Some months back, a bowl of tea towels became a permanent installation on my kitchen table. We use them as napkins for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and just about every moment in between.
I found one in the car yesterday that had served as an impromptu placemat for one of my daughter, Maggie’s fruit pops. I also used them as burp cloths and bibs when she was younger.
Purchase a set here, a DIY kit here, or make some yourself using the simple instructions from Alabama Stitch Book. There are colors and styles to match any kitchen. If you are like me, you will find endless uses for them.
From Alabama Stitch Book:
“Tea towels were originally handmade lined cloths specifically designed for English ladies to use to dry their teapots and cups after washing them. With the advent of the Industrial Revolution and textile manufacturing, machine-made versions of these towels became readily available, and consequently they became a more “disposable” item. However, women like my grandmothers still chose to make their own. I have inherited some of their tea towels, which they made from flour sacks they cut into rectangles, embroidered, and beautifully finished on the edges. My grandmothers used these towels in bread baskets, as tray linters, and as little gifts for friends and neighbors. One of my grandfathers used one of these towels as his napkin at just about every meal of his married life.”
Crocheting was one of my first creative outlets, once I felt the distinct urge to make. When I had a crochet hook in hand, making hats, scarves, bags, whatever I might need, the process came to me like second nature. Often, I couldn’t find patterns to fit what I needed so I ended up making them myself, using trial and error. When Natalie asked me to review the book, So Pretty! Crochet!, I was hesitant; I felt like I had already seen them all. For me, crochet books rarely used the right kind of yarn, they were at times overly wordy, the photos weren’t always helpful, the patterns were sometimes hard to read, etc. As you can tell, I’m a harsh critic when it comes to this type of book.
However, as I scanned through the pages of So Pretty! Crochet, I felt inspired. We adapted a pattern from this book to make the nesting bowls found on page 115. Instead of using the cotton yarn they suggest, we made our own yarn out of ½ inch strips of the organic cotton jersey fabric that we use to make our yarn balls. The bowls seemed a unique use for our scrap materials. The instructions in the book are easy to follow and exact, when using yarn. Our sizing is slightly different because we used cotton jersey rope rather than cotton yarn, but it doesn’t cause much of a problem. I used the size crochet hook they suggested, but you may want to experiment to see which size hook works best for you.
Originally featured in Alabama Stitch Book in reverse-appliqué, these simple tea towels can be given a new look using what is essentially the opposite technique – applique .
For this project, our design choices include one Navy Tea Towel with Natural appliqué, whip-stitched with White Button Craft thread, and one Natural Tea Towel with Navy appliqué, whip-stitched with Navy Button Craft thread.
For DIY Thursday, we share instructions for the Eyelet Doily, from Alabama Studio Style. Start yours now for your July 4th table spread.
We chose Apple organic cotton jersey fabric for our doily. The “petals” of the doily peek out underneath a serving platter or cake plate, leaving the decorative embroidered eyelets visible. Our favorite colors for the 4th of July are Apple, Natural, and Navy, of course.
We also have a DIY Eyelet Doily Kit in our Studio Store. It comes in your choice of fabric color with all materials and notions needed for completion. The size measures approximately 15 1/2.”
Add your own plate and recipe.
Today we launch a month-long celebration of all things American, culminating in my annual neighborhood 4th of July Parade (Kids vs. Adults Baseball Game and Grill Extravaganza). We have searched high and low to find the spirit of red, white, and blue.
For today’s DIY Thursday, we start by (re)sharing instructions for our American Flag Quilt. The flag is, after all, the epitomic icon for Independence Day. Get started now to display for your July 4th celebration.
Check back tomorrow to begin our month of ‘Celebrate America’- featuring new products, projects, stories, and recipes to make your own celebrations spectacular.
P.S.: And we won’t forget Dad— so stop by for some of our favorite Father’s Day gifts too…
I have had a set of cotton twill curtains in my house for years. I don’t really remember where I bought them anymore; they have just been a part of my home for ages. This spring, I got a set of new set of (more energy efficient) French doors to replace the 1950s era sliding glass doors that open from my kitchen to the back patio.
Because the curtain rod now needed to be moved, I took the cotton twill curtains down for a wash – and I decided to decorate them.
As we posted last Tuesday, I highly recommend that you start a library to document your design work. As you create your samples, make them the same size so that your (master) pieces can be easily stored. And even if you don’t want to keep the samples for posterity, you can work towards making a Sampler Throw like the one shown above. As we develop our many fabrics, it often happens that a particular sample, as beautiful as it may be, just doesn’t fit neatly into one of our Fabric Swatch Books or collections. That was the case with the swatches that became the basis for this Sampler Throw. You may even find that you want to make the Sampler Throw not as a way of developing different fabric swatches, but just because it’s a beautiful and easy project. Either way, I urge you to explore our stencils, colors, techniques, and stitches to sustain rewarding design experiences.
A big THANK YOU to Vogue for including our hand-sewn Indigo Star Quilt in this month’s issue.
With a finished size of 57” x 72”, the quilt is available for purchase from our Online Store for $3110.00. The quilt is hand-sewn from a mixture of indigo-dyed, and 100% natural organic cotton.
You can also purchase a DIY Indigo Star Quilt Kit from our Online Store, available in two options:
1) Fabrics + Notion. For $179.95, you can purchase materials that you will cut and prepare yourself. Please visit our online journal for the patterns and detailed instructions.
2) Ready-to-Sew. For $435.00, the material will be cut and sent to you ready-to-sew.
Thank you notes are an integral part of a Southern woman’s upbringing. We are taught to be grateful, always say please and thank you, and appreciate the many gifts in life. This is how I was raised and this is how I choose to raise my daughter Maggie. I want her to grow up with a grateful manner. I want her to be thankful for all that life has to offer.
However in this busy day-and-age, I often forget or don’t seem to find time for a personal, hand-written thank you note. I plan to remedy that situation and I’m just now getting to my holiday thank you list. To those on my list, please be patient with us. We WILL make more time to sit with pen, scissors, and paper over the next weeks.
Get out your stencils and decorate.
Happy Halloween from all of us @ Alabama Chanin