, but to remain in one single row. My thoughts here would be that it would create a much thinner set of colour bursts and in my head, I almost see it a bit like when you place Lego bricks into a row, then stack, and then look at the ‘wall’ from the side, where bricks of the same colour combine to create large patches of colour and in others, small thin strips of the colour peeking through. I am unsure as to whether I’d have the time to commit to doing this (and a similar pattern for comparison) again, considering the additional comparisons I’ve already worked on later in this article.
Suggestions for using Coloris
- Make sure when you start the project you think carefully about the way you wish to stitch, what techniques you wish to use, etc.
- If you are using Coloris or Variations for the first time, highly recommend trying some of the free patterns available on the DMCCreative.co.uk website which are designed for use with these multicoloured threads.
- Don’t be afraid to just give it a go – you can find DMC Coloris at my favourite internet retailer Sew&So for the cheap price of £1.00 per skein! If you’ve got some spare scraps of aida, it won’t break the bank to buy a few of your favourite colour options and to try them out.
If any of you have any questions at all regarding my time using DMC Coloris or the project included in this article, please do not hesitate to contact me! I am more than happy to answer any questions possible (and any which may be useful to others, I’ll add up on the blog!)
Now, let’s take the time to look into how different DMC Coloris is against the DMC Color Variations and more!
Comparison – DMC Stranded Coloris vs DMC Stranded Color Variations
One of the first contemplations I had when Coloris was released was – how different were these threads going to be from the already released Stranded Variations types? Both, in their essence, vary shades across the length of the thread, so were they longer patches of colour, did they have a different texture, etc.
My initial observations when placing them together is that Coloris tends to vary between different colours entirely (such as the 4507 we used is between pink, blue and two greens) whereas Variations will stay within the same colour set but vary in shade/tone (so various forms of pinks will make up one skein).
Just as a quick disclaimer however, whilst the majority of Color Variations are mixes of the same colour in different shades, there are the odd one or two which do mix up between 1-2 colours. 4042 for example, which I find to be quite Christmassy with the red, green and white colours – however compared with 4520 from the Coloris range, it looks incredibly similar. Perhaps the first few colour combinations that appeared in the Variations range, sparked the innovation behind creating Coloris (seeing as they likely belong more so in that range now).
I feel that in terms of actual use, you could use both Coloris and Variations for the same application, but also in very different ways entirely as well. Take the Coloris pattern we saw earlier:
In Coloris (and with additional grey thread) this creates a more autumnal, colorful piece. Imagine now, that you’ve created the entire above pattern using say, 4060 Color Variations (which is multiple greens). Instead you get a completely different artsy effect on the same design. Same technique, but different effect.
So for my real life comparison example, I decided to take the Twitch Glitch logo (from the main project I stitched with Coloris above) and stitch it in my ultimate favourite Color Variation which is 4250, a variety of purples (some are quite pink purple shades, others are more of a lavender, but all in all, purple). This also seemed very fitting as the Twitch Logo itself is a block purple.
Shown on its own (not yet compared with the Coloris version) you can still see that camouflage-esque style coming through in those large areas of stitching, but there is a much more muted selection of colours – so it’s not quite as prominent.
Ideally, we need to see the two side by side in order for us to analyse properly!
- Both threads had similar textures, both a natural cotton soft like feel. Found Variations to be ever so slightly softer
- The colour changes on Variations are much more slight, more tonally matched, so the multicoloured effect is much more mild than the Coloris, which is very drastic, very bright
- The opportunities to complete projects both across a more muted range of varied threads and against more bright, vivid and unique colour selections can both be achieved, as long as you decide which avenue you wish to go down with your project.
Lots of versatile and creative options to investigate!
Further Comparisons – Single Cross Stitch Rows of Coloris vs Color Variations vs Anchor Branded
So as if I didn’t have enough comparisons for you – let’s add another! We can’t get enough of looking into this sort of stuff. Like honestly, I can’t get enough. If I had more time I would do more…
The image below shows, using two strands of each cotton, one row of every DMC Coloris on the left hand side, then on the top right hand side, one row of every DMC Color Variations I own (sorry, I don’t have many!) and then, bottom right hand side, one row of every Anchor multicoloured thread I own (see below for thread numbers).
Left Column, Top to Bottom: DMC Coloris – 4500, 4501, 4502, 4503, 4504, 4505, 4506, 4507, 4508, 4509, 4510, 4511, 4512, 4513, 4514, 4515, 4516, 4517, 4518, 4519, 4520, 4521, 4522, 4523
Right Column, Top to Bottom: First section DMC Color Variations – 4010, 4040, 4110, 4180, 4230, 4250. Second Section Anchor – TBC (I lost my list!)
I made this image super large so you can zoom in on those funky colours and samples.
NB: each thread measured the same size (look at all those neat, organised, same count rows) and whilst you will get every colour combination through on that length of thread for Color Variations and the Anchor colours, for Coloris, there can be one shade missing from the samples above – just because it wasn’t in the thread length I cut. I figured this was more realistic – as we all work by cutting off lengths of thread, and working with long threads can cause knotting – so I’ve tried to make the above as per how I would likely use it in real life. That being said, if you see a colour above that you really like the look of and wish to purchase, I’d highly recommend giving it a quick look at on any shopping website in case any surprise ‘green’ pops in to your pink mix for example.
- The DMC Coloris selection is definitely more innovative and you could create some incredibly different patterns using these. They definitely spread out over more shades in one skein than Color Variations and Anchor. Definitely a hint of some amazing old school embroidery / needlework inspiration with some of the colour choices (the rose reds mixed with garden greens, reminds me a lot of the old needlework patterns of flowers) but there’s some really bright versions in there as well. However, could be missing out on some of the more ‘modern day’ funky styles that Anchor cover – imagine some of those Anchor colours on the Etsy typography style stitch patterns such as ‘Life is a b*tch, Let’s stitch’ – would be incredibly funky.
- DMC Color Variations (or at least the ones I have in storage) are definitely more muted and are really nice for creating projects where perhaps you want to focus on one colour – perhaps you’re making something for a couple with a baby boy, you could use the Variations blue, for example.
- Anchor – whilst I haven’t seen the entire Anchor range, these definitely seem to be heading down the path of more modern-day, funky style of colours which are bright, vibrant – see my comment under Coloris for how I feel this works
- All stranded cotton used felt very similar, all were very soft and easy to work with little to no noting (I used your standard, maybe even slightly shorter length to ensure ease)
To be honest with a product like this, there’s only really a positive conclusion to be had. DMC have provided a whole new selection of varied colour threads, which really help to pave all these creative opportunities for us, in addition to previous ranges. I feel reassured that regardless of what sort of project I wish to make in my spare time, whether it’s something more regal, perhaps something with an antique feel, or an all-pink baby sampler, I am completed covered under both the Coloris and the Color Variations range.
There is an opportunity here for DMC to expand with more ‘new’ colour options in Coloris, hopefully bringing them into a more competitive stance with the Anchor ones I’ve used in my comparison shots (I can see me using the Anchor over the DMC in some patterns I wanted to do, purely because I like the colour shaded options better for those projects).
Whatever you want to achieve in the multi-coloured thread world – DMC Coloris (and Variations) are your oysters of the thread world. Alongside a comprehensive and super helpful set of patterns made freely available by DMC – and with the threads not being that much more expensive than your standard cotton range – what have you got left to lose?
If you stitch something amazing with DMC Coloris or DMC Color Variations, make sure you tweet it to me @emzolv! Also include the wonderful @DMCCreativeWorld team as they love to share everyone’s projects.