Every year, I find myself preparing some kind of embroidery project in anticipation of Spring – something I can enjoy while winter slides away. Something that promises sunny days and cheery blooms ahead!
Over the past few years, I’ve turned these projects into ready-to-stitch towel sets that you can enjoy, too.
This year’s ready-to-stitch Spring collection is called Garden Party! It’s a light, colorful, whimsical design set, replete with lady bugs, a butterfly, and bright stylized florals scattered along a series of swirly vines.
Perfect for relaxed, no-pressure handwork, these sets are a great way to familiarize yourself with various stitches, to play around with your stitch and color choices, and just to have fun with your embroidery.
On projects like this, I choose colors and stitches spontaneously. Whatever stitch I want to try, whatever color strikes me as suitable – that’s what I do.
I don’t follow any pre-conceived layout or directions. I just let the embroidery unfold as it goes.
This is an excellent exercise for anyone who wants to practice stitches and gain confidence in making their own choices on projects.
For those who like a little bit of direction with color selection, though, I’ll tell you all about the colors I used.
First, a bit about the towel set, though.
The Towel Sets
Like the other ready-to-stitch sets available on Needle ‘n Thread, this is a three-towel set with three variations of the design, one on each towel. The designs are transferred in crisp, clear lines, ready for you to stitch.
The towels are lint-free white cotton flour sack towels, approximately 27″ square, with a hanging loop on the corner.
Embroidered, they make wonderful personal gifts (think wedding showers, birthdays, Mother’s Day, house-warming, hostess gifts for various holidays). I use them to line gift baskets. I also use them as little tea cloths in the middle of the table to add a splash of color for company. I use them to line bread baskets at meal time. I’ve even used them as “wrapping paper” on wine bottles or loaves of crusty bread for hostess gifts.
The large version of the design stretches across the center of the lower edge of the towel (about 18″ long).
The medium design is situated in the lower right corner of the towel, opposite the hanging loop.
The small design floats at the lower center of the towel. The elements on the this variation are slightly smaller than those on the other towels.
Whenever I work up these ready-to-stitch designs, I use DMC stranded cotton (called “floss” in the US) because it is good, consistent quality and widely available.
Stitches & Stitching Tips
Normally, I stitch with two or three strands, depending on how heavy I want the line to be. I use a #7 crewel (also called “embroidery”) needle.
Most of the stitches I use fall among the Basic Ten – the ten basic embroidery stitches that are good to have in your repertoire.
Occasionally, I might throw something else in for the fun of it. For example, I like to work Palestrina stitch when I want a textured line. Worked with three strands, it makes a great knotty line.
If I want to fill small areas (I don’t like filling large areas on these types of projects), I’ll use chain stitch or stem stitch as a filling.
I use French knots for small flower centers. I use satin stitch here and there, where filled dots or other small shapes come in handy.
For example, ladybugs are really just satin stitches with a few extras thrown on. (I’ll have a tutorial for stitching a cute and quick ladybug available for you next week).
And, sometimes, I work what I call “chunky long and short stitch” for some filled areas. It’s chunky, because I’ll usually use two strands of floss to fill the area quickly. It’s not delicate needlepainting that takes a long time – rather, just a quick filling method for small shapes (like the butterfly on the large design in this set).
Here are the colors I used on my version of the Garden Party designs.
My Color Palette for Garden Party
If you’re planning to stitch the designs, you may certainly use the same colors, or you can expand the list, or you can choose your own favorite color palette.
Purples: 208, 209, 210
Greens: 906, 907
Pinks: 891, 956, 957
Blues: (Variations) 4022
Hop Hop Thread Drops
Is it possible to have Spring without bunnies? Or bunnies without Spring? I think they’re made for each other!
And I think this project and these darling thread drops are made for each other, too!
Hop Hop Thread Drops are bunny-shaped thread organizers. They’re die-cut from heavy card and held together by a ring. They have a place to loop your thread and a spot to write your thread type and color number. There are 20 bunnies on a ring in each package.
There’s also a little extra hole on each bunny, where you can loop those stray bits of already-used threads that still have life in them or that you’ve only taken a few strands from.
I like thread drops and similar organizational tools for this kind of project. With your threads pre-cut, labeled, and held together in one collection, it makes them super easy to transport and to work with when you’re out and about, away from your regular Spot.
When I set up a project like this, I pre-cut my threads to a working length, loop them on the thread drops, slide the whole collection into a little bag, and when I’m ready to work with them, I can hang the ring close by for easy access.
These particular thread drops are so dang cute! I thought they’d go really well with this project… and really, any project that would benefit from this type of thread organization.
If you like them as much as I do, you can order them from my shop individually or in combination with other items.
Ordered individually, one pack of thread drops will ship first class, as it is much more economical.
If combined with other items, they’ll ship priority with the other items in your order.
For those who are excited to stitch up Garden Party, or who want to add some Hop Hop Thread Drops to your collection of useful stitching tools, you’ll find both available here in my shop.
Orders placed before noon (central time) today will ship Priority mail this afternoon, and, if all goes well with the post office, you’ll have ’em before Easter.
If the towels sell out, I’ll be happy to prepare more – just drop me a line and ask for advanced notice.
The Hop Hop Thread Drops will probably keep multiplying, as bunnies tend to do. If they sell out, I’ll bring more in. They’re fun!
If you live outside the US and you are interested in the towel sets and thread drops – or any tangible goods in my shop – please contact me and we can discuss shipping methods and costs.