This unique Planet Rainbow embroidery pattern is one of my most time consuming designs, but it really isn't difficult! In fact, one you get going, I think you'll find it very soothing and meditative. I'm going to show you how to achieve these lovely color blends using the Long and Short stitch.
You can find both the Planet Rainbow fabric sampler, or PDF pattern download in the little dear shop!
I've used different floss than usual this time, Anchor has sweetly sent me some of their new spools of embroidery floss to try out in so many beautiful colors! It's perfect for this colorful planet design. Anchor spools are now available at JoAnn.
Here are the Anchor colors I'm using if you want to try them too: 0869 light purple, 0108 purple, 0074 pink, 0336 light orange, 0006 peach, 0301 yellow, 0292 light yellow, 0206 light green, 0185 turquoise.
* DMC color equivalents are 3734 light purple, 210 purple, 605 pink, 3341 light orange, 353 peach, 744 yellow, 3078 light yellow, 564 light green, 964 turquoise.
I'm also using DMC metallic gold 5282 for the stars and rings.
First of all, a short review of Anchor floss: I love it! It is great quality, and all in all, very similar to DMC. The first thing I noticed when I cut a length from the spool is that is looks a lot thinner than typical DMC does. But, once you start using it, it puffs right up, and your stitches will have no difference in width. Here's a comparison of Anchor on the left and DMC on the right.
You'll be able to combine Anchor and DMC flosses with no noticeable differences, and you can easily find color conversion charts by searching online. :)
Ok let's get started! The first thing I did to prepare this pattern was to stitch an outline around the planet. I used a Split Stitch with 6 threads (you can use any outline stitch you like.) You won't see this line when you're done, but I find having this guide line to stitch over helps keep a smooth, even edge.
Next, I used 1 thread of the metallic gold to stitch the ring lines and stars on the planet with a Back Stitch. I plan to go back over these and beef them up when I'm done with the color stitching. Since the whole planet will be covered with embroidery, these bits can easily get lost as you work, this will make it easier to find them when you're done with the color.
All the color areas will be Long and Short Stitch with 3 threads of floss, you can see here I've begun the first row of yellow by stitching over the outline.
For a Long and Short Stitch, start the first row by making a stitch from A to B. Next, make another stitch right next to the first one from C to D, only half as long. Make another long stitch, then a short one, and continue alternating between the two stitches to form the first row.
For the second row, make stitches just beside the first row of stitches, filling in any spaces. Unless you’re stitching a perfect square of Long and Short Stitches, they probably won’t all be perfectly uniform, and that is just fine. Add a stitch here and there to fill in any gaps as you go along. Just keep all your stitches going in the same direction, and you’ll have an evenly filled area when you’re finished.
To blend one color into another, start spacing out the stitches in the first color, making a few of them shorter as you go. Pick up the second color and fill in the spaces, then fill in the other end of the shape solidly.
For this first shape, I'm blending together yellow, peach and orange. You can see also that I'm finishing the edge of the shape with a Stem Stitch, this will blend right in with the Long and Short stitches.
Here's the purple section next, blending purple to light purple to pink.
And here's another section in purple and turquoise. I love this blending method because you can blend any two colors together. It works great for lights to darks, and also colors that don't match, like these two!
The Long and Short Stitch is versatile and forgiving, you can always go back and add another stitch here or there to smooth out your blending as needed.
I'm just taking a section at a time, moving around the pattern using different color blends. This definitely takes some time, but once you get the hang of this stitch and technique, it will come easily and hopefully stitching this planet be a free flowing and relaxing project for you!
And here's my finished Planet Rainbow! I love how it turned out, the texture is so nice and touchable.
And just for fun, take a look at the backside! I have never concerned myself much with the back sides of my embroidery, they are always messy. Do you love messy backs or are you super neat with them? (so much respect if you are!!)
I hope this tutorial helps you out and gives you the courage to go crazy with Long and Short stitches. Have fun!