Thursday, November 6, 2008

All Wiped Up-Tea Towels

This week has seen me embroidering on tea started while we were travelling-I managed to do 3 by hand- applique Christmas ones from the Heart to Art series by Nancy Halvorsen. I had picked up the Peppermint & Holly Berries book when in the US earlier this year and had ear marked the 3 teat towels to do. I love to decorate the house at Christmas time & always have Xmas themed tea towels & hand towels out.

Then while we were in Wagga Wagga I found 2 really lovely tea towels with Aida bands on each end of I thought I'd give machine x stitch a go on these. The 2 towels were a bit pricey at $14.90 each, so you'd not be getting a set of 3 as a gift from me!, but for someone special-absolutely perfect. The shop owner had one on display & I thought how lovely it looked- little did I know that this would hook me!

Picked up 10 cotton ones in Melbourne & found I had a stash of tea towels, after embroidering on a whole lot a couple of months back!

When we returned home from our road trip I managed to get a few free days to get in & get some done, by the time I returned to work I had done 17 tea towels.....I ordered more from a really great shop in Queensland- ordered them Thursday & they arrived Friday-6 more with an Aida band at one end...what is it with me that I just have to keep on adding to what I have?LOL

I have scoured the net for simple machine x stitch borders & have found nothing- they are either too wide for the band or way too involved with a million colour changes, which I'm just not into.
Machine x stitch was one of those things I tried when I first started with the embroidery machine- found it too tiresome with all the colour changes & jump stitches & never really did more than about 2 designs.

Now that I want simple kitchen borders I can't find any anywhere- even had my friends looking & asking for me as well. There is a market there I'm sure for designs for the machine that will fit in the width of an Aida band.

My attempts at producing x stitch designs in my software have been a dismal failure-so many stops & starts it drove me crazy & it never looked any good when I finished- I knew there was a reason I didn't digitize! Just proved it with this attempt.

I found a couple of designs & played around with them & was really pleased with the outcome, mind you not enough to do a large x stitch at any time in the future, but definitely on these towels!

One thing I did do was a piggy back hooping with 3 of the tea towels. I have done this in the past with small terry hand towels.

This technique works when you are doing small items or long narrow ones like the borders. I have not done it with bath towels simply because the weight of the towel tends to pull on the stabilizer & its too much bulk to deal with around the machine.

You need to hoop up your stabilizer only-load the design into the machine & with tea towels-move the design to the far left of the design field-baste out the position or check if you have an orbiting feature for placement.

The bulk of the item needs to feed over to the left or to the back of the machine if you have placed the design at the top of the hoop. So make sure the design orientation is correct. baste the item to the stabilizer.

When I'm doing the Aida insert ones I do my basting stitch in a dark colour on the stabilizer as it will show up through the little holes & make placement much easier from the right side. If you line up the needle with a hole in the Aida it will stitch out pretty much like hand x stitch- a blind man on a galloping horse would be pleased to see where it doesn't go in the little holes! Stitch out the first design.
Send the second design to the machine & move the design so it stitches out next to the first one but not on it-check with the orbiting feature if you have one,baste onto the stabilizer, then baste the item to the stabilizer as above.Pin the excess of fabric back out of the way to leave the stabilizer clear before you start.

The next design should come in on the far right of the hoop & you repeat as above- the bulk of the towels will go to the left, the fabric under the machine border will be pinned back out of the way.

Doing it this way saves re-hooping after each stitch out & saves on stabilizer as well-when you are only using such a narrow strip anyway. I did try patching the hole with a sticky stabilizer but found that the tension on the stabilizer was not as taut as I like-so played around & worked out this way. Anything to save time!

So my stash of emroidered tea towels is growing- the cotton ones are all embroidered as well-just with designs I had purchased & never got around to using at the now I have lots of ready gifts on hand!

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