Those who read this blog regularly know that I love to travel. It is particularly meaningful to me when I am able to get to know the culture and lives of the people. There is no better way to get to know a country than to stay with people that know it well, and I have been fortunate to have been welcomed into the homes of many around the world. I always try to bring a small gift that is meaningful and represents something from my little corner of the world.
I have found that dish towels are something that everyone can use. They are light and easy to fit in a suitcase. Best of all, they are customizable. You can put anything on them. There are many patterns to buy, but I prefer to draw my own. This is one that I made for doña Rosa, the woman I stayed with in Costa Rica.
I picked apples to represent the Big Apple and drew them freehand directly on the towel. Then, I had to decide what kind of stitch to use. I do not know the names of the stitches. Usually I try things to see if they work. I hope you are not here to a step by step guide. The best I can offer is an idea.
I wanted the large letters to be about the same size, so I wrote the words in my notebook first. After that I traced them on the fabric.
As you can see if you look closely enough, I do not follow the pattern exactly. I make changes as I go along if I feel that something does not look quite right.
I started this project on the plane and worked on it every spare moment. The most difficult was on the bus.
Here you can even see me working on the embroidery while the students were on the mudslide. That is dedication, is it not?
Doña Rosa’s grandchildren were fascinated by the embroidery, so I let them design and stitch one of their own. I wrote Pura Vida in the middle, and two of them drew the rest. I started teaching them how to embroider by poking holes in the towel with a pencil for them to put the needle through. After they got the hang of it, they were able to do it themselves. Three of her granddaughters and one neighbor boy did most of the sewing on this piece. I did a good portion of the words Pura Vida, but they finished them. We used three different kinds of stitches on this piece.
I think they did a pretty good job.
If you are looking for a nice gift for someone or just want to pretty up your own kitchen, I suggest a tea towel or two.