The mother-in-law’s birthday present

Now I’m pretty sure my mother-in-law doesn’t read this blog, although she does check out my Flickr account, so I guess she could have figured out the link from there but I doubt it, but if you are reading this Shirley, don’t read on!

Recently(ish) Mr.Lacer said that “as my embroidery was quite good now,” (huh – sorry I’m being all female but I always have to try hard not to interpret the phrase ‘quite good now’ as meaning ‘well you were a bit rubbish before’, although the phrase ‘quite good now’ is nowhere near as dangerous as ‘you’re so slim’, as soon as I hear that phrase, my brain is like on auto-translate and it immediately translates to “you were fat before”, let that be a warning to you Mr. Lacer (who I know is reading this), if by some miracle I stop main-lining coke and chocolate and actually loose some weight). Anyway, fairly recently Mr. Lacer asked me (because my embroidery was ‘quite good now’) to embroider something for his mum’s birthday, my ears instantly pricked up on this because as it happened there was something I had always wanted to embroider for the mother-in-law, ever since I had opened my copy of Sublime Stitching’s Embroidered Effects, a few years ago, the Mah Jong table cloth, however I hadn’t sort of figured in exactly how big the mother-in-law’s table is, put it this way, it’s a giant covered snooker table, there you go.

This was ‘commissioned’ before my wrist surgery (wrist doing good by the way, still wouldn’t be able to do yoga on it (not that I was really doing yoga before . . . but it’s something I’ve done in the past and have always meant to carry on) and it’s got a Frankensteinesque great big red scar (which will fade), but about in the past week I’ve come to realise I can do most things reasonably comfortably again), so I couldn’t tackle the table cloth straight away but for the past few weeks it’s all I’ve been doing (in between working like a dog at work).

365:181 Still working on that 'big' embroidery
Marking out where the transfers and the border would go, was a day long job in itself.
365:182 on and on
Then there was doing the border first, which went on and on and has left me so traumatised I can’t remember the name of the stitch, but trust me, I COULD DO IT IN MY SLEEP
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And then there was the four lots of Mah Jongs complete with quite cool running stitch swirls –
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-and four lots of corner patterns, each featuring a Mah Jong tile
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And then when that was done I had to some how find a gap of more than half an hour where it wasn’t raining, to launder the thing again, luckily, all the transfer marks came out and the red was actually colour fast (phew, red is always a bit of a risk)
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Then it came to photographing it, unfortunately I don’t have a table anywhere near as big and the light is funny (i.e. normal) in the flat today, so I couldn’t get any good photos.
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Next time I’m at the mother-in-laws and if she puts the table cloth out for lunch, I will try and photograph it better there. This is one of those projects where I have felt a bit picky over some of the small details but when you hold it up and look at the piece as a whole, it’s wow, I’m really pleased with it.

NB: The tablecloth is from the Casa range in John Lewis and it was a pleasure to work on, it’s linen, which is why, despite the laundering it still looks a little creased but I think that adds to the old vintage look of the piece and the fabric is wonderfully soft and got even more nice to handle as I worked with it. I’ve investigated tablecloths to embroider before but have always found that they were too expensive and/or had a pattern in the fabric (even the ‘plain’ white ones) that made embroidering them a bit pointless. So, if ever I’m in the market for a table cloth for me (would have to wait to move first), I hope John Lewis still does them.

PS I forgot to add why I wanted to make my mother-in-law a Mah Jong tablecloth, well, my mother-in-law has a way better social life than I do and one of the many, many things she does is play Mah Jong, which is why, whenever I saw the tablecloth in Embroidered Effecrs, I always thought of her.

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