Thursday, June 23, 2011

Nifty Gifty

My brother is one of those male animals who is impossible to buy for.  I think he gets it from our dad.  The biggest hits are random obscure kinds of classic things.  Last year for christmas I bought him a box (empty) that had the Union Jack painted on each side.  He loved it.

His birthday is coming up and I'm cash strapped so I immediately started thinking what I could make him.  I was considering a wallet, and indeed had bought the necessary fabric paints to get the design I wanted, when this embroidery thing I've been doing at work prompted inspiration.  I'll monogram some handkerchiefs for him!  The embroidery can't be harder than the little girl pictures I've been doing, and this definitely falls under random classic item he'd probably like.

So, $4.99 pack of 6 handkerchiefs from Target (thinnest handkerchiefs I have ever been able to see right through) and $0.99 satiny rayon embroidery thread (5 little bins for black in the basic cotton floss ALL EMPTY) later I was on my way.  My mom chose the font Old London from  I didn't need to download it since I needed to sketch it out on paper, but I made sure it was a free font anyway.  Sketching the font on the handkerchief was a challenge because even though the kerchief was ridiculously thin, at 100% cotton it bled like crazy.  So my water soluble and 48 hour disappearing markers were useless.  I couldn't get a crisp enough line to follow for the actual embroidery.  I finally had to turn to my iron-on transfer pen.  With that one you draw the design backward on paper (no bleeding!) the put it ink down on the fabric and iron.  A permanent line, but thin enough the stitches would cover it up.

Finally I could get started, but it was so later in the day after all the experimenting I decided to wait until the next day.  Sunday I got cracking early in case I messed up and had to go buy more handkerchiefs.  It was terrible.  That floss was a nightmare.  It frayed like mad.  I only used two threads to keep the embroidery lighter on the fabric, but they would not blend well like cotton floss does.  The thread twisted around themselves so they wouldn't lay flat and made little loops that would not lay down.  I had to unpick stitches and try to untwist the thread and it was crazy.  Finally there was victory (for me) and all three were done.  Three because I had messed up the iron-on transfer and done it to the back of two of the handkerchiefs.  Oops.

Below are the front and back of one of the monograms for you to see.  They all came out pretty much the same so that was good.

So that is how I spent my weekend after buying ridiculous amounts of yarn for my mom who crochets.  She is using 100% cotton yarn called Sugar and Cream right now, which happened to be on sale here where I live.  So of course I volunteered to go buy lots of it for her.  I have two plastic shopping bags stuffed full of yarn in my apartment right now.  She may have yarn forever.

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