Before Streaming, and well before Television, guess what ladies used to do in the evenings? Handwork! And it is so soothing.
There is only so much knitting you can do unless you know a lot of babies, but the monogramming of tea towels and guest towels has advantages. You can pick it up and put it down, you can do it on just about any plain tea towel, even those you already have, they make a lovely, thoughtful gift, a good and personal hostess gift. And, I have to say, people’s eyes open wide in wonder that you have the time and the skill (maybe the inclination too, it’s not for everyone!!).
The internet is full of traditional cross-stitch patterns, and six-strand embroidery thread and needles are readily available. Since 1997 I have been marking my tea towels with my initials, a simple motif and the year, following an old linen napkin I bought years ago, which is marked like that. Doing it gives me pleasure, and in a subtle, important way seeing my pretty tea towels slows me down a little, to relax into domesticity after the headlong pace of a working day. I don’t want cooking to be just another duty - if I’m really strung out I can eat something simple - but if I need to décontracter ( it sounds so much more considered in French), pottering around in my dear familiar kitchen will do it.
Each towel takes me an easy evening, and the results last, and they show.
I normally count threads, but it is easier to use a sacrificial canvas marked with your pattern in ink. You sew straight over it, and remove the canvas warp and weft threads one by one when you have finished - foolproof.
Here’s the good news - we are having a workshop after Thanksgiving, with Orkney linen tea towels, patterns, embroidery silks and waste canvas all supplied, and I will take you right through the process and best practices (no knots, ever!). Here’s how to sign up, and give yourself a little treat for the long winter evenings. Bring a friend! It’s a lovely thing to do together.
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