I have always loved Blackwork Embroidery. The stark contrast between the black thread and pale fabric allows the embroidery to stand out.
I divided the runner up with a sewing thread running thread. The table runner was sourced from Ikea, in Australia the Marknad was $5 per runner. Great value. The black perle embroidery cotton sits well on the natural coloured runner. The plan for my embroidery is to make four blackwork samples either end of the 40x140 cm table runner.
I have the "Made in France" Blackwork book, it has some lovely designs in it.
But if you don't have access to this fabulous book, check out the Elizabeth Almond Sampler Tutorials and Mary Corbet's Needle and Thread.