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Handkerchief Mantle Runner

The stack of hankies you inherited from Grandma and Grandpa probably isn’t your most cherished possession of all the things that used to belong to them. No matter how unique and beautiful the handkerchiefs are, no one really uses them anymore, so they’re pretty much useless, right? Actually, those hankies could become a cherished décor piece that you really can’t find anywhere else. If you sew, even a little, you can easily turn those handkerchiefs into something beautiful for your mantle.

Table runners are very popular but it can be difficult to find runners for mantles. Mantle runners must be fairly narrow, and since mantles vary in sizes, runners you do happen to find are often too long, not long enough or way too wide. Handkerchiefs make it a simple process to sew a nice runner especially for your particular mantle. And that runner won’t be just an ordinary one. With the hankies you create a diamond design that’s unusual and elegant.

Since hankies were often sold in packs of several it’s not unlikely that a person might own a few that are identical. To make a mantle scarf you don’t necessarily have to have handkerchiefs that are all alike. Create patterns with what you have. For example, if you have a few white ones, and a couple of blue ones, make a pattern that features two white, a blue, then two white, and so on. Or, if you have just one blue one, and the rest white, create a white runner that has just the one blue handkerchief in the center.

There are only a couple of stipulations for the hanky choices you make. They all must be square, all the same size, and ideally they’ll have no monograms. (Read further to see if your monogram hankies will work). To start the mantle runner simply place two hankies on top of each other and sew across one set of corners.

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Open the two hankies up and lay them so that one diamond shape is on your left and one on your right. Position the third handkerchief so that it lies upon the hanky to the right. Sew the two corners together on the right, open it up, position the next hanky on the one farthest to the right, and do it again. Do this until you have several diamond shapes, stitched together, in a single row. Trim the small amount of excess fabric off the back of each set of corners.

When the scarf is as long as you want it to be, cut it in half, then hem down the cut side, from one end to the other. You might not cut the scarf exactly in half; that depends on how wide you want the runner to be. Measure the mantle to see exactly how much to cut away. Remember that the points of the diamonds should hang over the side of the mantle for the perfect look.

Since you’ll be cutting away half of the mantle runner, if you have monogrammed hankies, the monogram can be cut off during this process. The same goes for embroidery or other designs that are often featured on a single corner of a hanky. With these types of designs, though, the embroidery can be left intact and featured across the front of the finished mantle piece. You’ll love this simple project that turns those old hankies from years gone by into an antique-look mantle runner.

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