August 21, 2017 by

Seeing the World in DMC Color


Categories: colors, DMC, nature

I’ve had this idea swirling around in my head for a very long time … years, actually.  It started one spring while I was studying my beloved lilacs.  As I admired their color, a question popped into my head – “which DMC shade best matches these sweet little flowers?”  (I still don’t know)  I’m sure I’m not the only one who has thought such a thing.  One thing led to another and I started wondering about all sorts of flora and fauna around the property, and their corresponding DMC shades.  But for some reason, I shelved the idea for another time, although I did write a note down to remember it, thinking that someday, I would traipse around the property, matching God-made things to DMC colors.  Today is the day!

I have to confess I had a whole lot of fun doing this but some would say I am easily amused.  I took a small notebook, pencil, and DMC color card outside to begin.

colors in nature

A creative world it is.

I walked around the property, trying to choose things which were not as variegated, although much variegation exists in nature.  I could have pulled out all my over-dyed flosses and silks for extra help but really just wanted to stick to DMC for this adventure.  As you will see, I couldn’t help myself and did choose some plants which had variegation.

As I studied each plant, I quickly realized this was no easy task.  Given the extensive color palette of the DMC line, one would think there should be a color for every plant out there.  Wrong.  I would say for most of the plants, there was no perfectly matching color.  The greens were the hardest.  I gave up on the mint.  No surprise that mint would prove difficult (the mint is my mortal foe in general – I shall write a post about our epic battles one day).

After writing down all my matches, I pulled out the corresponding flosses, set out with my camera and captured my choices for all of you to see.

Let’s begin, shall we?

Phlox (I was only going for a match for the outer part of the petals), 3609:


Tickweed, 444:


Forsythia leaves (not a great match at all, but the best I could do), 3346:

forsythia leaves

Queen Anne’s lace, 3865:

queen anne's lace

Black-eyed Susan, 972:

black-eyed susan

Crown vetch (inner petal only; I could not find a pale enough purple to match the outer petals), 554:

crown vetch

Poison ivy, 3819.  Am I the adventurous (translate: dumb) one!  This was the closest I was going to get:

poison ivy

I decided to pair these next two together as I believe they complement one another perfectly.  They are growing in the field alongside one another and it’s a beautiful sight.  Bee balm and goldenrod, 209 and 973:

bee balm/goldenrod

Moss, 470:


Elderberries, 310:


Grapes, 989:


This next one was very interesting.  Blueberries are blue, right?  But the more I compared them to my color card, the grayer they looked.  In the end I chose a gray, 3799:

blueberries(Side note:  it would be interesting someday to match the overdyed floss colors with the actual plant/fruit/vegetable companies have named their flosses for … such as chives, carrot, baby spinach, red pear, etc.)

To my complete shock, I do not have 3837 in my floss boxes.  What kind of cross stitcher am I, to be missing a DMC color?!?  So I had to take the picture of this fan flower (scaevola) against the color card.  Try not to be too disappointed in me.


Jewelweed, which grows all along the edge of the woods.  Many things going on color-wise in this flower.  I tried to match up the two main colors and settled on 972 and 947:



And because I could not resist, Chaney Gray, 414:

Chaney Gray This could be a fun enterprise in all seasons.  Because of my love for nature, plants, flowers and fruits were my obvious choice but it would be interesting to match up manmade items as well.  If I continue, it won’t be long before I’ll be going for a walk and for every color I see, my first thought will be, “that’s DMC ____!”

6 Responses to Seeing the World in DMC Color

  1. Robin in Virginia

    I totally enjoyed your walk in nature and figuring out its DMC components, Holly. I think #153 is a light purple, but not sure if it is light enough for the outer petals of the crown vetch. Miss Chaney is lovely.

    • Holly Post author

      The outer petal is just the palest purple. Not enough colors in the DMC palette, amazingly enough. I’ll pass on your compliment to Chaney when she arises from her beauty sleep.

  2. Annie

    This is so cool. And your photography is amazing. Some of those DMC colors appear to match exactly with their counterpart in nature. Did you cheat and photoshop? You wouldn’t do that, would you? 😉

    • Holly Post author

      *blush* Thank you for that comment! I will say my camera is a very good one so it makes me look better than I really am. And I wouldn’t photoshop – I embarrassingly admit I have no idea how to do that.

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