April 23, 2014

Tablecloth Update

In honor of spring - to which, in my part of the world anyway, we are all saying "finally!" - here are some lovely yellow roses and little purple posies.  This is the tablecloth begun by my mother-in-law Jeanie, which I am finishing in her honor.  I'm not an embroiderer really, so I am learning as I go.
Here's how the tablecloth looked as the Olympics, prime embroidering time, started.  Luge and skeleton were particularly profitable in embroidery terms.

And here we are now.  You can easily see that I've moved my way around the center oval (speed skating, ha, ha!).

Not so easy to see is that I stitched the final side of the edges.  Here's a closer view of that.

I also learned a new technique - the cutwork.  I've been really squeamish about snipping away at Jeanie's and my work.  A few months ago, I read up on cutwork online, but didn't get too much input other than "cut carefully," which is, well, pretty obvious.  I made a little sample shape in the extra edge fabric that will eventually be cut off, and experimented with the snipping.  It wasn't too bad.  You can see that at the bottom of the next photo.

And then one day a couple of weeks ago, for some reason, I felt really brave.  Here's the corner that I cut.  Much of this stitching is Jeanie's.  The top few holes and the edge are also her cutting.

Happily, I can report that I didn't wreck any of the embroidery.  Also, it was a nice break from the stitching, though definitely not something to be done with any distractions about. 

My husband remembered that Jeanie used tiny, curved blade nail scissors, so that's what I did.  And I highly recommend them.  I flipped them back and forth as needed so the curve matched the embroidered shapes.  Holding the scissors at a bit of an angle, to snip a tiny bit under the ridged edge of the buttonhole stitches instead of snipping right beside it, feels safer, and leaves fewer shreds of the linen fabric. The back ends up looking like the cutting Jeanie did, so I think I've got it right.

Here's the original shot of the tablecloth as I inherited it, and the current status below.  I've been working on it at those times when I want a relaxing, pick-up project for going on two years now.  My husband says he thinks Jeanie may have made a dozen of these, giving them to family members and close friends who are family.  I find that thought utterly amazing, and will be so happy to have finished just this one!

I took the tablecloth with me last week to a family funeral, and it was nice to have Jeanie and her memory join us, through her needlework.  


  1. I am in awe! I have a few tablecloths with cutwork and when I look at them I am always amazed that they don't fray and fall apart. Yours is just gorgeous. Thanks for sharing about the scissors. I'll remember if (very tiny possibility) I ever try cutwork.

    1. Thanks, Nancy! I agree - it is amazing that cutwork is even possible. So delicate and graceful, though. When I work on it, I can sense that it comes from an era where people used their time differently than we do now. I find it very calming.