This Color Variations embroidery floss from DMC is my latest obsession. When I use it for cross-stitching, it creates gorgeous shading and depth without changing floss. The colors pictured here are some of my favorites: #4010 Winter Sky, #4025 Caribbean Bay, #4030 Monet's Garden, #4050 Roaming Pastures, #4200 Wild Fire, #4210 Radiant Ruby, #4215 Northern Lights, and #4240 Mid Summer Night. (I'm a pushover for color clever color names, and these are pretty great.)
When I work with solid embroidery floss, I usually cross-stitch stitch using the "cross-country" method--working across an entire row, making one half of each X, and then working back across the same row, completing each stitch with the other half of the X. But if I use this method with variegated floss, the color variations don't show up very well. Instead, I complete each stitch before I move on to the next stitch in the row. This creates a stripey effect and little pockets of color.
This simple heart is the perfect project for experimenting with variegated floss. I used Radiant Ruby for the heart shown here, but I think it would look adorable in Wild Fire or Northern Light. I also used even-weave fabric that I had on hand. You can of course use Aida, linen, or your favorite cross-stitch fabric.
Here's my finished heart. See all those pretty shades of ruby? I can't wait to make it into a little lavender sachet--hopefully in time for Valentine's Day.