Monogrammed Hankies for Mark

comments: 54

Mark Hankies

Last but not least in the parade of presents are a set of monogrammed handkerchiefs I embroidered for Andy's grandpa, Mark. The hankies themselves came from the men's department at Nordstrom (there were three, but the third hankie didn't make it into this photo, I guess, I can't remember) and I embroidered the monogram using 14-count waste canvas and cross stitches.

Do you know about waste canvas? It is super, super cool. Waste canvas is available at any fabric store or craft store that sells embroidery supplies, and it allows you to cross stitch on fabrics that aren't "evenweave" fabrics. It is a heavyweight grid of canvas threads held together with water-soluble glue. It looks a lot like needlepoint canvas, and comes in different "counts." The "count" of a piece of cross-stitch fabric determines how many stitches per inch you will be making when following the grid of that fabric. Waste canvas typically comes in counts of 8.5, 10, 14, or 18 stitches per inch. The more stitches you have per inch, the smaller your design motif will be.

For this project, I used 14-count waste canvas, and 2 strands of cotton embroidery floss. To work it, I basted a piece of waste canvas to the hankie, and then stitched the design through the grid using a crewel (sharp) needle. Then I trimmed away most of the excess waste canvas and soaked the whole thing briefly in water, which dissolves the glue of the waste canvas and makes its threads very pilable. Then, using tweezers, I slowly plucked and slid each waste canvas thread out from under my cross stitches, being careful to keep the canvas threads parallel to the hankie while I was pulling. This sounds a bit fussy and tedious, but I assure you that at this point (after you've spent the time stitching the design) you are pretty psyched to see how it looks on its own, and this step is the most fun.

There is a nice photo tutorial of how to use waste canvas here, and some tips and pointers about choosing designs to use here. But there are also very good directions on any packaged canvas you buy, and once you've done it you will see how easy it is to use and then you'll want to put a little cross-stitched motif on absolutely everything. At least that's what happened to me. Ohhhh, the possibilities here. . . . It's too good.


So cool, I will definitely try that. Thanks so much for sharing all these techniques and tools with us. If I only had enough time to try them all!!

Waste canvas, eh? Just the latest in a long procession of crafty-things-I-need-to-try-that-I-learned-from-Posie Gets Cozy. Love it!

Sweetfern Handmade

What a fantastic product, your hankies look gorgeous.

I am such a fan of the monogrammed hankie! You found such lovely ones - and made them even lovelier, of course! We can only ever find the plain old white ones that are perpetually wrinkled...

Just decided that I'm going to make these for Christmas 2010!

Those are very lovely "M's" indeed. I've never seen waste canvas before, but as luck would have it, I'm visiting the local stitch shop with friends tomorrow and I will ask about it! Thanks for the tip!

The hankies are beautiful! What a lovely gift. :) I've been cross stitching for years but have always been too intimidated to try waste canvas. You make it sound so easy! I think I will have to give it a whirl... :)

These are great Alicia, and you may have changed my world with this waste canvas business. I embroidered some hankies at Christmas, and I could have really used this!

Hurray!!!! and Thank you!

I'm seeing monogrammed pockets on little girl dresses... Ooh, or a monogrammed bodice.

My Dad always used cloth hankies. They were always so soft and perfectly pressed (he even pressed his blue jeans). Those were the days, my purse is filled with kleenex. Maybe I should take his hankies out, now that I have them and cross stitch his initial.

Thanks for the info.

that sounds like a really interesting ingenious process.

Oooooooooh, I had forgotten all about waste canvas. Great reminder! I'll bet those handkerchiefs were a hit!


How is it that I've never heard of this before? My head is reeling. You're right the possibilites... gads, the eye twitch is back.

Don't they look nice? Real Grandad hankies! How fab are those - love them.

I'm definitely trying this. I've not heard of waste canvas before! Very neat.

What a great idea for a guy gift ! Thanks !

Thank you - I am so happy to know about this! I am about to cross stitch some initials on a linen "slipcover" for a lampshade to make it look vintage... wondering if this might just add some needed support to the flimsy of the piece.

Very nice. I tried using waste canvas when I first started cross stitching and it didn't work out. However, now that I'm much better at cross stitching I think I'll give it another go. Thanks for the inspiration!

You have just made my day! I never knew about this??! I've been so eager to cross-stitch on crisp white linen napkins. I didn't think I'd be able to get good results, until now! I can't wait to make something special for my Aunt.
You're the best..a constant source of tips, inspiration and happiness to me.
Your sister's blog is pretty special too..must run in the family.

What a lovely gift! And you are so luck to actually be able to buy hankies... they are an endangered species around these parts.

I'd pull out a hanky to weep about it but I CAN'T FIND ANY!

That is a lovely gift.

I made my Dad some cross-stitched monogrammed hankies for his birthday one year. And for a family reunion one year I cross-stitched my sisters all monogrammed hankies. They were very much appreciated! I really like how yours look on the blue. The ones I made were all white. I just posted a bunch of my old cross-stitch projects today! I think there must be a revival of the craft. I have always had a deep love for the look of cross-stitched art work...:)

The monogrammed hankies are very handsome, what a nice gift.

I think you are the only person in the world that could get people so excited about waste canvas... maybe you missed your calling in advertising!!! No... we all love just what you do! And so will Mark!

Ooo fun! I will add it to my list of stuff to try!

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at




Since August of 2011 I've been using a Canon EOS 60D with an EF 18-200mm kit lens and an EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens.