When she was married 35 years ago, little did Joan Phillips know her new Sunday-best tablecloth would become a treasured family heirloom. At the time, the Oakville, Ont., needlework expert simply thought it would be fun to have friends who visited over the holidays "sign in." Her guest book: a white linen tablecloth. Each year since, visitors have added to the collection. And each January, Joan stitches the lead pencil signatures with a simple outline stitch in bright cotton floss -- a happy reminder of priceless friendships. Here's how to do it.
• Tablecloth (closely woven cotton or linen is best)
• Embroidery floss
• Pencil or water-soluble fabric marker
Have your guests sign their names on the tablecloth, writing slightly larger than normal (be sure they lean on a flat surface). Using 2 or 3 strands of floss, embroider names using chain or outline stitch.