Thursday, 25 September 2014

The Colour Collaborative: September: Stitched

My approach to stitches - crocheted, knitted or sewn - and colour varies enormously depending on the time of year and what I'm working on. But one thing I have noticed when I look back at what I've made this year, is how strongly I am influenced by the seasons in what I make and in the colours I choose. I find I favour cooler colours in the cooler months, and a wider, more vibrant palate in the summer. So today I thought I'd focus on embroidery, and specifically my four hoops which feature the same tree throughout the year in different seasons. Thinking about the type of stitches I'd use to draw these scenes was one of the best things about this project, looking at the way different colours and motifs worked in different techniques. 

I'll start with Autumn, because it's the first hoop I made, it's my favourite time of year and, as I've said before, September always feels like New Year to me. It's the time of falling leaves, berries, fungi, feathers and seeds. 

Colours at this time of year are rich but fading. They are the tones of the earth; ochre yellow, rusty oranges and reds, muddy browns and greys, with green and plummy purple thrown in. The colours I want now are cosy and warm, mustard yellow and conker brown.

Winter is quiet and hushed. It's the season of pale skies, bare trees, snow covered branches and frosty earth covered in leaf and seed skeletons. 

The colours are still, suspended until spring. Dark greys and browns with pale pinks, lilacs and blues. Hiding but there if you look carefully in sunsets and early snowdrops. It's not about the colour now as much as comfort and warmth - stitches to soothe and pass the time until spring comes.

Spring is for blossom, bulbs, buds and birds. A rainbow of gentle colour emerges after the cold winter as everything wakes up. 

Blossom pink, daffodil yellow, bluebells and purple grape hyacinths...we are spoilt for choice. I definitely think more colourfully at this time of year. How can you not, when there are tulips and daffodils everywhere you look, and longer days and more hours of sunlight?

Ah, summer. Summer is blue skies, lush foliage, bright blooms and bees buzzing. As you can see I am still working on this hoop but I already know what tones and shades I will be using. 

An English summer is a glorious thing to behold and the colours are bursting, vivid and noisy. Emerald green leaves, jewel-coloured flowers, golden sunflowers and glittering water. I want stitched projects that reflect my summery mood, vibrant and happy.

I tend to think of these four hoops - and the four seasons - as colours first and images second. The colours matter hugely and it's no accident that I've looked to nature for inspiration here.  Something I've noticed time and time again while writing these Colour Collaborative posts over the last sixteen months, is how often the most harmonious colour combinations appear in nature first, and then are replicated in other forms like fabric or decoration. Mother nature always looks good. She always matches.

What about you - do you think your attitude to colour in your stitched projects changes with the time of year? I know us crafters often turn towards yarn-based projects as the months turn cooler, and start planning scarves and blankets, but do you think your colour choices are also different in winter to summer, in autumn as opposed to spring?


Don't forget to visit the other Colour Collaborative blogs for more of this month's posts, just click on the links below:

Annie at Annie Cholewa
Sandra at Cherry Heart
Jennifer at Thistlebear
Claire at Above The River

What is The Colour Collaborative? 

All creative bloggers make stuff, gather stuff, shape stuff, and share stuff. Mostly they work on their own, but what happens when a group of them work together? Is a creative collaboration greater than the sum of its parts? We think so and we hope you will too. We'll each be offering our own monthly take on a colour related theme, and hoping that in combination our ideas will encourage us, and perhaps you, to think about colour in new ways.


  1. You're right Gillian, I'm sure I'm drawn to different colours in different seasons. Right now I'm desperate to knit something in a mustardy yellow colour, the colour of autumn leaves. Last winter it was an icy blue. I do so love your embroideries, you have captured the seasons so beautifully and now that I look more closely it is all to do with the colours. I shall look forward to seeing Summer completed. And then I shall look forward to seeing what you embroider next, I think you have a taste for it now! CJ xx

  2. Another beautiful post lovely Gillian! I agree completely with your thoughts about seasonal colour. I think I tend to be influenced by that quite a lot, some projects are completely 'Autumn' projects or 'Summer' ones but on the other hand sometimes I want to fight it all and bring vibrant colour to the pale softness of winter, a way of breaking out against the monotony of the grey skies and dull landscape! I love your pictures though and your hoops/mosaics pictures in particular, they are like little seasonal moods boards. :)

    S x

  3. Oh Gillian, your stitches are perfect and how you've pulled in all those delicious colours is inspire me to get bust with the needle and learn the art of embroidery! :) xxx

  4. Your embroidery hoops are so lovely. Delicate & pretty! Yes I think crafting is a seasonal pursuit & our choice of colours change to reflect this.

  5. The fourth hoop almost finished ! Yay ! Can't wait to see all four of them, next to each other...

  6. Such a lovely post. I adore your seasonal embroideries and can't wait to see the Summer one finished. x

  7. Your photo collages are just beautiful! I tend to be drawn to the same colour palette all year round. It is always shades of red, yellow, purple and orange. I just love bright colours and particularly in winter, I need those. My daughter loves shades of blue and green, with a bit of purple and I am gently easing myself into planning a blanket in her colours. x

  8. Loved this post Gillian...and I love your embroideries, so delicate and pretty.
    Marianne x

  9. I've said before how pretty I think your embroideries are, and you've complemented them beautifully with the images here. Personally I'm not convinced my colour preferences do change with the seasons, but I'm drawn to neutrals and greys and washed out hues and perhaps those work all year?

  10. Потрясающе! Отличная идея с сезонами!

  11. I love your seasonal embroideries. My colours definitely are influenced by the seasons.
    Jacqui x

  12. How beautifully aid Gillian. I do believe the seasons influence my work, my mood and my energy. I love every season and it's changes. I embrace and try to absorbe and enjoy each one of them. I love your embroidery, your color choices and your impeccable taste... You do inspire me. Beautiful pictures my dear friend.

  13. I enjoyed your post and another peek at your beautiful embroidery. For some reason the winter threads appeal most to me, despite me being a lover of spring. Look forward to seeing "summer"
    Caz xx

  14. I have loved the series of posts on these beautiful hoops. I want to make make one for the cabin to celebrate the year we put it up and had such a great start to our times there. Jo x

  15. I really love these, and yes I think I respond very differently to colours through the seasons too x

  16. I love to see your embroidered hoops and to read about its creation. All the colour choice and nature inspiration. And yes, I´m influenced by the change of seasons when choosing colours. Now we have Springtime here in Brazil and I´m thinking of pink, orange and yellow for my projects and for renovating the house! :)

  17. I am drawn to bright colors - I'm not a pastel girl, even in Winter. I am loving the goldenrod yellow wool yarn that I just dyed but am also looking forward to knitting a cowl for my husband in a think and chunky warm gray color. For me, texture is as important as color.

  18. I think I like bright colors mostly in the abstract - they look good on other people and in other homes, but I always go back to the softer, muted shades when choosing for myself. I like some pastels, but mostly I like the dustier mid-tones. I have always admired your seasonal stitching. I'm not very good at hand-stitching, but I'm trying to learn. I have a couple of beginners' crewel kits that I've been hoping to work on soon, but I'm afraid I'm not quite good enough yet so I'm still working on scraps.

  19. Good Morning Gillian, I agree with you, I really feel the seasons affect the colours we use in our sewing or embroidery. I have always loved muted colours, but having lived in Cyprus, I am leaning towards brighter colours.
    Your embroidered hoops are beautiful and I love the little ladybird which runs through each piece of work.
    Have a lovely weekend.
    Best Wishes

  20. This is a gorgeous post. Your embroideries are so beautiful. You have such a great eye for colour.

  21. Great post Gillian! I live your embroideries and the fact the colours you chose were affected by the seasons. I think you're right, we are swayed by the seasons in the colours we choose! Bee xx

  22. I think you're right, we are influenced by the seasons for our colour choices. Brighter shades for spring and summer gives a feeling of freshness and light. Darker shades for autumn and winter which makes me feel cosy and warm.

  23. I love the changing seasons.... Autumn colours are my favourite!! Lovely embroideries xo

  24. I think I'm drawn a little, darker colours in winter, but generally I've been obsessed with duck egg blue for four years, it's in my sewing knitting, decor! Xx

  25. Your stitching of the seasons has captured the changing hues so beautifully. And yes, Mother Nature gets colour so right, whatever the time of year.

  26. Your embroideries are so beautiful. I love the images you've selected to highlight the colours. I find myself drawn to different shades of a similar colour palette all year...perhaps more muted in spring and autumn. Great post x

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