A history of crewel embroidery
Examples of Crewel Embroidery have been around for more than a thousand years. Perhaps the most famous of these being the Bayeux Tapestry made in England around 1070, which depicts the Norman conquest of England.
Tools of the crewel embroidery trade
Set Crewel Needles that you can use on different fabrics. The size of the needle used should match the weave of the fabric, so that there is not too much stress on the fabric as the thread is pulled through.
Wood or plastic hoops with adjustable tension, can be used to smooth the part of the fabric being worked on. This can help with certain stitches that could otherwise be difficult just in the hand, where the fabric would be less taut.
Pouncing tool, pricker to hold a needle when pricking out a design.
Stork Embroidery scissors
A Mellor or laying tool, if you are using gold tread.
A large clip-on Magnifying glass for a much better quality and detailed finish.
Materials used in crewel embroidery
Two ply twisted wool in a mix of colours.
Fabric with a very tight weave like linen twill.
Vellum or thick tracing paper for printing on. Pounce for design transfer.
Acid free tissue for storing you finished embroidered work or masking whilst working.
Techniques of crewel embroidery
You will need a pattern on the fabric to guide you. Four methods you could use are, prick and pounce, pens, iron-on or water soluble transfers. Pounce patterns are good because they are re-usable.
You will need to learn all the stitches needed to create the piece you are working on. You may not need to know them all to start with, as the piece you make may only need three of them. Crewel embroidery stitches include split, stem, long and short, crewel outline, satin, chain, buttonhole, french knot, seed, trellis and couching.
Tips and tricks of crewel embroidery
You will need good lighting for delicate work.
Ideas and inspiration for crewel embroidery
Craft enthusiasts seeking to dazzle the British craft fair audience with crewel embroidery can derive inspiration from the nations rich tapestry of history, culture, and nature. Here are some charming ideas for crewel embroidery pieces:
1. British Garden Birds: Capture the beauty of garden regulars such as robins, blue tits, and finches. These can be embroidered on decorative throw pillows or wall art.
2. Historic Castles and Palaces: Depict stately homes like Windsor Castle, Hampton Court Palace, or Stirling Castle in detailed crewel embroidery for a regal touch to cushion covers or tote bags.
3. Mythical Legends: Dive into folklore with figures like King Arthur, the Loch Ness Monster, or dragons. These motifs can enchant as framed pieces or bedspreads.
4. Woodland Scenes: Celebrate the lush British woodlands with embroidered depictions of oak trees, foxgloves, and woodland creatures on items like table runners or chair cushions.
5. Seaside Landscapes: Bring the beauty of the British coastlines, featuring chalk cliffs, pebble beaches, or coastal villages, into designs perfect for summer scarves or curtains.
6. Tea Time: Given the nations tea culture, embroidering classic teapots, pastries, or scones on tea cosies or napkins would resonate with many.
7. Iconic Symbols: Motifs like the postbox, the black cab, or the Beefeater can find their way as crewel embroidery patches for jackets or bags.
8. Floral Motifs: Embrace the timeless charm of roses, lavender, or daisies, intricately embroidered onto dresses, shawls, or hats.
9. Festive Themes: Get ready for seasonal craft fairs with designs of mistletoe, snowflakes, or holly, perfect for Christmas stockings or tablecloths.
10. Literary Inspirations: With Britains literary heritage, motifs inspired by works of Jane Austen, Charles Dickens, or J.K. Rowling can enchant as bookmarks or notebook covers.
For instance, imagine a linen tablecloth adorned with crewel embroidery depicting the breathtaking white cliffs of Dover with seabirds in flight, or a shawl that carries the fragrance of an English garden, intricately embroidered with roses, lavender, and bees. Such pieces are bound to be conversation starters, captivating the attention of craft fair attendees and evoking admiration for the exquisite craft of crewel embroidery.