Some time ago I came across these pretty vintage bluebird patterns here. My mother, who passed away in January 2010, loved bluebirds, and for my aunt (her sister) I thought a bluebird dish towel would be a nice reminder. So I stitched one of these designs on a flour sack towel.
(design on flour sack towel with crocheted pot holder)(design on flour sack towel with crocheted dish cloth)
I had also found one time in my mother's fabric stash a length of linen dish towel fabric. There was just enough fabric to make 3 dish towels. I thought it would be meaningful to stitch one each with a bluebird design for my two daughters and myself. Last spring I completed one of these:
And for Christmas I finished a second one:
I have the fabric all hemmed for mine but have yet to stitch the design.
There were a few people I wanted to make embroidered pillowcases for this year. I had noticed that in the bluebird pattern directions, they suggested the designs could be used without the day of the week for other things such as linens. So I decided to stitch a bluebird pillowcase (which I neglected to take a picture of) for my mother-in-law who enjoys birds. I used the bluebird and rose design.
While doing that, I got an idea. For our other friends I'd wanted to make a set of pillowcases for, I wondered if I could change the bluebird design to brown and tan to resemble a sparrow (we are not talking ornithologically correct here) and then add the words "His eye is on the sparrow". I thought our friends would really like that. So I tried it.
The design came out really well. To do the lettering, I printed out the words "His eye is on the sparrow" in the Papyrus font, point size 64, to get the size I wanted for the stitching, then transferred it to the pillowcase with dressmaker's tracing paper (which is also what I used to transfer the bird designs. This is the first time I had ever tried printing out a saying from the computer and using it for embroidery, but it wont be the last!). I was very pleased with the results -- so pleased that I went on to make another set of these for our daughter and son-in-law out West.
I had tried other methods of transferring the bird designs to the dish towels I made last spring, but I highly recommend using the dressmaker's tracing paper. One can just print out the design, trim if necessary and pin to the fabric, then slip the tracing paper (colored side down) between the design and fabric. Then, trace over every part of the printed design using a pen. When you remove the design and tracing paper, voila! There is the design on your fabric, ready to embroider. You do have to be careful while stitching that your hands or the hoop don't rub off the design, but it will be fine if you pay attention to that. I wouldn't try this with a really complicated or large design, but it worked beautifully for my purposes.
Now to get around to stitching my own dish towel one of these days!
What handmade items did you give for Christmas or other occasions this year? Please share -- I'm always looking for inspiration!