Here’s a sample I’m working up for my adult embroidery class, which is also looming – it starts a week from Tuesday, and I have two more samples to work up for it. At the same time, I am setting up a Big Project that needs to be finished before the end of July! So things are hopping here!
This is an embroidered guest towel. It’s an oatmeal-colored linen-cotton blend with a drawn thread edge, from All About Blanks. You’ll notice the note on the page there – to pre-wash before embroidering. These do shrink quite a bit, but I still like them, and I like them smaller!
I wanted an oatmeal colored towel to monogram in white for two reasons: I love the look of the white on natural-colored linens (I think it’s pretty!), and I think, when it’s the first time monogramming something, it’s easier to work on a color with white than to work white-on-white. The fabric has been really easy to stitch on, but it’s not crisp like a 100% linen fabric would be. It’s soft, and it does have a bit of a fuzz to it – I like it a lot, and I think one of the reasons is the softness and the fuzz and the ease of stitching on it (or is that three reasons?).
I started by ironing the towel after laundering it and drying it. I folded the towel in half, long ways, to mark the center.
Then I unfolded it, but I noticed that the crease would probably cause difficulties placing the monogram!
I like the wide drawn thread hemstitching there, don’t you? Anyway, I pressed the crease out lightly – just enough to still see where it was!
For the first time ever, I am using iron-on transfers. I don’t think I’ve ever actually used one myself, though I’ve seen lots of people use them and I know lots of people like them. I figured it would be a huge time-saver for me, to have a good selection of iron-on transfers on hand, instead of our having to hand-transfer all the designs, which takes up a whole class period in itself!
So I centered the initial – I’m using a “B” – and followed the pressing directions.
And that’s what I got. It’s there, more or less – there’s some kind of streaky thing going on there, but that’s ok. That’s the fastest I’ve ever put a design on a peice of fabric. I was elated!
But I found the blank streaks a bit distressing.
So I took a fine-tipped Micron art pen and drew in the missing lines. No big deal!
I hooped it up. I use Hardwick Manor hoops, made in Germany. They’re an excellent embroidery hoop – very firm, very stable-feeling, and the hardware on them is solid brass and very sturdy, so you can use a screw driver and really tighten the hoop. They hold fabric quite well, and even better if you bind the inside ring, which I didn’t on this hoop!
I hooped right over the drawn thread hemstitching – the towel is sturdy, and I’m not worried about damaging it. I don’t keep my work on the hoop when I’m finished stitching for the day (always take your work off the hoop when you’re finished for the day!), so I am pretty confident that this will be just fine!
It’s nice to work on a hoop for a change. I usually have my work set up on a frame (stretcher bars, generally), which I clamp in my floor stand (I have the greatest floor stand ever!). But now and then, I think it’s really nice to be able to sit on the couch or even at the table visiting, without dragging out my floor stand or a larger frame.
So, the fabric ready, it’s time to pick out threads. Ahhh. I love Lacis (Incidentally, they now have free shipping). Here’s my box of coton a broder and white floche. I have several skeins of each size, from 16 up to 40.
I originally thought that size 40 would be the way to go. So I began stitching with it, but it really got lost in the towel fabric. I wanted something that would sit up on the fabric!
Soooo… I split it in half, and tried size 20 instead, which I found to be just right. I want the monogram to sit up off the fabric, and there are a couple ways you can achieve this with monograming. One is to use a technique called trailing, where you satin stitch over bunched string. Whenever you need to narrow your design, you sink one or more of the strings in your bunch to the back of your fabric. But trailing is a technique you have to get a feel for – you want to sink your threads so that the change in size is gradual and smooth.
Since this is for more or less a beginner’s class, and since the design itself doesn’t really come to a tip anywhere (trailing is great for lettering that comes to a tip), I’m sticking with outlining, padding, and then satin stitching.
For the outline, I’m using backstitch. You can also use split stitch to outline under satin stitch. It doesn’t really matter which one you use, except I kind of think split stitch might create a smoother line. In any case, I used backstitch.
After backstitching the outline, a worked the padding in long straight stitches, occasionally splitting them to fit a thread in, working down the length of the letter. My satin stitching will be worked on top of this, perpendicular to the padding.
Wow! All those pictures, just to show you an inch of real work! So there’s the beginning of the “B.”
Ground fabric: Oatmean colored linen / cotton blend guest towel from All About Blanks.
Thread: DMC Coton a Broder #20, cut in 14″ lengths
Needle size: #8 crewel
Stitch: Padded Satin
Stitching Time to this Point: 30 minutes
Thread: 3 14″ inch lengths
So that’s the beginning of my monogrammed guest towel sample. I’ll show you an update soon!
By the way, any good recommendations for iron-on transfer books? I’ve found a few I really like, but I’d love to hear of others!
This project was written up in four separate articles. If you’d like to view the progress of the project, please follow the links below:
Part I – (That’s this article!)
Part II – Continuing stitching, discussion of stitches, some trouble-shooting
Part III – Taking the Curves with Satin Stitch – discussion of stitch direction and working around curves using the padded satin stitch
Part IV – the finished guest towel!