The next project I am stitching from the JCS Halloween Special is called Trick Or Treat, by Barb Cooley of Plum Pudding NeedleArt. This is a small design which is stitched using only DMC floss, so it should be quick and easy. I really like when designers stick with basic supplies for their projects. So many designers nowadays are using overdyed threads which, while creating an interesting effect, can be costly. Many of the designs in JCS magazine in the last couple of years use Weeks Dye Works, Crescent Colors, Gloriana Silks, Gentle Art Sampler Threads, and The Thread Gatherer Silks, along with custom dyed fabric from Polstitches. Being a shop owner, I know that many stitchers cannot afford these items, and some simply don’t want to try using them. So I am glad to see some designers sticking with the basics, like in this design.
Another thing that bothers me about the designers who use primarily overdyed floss is that if you look at the charts themselves, they are extremely simply. Designers who use only DMC floss need to be able to create charts that are full of shadowing and movement. When using overdyed or variegated floss, the design can be very simple because the floss does the work for the designer. A snowman no longer has to have different colors of white in him to create depth. Flowers are the same way – one color of pink overdyed floss gives enough shading to eliminate the work of figuring out what DMC colors to use and where the shadows need to go. I am amazed at some of the designs that the magazines publish; they look like a 5 year old created them. This seems to be strictly an American thing; the British magazines generally use DMC or Anchor floss and either Aida or linen (sometimes dyed, but often not). The stitcher is not required to drop an entire paycheck to pay for threads, and the designers are actual artists who know how to create heirloom charts. I will stitch what I can out of this Halloween issue and the Christmas one that will soon arrive. But I am hoping that in the future the designs get back to “normal”.