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The Embroidered Tablecloth Project

I am finally finishing another project, a round embroidered tablecloth.  I started this because I was absolutely nuts in 2010 and 2011.  During those years I presented a block of the month program for my local quilt guild (Calico Cut-Ups).  In 2010, I did a sampler quilt and in 2011 I presented a monthly tutorial on a different aspect of applique (A is for Applique). I like to have handwork to do at night so I used my overall design as an embroidery project.  I then put this away because I was busy with other things.  Last month I pulled it out again and decided to do a rolled hem to finish the edge.  I carefully folded the piece in quarters and used my circle ruler.  Now my circle ruler is not long enough but I just turned it a little bit at a time, making a mark and then drawing the circle by hand.  Here’s a little tip when drawing an arc on folded paper or fabric.  When you mark at the fold, make your mark perpendicular to the folded edge–otherwise if your mark is curved, you will not have a smooth curve at that point.  Experiment with a piece of paper and you will see what I mean.  Cmon, you know you want to–get up, fold some paper, draw and cut.  I used Foot D on my Janome – a definite timesaver compared to doing a rolled hem by hand.

Rolled hem

Rolled hem

Rolled Hem

Rolled Hem

I thought this project was quite boring so I’m adding some hand applique, a little at a time.  I’m not going to fill in every leaf, but have done the sepals on the buds and will probably add three leaves between the outer flower circles.  This will be a nice summer cloth for my round table.  It is approximately 41-inches across.

Hand applique

Hand applique

The other small project I finished in 2011 was a wool circular tablecloth.  It is appliqued by machine and also quilted using my domestic Janome.  This is called 4Rabbits.  The bias binding was finished by hand.

BOMWool

Applique Adventures

When you’ve been away from a project for more than a week, you tend to lose your place.  Finding nothing on the ironing board, I searched the studio and remembered I had decided to hand applique some wool to the first set of leaves, which looked too flat and boring.  I had already removed one leaf, which was glued down to the background, to make a longer stem to run into the seam line.  As I previously showed, I used small dots of Roxanne’s-Glue-Baste-It! and it peeled right up.  This is all part of a group project.  My panel is in shades of orange.  I was in a bit of a hurry when I hand appliqued the wool pieces down – my nose was running non-stop. I had thought of stuffing cotton up my nares and mouth breathing but opted for abandoning the project for the day.  My hiatus lasted eight days.  I’m not any too pleased with my handiwork upon closer inspection and proceed on leaf #3 using two strands of floss instead of three and making my stitches closer together.  This lies much flatter so now I’ll rip out the first two leaves, trim the edges and restitch.  This has given a little bit of dimension to this set of leaves.

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Now my wool highlights are stitched in place with floss using the blanket stitch.  I will have to glue down the points – the wool was not felted tightly enough for my taste so there was a little fuzzing going on.

On to the next section.  I had most of these leaves done already and have two more to go.  I am not happy with the reverse applique leaf.  I had to cover up my botched dots with Art Glitter, the glitter doesn’t blend well with the Frost fabric underneath and there is not enough contrast with the adjoining leaves.  Definite do-over.  After these are finished, I will glue baste the leaves down for machine stitching.  I am going to save this for Friday when our group will meet for a work session so I don’t need to haul my machine.  I did at least put a long pin in the glue nozzle before quitting the other day but did not follow the rest of my usual routine.  This is what works for me:

TIPS for using Roxanne’s-Glue-Baste-It!

1. While working steadily, lay the bottle on its side.

2. If you take a break, put a long pin in the nozzle.

3. Done for the day? Remove the nozzle, recap the glue bottle, rinse nozzle in hot water and soak overnight in a small container.

4. Your nozzle will be clean and ready for use the next day.

Back to the long leaf with reverse applique.  I am proceeding along smoothly until I reach the curved end.  I have not left enough background fabric underneath to round the curve.  I rip it all out, thinking I can salvage the pieces but decide to change fabrics and start over.  This time the stitching goes considerably faster–my wavy piece is rather organic but we are talking nature here so I’m happy.  Trim the back, turn under the edges.  Here is my technique for turning under the outside edges.  I use my small triangular craft iron (the Clover one that comes with all kinds of tips now).  I only clip when necessary–when a convex curve (innie) won’t curve and a concave curve (outie) starts to fold or pleat.  Every clip is a potential point in the outer edge.  Be careful to only clip within a couple stitches of the fold.  When rounding a small curve, you will need to notch-clip and trim the seam allowance to reduce bulk.  I will be gluing or pre-stitching the sharp points before actually placing the leaves on the background.  This way I can glue-baste the leaves down instead of pinning and worrying about manipulating points as I stitch.  I have two more leaves in this section to finish preparing before Friday.  I may or may not start working on the lower, larger leaves.  My leaf shapes will need to be modified as the inner notches and outer points are really difficult to applique.  At least I have a lot of these shapes already drawn.

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I like to use #100 silk thread with a #11 milliner’s needle for hand applique.  The stitches disappear.  The problem with this thread is that your needle tends to come unthreaded, even if you tie the end into a double knot.  Here is Liuxin Newman’s trick.  I was able to do this with Cicirino, which I now notice is cotton, but not my YLI last week.  All 100-weights are not equal.  Hold the long thread tail between you thumb and index finger and pierce the needle through the thread about every quarter-inch for at least five stitches.  Slide these loops off the needle and smooth out the thread.  This takes some practice–I actually do it by feel rather than sight.

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I have been able to work for two half-days in a row, finally making some real progress.  I was even able to restart my latest pair of fingerless gloves last night.  I had started these a couple weeks ago and got bogged down with a new technique, relying on my faulty memory.  Here is a technique I believe I wrote down from the knitting show on PBS. It helps to make a tighter join.  I am doing one final test on the pattern.  The stripe is interesting in the 3×3 ribbing.  The fur yarn is purled to put maximum hair on the outside and I have just started the cable area in my favorite color.

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HOW TO JOIN THE CAST-ON WHILE WORKING IN THE ROUND

1, Cast on required number of stitches, adding an extra stitch.

2. Slip the first stitch to the needle on the right.

3. Pass the last stitch cast on over the slipped stitch.

4. Give the yarn a tug, adjust the number of stitches on each needle and begin knitting.

That’s it for today.  Just remember, a bad day of quilting is still better than a good day in an office.  Happy stitching.