fancy stitching

30 Jul

another item crossed off my thirty in thirty list! for my cute, vintage-loving friend’s 35th birthday, i’d promised to make him days-of-the-week hand towels. a few months ago, we were discussing anthropomorphic dish towels from the 1930s & 1940s and i showed him my grandmother’s hand-embroidered towels. he wanted to find vintage towels on ebay, but i had a better idea.


i’ve been a fan of jenny hart and sublime stitching for many years and i’ve collected quite a few patterns that have never been put to use.  i knew that the vintage lamps would be perfectly paired with days of the week for hand towels. plus, i’d get a chance to learn and utilize stitches other than the backstitch, which has had a lonely existence in my embroidery attempts.

i was worried about being able to find authentic flour sack towels, but the first stop on my search proved successful. i bought two packs of aunt martha’s old fashioned flour sack towels from jo-ann. i was originally aiming for one towel/day, but, because the flour sacks are so large (the ones i got were 28″ x 28″), i decided to embroider two days on each towel so it could just be flipped over when the next day rolled around.

for the days of the week, i picked what i thought was a retro-looking font (eek! i can’t remember the name – sorry!), typed up the words, and printed out a sheet, after adjusting the size a few times. using a light box and an embroidery transfer pen, i traced the words along the bottom of the towels.

i follwed the transfer instructions that came with the lamp pattern and i was ready to begin.

for the days of the week, i used all six strands of the thread for a split stitch. some stitches may not have split exactly, but i’m going to pretend that i didn’t notice.

next up: the satin stitch! the french knot! things of an elusive nature to me, i assure you. i went a bit french knot mad for the lightbulb on thursday’s lamp (which i love because i have this lamp!)

for the finer details, i only used three strands of thread and i love how delicate it looks. i used this technique on the faux bois lamp base for wednesday.

i think one of my favorite stitches to use was the stem stitch, which is so pretty and easy, especially for curves.

i had one side of one flour sack left over after stitching up the days of the week, so i decided to use my friend’s blog, where he chronicles all the vintage treasures he finds at estate sales in his neighborhood. if you visit his blog, i must warn you: you’ll be jealous. or is that only me? he manages to find the coolest things for pennies, i kid you not. everytime i go over there, he has something new to show me that only cost $5.

i’m quite excited to have new stitches in my know-how now. i actually have a leftover package of flour sacks and a stack of sexy librarian embroidery transfers begging to be used. if i made my own set of towels, i’d actually be crossing off another item on my list: reduce usage of paper towels.

but, really, who am i kidding? if i made towels, i’d probably not be able to use them for fear of ruining them. that’s why i like to give the things i make away – so somebody else can use and enjoy them.

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