Crewel Work Retrospective: Part 4

By now I must have accumulated at least 5,000 hours, don’t you think? Do you keep track of the hours you spend stitching? I didn’t until I began my City and Guilds course and then we’re required to keep a record of how much time each component takes. This is a smart idea, especially if you’re going into embroidery or textile arts as a career.

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The sweet Blue Bird was my next project. It’s designed by Nicola Jarvis and is one of many William Morris Inspired Crewel Work Bird designs she’s produced. This one was a gift for one of my daughters and hangs in her living room. It’s a lovely project!

I also continued to work up pieces by Phillipa Turnbull. The photo below is of her Leven’s Hall Pillow design. The colours are in the same family as The Marriage Pillow and they will look beautiful side by side – if I ever make them up into cushions!

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The Leven’s Hall Pillow design uses a stitch that was new to me called Raised Leaf stitch. I’ve since used it in a piece of my own and will be forever thankful to Phillipa for introducing it to me!

Then, on a visit to the UK, Nicola asked me to embroider an epic crewel work project: Loveday.  When I said yes, I had no idea how long it would take and I didn’t care. It’s a wonderful, engaging, interesting, beautiful, playful, delightful piece of crewel work and I loved every single minute of stitching it!

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I started it on January 10, 2015 and finished in on October 24, 2015. I worked on it every day and, towards the end, I woke up extra early to work on it before leaving for school. The canvas is 55 cm x 45 cm. When I finished it I was simply thrilled with the results! Nicola has it now, to share with students. Someday It will return to me but I’m perfectly happy with it travelling around for now!

The last course I did in crewel work was with Tracy A. Franklin at the studio of Ali Halley. This course was a sampler course of various stitches worked in a grid pattern similar to the samples in Tracy’s book “Crewel Work”.

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Have I done 10,000 hours of crewel work? Maybe, maybe not yet…but I’ve certainly done 10,000 hours of embroidery in the last 8 years. And every stitch helps make you better. However, I’m not finished learning. There are still so many techniques to improve on, so many new ones to learn and so much more embroidery to create! I’m looking forward to the future…as soon as my hands are ready to go back to stitching.

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