Wednesday, December 12, 2012

That eucalyptus pattern gets around

Back when I created a "family crest" pattern, I created two sub-patterns for it. One was a simple line drawing of eucalyptus leaves. I used it again to create a little more depth in the pomegranate cookie design. I recently had a chance to take it for a spin again.

First, some backstory. When I was a kid, every year at Thanksgiving we'd gather with the extended family on my mom's side at an old house on an orange orchard that the family owned but nobody occupied year-round. The bathroom at the back of the house had these strange old (probably decades old) paper hand towels that just hung there yellowing and never got used. They had pictures of sobbing seahorses,with the text "Have you ever seen a seahorse cry? You should, he has no hands to dry!" So very odd.

Once the house finally got sold and its contents were packed up and divided among certain family members (a saga too long to even touch on now), nobody was able to put those aside. Perhaps some are still in a box somewhere; perhaps none exist. I had been wishing for years that I could get my hands on one to scan it and turn it into a real towel. Well, fast-forward to this year, when my brother was gearing up to host Thanksgiving at his house again, and he suggested that I should just draw my own version and make those the new Thanksgiving towels. Challenge accepted!

For the text, I found a couple of retro fonts I liked: Roadbrush and Simplesnails. I searched for seventies-inspired colors and decided on these:
Color by COLOURlovers

Next I had fun drawing some distraught seahorses. I framed the whole thing using the rounded lattice previously seen here. Then I thought it still looked a bit plain so I put that trusty eucalyptus pattern very lightly in the background (though rotated 20 degrees, since putting it next to text made the horizontal repeat wayyyyy too obvious).

I decided to make the overall size six inches by nine inches, so that it would be nicely visible when appliqued onto a hand towel but not take up the whole front. Plus that size meant I could fit exactly nine on a fat quarter of cotton-linen (which Spoonflower has wider than the plain standard cotton) like so:

Have you ever seen a seahorse cry? You should; he has no hands to dry!

Then, since I had a streak to maintain, I got the printed fabric on literally the day before we headed out of town for Thanksgiving, and started sewing the towels in the car. The towels themselves are from here.

Seahorse towel

Each patch is just blind-stitched on to the towel. I managed to finish all nine in time, on the drive up and during naptimes at my mother-in-law's house. (The above picture shows me sewing in the car - you can imagine my toddler son directly to the right of this, asleep in his carseat.)  I gave eight to my brother and kept one for myself. I had prewashed the towels and the fabric before we left, so they were ready to put into service as soon as we arrived!

Seahorse towel

It'll be fun to get to use these every year now. They seemed to be a hit with my extended family. I still cherish the idea of someday miraculously finding the original.

Oh yeah, the other pattern in that family crest? That would be the little repeat of handguns. I just got a notice that somebody ordered FIVE YARDS of it...on SILK. As my husband said, that's a heck of a set of pajamas!

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