Color Theory and Stitch Variation – Part III (the last)
So, here is how a pattern that is called “From Molehill to Mountain”, that by its very name gives you a sense that we are talking about a mountain, gets turned into a mountain range.
As I shared at the end of Part II, I actually stitched this pattern four times.
As I remember it, the day after I received this pattern book in the mail, it was a beautiful day outside. I took the book and a little notebook with pencil to sit outside in the sun. As I began paging through and seeing what was involved, I began getting more and more exciting about the possibilities. I knew that I wanted to stitch the color theory version – that is to say, pick a solid color and go from there, rather than picking an overdye. I can remember sitting outside on that beautiful day and trying to contemplate what color I loved enough to work from for this design.
At that time, there was a major project going on in my life, in a different part of my world aside from my stitching life. I was working on writing a book, a pictorial history of Wellesley College, my alma mater. Wellesley was – and is – an important part of my life and I had always been fascinated by the college’s rich history. How the book came about is a story on its own, but suffice to say for this blog post, it was a labor of love.
I truly think it was because of my work on the book that my mind went as it did that day. While many people have a love for their school’s colors and carry that love with them for their entire lives, this is a little different. Wellesley’s school color is usually just considered blue. However, each class has a class color and those four colors are rotated. Meaning, if a senior class is purple, when they graduate, the next year’s incoming class will be purple. There is a long and rich history behind the four class colors and how they evolved. Green, red, yellow, and purple. My class is purple.
I began charting out what colors would get used where in the pattern and it helped me see, from a color theory perspective, the relationships between and among these four colors in a way that I had just never explored before. Green and red are complements, as are purple and yellow. That sixth square as described in Part II? The double complementary color scheme? These four colors fit it perfectly. On that very day, I began contemplating it – could I actually envision stitching this pattern four times, using these four colors? Would I get tired of this project? Would I be able to push through stitching with so much yellow – not exactly one of my favorite colors – for one of them? What about the end result? Four pieces separately framed or all framed together?
Well, you know from the picture the answers to those questions. I did indeed do this.
I set a time frame for myself and was even able to stick to it. I started with the red, thinking that would help me work through the pattern and learn the details. (A side note here, something I learned/thought about as I was working through: red is really the only color on the color wheel that when you go light, your brain starts calling it a different color – i.e. pink. You really don’t call lighter shades “light red”; they are “pink.” Some thread choices became struggles because of this.) I then did the yellow one, wanting to “get that one done with.” Onto green, and then saving my favorite, purple, for last.
My favorite part of this to share with you is that sixth square, the double complementary. All four colors show up in the square. But, I just love how different the square looks based on which colors are where. Take a look for yourself.
In my mind, I call this piece, all four of them, The Colors of Wellesley. It reminds me of two big projects going on in my life simultaneously (the book I was writing and the major stitching project I was working on that very same year) and it is, as mentioned before, a milestone stitching piece for me. The finished piece is large: each stitching is about 8″ x 11″ (about the size of a piece of paper) and the framed piece is 25″ by 48″ (about 2 ft by 4.5″). I learned so much about color theory and canvaswork stitches from this and, no doubt, that education was greatly aided because I stitched it four times.