Welcome to the second part of our three-part series on Needlepaints conversions! Today we will be tackling the Orchid range. Be sure to check out the first post about the 2001 – 2006 series.
The 2007 – 2011 “Orchid” series is used in a number of designs, but mostly is used for a few flowers here or a ribbon there. There’s one design where they play a starring role, though – Angel of the Morning. The Needlepaints shades are central to how she seems to rise into the light from the deep dusky night. I have to believe Marilyn Leavitt-Imblum created these colors with that specific design in mind.
So lets dig in. I only have 2007, 2008, 2009, and 2011 in my possession at the moment so we’ll have to compare from those.
The 2007 – 2011 “Orchid” series
Marilyn’s Recommended Substitutes: Rainbow Gallery Splendor & Mandarin
I’ll reiterate my endorsement of Rainbow Gallery threads for their quality. Splendor is a 12-ply silk, and Mandarin is a 6-strand bamboo fiber.
Marilyn’s recommendation is to use one Splendor shade and four Mandarin shades: from lightest to darkest, S811, M807, M851, M899, and M866. I don’t have all of these in stock at the moment but I do have S811 and M866 – the “bookends” of the range.
The color conversion is decent. The lighter shade is more lavender than orchid, and the dark shade is brighter and purpler than the corresponding Needlepaint.
Because of the change in fibers (DMC & Needlepaints are both cotton) from cotton, to silk (shiny), and then to bamboo (matte), there will be a difference in both thread weight and sheen when using these substitutions. It is only noticeable upon close inspection, but it’s there.
As with the Lavender / Blue range, this color conversion is not close enough to permit single-substitutions – you will have to go “all or none”.
And that brings me to an important point – this color range, even though it is only 5 shades, twists. NP 2007 has an almost pink cast to it. NP2008 forms a bridge into NP2009 which is a a dusty orchid purple, which deepens to NP 2011 which can be described as a rich, dark grape – a deep purple wine color.
And that is the biggest challenge with this conversion. The originals have a warmth that many of the suggested replacements lack… including these.
The upside of this conversion is that it has the designer’s stamp of approval. And Rainbow Gallery makes nice threads. It will feel special.
The downside is that it’s purple. Color-wise you can do as well with cotton. Like so many of the others we will explore here, it lacks the depth/warmth of color of the originals. This one involves mixing & matching fiber types. Finally, these can also be hard to source, especially if you don’t have a local needlework shop to special order them for you.
DMC & Anchor Conversions – Violets, Lavenders, Heathers, and PURPLES, oh my!
Let’s unpack these. The first one is the stuff of internet lore – in series, DMC 211, 210, 553, 327, 154. I have to hand it to 154, it’s as close as I’ve seen to NP2011 in cotton. It’s not quite as deep but it has the rich deep grape color that you’re looking for. As for the lighter end of this conversion, it’s very bright and much bluer than the original.
The second one is also DMC – 153 (which, incidentally, is as close to NP2007 as you’ll get in cotton), followed by 554, 3836, 3835, and 3834. The shading here is truer, but as you can see there simply aren’t enough shades of it. It doesn’t get nearly dark enough – and 554 is an outlier in here, it’s too bright. If you’re thinking – well, I’ll just skip 554 and go 153, 3836, 3835, 3834, 154 – don’t get ahead of me, there’s a picture of that coming!
The third image is the Anchor 95 – 102 series which is occasionally mentioned. As you can see, 95 is all right but it gets very bright and very purple quickly. If you’re stitching the flower wreath of the Spring Bride I think this would be an excellent palette to choose from. If you’re stitching Angel of the Morning, I think it’s far too bright.
The fourth is Anchor 95, 870, 871, 872, and 873. These may be good substitutes if your preference is for a more antique palette but again it doesn’t get quite dark enough – and the middle shade doesn’t reach the vibrancy of NP 2009.
After all of that, if you’d like to stick with cotton, one of these – or a blend – is where I would land.
DMC 154 anchors both of these conversions on the dark end. On the left is Anchor 95, 870, 872, 873, and DMC 154. You could maybe blend some 96 or DMC 3836 into the 870 to liven it up a bit. It has the duskiness needed and moves nicely to the almost-pink lightest shade. On the right is an equally nice DMC option – it’s a little brighter but depending on your preference that may not be a negative. If I was going to do Angel of the Morning in cotton, I would use one of these conversions.
Silk, How Do I Love Thee?
As I mentioned above, the thing that gets me about this color range is the twist. I ran through all these cottons and I had not captured it quite to my satisfaction.
I had to dig into the silk.
This is Needlepoint Inc stranded silk. The base of this conversion is their Soft Mauve range, though I do like the addition of a Wisteria blend for NP 2008. This set, in my opinion, would do the Angel of the Morning justice. It twists the same way as the Needlepaint series, starting with an orchid pink and turning through dusty purple and into deep wine. To get there gracefully in just five shades (the NPI range has seven) I would do some blending.
The conversion is: NPI 601, 603 + 781 (I would take one strand each), 604, 605 + 607, 606.
Bear in mind that it is silk, so it will have more luster than the cotton around it, though NPI is on the subtle side for sheen. I don’t necessarily see this as a negative for the Angel of the Morning – if her cloak shines a bit, all the better.
In conclusion – if you purchase a Lavender & Lace pattern kitted up from us that calls for the Orchid Needlepaints, we will send you whatever we’ve been able to get a hold of for Needlepaints. For those that are out of stock, we will substitute as follows:
If you buy Angel of the Morning, where these play a starring role:
- NP 2007 = NPI 601
- NP 2008 = NPI 603 & NPI 781
- NP 2009 = NPI 604
- NP 2010 = NPI 605 & NPI 607
- NP 2011 = NPI 606
If you buy a design (Spring Bride, Angel of Healing) where they are supporting actors:
- NP 2007 = DMC 153
- NP 2008 = DMC 3836
- NP 2009 = DMC 3835
- NP 2010 = DMC 3834
- NP 2011 = DMC 154
I hope this encourages some of you to tackle Angel of the Morning. She is, in my opinion, Marilyn Leavitt-Imblum’s most spectacular angel, even more meaningful because of her post-9/11 release. Her colors are absolutely stunning, and you can still do them justice with threads we have available today.