Monday, June 20, 2016

Summer stitchery

Every once in awhile I get the urge to work on a crewel embroidery.  I completed one years ago and felt so good about it, I entered the piece and won a blue ribbon in a county fair!  Needless to say I was very proud of my handiwork, especially since it took over a year to finish. It was a wedding dress stitched with embroidery floss, silk ribbons, and pearl beads. It truly was spectacular.

This summer I determined to begin another one.  A cross stitch would be a lot simpler and quicker, but I really enjoy the process of crewelwork.  I love the way it looks and the application of it.  When I work on one I often fantasize about actually being able to create my own design.  Maybe someday.  For now I work with the kits that include everything I need.

Crewel is decorative embroidery featuring stylized shapes inspired by nature such as plants, trees, and animals.  The designs are fanciful, using multiple shades of each color to give depth and interest. The thread is typically wool, but can also be silk or acrylic.  The one I am working on now has a lot of acrylic yarn that is driving me crazy!  It has a tendency to fray and pull apart and at inconvenient times no matter how carefully I handle it.  It does have a very fuzzy look to it, which I kind of like.

Crewel embroidery has been around for a long time, commonly used to make bed coverings and curtains, household goods, and to decorate clothing.  I would very much like to turn this piece into a pillow, to make something beautiful and artistic also useful, but I fear it will be ruined if left out.  I will probably stretch and frame it, to hang it safely on the wall.

If you're ready to trade a paintbrush for a needle and thread, give it a try!  It will help you develop patience.

I purchased this hibiscus and hummingbird kit from Amazon.

There's an interesting article over at the Nordic Needle about crewel embroidery.