The Finnish Table Runner is Finished!

Table Runner Hemmed

Table Runner Hemmed

At long last… I have finished the Finnish Table Runner!

The embroidery itself is very simple – Bokhara Couching and Stem Stitch, with the darkest leaves worked in nested Fly Stitches. I used two shades each of two colours – a greyish green, and a golden yellow.

The couching stitches of the Bokhara Couching are carefully arranged to create a basketweave effect, and I worked harder than usual to make the stem stitch regular with an even twist to it. Real simplicity is hard work, because the simpler the tools and effects you are using, the better-executed they have to be!

Antique Hemstitch - Corner Front

Antique Hemstitch - Corner Front

So I have taken particular care to stitch evenly. This was not entirely straightforward, in fact, as the fabric is a plain weave (one thread over and one thread under in each direction) but is not a square weave (warp and weft threads equally spaced). Since it is also a linen, and the threads are a little slubby, sometimes the effect is exaggerated. This became especially clear when I worked the hems.

Incidentally, I’ve no objections at all to the fabric not being a square weave or to the threads being slubby – these are just factors that sometimes influence how something is worked or the effects that are achievable.

Antique Hemstitch - Corner Back

Antique Hemstitch - Corner Back

When I hemmed the piece, I chose to use Antique Hemstitch (at least, that is what it is called in Yvette Stanton’s Right Handed Embroiderer’s Companion). This leaves only a small stitch on the front of the piece. I withdrew a single thread for each hem (the instructions usually suggest at least two, but I wanted a narrow line down the edge and not the dogtooth effect of hemstith on only one side of the withdrawn threads), and then grouped four threads in each stitch. If you look hard at the photos, you will see that in one direction the stitches look longer than the other, although they group four threads in each case.

Since the table runner is about a metre and a half long, and nearly half a metre wide, that’s about four metres of hemming, which for some strange reason I enjoyed enormously, even though I’m really not good with repetition.  I used ordinary sewing thread, but decided to use a golden yellow to add a bit of colour along the edges.

When my mother saw it first (half-done), she told be I was being a  little show-off, but I think she meant it as a compliment!


  1. Janice says:

    It’s beautiful, and will be perfect in the dining room. I wonder what you have lined up to do now….?!

  2. karen says:

    be a show off all you want, you’re entitled. This is gorgeous, right up my street. I also like slubs and cloth imperfections, they add something unique.

  3. Anita says:

    It’s beautiful! I love the design,square shaped flower is interesting.
    Rachel, could you please tell me what is square weave? Is even weave and square weave are the same?

  4. Carolyn says:

    With it is not the norm to have even weave, hence the price of the fabric. An uneven weave is far more common and I think that it lends a certain charm to embroidery. The other thing is sometimes embroiderers get stuck on the fact that they have to count the threads to get an even finish and panic when faced with an uneven fabric. ( I have two collegues suffering through this at the moment.) Yet, when you look back at past stitching often it wasn’t on even weave fabric. Love your piece.

  5. Oh – this is lovely, and your hemming is so neat!!

  6. Penny says:

    This is beautiful – I especially like the colors. Sometimes its nice to sit and stitch and stitch and stitch — very meditative and relaxing.

  7. Elmsley Rose says:

    It’s very *you* 🙂

  8. Lady Fi says:

    Such pretty flowers!

  9. Ann says:

    How lovely! and what a perfect piece for a Craftsman house!

  10. Rachel–It’s fantastic!! My guy would be wild over it, since he’s an architect and big Danish Modern fan. Beautiful job, my friend!! XXO-