Had another great question in last week's post from gpleasant, who asked how to hoop towels, under and over. I can tell you how I hoop towels. Bath towels are as liable to be viewed from the back as from the front, so I want both to look good. That means two things. First, I don't want any stabilizer showing on the back. Second, I want the thread on the back to match the thread on the front.
- Prepare the machine
So, the first thing I do is to wind a bobbin with the thread I'm using to embroider the design. If it's a monogram, that's as far as it goes. If it's a picture there are a couple of choices, either wind several bobbins with the threads you'll be using and change the bobbin when you change the top thread of choose a color that closely matches the color of the towel. I'm prone to do the latter unless it's a really special project for a really special occasion. Then, of course, thread the machine.
- Prepare the towel
Terry towels have nap. The loops on one side lay one way and the lops on the other side lay the other way. I moisten the area on which I'm going to stitch with fabric stabilizer. Spray starch or spray sizing will do if you haven't any special fabric stabilizer. Then I press with lots of steam on both sides, smoothing the loops in the correct direction on both sides. I wait for the towel to dry before proceeding.
- Prepare the hoop
Hoop one or two layers of wash away stabilizer and spray with temporary embroidery adhesive.
- "Hoop" the towel
Place the towel on top of the hoop, centering as if you were actually putting the towel IN the hoop. Press down firmly all around. Next, cut a piece of wash away topping and spray that with temporary embroidery adhesive. Place that on top, making a towel sandwich and press down all around. I roll it with a little rolling pin that came in a Pla-Doh® set. A soup can or some such would do the job, but golly if that little rolling pin isn't cute!
Put the hoop on the embroidery arm, turn on the machine and stitch the design.
- Finishing touch
First, take the towel over to the sink and run warm water on the deisn=gn, gently rubbing to loosen and soften the stabilizer. Then, i the towel is for me or a friend of one of the grands I toss it in the washer for the final rinse cycle while I'm doing a load of similar color and then toss it in the dryer. If the towel is a special gift for a special occasion, like a wedding, I hang the towel to dry after smoothing the nap on both sdes and pulling out the embroidery design if it has puckered in the wash. When the towel is try I toss it in the dryer on air only for a little while to soften it up.
If that seems like too much trouble, then get the Perfect Towel Kit from Designs Magazine, which not only helps you center your design and create perfectly matched sets, but also has video instruction on stabilizing, hooping and stitching perfect towels as well as a couple of alphabets and some other goodies. Not everyone is as obsessive as I am, and that's a good thing!
Community Circle, Some loose ends
Everyone in my family, all my friends and my beamish boy all know that I need constant nagging to get anything done. I either forget about it or time slips through my fingers while I'm doing something else. They all know that, not only do I not mind, but I encourage them to nag me. You all are much too polite. I promised that I'd give you my class notes for lettering and applique, so here they are for download:
I'm sorry it took me so long. Please, in the future, feel free to nag.
Leaving on a jet plane . . .
but I know when I'll be back again! One of the nicest things that's happened over my AnnTheGran years is that I've made so many wonderful and close friends. One of the dearest is Loes van der Heijden, the sharp cookie who created Pre-Design, the wonderful software for creating clean graphics for importing into embroidery digitizing programs and now, also, for creating designs for long arm quilting machines. Loes, and her husband Theo, live in The Netherlands and Bill and I met them when they were in the States to promote Loes' software at several embroidery events. Several years ago I got a new computer and was installing Pre-Design. I had mis-placed the registration key and contacted Loes. While we were email chatting and catching up I asked when Loes and Theo were coming back to the states. Loes said that they had no current plans, but why didn't Bill and I come over there. I said, "Okay!" I have no idea where that came from! I had't even discussed it with Bill. Well, we did fly over to Holland and stayed for a while with Loes and Theo while they showed us their beautiful country. While there I visited a local Brother dealer and attended an annual embroidery event.Then the four of us drove to Normandy and traced Bill's WWII journey from Utah Beach to the Ardennes Forest, where he fought in the Battle of the Bulge. It was a wonderful and unexpected treat. We found that we were such good travel buddies (and good travel buddies aren't easy to come by) that we traveled together again the followning year. This year Loes and Theo came over to the States for Loes to teach Pre-Design at some long arm quilting events. I asked where they would like to visit so that Bill and I could meet them and we'd travel together once again, but on this side of the ocean. Loes and Theo decided on Toronto and Niagara Falls, so Bill and I are flying up to meet them in Toronto to spend a tourist-y week together. All this by way of telling you that I don't know whether I'll be blogging next week or not. Maybe just a short travelogue.
Before signing off
I want to tell you how much I enjoy reading your comments on my blogs. It's so gratifying to find that we are all so much alike. Chatty Cathy, you crack me up! You just found out that I've contributed to the Free Designs on the site. How did you think AnnTheGran.com started in the first place? It was a simple little site that I set up to share our original designs. I guess that even I sometimes forget that, so much water has passed under the bridge. I see you're really coming along with your new machine. Glad you found out about pre-washing fabric before suffering any of the consequences of not doing so! I've found that it's also a useful tool for getting new fabric into the house without Bill noticing. Not that he'd be angry about it, but he'd definitely have something to say. My washer and dryer are in the garage. When I come home with new fabric I take it directly from the car to the washing machine. When I bring it inside it's just another pile of folded laundry and Bill doesn't even notice. P. S. I use the hottest water and the hottest dryer that the fabric can take. That way there are no surprises. Pat, I so enjoy your contributions to my blog posts. It's nice to see you poking your head in now and then.
I'm all packed, just did my nails and I'm off to bed. Tomorrow, Air Canada, here I come. I've got a pocket full of loonies and toonies and I'm ready to roll! TTYL