I can’t claim the original idea for these napkins, I think I saw them in a Martha Stewart magazine?  Anyway, the idea stuck and when I saw that seersucker fabric was on sale at Fabric.com I decided to give it a shot.

I purchased two yards of fabric, I wasn’t sure how many napkins that would make because I hadn’t decided yet how big to make them.

First, you need to decide your measurements, I went with 18″ square.  Then, cut your fabric, trying to be as straight as possible with your cuts. (this will come in handy later…askmehowIknow *ahem*)

no-sew napkins

The 18″ cut allowed for eight napkins from the two yards (and about $1 per napkin – score!).  Once you’ve cut your squares, you need to fray the edges:

no-sew napkins

They will continue to fray when you wash them, but I’m pretty sure it’ll take a while before you are left with a postage-stamp sized napkin and 17″ of fray.  ;o)

no-sew napkins

When you’re all done, since you pre-washed your fabric (you did pre-wash it…right? ;o) ), you are all set to use your napkins with your next meal!

Finished Napkins

We had BBQ ribs the night I made these and they worked great!  If you don’t mind sewing and you have the ability, to stop the fraying you can sew a zig-zag seam around the edge.  My old grey mare of a ’36 Singer has never heard of zig-zag stitch so we’ll live with the fraying.  ;o)

…can all come together to make beautiful yarn.  Wanna know how?

Let me say this is my first tutorial – let’s hope I don’t end up confusing you guys!

The players:


Left to Right:  SbJL Bucket Bag (they will be available as a limited engagement at MA S&W in Spunky’s booth (Craft Barn 2) – available in my shop on June 1), a CD spindle and a center-pull ball of singles (not pictured but important if you want to travel with your plying:  a clothespin!).

First:  Take the CD spindle and cut it to fit inside the bag:

CD Spindle

Unsullied spindle on the Left, hacked one on Right.

Second:  Make sure it fits:

Insert spindle

See?  Fits!


Third:  Take a look at your center-pull ball.  If you cranked the handle clockwise when you wound the ball, the singles will come off of the outside of the ball clockwise (like mine):

Center-Pull Ball

If this is the case, you need to turn the ball upside down so the singles come off counter-clockwise.  This makes a BIG difference!  If you’ve tried plying from a center-pull ball and it’s turned into a tangled mess, odds are good you didn’ t have your singles coming off of the ball  in the right direction.  You’re plying counter-clockwise so if the singles are coming off counter-clockwise, they’ll twist together correctly and you won’t be fighting a losing battle.  Here is how I turn mine upside down:

Place your thumb over the single that’s caught in the center cone so you don’t lose it:

Insert thumb...

Push the cone through with the single in the middle:

Push Through

You should now have a ball with the center single coming out the top and the singles coming off the outside going the right way:

It's free!

The quicker you do the next step, the better!  I like to let my singles sit on the ball winder overnight so they are more set to the cone and don’t collapse as quickly.

Fourth: put your thumb back through the middle of the ball (from top to bottom) so you see this:

Quickly !

Fifth:  Touch your thumb to the center of the CD spindle:

Another insertion

…and slide it through the middle of the ball. Now take a moment and admire what you just did.  ;o)

Ready for baggage

You can now ply from your ball. You don’t *need* a bucket bag to continue but hey, it makes you look pretty cool and lets you ply on-the-go if you’d like to.  ;o)

If you have a bucket bag, you can put the whole shebang in there:

All Set!

and start plying:

Bucket Bag: In Plying Mode

Then, when you’re ready to stop, you can hang your bag from your Mother-of-All (and use the clothespin I mentioned before to clip your singles to the handle (or the wheel) so they don’t get all tangled):

Ready for Travel!

The best part?  If you have a travelling wheel like mine, you can fold up your wheel and your singles won’t get all messed up.  Since the singles are in the bag, the drive band can go over the whole thing and you can take the MOA off!!  You have no idea how happy this made me when I realized it!

Hopefully my little tutorial didn’t confuse you and helps you go forth and confound the muggles!  ;o)

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