Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Napkin Rings

To minimize laundry, we use our cloth napkins until they are actually dirty, not just for one meal (well, Ben is the exception: sometimes he even has 2-napkin meals). We needed napkin rings to keep the napkins identified, but I also wanted them to be monogrammed somehow. I was sure that I could use some kind of mnemonic to connect the napkin rings to their owners, but I wasn't sure I wanted to explain that to each table-setter before every meal, in the pre-meal flurry.

The monogrammed napkin rings I saw were totally out of my price range, so I cut toilet paper tubes in half and let the children decorate them. Then I wrote our initials on with a sharpie.

Those napkin rings were free, but they couldn't really be cleaned, weren't terribly attractive, and the children starting peeling off the layers of cardboard. One night when he was clearing the table, my husband threw them away. Men.

The next day, I was at my sewing machine, with the goal of attractive, washable, cheap napkin rings.

I hand embroidered the initials - my skills are very basic, so a little practice is a good thing.

While the outside of the rings is uniform and supposed to look nice with our usual plates and napkins, the inside is personalized: Ben has cars, Genevieve has pink flowers, I have a sprightly red calico. Inside my husband's are duplicate stripes because he likes plain, simple things; I had to point out my thoughtful design to him, however. I wonder if he wants the sterling silver napkin rings with engraved initials?

The children have taken to wearing their napkin rings like wristbands, which led to a dinnertable discussion about the function of wristbands (decoration, in my opinion). When I have a minute, I'm going to indulge in playing with my scraps to make wristbands for my children.

Actual construction of napkin rings: rectangle quilting cotton embroidered with initial, stitched to rectangle flannel, stitched to rectangle cotton lining; sewn close to edge and down the middle using walking foot, but edges otherwise unfinished, hoping for a fuzzy edge after a few washings; ends lapped over and stitched together to make ring


Deanna Beth said...

I think we're married to the same man.

Christian - Modobject@Home said...

They're perfect! I need to make some of these, as we are cloth napkin users, too... and we use them until they're dirty!

Leila said...

Cute! We do the napkin thing too! I have wooden rings I painted...love the embroidered idea!

A said...

Love it!

Laura said...

What a great idea! We use cloth napkins, too, but I confess I use clean ones at each meal. We have a lot of cloth napkins!

Meghan said...

I'm stealing this idea!

MichelleZ said...

These are such a wonderful idea...I have been wondering about Christmas presents and this has definitely got me thinking...Thanks!