Monday, July 31, 2017

Make a Handkerchief Pretty

Handkerchief: /ˈhaNGkərCHif,ˈhaNGkərCHēf/
a square of cotton or other finely woven material, typically carried in one's pocket
and intended for blowing or wiping one's nose.
synonyms: hanky; kerchief, bandanna; tissue
"a monogrammed handkerchief"

There are all sorts of descriptions and histories of the handkerchief. But I think I like the handkerchiefs that are pretty, romantic, edged in crochet, or accented with embroidery. Adding art, something whimsical or romantic, can make a plain square of cotton special.

These pocket-handkins came four to a pack, from Collage, in Portland Oregon... a Sublime Stitching blank textile. Just the kind of souvenir I cannot resist... one that packs easily, and will inspire creative play.

I decided to revisit painting and embroidering. So, I drew a romantic little ratty, with her bouquet of pink posies. It's just a #2 pencil, lightly sketched on the square. You can even trace an image, like I did with a tea towel, in this tutorial.

The next step was to use acrylic craft paints to fill in color. I use water sparingly, and the cotton square was heavy enough, that none of the paint seeped through, which is nice. But to be safe, I keep waxed paper, or a plastic tray, under my paint projects... newsprint might stain leave marks on the fabric. The paints I use are Martha Stewart's acrylic craft paints. I use a smallish brush, applying thin layers of paint, so they can dry quickly and evenly, and so that I don't leave a thick, stiff feel to the fabric, with too much paint.

Then, I choose my floss colors, and use only two strands of thread to make simple outlining and detail stitches. French knots make perfect little flowers for a ratty's bouquet.

A bit of navy blue floss for her eye, and gray for her face, arms, and legs. A pale, sage-y green for the stems and leaves, and three shades of pink for everything, else, including all of those French-knot flowers.

After outlining her dress, and creating a belt of posies around her waist, I trimmed the edges in leaves, and more flowers.

I wonder, would I actually sneeze into this little handkerchief?
Would you?
Maybe your hand painted and embroidered handkerchief will be too pretty for nose-blowing, but it's still an easy and gratifying little project to make.

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