Stitches, Thread Color and “Show Through”

Originally posted 2009-12-22 06:46:21. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

Over the weekend I got asked about starting and ending threads on a piece where there are lots of different colors and coverage.

This got me thinking about “show through” and how it applies to needlepoint.

You almost certainly have been told to stitch light colors first. And I thought, for a long time, that this mainly applied to wools. That’s only partially true. It applies to wooly and furry threads because the tendrils of the thread got twisted up in each other. Light in dark will have little effect, dark in light will mess up the color.

But it does apply to other threads as well for a different reason. Depending on the stitch, threads traveling behind the color may show more or less. The darker the color the less this will show. That’s one reason why teachers encourage you to start and stop your threads under the same color. If you start and stop your thread behind a darker color, it will show less.

The principle at work here is that since needlepoint canvas is more holes than cloth, stitches are needed to make the cloth complete. Crossing a thread behind bare canvas or lightly stitched canvas will show more than crossing thread behind already stitched canvas.

This is true no matter the color.

So when you are planning your stitching, look for more heavily stitched and darker color for passing threads. Also, if you will be needing to skip some canvas between two areas the same color, think about parking your thread after one, stitching what’s in between and then stitching the other. You won’t have show through problems.

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