I love to use my Brother PE500 embroidery machine to stitch designs on dish towels. My favorite towels are called Retro Stripe Towels, under the brand name Aunt Martha’s Stitch ‘ Em Up blank goods. The towels are made in India and distributed in the US by Colonial Patterns Inc, of Kansas City MO. I have seen them on Amazon, but I buy mine from Walmart.com. I used to find them in the store, but now have to order them thru the website. They come in a package of 3, and measure out 18×28. They are 100% cotton, and are hemmed, with a loop in the upper left corner for hanging if desired. I have used these since 2013 for embroidery projects, and my daughters tell me they hold up well to washing. Before I embroider with the machine, I launder these towels in hot water, and put in a hot dryer. I want to maximize the shrinkage before I do the stitching. I think you lose about an inch in both directions after washing. Yes, they need to be ironed after the first wash. I use a mist of water combined with spray starch and give them a good pressing, right before I embroider.
My quilt guild, Ocean Waves Quilt Guild, Lewes Delaware is having a quilt show on April 26 & 27 2019. One thing that happens at our shows is Raffle Baskets. One of my bees, the Queen Bees, decided to choose the garden basket to contribute to the show. We did the garden basket at our last show, so it was an easy choice. I contributed a garden apron last time, but someone already signed up to make one this time, so I thought dish towels with something from the garden would work.
I had some fun the last couple of days stitching out designs from Embroidery Library. They have high quality design that stitch very well. I have a series of “baskets” and thought the designs would be right. They are very dense designs and take about an hour or more to stitch out. Most had between 10-12 thread changes.
Autumn Bounty Basket – Embroidery Library # H7481; 14584 stitches 3.88 x 2.44
Blooming Autumn Basket – Embroidery Library H7479; 20,427 stitches
Spring Fling Flower Basket – Embroidery Library Design – K9637 22563 stitches 3.86×3.36″, 11 color changes
Here is the full set. The bottom basket I forgot to take an individual photo.
The bottom basket with the apples is also called Blooming Autumn Basket – Embroidery Library # L5107, has 22,366 stitches.
All of these designs are still available on Embroidery Library. If you are shopping, use the Embroidery # that I referenced in your search. I have stitched out 2 of them before, one on a and one on a fall tee-shirt. Too heavy for a thin tee-shirt, but perfect on a sturdy towel.
For the dish towels, I hooped a piece of medium weight cutaway stabilizer. I used 505 spray on my stabilizer and pressed the towel on the stabilizer, in the hoop, adding a couple of pins around the edge of the frame for stability. I floated an extra piece of medium weight cutaway under the hoop. I topped with a piece of water soluble stabilizer. During my stitchouts, I realised that the daffodils were too “tan”, even though the color I had chosen was a . I went back over those petals and “re-stitched” with a lighter yellow. The shading ended up great. I also had to – over the leaves in the basket with the daffodils, as the color was just “too blue” for my taste. The last 2 baskets were giving me fits with thread breaks and I did a lot of “backing up” and restarting. I finally changed my needle, twice, before my machine was happy again. I don’t know if it was the 505 spray that was still to “wet” or if it was that the needle was just tired! Same needle has been in my machine for the last 3 weeks, so perhaps it was over-due. I went through 2 bobbins during the stitch out, which surprised me. I’m glad I have that large spool of bobbin thread from thread art, and that I can wind them easily on my Janome machine while the embroidery machine stitches across the room. One lesson I learned on winding bobbins is to not -. The other is, my machine does not like a “low bobbin”. It throws the tension off, and the machine will stop and give you an “out of bobbin” warning. I save those last few feet of bobbin thread for hand stitching my English paper piecing projects.
All 4 dish towels are finished, ready to bag up and deliver to the next Queen Bees gathering.
Side note – I got finished with these stitch outs, and my dear husband tells me……..they are too heavy for using to dry dishes. So, maybe whoever wins the raffle basket will just use them to decorate with. I might go back and find some “lighter” designs for the next round of towels! I considered the size of the design; less than 4″x4″ and the overall size of the towel (18×28″) and decided there is plenty of room to dry! These designs do soften up with multiple washings over time, but he is right in that they feel heavy. One reason I did not like them on a t-shirt was it felt much like having an armor plate on your chest with all those stitches. Hindsight….. off to check out lighter designs at Embroidery Library
PS…no, I don’t work for Embroidery Library, and no, I get no compensation. I pay them for my designs! 😉
Do you have a “favorite” embroidery design source? Do tell……