A comment the other day prompted me to share this post.
Both Janita and Jayne asked whether I fuse a stabiliser behind the stitching area of my tea towels before I begin any needlework embellishment. Good question, ladies.
Stitching on tea towels is a wonderfully relaxing project for me, and I have a nice pile of them ready to be 'made pretty' over coming months...
In fact, I'm working on two new little motif designs at the moment which will be stitched onto some of those kitchen towels in the coming week. They will complete the set of patterns for the May Stitchery Club...
But back to that question - do I fuse stabiliser behind a tea towel stitchery?
No, I don't.
Tea towels (cotton or linen) are usually very hardy, twice the thickness of quilting fabric, and when washed they 'pull' in - so if you stitch on them before you wash them for the first time you tighten the weave and secure the thread rather well.
Here's a couple I've stitched this year, both front and back.
This one has been stitched, but not yet washed...
'Baking' was embroidered in backstitch and satin stitch, with lines of running stitch either side of the word. Once it's washed it will tighten up the threads...
In the tea towel below, you'll see how the threads
Nothing has unraveled, and this towel has been washed at least 10 times.
I have often heard stitchers say 'the back should look as good as the front' and if I had been embroidering Kate Middleton's wedding gown then that would have been my goal.
But I'm a home sewer, a very blessed designer who enjoys creating with the home, family, and friends in mind, so I cut myself some slack and I encourage you to do that with your own work too.
You see, if I concern myself with whether the front and back are both perfect then I doubt you'd see much happening from my sewing basket! My work is not an ugly mess, but it's not a perfect mirrored replica of the front either. Most times the back of my handwork is hidden by a frame, or backing fabric if it becomes a quilt, pillow or other item...but my tea towels are out there for all to examine, and I'm not bothered by that at all.
So don't you be.
I collect vintage linens, the hand-embroidered kind, and one of the things I love about them is imagining the woman who spent time with a needle and thread, creating home-made magic with her precious fingers not knowing that her work would one day be treasured by me.
I pulled these from my stash of old linens so you could look at the front and the back...
Now I don't know about you, but when I look at these, front and back, I see HAND-made beauty.
And if looked at your own work, I'd see that too.
It's about LOVING what we make, not agonising over our skills or feeling inadequate.
So please enjoy what you stitch, smile while you stitch, and deafen your sweet ears to the scrutiny of others who feel the need to nitpick your work - and if you're the one who examines with a critical eye, please don't crush the spirit of your fellow crafters, ok? Build them up with confidence and encouragement instead.
Keep creating dear ones, because one day they become treasures for someone like me... and isn't that marvelous!? Our work lives on...