Would you believe me if I said that embroidery can be strenuous work? Most people wouldn’t! But it can be – depending on the type of embroidery.
Lately, I’ve been working on some fairly intense embroidery projects. The kind that require concentration. The kind that require space in my workroom. The kind that are not transportable. I can’t sit and chat with friends or watch a movie and do them. In fact, when I’m working on them, I become rather anti-social.
But I like embroidery to be a social thing. I like to embroider around people. If I want to watch a movie of an evening with friends and family, I like to have something to do with my hands. I like to grab a project and take it with me on long car rides, or if I’m going somewhere that will inevitably require a wait.
For these situations, I usually have a few projects set up that I call grab & go projects, or “social” embroidery projects. Most of them are casual embroidery items that I give away.
After going a couple months without a “social” embroidery project, I thought it was high time to get one started. I settled on this towel from Rouge du Rhin, a French needlework company. Why this particular project? Well, I didn’t have to do any set-up work on it – it’s a coarse weave cotton towel with the design already stamped on it. It’s also a good excuse to “test stitch” in case I want to mention this product on Needle ‘n Thread.
And I do.
And so I am.
Rouge du Rhin has this new series of stamped towels out on the market, and they’re just getting into the US through sources like The French Needle.
The particular towel I’m working on is redwork, with the design stamped in red, and featuring a naked chicken, some veggies, and a pot – chicken soup, pretty much. The other towel in the series is worked in blue, and it features fishy things and a pot. “Soupe de Poissons” might be considered by your non-Francophile friends as something a bit dodgy, but in fact, it’s just fish soup.
Each towel is sold separately, and it comes with a label sheet that has stitch instructions on the back of it. They’re written in French, but the diagrams are clear enough for anyone to follow, whether French-speaking or not.
You can see that the cotton fabric is rather coarse, with a thick, somewhat open weave. These are casual, “rough” towels, not to be confused with these fine linen glass towels from France that I’ve written about before.
The printed lines are also rather thick for design lines, but not thick enough that they can’t be covered easily with stitches worked from two strands of floss. The design lines are very easy to see, which is good when you’re working in less than ideal lighting conditions. The towel, unwashed, is easy to stitch in hand, without a hoop.
Along the selvedge of the towel (running length-wise a bit in from both edge) is a woven band of red in a checkered pattern. The short edges (perpendicular to the selvedge) are unfinished, so after the stitching is done, each side has to be hemmed. I may play around with the hem a little bit, to see if I can come up with a alternative to a plain hem.
I’m stitching the towel with a multi-work, two-stranded cotton thread from Cosmo.
This thread comes off the spool in two strands, ready for stitching. It’s a good thread for redwork, and there’s a whole lot of it on that spool.
So this is my social chicken project. It’s definitely ‘grab & go’ style – just the towel, one spool of thread, a needle, and scissors are all you need to work it. No hoop. No multiple skeins of floss. Easy-peasy when it comes to stitching on the go, or when chatting with friends.
Once I get the stitching done on this, I’ll wash it to see how the towel & thread react to laundering. I’m looking forward to that part! It may all go to pot (oh, ha ha) in the wash, but it may not. We shall see!
Rouge du Rhin has another line of surface embroidery-related goods out, but I’ll have to show you those another time!
Later this week, I’m doing a book give-away, so look for it. Also coming up – a photo tutorial great for beginners. I’m also working on some new video footage (a fun stitch!). So it promises to be a busy week. Hope yours is terrific!
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