Friday, April 9, 2010

Why Crewel can be Kind

On June 6th and 7th Phillipa from the Crewel Work Co. will be coming to Moorestown. On Sunday June 6 from 4 to 6pm a reception will be held where Phillipa will make a presentation on Historic Textiles and Embroidery from English Castles, Mansions and Country Homes. Phillipa has been granted permission to in many private homes and estates allowing her to study fine examples of embroidery and crewel that would otherwise remain unknown. On Monday June 7th from 9am to 4pm she will teach an all day workshop featuring the Mellerstain Stag. This piece is a detail taken from one of her available kits, the Mellerstain Firescreen, which is a replica of one found in the Mellerstain Castle, Scotland. There are a few seats left so if you are interested please register by visiting the Nimble Needle website, or calling the shop at 856 234 4848. Both events will take place at Perkins Center for the Arts, Moorestown NJ.

Ok, now that my little commercial is over I'd like to say a few words about the benefits of learning crewel, and to learn from a Master herself, Phillipa! I know I hear it all the time that I never tried it, or "thats what was done years ago" (which is true) "you mean people still do that". I also hear even more frequently "how can I make this line look curved on canvas" or I'd really like to learn some new stitches". Crewel, which is a type of embroidery can provide these answers because embroidery stitches can and dare I say should be done on needlepoint canvas just the same as linen, silk or other types of ground fabric.

Don't like to couch but want a curved line? How about stem stitch? or a chain stitch? (Chain stitch in great for making flowers in silk ribbon). And then there's shading. How many times do we fall in love over a canvas with shading? Only to pass it up because "I can't do shading". Shading is dealt with in embroidery by the long and short technique and the very same technique can be applied to canvas work. Laid filling is a technique used in crewel for "filling" in areas and I suspect was the inspiration for the various laid background stitches found in needlepoint. And then there's padding, fly stitch, french knots and more.

Consider broadening your techniques through crewel work and join us on Monday June 7th. Embroidery stitches are useful for embellishment in all kinds of needlework including needlepoint as well as crazy quilting, knitting, crocheting and silk ribbon embroidery. If precision is your thing then when it comes to using embroidery stitches on canvas I suggest stitching with a crewel needle. Large eye and sharp so you can put the stitch just exactly where you want to, piercing canvas threads if necessary. Knowing crewel / embroidery gives you more "tools" (or techniques) in your stitching repertoire.

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