If you're like most stitchers, when you've started a project, you've used a color conversion chart to change to a different brand of floss from the one called for in a project's instructions. There are plenty of these conversion charts online, allowing stitchers to change from DMC to Anchor floss, or from Soie d'Alger to Needlepoint Inc silk, or even to switch from cotton floss to silk or vice versa.
These conversion tables work well, at least most of the time. The simple fact is, though, that each brand of floss has its own range of colors. It's rare (perhaps impossible) to find exact matches to the original threads for any project within another brands range. Fortunately, it's not typically necessary to find exact matches. It's more important to find colors that work well together and have the right amount of contrast to each other as needed in the project.
It's this last point where I ran into a problem when trying to finish my How Great the Blessing sampler. In the original sampler, Catherine Theron used Soie d'Alger from Au ver a Soie. The class kit only included the linen, and each stitcher had to supply her own threads. For convenience, Catherine did provide conversions to several other brands of floss, including DMC.
Of course, I wanted to convert to a brand not on Catherine's list. For linens 36ct and higher, I really like using Hand-Dyed Fibers from Vikki Clayton. The nice thing about this is that Vikki redesigned her colors a few years ago to specifically correspond to the entire DMC line. She also has color conversion tables right on her site, so I could type in the Soie d'Alger or the DMC color numbers, and know what color to order from her.
Here's what I ended up with for the reds in my project:
- Original colors: AVAS 2911, 2912, 2913, 2914, 2915, and 2916.
- DMC conversion: 3713, 761, 760, 3712, 3328, and 347.
- HDF conversion: The "Gandy Dancer" series: 1101, 1103, 1105, 1107, 1109, 1111.
This conversion had been a success, until I reached the lighter flowers in the border of my sampler. The flowers call for a border of very light red, with petals of red and very very light red. In HDF, this means I should used 1103 for the border, and 1101 and 1107 for the petals. As seen at right, when I added the 1101 to the 1103 border, though, it didn't have any contrast. (Part of this might be due to the slight variations within the hand-dyed threads, but it wasn't working for me!)
I tried darkening up the border to 1105 (light red), but then I found that I needed to go to 1109 (dark red) on the other petals to get enough contrast between the border and the darker petals! See the picture at left.
Then it seemed that these flowers weren't light enough. To the stash! I found a very pale pink Splendor silk. It's just slightly more pale than the 1101, though that's hard to see in the photograph with only one stitch. Here's how it turned out with all of the light petals complete.
Now, I've just got to make a decision: which of these flowers do I go with? That's a topic for another post!
How about you? What have your experiences been with color conversions? Have they all been successful, or have you needed to play with things? Feel free to answer here or on your own blog!