Sunday, July 3, 2011

Some Independance Day Stitching

Our neighbors are having a Fourth of July Barbecue tomorrow, as sort of a "Thanks for putting up with us during our remodeling". Being the shameless copycat that I am, I decided to embroider a kitchen towel to put in a little housewarming basket for them. The idea came from Mary Corbet of, in which she embroidered a cotton towel from American Chair Store.

Now I've mentioned before that I'm no designer, and that trying to come up with an original pattern tends to hurt my brain. But I do have a goal for this year to design something on my own, and here it is July with half the year gone and no original design. I drew the starts on Power Point, printed and cut them out, and taped them onto several sheets of graph paper to make a corner design. I used a french curve to get the swooshes just right.

Mary's article is about using Transfer-eze to transfer the pattern to the fabric, but I don't have any, so I used a blue washout pen over a light table. On little trick I learned is to use a glue stick with repositionable glue in it, think Post Its in stick form. Smear it on the paper, avoiding the printed parts, then lay the towel over it and smooth the bubbles out. This works best on fairly small projects that you will throw into the wash, such as towels, hankies, baby clothes, etc. I wouldn't use it for Really Nice crewel or silk work. I do have some Transfer-eze on order for an upcoming crewel project.

I put the fabric in a cheap 6 inch hoop and started stitching away with DMC floss in white, 321 (red) and 797 (blue) and a size 8 embroidery needle. I was over half way finished when I gave the fabric a more than a little tug on the side and the darn towel ripped! This is what I ended up with after tearing the fabric along the hole, an 11 by 30 inch piece of partially embroidered towel! So now what? You guessed it, I started it all over with a new towel (luckily they come in packs of 10). But this time I put it into my nice 10 inch wooden hoop with a sit upon stand that I got for Christmas the year before last. What I found was that having both hands free I can stitch much faster and got the project finished in one day. And the deep wooden hoop holds the fabric much more securely that the cheap plastic hoop.

So now I'm off to find a nice basket and some goodies for the party!

Likes and dislikes:

This is a really simple design, and didn't hurt the brain too much, so I don't think I can count it toward my design goal. I'll have to do something more complicated (and painful).

Buy more than you need! It's always good to have extra supplies in case of disasters. I also have all of the DMC colors on hand along with a color card, which makes it easy to pick the right colors.

I really like the idea of having these towels around to stitch up a design for a quick gift. The internet is full of free design downloads which are just right for quick and easy gifts. You can also get ideas from looking at machine embroidery designs, especially redwork designs, also these do tend to get a bit fussy.

So what to do with the torn piece? I haven't decided, but am kicking around some ideas, such as stitching up a mirror image and joining the pieces with a colored band. I have plenty of good patriotic fabrics laying around.

Now it's off to work on baby clothes! I'll post about that as soon as I have something interesting to show you.


  1. Lucky neighbor to receive such a thoughtful gift, and lucky you to have a fun July 4th event! Enjoy!

  2. What a great idea Cynthia! I love how simple the design is and you just can't go wrong with those colors!

    You could get some red, white and blue fabric and make a scrappy border for around your ripped towel and use it for a table runner.

    Hope you enjoy your long weekend!


  3. Great idea with the tea towel - and I love what you've done with the tatted bonnet too.


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