Stitchin for the Kitchen

Finally mailed off a packet of gifts and it’s been received – so sharing with you won’t ruin any surprises. Two different styles – like me, the recipient avoids kitchen curtains to maintain a wide open view of the world beyond. With neutral walls and cabinets, you can simply change the color of a few items to have a completely fresh look. Next up – this Salt and Pepper for me, I just love it.

For both sets, it’s purchased placemats.

  • Designs are Embroidery Library Vintage Salt and Pepper shakers.
  • Napkins are hemstitch from Napkins Online at eBay. 100% cotton, best to iron them damp from the dryer. I have some friends and family who prefer polyester for this reason. I’m a fan of the cotton or linen, but never gift them without checking if the recipient would actually iron napkins first. At least with all the new front loaders – things come out of the dryer wrinkly.
  • Yellow fabric from JoAnn as is the Sulky rayon 40 weight embroidery threads.
  • Placemats from Bed Bath and Beyond.
  • Light design, so used a medium weight tear away stabilizer under the towels and napkins.
  • Rectangle border that anchors the yellow fabric was created in 4D Embroidery – I made a solid rectangle actual size in PowerPoint, saved as a picture and set my embroidery program to satin stitch outline the shape (might be an easier way to do it – this worked for me).  
  • A bit of spray adhesive made it easier to hoop the towel plus fabric.
  • Once stitched, I trimmed the fabric leaving a bit less than half an inch all around
  • Frayed the edge of the yellow fabric
  • Napkins – first iron and starch
  • Then, note borders are not precise – for placement of the salt & pepper shakers, I just iron an X corner to corner on the napkin for my vertical placement line, then measure up from the hemstitch for my perpendicular cross line that marks the center of the design.


My machine sometimes hiccups in two places. One, with purchased pre-wound embroidery threads, you’ll find when starting a new one it will sometimes not feed smoothly – unwinding about a yard long piece of thread from the bobbin usually fixes this. Two, the machine doesn’t always pick up the bobbin thread with good tension at the very beginning of a design.  When this happens, I grab a long piece of bobbin thread plus the top thread and hold onto each with the machine set to slow or medium speed to start the stitching of the design (tricky when then finding a spare finger to hit the go button). When you get that nesting of threads as above, cut all the threads from the bottom then pull them out with tweezers, and start that section over. A piece of sticky stabilizer stuck to the stabilizer already hooped on the bottom of the hoop will aide not punching through the fabric in that spot.

  • Designs are Embroidery Library 3 inch Floral Heirloom Letter H and Grape Bunch –Sheer  (colors edited on both designs)
  • Sulky rayon 40 weight embroidery threads
  • Light design again, tear away stabilizer
  • Napkins –always iron and starch first
  • Placement of the design – same as above

Light designs stitch up so much faster -I always pause before tackling densely stitched embroidery. Before buying my machine, noted that an article on Martha Stewart  stated “this pillow takes about 6 hours to stitch out” – huh? It wasn’t a solid 10 by 10inch – it was a medallion. So, I knew what I was getting into.  It’s best for your pricey little machine that you’re always in easy earshot – if it does have a problem (like the nesting above) it won’t overheat and you can shut it down and remedy the issue. Additionally, many of the densely stitched designs require 25 or more thread color changes (done by hand, the machine stops – you go thread the new color and start it again). If you’re out of earshot, you won’t know when to re-thread. I do LOVE having the machine, but have been buying up more of the ‘quick stitch’ light patterns so I can complete projects even though I hold down a job (and have a garden, and friends, and family and things to do …). Densely stitched designs are beautiful – they’re all I purchased when I first got the machine. I’ve quite a few gorgeous ones on the ‘to do’ pile that I will get to. First up is something for me, the beautiful Art Nouveau Nativity I stitched up for my sister last year. Not today though.

Skipped a cute border on the towels – she needed something to really use every day for drying and cute cotton borders can require a hit with the iron to look good. Embroidery Library has all sorts of flourish designs that go with the floral letters and I came very close to adding a border, but omitted it here. The placemats will also wash up well (much better than the black will, no spaghetti for hubby on the black). Maroon matches the living room (quite visible from the table), grapes match an image by her stove and she also likes a hit of yellow on things. Trés parfait.

I don’t go into detail here as Embroidery Library does have free fantastic instructions to follow for hooping, stabilizer, needle choice and more.

This post is participating in the Gallery of favorites hosted by April at The 21st Century Housewife and Alea of Premeditated Leftovers. Also, Seasonal Sundays at the Tablescaper and Sundae Scoop at I Heart Naptime. and Skip to My Lou’s Made it Monday.

8 comments on “Stitchin for the Kitchen

  1. Chris says:

    These are all so beautiful Maggie!

  2. Jenny says:

    I love the salt and pepper towels. So cute! : )

  3. 21stcenturyhousewife says:

    What beautiful gifts! The stitchery is just gorgeous, and I love the salt and pepper motif. The grapes are wonderful too!

    • Maggie says:

      I’m still trying to select a fabric for the salt and pepper that will go with my color scheme and look as good as that yellow does – digging through my stash, I’m sure I have something in there somwhere! It will have a place in my kitchen.

  4. These are lovely! I love the grapes and your ability to turn something so functional into a beautiful gift!

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