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

The Splendid Sampler™: Block 11

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Block 11 for The Splendid Sampler, Crocheted Thoughts, by Alyssa Thomas (Penguin&Fish) was so much fun! Not for the patchwork, which came together in a moment, but for the embroidery. I love to chain stitch… but with a crochet hook!

The design imitates a crocheted doily, and I have it crocheted in my block with and actual crochet hook, making the points through the fabric. The thread is kept always underneath, and the hook goes down the fabric, picks it, and pushes it up through the loop that is always on top, as it would do in normal crochet chain-stitch. The puckers that result from tensioning the fabric on the hoop will eventually disappear.

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This technique is used to make the typical embroidery from the island of Mallorca, which is characterised for vineyard / floral motives and the use of a chain stitch made with a crochet hook instead of a needle (although in Spanish, more information can be found here). The crochet allows for a tiny, regular chain stitch, working with a really small hook and perlé cotton. For this block I used a 0.75/12 hook, Anchor perlé cotton n. 316 (both chain stitch and the backstitch imitating the thread) and Anchor embroidery floss n. 399 for the hook.

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This is one of my background-embroidery projects, picturing typical Majorcan embroidery; it was finished about two years ago. I love this type of embroidery, and I have lots of fun working with the crochet instead of using a needle…my current background-embroidery project is Majorcan embroidery too, I hope I will finish it some time soon…

This block took me two afternoons to complete, due to the amount of embroidery it involves. So far, the most demanding block of the sampler. The information and link party for it are here.