Back to the beginning…

You might have noticed that the book list on the right side of the page has changed. I was doing some behind the scenes work on the blog last weekend and noticed that I hadn’t written anything about books lately. As I draw closer to the end of the Acorn project, I’m starting to reminisce about the first crewel projects I did about three years ago. The information in these books laid the foundation for what I’m stitching today.

It had been a long time since I’d done embroidery and the first thing I wanted to do was recreate a piece called Avalon in the book Beginners Guide to Crewel Embroidery by Jane Rainbow. Inside this book are quite a number of projects for learning how to do crewel work but not any instructions on how to recreate this particular piece. Undaunted (and oblivious of what I was attempting) I traced the design from the color photo, bought some fabric and cotton or silk and cotton threads and started in stitching. I couldn’t find crewel wool here in Berlin so I used what I could find. The idea of ordering thread from a shop on the internet just didn’t occur to me and anyway, I wouldn’t have had any idea of where to look in the first place!



Sometimes I used the same stitch (I now know) that was used in the original and other times I used a different one. How did I know which stitch to use?

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Durham Cathedral & Quaker Tapestry Museum

During this trip I’ve had the opportunity to see two very, very different pieces of needlework: St. Cuthbert’s Stole and Maniple in Durham Cathedral……

and the Quaker Tapestry in the Exhibition Center in Kendal.

One is old – one of the oldest in the UK – and the other, one of the newest. Both have deep spiritual meaning to many people and both are very fine examples of our art.

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Something different

Usually I prefer to embroider more traditional designs. The old designs are beautiful and their colors are so rich. However, sometimes an old design can look very modern, depending on how it’s worked. That’s my hypothesis for this project . We’ll see if I’m right.

I found this design in the book Crewel Embroidery in England by Joan Edwards. Mary Corbet wrote a very thorough review of the book which you can read here. Crewel Embroidery in England is only available as a used book but worth a search to find it. It’s a well written and interesting social history of crewel embroidery.

The design comes from a bed hanging and is said to be an asparagus plant. I have no direct experience of asparagus plants so I will take the author’s word that this is what they look like.

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