Guest Post: Riotous Colours

Guest Post: Riotous Colours

Hello!  I’m Lisa and I’m here to tell you a little something about my latest venture. I cannot explain how delighted I was when Nikki asked me to guest blog for her.  We’ve known each other for a very long time now (let’s just say we celebrated the millennium together and leave it at that!) and she’s always been a huge support and good friend to me.  This girl is definitely one of the good ‘uns.

Heart by Riotous ColoursSo what is it I do?  I hand dye embroidery threads which are used in many crafts. I have used them for hand embroidery, cross stitch, Japanese Temari, hand quilting and friendship bracelets.  I use the best dyes I can source for dyeing cellulose fibres (plant fibres) and I am constantly experimenting with techniques which give different effects and new ways to improve. It’s my way of expressing myself through colour and I am so thankful for the day that I bought my first packet of dye.

The history behind wanting to dye my own threads goes back to when I was about 12 and full of anger at the world. My aunt taught me how to cross stitch as my mum wanted me to find something calming.  I’d attempted to hand embroider when I was about 11, but I had no idea how to draw on fabric so everything was freehand and not very good as I had no idea how to do any kind of stitches. Learning to cross stitch was a bit like an epiphany – there were ways to do things with needle and thread that gave great results even if you aren’t an expert or artistically gifted!

Here's a picture of a couple of projects from then, using the threads, I think I should get round to finishing these up sometime soon.
Here’s a picture of a couple of projects from then, using the threads, I think I should get round to finishing these up sometime soon.

When I had my firstborn I began cross stitching again. By this point was able to use the internet to shop, so I ordered some pretty variegated threads which I saw in a magazine that were called ‘Six Strand Sweets’.  They were my first brush with anything hand dyed and variegated. How I loved the pretty changes of colour all on one thread!

However, as is my way, I slowly stopped cross stitching and at one point I even gave all of my beautiful threads and supplies to charity shops.  I then spent several years knitting and crocheting… with hand dyed variegated yarns of course!

But a year ago, I was hand making Christmas gifts for friends as my budget was super tight and I still wanted to give them something meaningful (as we’d had a tragedy a few months earlier when one of our group died). I googled for Six Strand Sweets so that I could do some unique embroideries.  Guess what?  No longer in business, oh how sad was I!  But I carried on with making the gifts and used some of the branded threads instead.  I didn’t stop there however, because by then I had well and truly been bitten by the embroidery bug and I could not stop reminiscing over the threads I used to own and had given away. I decided that I was going to dye some up myself because the only ones I could find online were very expensive.

Hollie by Riotous ColoursI’ve since discovered that there are some fabulous indie dyers, like myself, who produce wonderful work for a reasonable price.  Had I found them at that point though I may never be where I am now. I do love to dye because the results when using such threads are unique, they keep things different and even if you stitch the same pattern over and over it will never be exactly the same.  They add depth and texture to your work and (I am biased here) I also love how bright mine are compared to the branded variegated threads you can buy which have a limited colour range.

Dyeing has given me a purpose, an outlet for my creativity. I am not artistically talented in the way that I can sit and draw something beautiful, but I am creative in that I love putting different colours together and I get ‘feelings’ from certain colours and the depths of shades.  A colour or a texture can bring back a whole host of memories for me. What I do makes me happy and I am so honoured that it also makes my customers happy.


Find Lisa at…
Instagram: RiotousColours
Twitter: RiotousColours
FB Page: Riotous Colours


Many thanks to Lisa for agreeing to write a guest post for the blog. It’s always lovely to see what creations she’s going to come up with next.

So what do you think of Lisa’s threads? Do you hand embroider? I don’t think I’d have the patience!


  1. Hi Nikki and Lisa

    I used to spend much of my free time making handicraft projects, however these days blogging takes up almost all of my free time, which in some ways is quite a shame.

    I still have cupboards full of wool, which I still buy whenever I see something I really like at a reasonable price. Just about all I do with it though, is to crochet Afghan blankets, which I donate for sale, to the hospice where I volunteer.

    I also have quite a stash of embroidery threads, although I can only do the most basic of stitches and make things solely for my own enjoyment.

    Your dyed yarns are amazing and I would probably buy them, just to take them out and look at them, whch is what I end up by doing with most of my books!

    Nice post, you are so clever 🙂


  2. Barbara says:

    What a lovely post it brought back so many memories of my own. I spent hours cross stitching and embroidering (mostly table cloths & napkins) when I was a child, but I’ve not done any since then. Maybe I should start again now I’m (almost) retired. Thanks for the memories Lisa and thank you Nikki-ann for sharing this.

  3. Kelly says:

    What an interesting post (and beautiful with all the colorful photos!)!

    I’ve dabbled in various needlecrafts over the years (beginning at age six when I was confined to a wheelchair for a short time), but spent many years doing counted cross-stitch. Though I seldom used them in any projects, I was always fascinated by the variegated threads. These days I spend far more time with books and jigsaw puzzles, but I still enjoy seeing things like what you’ve shared here.

    I’m quite impressed with your cleverness! 🙂

  4. Kelly (see previous comment) sent me the link to your post, as she knew that I would be interested. Your threads and stitching are beautiful. I love working with variegated threads, as you never quite know how your stitching will look!

  5. Tracy Terry says:

    Thank you to you both for this wonderfully colourful and inspirational post.

    Whilst not at all creative myself I’ll be sure to spread the word amongst my crafty friends several of whom, but not all, have beat me to it and visited already

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