Monday, November 14, 2011

Day 3, 97 to go. Embroidered tea towel

Stamped Towel waiting for me to  find the floss.
Today’s project was embroidering this tea towel.  Way back in 1870, a fad for the embroidery which came to be known as redwork took hold because a cotton thread called Turkey Red became available.  It was colorfast, so ladies could embroider to their hearts’ content, bleach the heck out of their linens and still have color. Better yet, it was CHEAP.  So everyone could afford it.  Pretty soon, you could buy 6” squares of cotton fabric stamped with an embroidery design for a penny and then spend another penny on the Turkey Red.  The redwork moved from tea towels to quilts with those squares. 

"Limework" Sounds catchy, right?
I think there is something charming and kitschy about the iron-on stamp designs you can get from AuntMartha's.  I came across a set of days-of-the-week kitchen designs featuring cute little bunnies.  (I have a thing about bunnies I blame Peter Rabbit for)  I thought it would be fun to do the set in colors I love—shades of hot pink and lime rather than the traditional red.  (Heaven forbid I do anything the way someone else did it.)

I stamped these a few months ago, but couldn’t find the embroidery floss I had bought for it.  Today I discovered it in its cubbyhole exactly where it should have been (but hiding behind some spray adhesive and turpentine…)  So I stitched this one.  I also started noticing there are a lot of unfinished projects around here that I should really finish.  I came across a cross-stitch I was working in wedgewood blue and dusty rose.  That puts it into the 1986-1990 time period.  Just finish it already.  Those colors should be "in" again soon, along with hunter green and the inevitable country stencilled duckage of the period.

I also remembered today why I end up choosing sewing over all the other things Grandma taught me.  IT GOES FAST.  I can make a pair of pajama bottoms from cutting out the pattern to finish in about an hour and a half.  I can make a dress in a day or less. Everything else seems so tedious and time consuming by comparison.  I got a late start today, but managed to stitch through and finish this one towel.   

Felicity stood watch and/or napped through much of the stitching. Here she comments on her annoyance at being awakened when I finished. 

Here is the towel, pressed and hanging with its predecessor.


  1. That is VERY cute! Have you ever looked at Sublime Stitching's patterns? We sold them at a bookstore we once owned:

  2. Very cute! I like the tea towels, too. :-) (hi kitty) Seriously though, lots of vintage appeal there.

  3. How does one get onto your pajama bottoms list?

  4. Shawna--I have seen the sublime stitching site. It inspired a few ideas you will probably see at some point in these 100 days. I keep thinking that if people could just embroider on tea towels instead of getting tattoos of everything, there might be less regret. :)

    Thanks Steph! Fifi sends her love. Maybe you need catling tea towels?

    Reb--send me your waist, hip and inseam measurements. :)