A Majorca-style embroidered table-runner

I did finish this little piece of embroidery in February, but I had a difficult time trying to get good photos of it, and, truth to be told, I even didn’t know how to begin this blog post… This table-runner is embroidered in the island of Majorca’s traditional embroidery style, which has a particular design (these floral, vineyard-type motives) and a particular technique to execute it. I learned it some years ago while visiting the island, and had always one on the making since. But I’m really slow working on those pieces: I can spend a couple of weeks spending lots of hours on them and then “forget” them for some months until I find the urge / necessity/ inspiration to work on them again.

So, I think I started this one in early 2014. By that time I didn’t have any kind of sewing journal! I did lots of work on it during Summer 2014, left it aside, work hard on it again on Spring 2015, left it again, and decided to finish it during one of my trips early this year.

The embroidery is quite simple: chain stitch and a variation of the herringbone stitch for the filling of the motives, complemented with cross-stitch. The particularity is on the chain stitch: it’s stitched using a small crochet -and an embroidery hoop-. I used the same technique for block n. 11 of The Splendid Sampler and explained part of the process on its blog post here. I just love the motion of crocheting through the fabric and getting those tiny, tight, regular chains. Once all the lines are stitched, the motif can be filled using a herringbone stitch that is subjected to the chain, not the fabric.

The use of only one colour family (with slight variations on tone) is also characteristic; although one can skip tradition and go for multicoloured works, I really like the effect of using one range of colour throughout all the piece. For this one I use the same colour for all the lines, and play with tone variations for the filling.

Also typical are the fillings using cross-stitch. They should occupy all the space, so on the borders they are “cut” by the design itself. There are plenty of options for them (I normally search for ideas on Spanish craft-related magazines…), and on this occasion I decided to use the same design throughout the piece.

For the borders I used a hemstitch. I just love to do drawn thread work (I’m an absolute beginner on that, though), but the piece was too small to do more intricate work than just hemming the borders.

I bought this piece already marked on a local haberdashery, without knowing the fabric nor the marking system. The fabric is not the best quality, but what annoys me is that I can’t remove the markings. I tried washing with hot water, but with no results. Fortunately they are not as evident as it might seem on the photos, so well, that’s it.

I already have a new already marked piece and the threads for it -this is going to be on the blue family-; now I just need to find some time…

Project: Majorca – style embroidered table runner
Size: 30 x 42 cm
Date: Early 2014 – February 2017
Pattern: Piece already marked purchased in a haberdashery in Majorca
Main thread: Cotton perlé n. 12 Anchor 314
Filling thread: Embroidery floss Anchor n. 302, 303, 308, 1002, 275

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The Splendid Sampler™: Block 91

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Block n. 91 for The Splendid SamplerGran’s Button Jaris designed by Lynette Anderson. She was one of the first designers whose work I got to know when I started quilting. Although her style doesn’t match my own when it comes to the patchwork itself, I have used some of her fabrics now and then.

So, although I was tempted to simplify the block and go for an all-embroidered version, I remained true to the original design, which is so characteristic of Lynette Anderson’s designs. The needle-turn appliqué perhaps ended a little bit wonky, but overall I’m pleased with the result, and glad I decided to keep the design.

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I used a back-stitch for almost all the lines, except the horizon-line, which is stitched with a stem-stitch, French knots for the buttons, a colonial knot for the bird’s eye and satin stitch for the hearts (the bird’s one was framed with a back-stitch), along with a running-stitch for the border.

I should have sewn the block’s borders before the embroidery; it was tricky to add them afterwards due to the irregularities caused by the embroidery itself. Also, I would have been able to adjust better the pattern into its space.

One block less to go, and one more for the beautiful embroidery collection this sampler is providing. Pattern, info and link party are here.

The Splendid Sampler™: Block 92

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Block 92 of The Splendid Sampler is called Double Bees, by Beth Bradley. Unlike the two previous ones -90 and 91- that require some extra work, this one was quick and easy, so I jumped right into it meanwhile I work on the others.

I went for fusible appliqué with a blanket stitch for the appliqué parts, and a stem-stitch for the embroidered details. I may skipped my own colour-scheme a little bit on this one by adding two colours, but accidentally this combination pop up and I couldn’t find another one that convinced me enough to change it.

Pattern, info and link party are here.

The Splendid Sampler™: Block 88

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Block n. 88 for The Splendid Sampler is called “Love is the Answer, by Pat Wys. Although the designer invited to modify the block, I just followed the pattern. The birds are stitched with stem-stitch, the details and the letters with backstitch and variegated floss. The eyes are French knots.

The pattern, info and link party are here.

With this block the sampler takes a break until next year, which is to be thanked for, with all the season’s celebrations. I wish you all a lovely time!

The Splendid Sampler™: Block 75

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And here is another milestone, the ¾ of the sampler! –the official one, as I have already sewn 75 blocks so far-. Block 75 of The Splendid Sampler is called Stitch Crazy, by Kathy Schmidtz. It’s embroidered, and although the designer invited to play with appliqué and piecing, I stuck to the original pattern. The only variations are in the use of some stitches: the upper knots are colonial knots; the remaining ones are all French knots. I used different variations of the feather stitch for the diagonal lines and the leaf veins, as well as chain-stitch and herringbone stitch. One of the flowers is sewn with daisy-stitch, and the vertical line, with blanket stitch.

There are multiple interpretations on the block, as well as the pattern and info, here.

The Splendid Sampler™: Block 60

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The 60th block for The Splendid Sampler is calledHearts and Flowers, by Fiona Ransley (Designs by Fee). I automatically associated this block with a traditional red embroidery, so I went straightforward with this monochrome version, using the closest colour in my colour scheme to red, that is, burgundy. I also decided not to satin-stitch the large flowers’ centres, so they wouldn’t draw so much attention.

The pattern, info and link party are here.

The Splendid Sampler™: Block 35

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The 35th block of The Splendid Sampler had been running on the slow lane for a while… well, it was stopped on the slow lane, until I made up my mind on how to finish it.

This one is called “The Wishful Garden”, by Kristyne Czepuryk (Pretty by hand), and, on a pieced base, contains lots of embroidery, depicting the garden stated on the block’s name. I was committed to do the embroidery instead of using some of my machine’s decorative stitches. Problem was, that I just loved the plain pieced block. I started the embroidery, and with just one strip done, I faced the dilemma of ripping it out and let just the block, or moving on and completing it as it is designed.

And this decision had taken a while. Finally, I remembered myself my early commitment of doing all the blocks “as they are”, and in a couple of afternoons it was complete. I like it, but honestly, I also loved its simplicity without the embroidered part, with the fussy cut detail in the centre.

About the embroidery, before piecing the block I reinforced the fabric with stabiliser, and afterwards, I draw some guides for a more regular stitching. Now I know I should have better drawn before applying the stabiliser, although that meaning the use of permanent markers. I couldn’t resist to use variegated floss for the green (Cosmo 8021); the flowers are stitched with Cosmo variegated floss 5002, DMC n. 309 and 3809.

Really late in the party, all the information and other gardens are here.

The Splendid Sampler™: Block 44

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Block n.44 for The Splendid Sampler is calledStitch in the Garden, by Gail Pan. Taking into account the appliqué pieces in it, I decided to do a monochrome embroidery, and I’m glad I went with this teal instead of using a grey colour. And I can’t tell how much I like this teal floss! This is DMC embroidery floss n. 3808, and I think it works perfectly with the white and subtle background.

The pattern, info and link party are here.

The Splendid Sampler™: Block 31

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Block 31 for The Splendid Sampler “Blossoming”, by Jennifer Reynolds (Jenny of Elefantz) is another full-embroidered block. For this one I tried some new things:

– I used a Pigma Micron pen to transfer the pattern to the fabric. This pen works great! I loved the delicate, thin trace it leaves which helps a lot in achieving tidy and accurate stitches. But, as it’s permanent, a lot of attention must be taken into when transferring, as the mistakes can’t be amended. A table light would’ve been useful…

– I used stabilizer (a light fusible muslin). Another wonderful discovery. I can tell the difference, and I think I’ll be using this in all my future embroidery projects (except in those with a enough sturdy fabric, of course).

– I didn’t use a loop, in any part of the process. Although I was comfortable sewing without it, I think its use will depend on the stitches sewn.

– I sewn my first Lazy Daisy stitches. So much fun! I have to watch out not to pull the thread too much, so it looks like more an actual petal.

Following the designer’s advice, I tried to stitch very tiny stitches, and I really enjoyed doing so. I didn’t never thought how many backstitches in one inch I was capable of sewing! It turns out that it’s 17.

I kept the same colour scheme used in the previous blocks, although I played with more colours than in block n.20. For this one, I used DMC embroidery floss n. 844 for the basic grey, and Lecien’s Cosmo variegated floss n. 5008, 5002, 8055 and 8021 for the details.


The link party and block information are here.

The Splendid Sampler™: Block 20

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Block 20 for The Splendid Sampler “Nature’s Walk”, by Vicky Tucek, had lots of embroidery, and I decided to enjoy the process of stitching it instead of rushing and make something simpler just to keep in pace with the sampler. And it was worth it! I tried two stitches that were new to me, the satin stitch, indicated in the pattern, and the raised stem-stitch, which I used in the lower part of the flowers. I just love the texture it adds to the work, and is so deceptively easy to stitch!

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One of my concerns was how to keep with the colour scheme. I finally decided to stick to my plan, and played with a general grey with some pop of colours. I added not one, but two colours in this block (block n. 4 has also more than one colour in it), and highlight the “animal life” on the block. I just love this ladybug! The main stitch is back-stitch accordingly with the pattern, with DMC embroidery floss n. 645, and satin stitch for the details and the flowers. The butterfly is stitched with DMC embroidery floss n. 3809, and the ladybugs use French knots and DMC embroidery floss n. 309.

The borders are made with scraps from previous blocks… It just feels so good to be able to use fabric from scraps, instead of cutting from the original fat-eights! I know I should have enough fabric to end the sampler, but some pieces have perceptibly decreased and keeping them intact just one more block is to play safety.

Although a little bit late, the link party with the block’s info is here.