Mary Corbet

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I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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Grab and Go Embroidery Project: Spring Towel


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Yesterday, I set up a grab-and-go embroidery project. “Grab and go” projects are those “quick” projects that can be taken anywhere or can be picked up for a few quick stitches when you’re on the go. I know this week is going to be hectic, like last week, and admittedly, I’m going nuts without simple and quick to work on.

At first, the whitework sampler was providing ok 15-minute stitching “fixes,” but the cutwork part is rather tedious, and since it’s the same stitch over and over and over again, it does get a bit on the boring side.

For grab-and-goes, I like color and simplicity! I also like cheap materials! If I’m working on this type of project in the car, in waiting rooms, or outside on the front porch, I don’t want to be using expensive linen and silk threads. So, cotton on cotton is great!

This particular Spring Towel is a flour sack towel to use as a basket liner for Easter. Flour sack towels make great liners for large baskets that you might serve bread in – or, in this case, that you might arrange Easter eggs and candy in. You embellish at least one corner (I think I’m going to do two on this one), and then you arrange the towel so that the decorative corner hangs over the edge of your basket. If you’re putting bread in a basket to serve a crowd, you would arrange the towel so that the decorative corner folds over the top of the bread.

Because it is likely that the towel will come in contact with food and will need to be washed, use colorfast threads (DMC or Anchor work great).

Hand Embroidered Towel with Spring Flowers

Here’s the corner. I’ve already started stitching. It’s a rough and chunky design, and fun to work. I’m not shooting for “perfection” here as much as just a fun, colorful corner. The design extends about 8 inches from each corner.

I transferred the design by tracing it with a regular pencil. All the lines will be covered – and if they’re not, that’s ok. They’ll wash out.

Hand Embroidered Towel with Spring Flowers

The embroidery pattern is mostly just a series of strange flowers and leaves. The design came from an old transfer I salvaged from some garage sale junque. I altered the design a bit to turn it into a corner pattern.

Hand Embroidered Towel with Spring Flowers

I was musing a bit over the colors – at first, I thought pretty pastels would be the thing for Spring, but they didn’t seem to go with the bold design. So instread, I picked out a selection of colors reminiscent of bright Easter baskets.

Hand Embroidered Towel with Spring Flowers

I’m pretty sure I’m going to do all the leaves in fishbone stitch. I just love this stitch! I was going to work with two shades of green, but I have a feeling I’ll reduce the whole project to as few colors as possible – just bright and bold. We’ll see…

This is also my first complete adventure using Q-snaps. I’m a hoop person, personally, but so many people rave about Q-snaps that I thought I should give them a try. I did try them briefly on a piece of linen a while ago, but … sheesh… no, I didn’t like that! Thinking I didn’t quite give them a fair trial, I decided to use them from start to finish on this project. I’ll let you know my thoughts once I’ve given them a fair run!

Now, the question is – should we place bets? I’d like to finish this and the opposite corner (same design) by Easter. Do you think I’ll get it done?


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(12) Comments

  1. Cheering *You can do it Mary!!*
    I love the pattern. Have you thought about doing a stitch-a-long? I think it would be fun and very informative, especially for newbies like me who have a hard time figuring out what stitches to do when. 🙂

  2. Hi, Lisa –

    Well, I’ll tell you what – I’ll clean up the pattern and post it, then I’ll note what stitches I’m working on it as I go, and if you want to stitch along, you’re welcome to! It’ll go kind of fast, if I get it done this week, but you can take your time doing it, just referring back to any posts on it. Once I tackle the bigger flower and the bigger leaves (I haven’t figured out what I’m doing on those yet), I’ll be able to clearly mark the stitches.

    I’ll list the DMC color numbers, too!

    So, if I get a chance to clean up the pattern this evening, I’ll get that up for you tomorrow (or shortly thereafter!)


  3. I’m so glad you’ll post the pattern for us. I love this pattern. It is so fun and colorful, perfect for spring!

  4. I’d love to see this pattern – I really like your color choices too, and I always wonder what stitches to do when as well.

    As a matter of fact, I came to this blog tonight looking for your stitch index to get some ideas for a vintage pattern I’m embroidering on tonight!

  5. Hi Mary: Great Idea! I hope you will be showing how you made the round pink and yellow flower?
    From the pictures, it looks like crochet work, and I would really like to know what stitches you used.
    And I also wonder what are ‘Q Snaps’?
    Thank you.

  6. It looks lovely, I love bright colors! Thank you in advance for posting the pattern, it looks really fun to stitch and I’d love to use it too

  7. If you are as productive a stitcher (no doubt), as you are prolific a poster, you will finish this project for Easter with time to spare! Now I just wish I could finish in time for Easter—every year my Southern neighbor kick-starts Spring for us by bringing her fabulous Sour Cream Biscuits to go with our ham. (We live in Maine, and at least this year the snow has melted before Easter arrives.) I’d love to put her yummy warm biscuits in such a bright and sunny basket liner! Ah well, the spring and summer entertaining season is just beginning-plenty of opportunities!
    You’re such an inspiration, Mary and generous to share with us. Thank you!

  8. Oooooh! I love it, Mary. I’m sure you are at least as productive a stitcher as you are prolific a blog-poster, and you’ll finish for Easter with time to spare.
    I hope to stitch along, too.
    Mary, I finally posted my embroidery post and linked to your website…thanks for your comment. It meant a lot to me to have your encouragement.

  9. beeeautiful. I think I will use this pattern, if I may, on bed linen for my daughter, pillowcases and top sheet.

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