This Cutwork Flower Tablecloth was a discovery at a garage sale. It was sitting on a table full of miscellaneous craft materials. When I unfolded it, there were stains all over it. Would I be able to get them out? I could smell cigarette smoke and the stains were brown. The lady offered it to me for $2 so I thought, what the heck, why not.
I always keep my eyes open at garage sales and thrift stores for treasures!
When I got home I put it in the washing machine and let it sit overnight soaking in “Oxy 10”, then washed it in the morning and it came out sparkling clean.
You can see that it was machine stitched (embroidered) in a simple flower pattern with leaves between the blossoms. I have already added a darker pink outline to the interior of the petals of this flower. The edge of the cloth and some of the areas between the leaves are cut out and edges are reinforced with stitching. This is called, “Cutwork“, and here is a good definition of it if you are interested, this style of working makes a wonderfully interesting edge. BTW, I did not know the proper term to call it so I had to look it up myself for this article.
However, the machine stitching is just boring, so, I intend to “spiff it up” with some bright lines and satin stitching until I can say I love it. See the blue flower on the left where the original machine stitching pattern makes you feel like yawning? On the right is a yellow blossom that has had orange outlines added to the yellow blossom petals and red french knots added to the center. Okay, now we have some pizzazz going, and we are on a roll.
I added embellishment all around the edge and then thought that the center of the tablecloth needed something more than the two little sets of a pair of pink blossoms. So I added some vines, and daisy’s in many colors. Yep, yep, yep.
This idea spread to the corners and sides until I had all kinds of flowers and plants around the entire border of the tablecloth. That is what happens when you go weed in the garden and all of the flowers are blooming.
Okay, a bit excessive but it was so much fun. It is a colorful addition to our tablecloth family.
This was the first Rose & Flower Tablecloth I embroidered. It was a Christmas present from Grandma in high school. She had taught me how to embroider on pillows, towels, and table runners before this project. It was a graduation present in the real world of embroidery for me. We still use this cloth on special occasions and I love the colorful array of flowers in the pattern. It is a “Rose and Daisy” Bucilla tablecloth kit.
You can see a row of flowers in a circular-shaped arrangement down the middle of the tablecloth that is bordered by curvy rows of daisies along each side. Each corner has the same rose that goes down the center. Spaced on the edges are a few rose buds with daisies. This took me a full year to finish, and there were many times when I thought I would never get it done. Doing a project like this teaches so much patience and perseverance. Believe me, it is quite an accomplishment to be able to finish this.
The more open rose bloom is a beautiful line drawing and the change in color from the darker red interior to the pink exterior is just classic. The leaves are expressive among the scattered daisies all around it. One of the difficult things to figure out was how to do the thorns on the rose stem. If the point is not done right, they curve instead of coming to a good point. Do you notice how many times the color of the embroidery floss changes?
Here is the smaller budding rose and daisy arrangement that is spaced along the side edges. It was great to have a smaller area every once in a while. Whew. The stitches used in this one are outline, line, lazy daisy and french knots in many, many, many colors.
This is a simple brown & white tablecloth with off-white embroidery to embellish the edge and corners. The reason I chose this kit was, that I had just completed a tablecloth that had many different colored flosses throughout. I thought having only a single color would simplify and speed things up. I would not be stopping to change colors all the time. Ha, ha.
You can see that this table spread does only have embroidery on the edges and at each corner so the center of the table is plain. Consequently, I select this cloth whenever I want the food to be the star on a table or if I have a decorative doily or runner in the middle.
What I failed to take into account was the complex type of stitches utilized in this particular pattern. There is a lot of satin stitch and curvey outline along with mucho chain stitch. The most difficult stitch for me on this tablecloth was the “fishnet”. The fishnet starts with laying down thread then tacking it down at all of the intersecting points. It is a bit tricky and took a while for me to get comfortable with it.
All the edges of the tablecloth have a border of flower blossoms on curved stems with two leaves. The corners have a larger blossom arrangement with seven different shapes. Each blossom has 3 petals and a base filled with solid satin stitch. There are two lower petals in fishnet and outline stitches. There are 3 french knots inside of each flower. The curved stems connecting the flowers are done with a chain stitch. There are two leaves on the stem, one combines the fishnet with satin stitch, and the other is all satin stitch.
There are many free embroidery guides on the internet if you search. I look them up whenever I find myself wondering about how to do a specific unfamiliar stitch. Two of the most complete and clear articles I have found recently are below.
Custom butterfly, dragonfly, and flowers embroidered onto a white tablecloth. This is a design made from multiple Aunt Marthas hot-iron stamp embroidery patterns applied for the butterflies, dragonflies, and different kinds of flowers.
Custom butterfly, dragonfly, and flowers embroidered onto a white tablecloth. This is a design made from multiple Aunt Marthas hot-iron stamp embroidery patterns applied for the butterflies, dragonflies, and different kinds of flowers. This view has a large butterfly with different colors of roses below him.
After the insects are spaced around, I add flowers along the edge of the tablecloth between them. The pattern appears all along the edges of the cloth and also in the center of the table. There are roses, daisies, wildflowers, and multiple kinds of moths.
All four corners are different with none of them being the same. This corner has a grass leaf with wildflowers and a dragonfly. There are also different types of butterflies, moths, dragonflies, and flowers out further.
This corner has sunflower blossoms with an orange butterfly, and also a blue and orange moth off to the right.
More different flying butterflies and flowers.
You may have noticed that there are many different colored flowers.
There are multiple random vines drawn in with leaves and “tear-drop” stitch flowers scattered everywhere. The vines and little flowers are what connect all the characters and foliage together along the edges and across the middle.
This tablecloth took half a year to finish the hand embroidery on. I enjoyed watching each flower and bug come to life in its own special combination of embroidery floss colors. It was lovingly washed, pressed, and mailed off to a family member for her birthday. I hope that it will be used on many special occasions and that a smile will cross the lips of all that will spread it across their table.
I took my embroidered cherry basket tablecloth to the Mennonite Country Auction & Relief Sale/Auction, where it sold for a surprising amount, even though it was the only embroidery piece entered in the sale displays that year. My tablecloth did ultimately succeed in attracting attention and selling for a good price and I would assume that more embroidery items are now available there. I wanted to contribute a meaningful amount to the church with my project. It selling as it did, gave me a real boost as an embroidery artist.
I chose this charity in honor of my Mother-In-Law who used to make fabulous quilts for them every year. She and her family graciously welcomed me into the Spring Valley Mennonite Church in Spring Valley WA. I am forever grateful. When Peter and I got married fortunately, Mom bought me a Mennonite Cook Book from this auction event. Yummy!
Dorothy and I felt comfortable sitting close and visiting, while we worked on our hand-made projects. I did my embroidery and Dorothy her great baby quilts along with all the schoolbags and everything else as she sewed through her life.
This event is worth going to!
If you have not been to the Mennonite Country Auction & Relief Sale/Auction, this is something that you will want to do. Put it on your list of must-dos to see
absolute quilting excellence.
This sale is set up to raise money for missions of the church and is held in the Fall in Ritzville (between Spokane and Seattle). The Mennonite Country Auction & Relief Sale/Auction is an all-day gathering for the whole family with breakfast, tents filled with exquisite quilts, comforters, afghans, and handmade crafts and furniture to walk through and admire. Apple cider, apple butter, along with ice cream, and some of the best cheeses (that sell out fast). The auction of the beautiful handwork is in the afternoon and is a lot of fun. Check out their website, The next auction is on October 6th, 2018.
With special anticipation, I begin this Cherry Tablecloth needlework journey. Calmly embroidering, with great colors and a wide variety of possible stitches as a beautiful design becomes even more classic with each strand of floss until an heirloom keepsake is made.
At this point, I am happily working on my cherry embroidery every night. The average time it takes me to embroider a new tablecloth project is between 3-9 months, depending on the level of difficulty in the design.
It also seems to take a lot longer when there are a large volume of colors in the design. You know, completing all of one color for a reasonable space, then securing the knots, snip and threading needles with the new colors every few minutes. More colors are more time consuming.
Before you know it, here is a beautiful tablecloth complete. I do a little Irish jig dance celebrating! Standing up and dancing around the living room singing, “It is done, yeah, it is done!”, after the last stitch is tied-off.
Then the new tablecloth is carefully washed, ironed (every single inch), and carefully photographed on the dining room table. I apologize that I did not think anyone was interested in the unfinished stages of embroidery during this project time period. Nowadays, I make it a point to photograph the stages of completion so others can see how it looks as you go along.
I hope that you are able to find forgotten treasures at your next garage sale expedition too. This was actually someone else’s dream tablecloth that I was able to complete. When she got this fine tablecloth stamped in this great cherry basket and cherry vine pattern I am sure that she had all kinds of ideas about how beautiful it would turn out. She probably had a great fondness for fresh cherries, herself. I hope that my embroidery has honored her wishes for this heirloom tablecloth.
This cherry tablecloth adventure starts with choosing the colors. I decided to make the cherries a mixture of rainier pinks and bings in dark maroon and deep reds. The twisting vines and stems would be with a dark stem and lighter leaves around the border and in the interior vine design. There were four baskets, one on each corner, that I thought would look good in brown earthy tones.
Getting out my box of embroidery floss I began choosing the pinks and cherry reds color along with foliage greens. For the baskets I chose browns, but after finishing the first one I chose to change the color of the baskets for each corner just for some variety in the piece.
Treasure hunting for supplies is one of the things I am always doing. This project is the result of one of those garage sales, thrift stores, and estate sale expedition days.
I love to shop at garage sales and thrift stores.
It keeps me from getting in trouble with our budget while pursuing my love of stitching.
I found this tablecloth in a stack of miscellaneous sewing materials outside of a rural home. It had some dirt on it but I saw the cherry basket printed on the corner so I opened it up to see what kind of shape it was in. It looked quite yellowed with dust stains on the folds as if it had sat for quite a while.
When I asked about it, the lady said it was from her Grandmother’s sewing room that they were cleaning out. I paid $5 for it and walked to my car with high hopes that it would wash out clean.
I got my tablecloth home and put it in the washing machine with a scoop of Oxi-Clean and let it sit overnight. The next morning I ran a load of clothes with the table cloth, just adding some regular laundry detergent. Surprisingly, all of the yellow and stains washed out beautifully, leaving me with a perfectly good stamped pattern to work on.
Drawing my own hummingbirds on the cloth 51″ x 94″ tablecloth, then I got out my box full of thread (floss), and go to it. There are 19 embroidered birds around the edges complete. I am now adding branches with vines wrapped around them and occasional honeysuckle blossoms mixed in. It seems to be really coming to life. Here is the first completed corner.
A lavender and purple guy with dark blue and black on his wings and tail feathers.
Hummingbirds 09-11 are complete and here is the last corner of the tablecloth with them on it.
Number 09 is a character made with a mixture of different greens, blue on his wings, and some white spacing between the stitching to highlight his shape. He is perched on a branch for a second, staring at you. There are some considerations required to be able to correctly build believable foliage around the characters. The outline of the branch that he is perched on has to go between his claws, not through them.
Hummingbird 10 and number 11 are close together. 10 is the closest, and he is done in teal, aqua blue, and other blues. We are looking at him from above seeing his wings spread out on both sides of him. Number 11 is above and in a dive maneuver position and we see him from the side. He is made of mostly greens with a bright shiny orange area under his neck. His shadows and feathers have black outlines.
He is a lavender and purple guy with dark blue and black on his wings and tail feathers.
Hummingbirds 6_8 are done now. Here they are on the last corner of the tablecloth.
Hummingbird 6 is a mixture of lavender and purples with dark blue shadows on his ever-moving wings and tail feathers. Here he is with foliage beginning around him. To be truthful, I have never actually seen a purple hummingbird, have you? Now you have.
#7 hummingbird #7 is a character made with a mixture of oranges, reds, and dark shadows outlined in black. He is pictured in a side view and has a stark white underside to his neck as he perches. Perched hummingbirds are a rather rare sight to see in real life, so Mr. RedOrange here is a rarity.
Humming Bird 08 is mostly green but many other colors are used to round him out and add highlight or shadow. He is a character made with a mixture of purple, green, and even orange with dark shadows done in black. He is frozen in mid-flight as we look at him from the side. Typical satin stitches fill his body area but there are breaks and changes in direction to help portray feathers.
A busy moment frozen in mid-flight just as he reaches into a blossom for nectar …
Humming birds 4 & 5 were just finished on this “tablecloth embroidery project”.
Four is a green-capped dude with a green neck and black on his wings and tail feathers. He has an orange body with yellow highlights. He is busy but frozen in mid-flight just as he reaches into a blossom full of nectar.
Here are both 4 & 5 before the foliage is added between them. Hummingbird number 05 is another orange guy with green and teal highlights on his wings. His tail feathers are orange outlines. When the foliage gets drawn he is perched on a limb ready to reach into a nectar-filled blossom.
As these tablecloths progress I notice that I try many new techniques with the needlwork to try and get different effects.
Hummingbirds 01-03 are complete on this smaller tablecloth (60″ square).
#1 is going to be perched on a limb, not flying. He is made using oranges with yellow highlights and black shadows and he has a green wing. Here he is after some foliage is added around him.
#2 is a side view of a hummingbird in flight and he is stitched using a mixture of blues, and teal with black accents.
#3 is an underbelly view of a hummingbird in flight and he is made using blue, grays, green, and some black along with orange for his beak and feet. There are new stitching techniques tried on both of their wing feathers in an effort to display the ever-present movement better.
If you compare the first image of him with the second one you will see additional stitches and more colors added as the tablecloth progresses.
Many new combinations and techniques tend to show up as the tablecloth progresses. I am always trying to get a better effect with different stitching and color choices.
Collarbone healing provides an exercise in patience building. As I wait for my broken collar bone to heal, 6-10 weeks seems like forever. I am able to use my right arm in limited motions close to my body so, I am starting a new tablecloth embroidery. I gotta have something for my hands to do at night. For those of you who know me you are probably saying, “Another one”? Yep, this one is a favorite subject of mine. Can you guess?
That is what I do, I embroider hummingbirds on tablecloths. These are sketches I have drawn to use as patterns to stitch these little characters on this one. The sketches are drawn with an iron-on purple pencil that I bought at the fabric store. There are nine positions drawn and I plan to mix and match them around randomly.
Can’t really say how many hummingbirds will end up being on this tablecloth. I have put a bunch along the edge of this full-size tablecloth and have not yet even put the flowers and branches in the design. I may be adding more to the mix or even taking a few out as I go. It’s an artist’s heaven when the design is figured out as I go.
I am looking forward to Spring’s arrival to be able to put out the hummingbird feeders. I am also planting their favorite flowers this year too and just can’t wait to sit out on my deck drinking morning coffee and watching these little guys fly around again.