Home / Blog / Blending threads for cross stitch and embroidery
Blending threads for cross stitch and embroidery

Blending threads for cross stitch and embroidery

with 10 Comments

If you’ve ever attempted a big or complicated cross stitch pattern, it’s likely you’ve had to give blending threads a try. Blended threads are great for adding tonality and shading to patterns. If you’re not sure how to blend two different threads (or types of threads) together, the video tutorial below should help!


Below is an image of the Poppy Cup Cozy pattern, part of the poppies use a blend of yellow and red. The blend of two different threads make the petals look like sunlight is coming through them.

Poppy coffee sleeve full cross stitch
Poppy coffee sleeve cross stitch pattern


Blended threads can be used for adding tonality to a pattern (like in the Spirit of the Sockeye pattern featured in the video). Blending threads together can also be used to add a little bit of sparkle to a pattern. The image below shows a sneak peek of one of the upcoming patterns in the new collection that’s about to be launched. The left side is using Kreinik #4 gold braid, and the right side is using one strand of DMC 310 (black) and one strand of Kreinik gold blending filament.


I believe sneak peek cross stitch


Tips for blending threads:

  • Keep your blended threads on their own bobbin (as shown in the video) so you don’t get them mixed up with other colours. Check out this post on how to organize your floss onto bobbins.
  • You can’t use the loop method to anchor your blended threads, you’ll have to use either a pin stitch, a knot, or catch the tail of your thread under your stitching. Here’s a demonstration of the loop method and pin stitch.
  • Keep checking that your threads aren’t bunching up, or that one thread isn’t “bubbling” up. Keep the tension on both threads even.
  • You may find you need to railroad your stitches for a more even coverage, check out the tutorial video to see how to do that.
  • If you need tips on using metallic threads (like the blending filament shown in the video), go to this tutorial video on Kreinik threads.


Blending threads tutorial video



If you have any questions (or tips if you’re a blended thread pro), please leave a comment below! And click the image below if you’d like access to the members-only Peacock & Fig free cross stitch pattern library!



Blending threads for cross stitch and embroidery
Article Name
Blending threads for cross stitch and embroidery
If you've ever attempted a big or complicated cross stitch pattern, it's likely you've had to give blending threads a try. Blended threads are great for adding tonality and shading to patterns.
Publisher Name
Peacock & Fig
Publisher Logo
Follow Dana Batho:

Artist and Designer

I am an artist, veteran, analyst, and mommy to the sweetest dog ever. I am constantly thinking of ways to use my creativity in everything I touch despite my physical limitations, and I love encouraging others to do the same.

10 Responses

  1. Aki
    | Reply

    Hi Dana,
    I have a question about blending threads and railroading.
    As I have a project requiring 4 strands of thread (and it’s my first with blended colours😄), do I should take care of in which order the colors lie?

    • Dana Batho
      | Reply

      Four strands of floss?? Are you sure? What size fabric are you using? Anything “bigger” than 11 count (like 14, 18, 28, etc) is going to be impossible to use that many strands at once. You’re going to end up with a giant lump of floss for each stitch (rather than a pretty “x” shape), and you will not see all four colours no matter what you do. Plus you’re really increasing the chances of knots and floss breakage with that many strands. Even 11 count with four strands is really pushing it, is it maybe a pattern for plastic canvas or something? I’d double check with the designer of the pattern and make sure that’s not a typo, I’ve never heard of four strands being used at once, let alone blending four colours. You won’t see all four colours, it’ll just look like a mess and like you made a mistake. 😊

      • Aki

        Hi Dana,
        yep, 4 strands is correct.
        It comes from a kit for a full-coverage cushion cover (from Panna, a retailer/manufacturer for cross stitch kits, I bought it few years ago).
        The fabric is called “No. 8 Gamma” which is basically a 10ct or 11ct AIDA (but kind of stiff at the moment).

        The blended threads consist of only 2 colours, so it will be 2 strands of each colour to do the 4-strand stitching.
        So far, it is OK with 4 strands in one colour 🙂

      • Dana Batho

        Well that’s good, I’ve never heard of four strands at a time. Don’t worry about the railroading, it’ll be too hard with that many strands, and it’d take you forever to keep everything aligned. It’ll all blend together visually once it’s done and your eyes aren’t inches away from it. 😊

  2. Bee
    | Reply

    I have made my own pattern and want to blend some colors too. But not sure how to incorporate it into my design. It is a photo of my granddaughter. Do I take the first and last stitches and blend them. Would this cut out the line effects making the shading more subtle 🤔
    I am using 2 threads on a 22 count cloth.

    • Dana Batho
      | Reply

      Hi Bee! I don’t know how you created your design in the first place, professional quality software will allow you to blend areas by hand easily enough. But what the effect will be, that can take a lot of testing to try out and see how it works on the actual stitching — it’s really not as simple as just blending adjoining colours and hoping for the best, those two colours may not actually go well together and your eye may read them as a different tone entirely, or it may muddy the overall colours, etc. This is why professionally designed patterns take a lot of skill and often years of practice, it’s not as simple as just putting an image into software, there’s a lot that has to be done by hand and some of that needs a lot of manual testing with a variety of colours, stitches, etc. Like maybe instead of blending, you’ll get better transitions by using fractional stitches rather than blended colours, but you can only know that with actual test stitching and seeing how it comes out. If your finished design is too small, it’s going to be really hard to get nice tonalities without harsh demarcations of the colours changing (or if the software or whoever did the conversion didn’t use dithering to scatter the colours amongst each other). I’m sorry I can’t help more, I’d recommend getting your photo professionally converted by someone who does this for a living if you haven’t already, like StitchPix on Facebook used to be good (don’t know if they’re still in business), or you could see if Nikki at Charting Creations is still doing private conversions for people. 🙂

  3. Polly
    | Reply

    First off I absolutely love your videos
    Next could you tell me if you know what the difference would be from an advanced chart to a level 5 chart.
    How would it affect the end picture if there are say200 colors with 74 solid and 126 blended verses 123 solid colors used?

    • Dana Batho
      | Reply

      Hi Polly! I’m not sure what you mean by level 5, there aren’t standardized levels used across the industry (maybe a particular company uses levels, but it’s not an industry norm). And I’m not sure what you mean by how does blending affect the finished image, just follow your pattern, do what it’s telling you to do. 🙂

  4. June
    | Reply

    MY stitching project calls for the color “peacock”. Can’t find thread with that name. What does it mean?

    • Dana Batho
      | Reply

      I have no clue June, each company uses different colour names (and even sometimes different cross stitch software that makes the patterns will have slight variations on colour names). You’ll have to contact the designer and ask for the brand name and colour number of the floss, or just wing it and substitute any green/blue colour and hope it works. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Want exclusive freebies and a 15% discount?