Variations on variations on a theme

No, my fingers didn’t have a stutter when typing the title, nor did I have an accident with copy & paste. This is about variations on Round Dozen, whose twelve designs are themselves variations on a theme.

I always intended these designs to be just the right size for coasters and cards and so on – relatively quick to stitch, suitable for birthdays, new babies, anniversaries and Thank Yous, and easy to adapt to the stitcher’s or the receiver’s taste by changing the colours.

The ease of changing the colours was an important consideration when I designed them – it was one of the reasons why I went for one neutral and one coloured thread per design (and why I suggest 2 or 3 options for each of them in the chart packs). It meant that you didn’t have to worry about getting just the right shades together, or about needing four or five shades of one colour, or anything like that. It also meant that the designs were perfect as trial pieces for hand-dyed threads; you get to see your speciality thread in action, it doesn’t take very long, and you end up with a useful, versatile and decorative piece of stitching into the bargain.

So whenever I find myself in need of birthday cards in a relatively short time, I turn to these twelve. But having stitched them all as models for Mabel’s Fancies, I don’t really want to do them exactly the same, and so over the past months I’ve tried various changes. The easiest is to change the colour – here is East using a hand-dyed perle; I also exchanged the neutral thread for an Anchor perle with metallic running through it (the original is on the left, the variation on the right).

Round Dozen variations Round Dozen variations

Another fairly uncomplicated change is to use a coloured fabric; it makes quite a difference whether you stitch Spring using green on standard white, or with a variegated yellow/pink on a dark red background.

Round Dozen variations Round Dozen variations

But for the adventurous, there are even more options. The central Kloster block diamond is exactly the same size in each of the twelve designs; the double cable stitch border surrounding it in eight of them is only a little wider than the chain stitch border that is used in the other four; quite a lot of the small satin stitch motifs are roughly the same size; and the majority of the speciality stitch outer borders are interchangeable.

So if you like the satin stitch motifs and chain stitch of West, the outer border of North, the filling stitches of Morning and only the central square left uncut; or the cutting pattern of South with the filling stitches of Night, the satin stitch motifs of Morning and the border of Spring; there’s no reason why you can’t combine them.

Round Dozen variations Round Dozen variations

And then of course you can use different types of thread – here is a hybrid Summer/South, on coloured fabric, and using Gentle Art hand-dyed wool (which Tiffany, a generous fellow member of the Cross Stitch Forum, sent me to try) instead of perle #8.

Round Dozen variations

So let your imagination run riot, try different cutting patterns or no cutting at all, use two contrasting colours instead of one colour and a neutral, stitch on hand-dyed fabric, do whatever you like – and then send me a picture!

Other posts about Round Dozen variations can be found here

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