Halloween/Thanksgiving: Towels, Door Hangers and Placemats
It's been a while since I've stitched fingertip towels. A few years ago I bought a stash of blank towels in various colors from Linens 'N Things with the intention of embroidering them for holidays and gifts. In October I pulled a few pairs of towels out of storage to make some Halloween and autumn decorations. The first two designs I selected were fall freebies from Embroidery Library - Trick-or-Treat Kids (below, left) and Watercolor Pumpkin (right). The Watercolor Pumpkin used unexpected color combinations that produced a very pretty towel.
A few days after I stitched the first two towels, Embroidery Library shared on their Facebook page an embossed embroidery design in black thread on orange toweling for Halloween. It inspired me to try some bright colors on these purple fingertip towels. I purchased two embossed designs -- the Trick or Treat design was stitched in Erin Green RA rayon thread, while the Pumpkin design was stitched with one of the Old Texas Orange RA rayon colors. The green version turned out quite vibrant, and almost glows in the dark.
Creative Machine Embroidery magazine offered this door hanger design as a limited time free download, with instructions provided in the Sept/Oct 2010 issue.
My first attempt at stitching this in-the-hoop design was unsuccessful. The instructions called for stiff interfacing layered under the front piece of fabric (I used peltex from my stash); the embroidery designs and appliques were to be sewn through all those layers. I suffered several broken needles and shredded thread, even with a large size topstitch needle. Rather than continue, I trashed the first try.
The second time around, I stitched through top layer fabric only, adding the peltex to back before the final satin stitching. The end result was better, but you can see the appliqued pumpkin 'bubbles' a little. I think a better approach would be to use thin cotton batting on the top instead of the peltex.
I really liked the effect of the satin stitched edgings on this design -- after the traditional satin border is stitched, a line of straight stitching is done on top, giving it a slightly braided appearance.
After finishing the door hanger from CME, I decided to try one from Embroidery Library, for comparison. I purchased the Give Thanks design and used a piece of muslin from my tea-dyeing experiment. Embroidery Library's instructions for in-the-hoop door hangers call for a piece of cut-away stabilizer layered between the top fabric and the hooped tear-away stabilizer. The embroidery went a lot smoother on this one -- no broken needles or thread -- but the resulting door hanger is a bit thin. It looks nice and since it's only purpose is to hang around, that's fine with me.
Keeping with the autumn decorating theme, I wanted some new placemats to coordinate with my napkins. I found inexpensive woven cotton placemats at Bed, Bath & Beyond in just the right navy color.
The Swirly Pumpkin Cluster design is part of a design pack called Autumn Swirls from Starbird Designs. I pulled thread colors for the embroidery to match the colors in my napkins. They turned out great and looked so nice on our table all month long.
In case you're wondering ... I'm still working on my Burda coat, but don't have anything new to share other than I've finished a second muslin and cut out my wool fabric. I had to put it on the back burner over Thanksgiving, but hope to work on it in December, along with my Christmas sewing projects.