Yarn stash and crewel embroidery

>> Tuesday, January 10, 2006

As you can see my yarn stash was getting a little overflowy. It was a big mess in fact. I was stocking up while the sales were on! That's my excuse but the truth is it had reached the point where I didn't even really know what I had anymore, so something had to be done. Luckily you will see in the lovely "after" picture that I have now got the situation under control thanks to a handy new piece of furniture from Pier 1:And now on to other things, such as crewel embroidery. As you can see, if you visit my blog to any degree, I like to embroider on my knitted/crocheted things. Someone asked me about this so I thought I would explain in case any one else is interested.

Generally embroidery on wool is done with wool instead of the usual cotton/silk embroidery thread and it's called crewel embroidery. The techniques are pretty much the same as with regular embroidery, I generally use only three stitches: satin stitch, chain stitch and french knots. I create my own designs, since I'm also an illustrator, so that's part of it for me but you can find patterns in books or just copy any pictures you want.

The wool I use can be seen in the bag on the bottom right of the top picture, and at the bottom of the 2nd picture too. Wool for crewel embroidery is sold in small skeins, so you can buy more colours. Needlework/embroidery/cross stitch type stores often sell it, sometimes in grab bags which is a great way to get started (and indeed contribute to chaos such as the above). I found that particular bag of embroidery wool at a flea market. Alternatively you can embroider with any extra bits of wool you have already.Now on to books I would recommend, there are a couple of old books that I found while thrift shopping which are really good: Erica Wilson's Embroidery Book, and Crewel Embroidery also by Erica Wilson. I see these for sale second-hand all the time, they're old-fashioned (which I like) and I guess they're classics. More recent books are Kids' Embroidery by Kristin Nicholas and the Reader's Digest Complete Book of Embroidery. I have copies of these last two, and would be interested in swapping if anyone would like them. For swaps in general I like books, beads, buttons, yarn, fabric and ribbons. See pictures below:


Anonymous,  January 10, 2006  

The New Crewel looks really good, too. I looked at it at the bookstore the other day and only barely held off buying it since my library has it.

Claire Louise Milne January 10, 2006  

Oh yes, that one's really popular, I like it too. I really like all the new crafts books that are coming out these days with fresh designs.

Tania Ho January 11, 2006  

Thanks for all the tips, I'm definitely going to look for one of these books since I've been wanting to try crewel embroidery for some time now.

Anonymous,  January 13, 2006  

I lost out on one of the Erica Wilson books on Ebay a couple of weeks ago :(
They all look really good, thanks for sharing.
I still haven't had the time to start any crewel work.I really must make the time!

Claudia January 15, 2006  

Hi, are you still interested in swapping the "kid´s embroidery" book? I have lots of buttons, materials and various other things (books etc. ) which may interest you, just let me know.

Claire Louise Milne January 15, 2006  

The book is still available. I'll email you.

Toni January 16, 2006  

Beautiful books, I'm very interested in crewel these days. Thanks for sharing!

Grace October 14, 2009  


I love crewel work but I haven't been doing it for decades. However, I do want to start up again.

But it seems next to impossible to find crewel stores in Toronto. Does anyone have any suggestions? I'd really appreciate it! Thank you.


Claire Louise Milne October 14, 2009  

I'm sorry I don't know of any. I usually buy crewel wool second hand at thrift shops and yard sales.

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