My First Large Embroidery Project
I designed this embroidery piece for a large hoop, using Aunt Martha's Flour Sack Tea Towels by Colonial Patterns, Inc. (www.colonialpatterns.com). Several times I have despaired of trying to find a practical use for it. Who the deleted expletive wants an embroidered tea towel? You put them out when you have guests and hope they don't actually use them. The cloth lends itself well to embroidery, though. I like it better than Aida cloth unless you're having to count the little squares.
I thought of turning the towel into an accent pillow. This would be doable, but the pillow would be a rather odd shape. Also, I hadn't positioned the drawing in the precise middle of the cloth. Had it been in the precise middle, I could have sewn two tea towels together into a pillow. Still, that's a predominantly white pillow in a dirty world.
Finally I hit on using tote bag blanks, which are inexpensive and readily available. For numerous reasons, I would not advocate embroidering directly on these tote bags. You need to be able to see the back of your embroidery, especially if you are using specialty threads that are likely to tangle up. Also, you don't want to leave the inevitably snarled and knotted back on the inside of the tote where people will be putting things. Some embroiderers prefer not to use knots; they leave a tail of thread instead of a knot. They finish by pulling the leftover thread through the back of existent stitches. This method works, but the back of your embroidery will never be pretty - or secure, if somebody can get an object hung in it.
With a tote bag this size (roughly 13" by 13"), I was able to make a complimentary split stitch frame all around the picture. The picture itself uses every kind of thread I had available - cotton, satin (rayon), acrylic, and the heavier pearl cotton.
Here is some useful art! Get your creativity going!